Small Steps, Sensible Choices, Superior Health.

Understanding Free Radicals

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The free radicals health war is occurring every minute of every day in your body!  So how can you tell if you're winning or losing in that war? 

Your body will give you some clues based on how you feel, any chronic symptoms you may have and the rate at which you are aging.

What are Free Radicals?

Let's start with a simple, non-technical definition of the term. While this is not a medical explanation, hopefully it will give you a general understanding of what they are and how they work. 

Our bodies are comprised of billions of molecules that split apart and become unstable as a result of losing one of their paired electrons.

That incomplete molecule is then called a free radical.  This process is also called oxidation.

Free radical development is actually a normal process in the body. 

However, there are many other things that cause the body to develop more free radicals than usual. 

Oxidation can be caused by many things:

  • unmanaged stress
  • toxins, chemicals, pesticides, pollution
  • processed foods
  • prescriptions
  • alcohol
  • smoking
  • lack of sleep
  • radiation (including sunlight)
  • even exercise

This is only a partial list, but you can see how our bodies can become overwhelmed.  They are kind of like the "bad guys" that are at war with all your healthy cells. They are scavenging about trying to steal an electron to make them "whole" again.

This occurrence is actually a normal process that our bodies are equipped to handle. Under normal circumstances, they aren't supposed to cause any long term effects.

Unfortunately, due to our lifestyle and uncontrollable environmental factors, our bodies are producing too many to effectively fight them off.

This overload of activity in the body creates a chain reaction of cellular damage causing oxidative stress which leads to all kinds of chronic and life-threatening diseases.

If you want more detailed information, you can listen to Dr. Mercola explain more here.

Harmful Effects of Oxidation

Research in this area is consistently confirming the relationship of oxidative stress and inflammation with many chronic diseases.

While not an extensive list, it does include the top two diseases that are causing the greatest numbers of deaths in this country,heart disease and cancer.

  • Asthma
  • Alzheimer's
  • Arthritis
  • Cataracts
  • Cancer
  • Cavities
  • High Cholesterol
  • Heart Disease
  • Immune Dysfunction
  • Infertility Issues
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Premature Aging
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Respiratory Dysfunction
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis 

What Can You Do?

Take a look at your lifestyle and see where you can make some healthier choices.

Perhaps you're not:

  • getting enough rest
  • exercising too little or too much
  • managing your stress level
  • eating the right foods
  • smoking
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • limiting your toxin exposure.

In addition to making some healthier lifestyle choices, there are other things you can do.

antioxidants combat free radical damage

Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with antioxidants.

Antioxidants help fight the anti-aging war that is going on within your body.

Vitamins C and E as well as Resveratrol are thought to help combat oxidative stress and they are found in our fruits and vegetables.

If you don't like fruits and vegetables, consider drinking one of the many types of "antioxidant" drinks on the market.  They are a concentrated blend of fruits and vegetables and most of them taste pretty good.

For more information on antioxidants and which foods are the highest, check out the Additional Resources section below. 

You'll find links to more information that can help you better understand this topic and how it relates to your health. 

Additional Resources

More About Antioxidants

Do I Need Antioxidant Questionnaire

Managing Inflammation

Heart Health

Stress and Health

Sleep and Health

Avoiding Toxins

Fun Exercises


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