We have all discussed free radicals damaging the body and antioxidants help in reducing this oxidative stress. But does anyone really know what this is exactly? These are terms used quite often but not many know how it works inside your body. Let’s observe what exactly these two terms are and whether they are good or bad for our system.
To start with, free radicals are unstable oxygen containing molecules in uneven number, that means it lacks one electron to make it stable. For example, oxygen molecule is always mentioned as O2. Similarly when elections are missing, these molecules acts as free radicals and go to healthy and stable molecules in our body to steal an electron from it — making it unstable — this further keeps happening and leads to a
chain reaction. These reactions are called oxidation and puts oxi- dative stress in our body. There are several reasons on why free radicals can be produced in the body, starting from pollution, smoking, alcohol, ozone, X rays, industrial pollutants, chemicals entering the body through air or beauty products etc. Apart from that, a bad lifestyle, highly processed food intake/white flour/ sugar etc leads to more free radicals and high inflammation. A few free radicals that are released in the mitochondrial processes, which are very few in number, actually help in tissue repair but when there are too many free radicals, it causes damage to our own body. That’s where I always say, even good things if given in excess can do harm to the body.
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Moving to antioxidants; these are substances that actually protect our body against the free radicals by breaking their chain reaction and neutralising free radicals. That’s how they further reduce the oxidative stress and have a protective benefit on various organs of our body. This doesn’t mean that we can take antioxidants and manage free radicals because even after starting antioxidants supplements/vitamins regularly, if we are still exposing our body daily to free radicals like smoking or second hand smoking/ refined oils/ chemical laden products etc then ultimately there will be no effect on neutralisation and the body will suffer in the long run.
When the oxidation process doesn’t stop, it starts affecting us at a DNA level. And we all know once the DNA gets affected in the longer run it can impact our genes, organ functions and the entire blue print of cells can be changed. There are high chances that even cell apoptosis switches off, that means the body is not able to self destroy the bad cells which will make us lose the ability to fight any infection or disease and the body will further hold on to inflammation.
Now we know why free radicals and oxidative stress is not good for body, try to stay away from oxidation increasing causes and focus on adding antioxidants naturally in the form of colourful fruits and veggies in your meal to destroy these free radicals and keep your health in check. Apart from that, try to keep your lifestyle healthy by balancing your meals, adding activity, sleeping well, managing stress, as well as putting aside time for deep breathing as this too, will help in reducing oxidative stress. Let’s listen to our own body, comprehend its messages and work towards improving our health gradually.
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