What are antioxidants and free radicals?
We could say that antioxidants are our friends, and free radicals our enemies. This is because our bodies are bombarded with millions of free radicals every day, and the antioxidants defend our bodies from this attack, helping to slow down the aging process and fight several degenerative diseases.
Our organism is made up of molecules that contain atoms with two electrons. If the electron is impaired is called free radical. So, free radicals are oxygen atoms, that are missing one electron, and are highly reactive and unstable.
To recover their stability, they desperately need another electron, which they will steal from a healthy molecule. Then, this molecule will became a free radical too, and so on... a vicious circle of damage begins.
These molecules produce great damage to healthy cells. This damage can accumulate over the years, and if there is an excess of free radicals, and our bodies can't control this increase, then oxidative stress occurs; causing oxidation inside the body and damaging DNA.
Our organism will be less able to fight various degenerative diseases such as:
We can't avoid free radicals. Some of them occur naturally in our bodies, during the metabolism of food and when breathing.
Others are due to external factors such as:
Some free radicals can be helpful to combat bacteria, viruses and vaso-dilatation, but the great majority are very destructive.
On the other hand, we have the antioxidants which are produced by our bodies, to help neutralize free radicals, and hence, reduce oxidation by giving up one of their electrons. Antioxidants protect cells from damage, acting as scavengers.
Antioxidants are minerals, vitamins and enzymes that protect our organism from the formation of free radicals, protecting our cells, improving our defenses and slowing down the aging process.
They protect our bodies from different diseases such as cancer and heart related conditions. Antioxidants are present in our organism, but we can get them from food too.
Can antioxidants help with lines and wrinkles? Yes, they can. As I said before, antioxidants defend our organism from free radical damage, helping to slow down aged skin.
They help to improve collagen and elastin giving the skin a firmer and younger looking appearance. The best way to get all the antioxidants that your body needs, to help you fight all those nasty fee radicals, is to follow a healthy and balanced diet.
As said by researchers we can find antioxidants in fresh fruit and vegetables. We must eat, at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day or as many as you can.
Ideally, you should choose fruits and vegetables with a variety of colors such as: green, orange, purple and red.
Other sources of antioxidants are:
If you eat a balanced diet you should not need to take tablets in form of minerals or vitamins, unless recommended by your doctor or nutritionist. Don't forget that an excess of vitamins can be damaging.
Finally there are things you should avoid to be better protected from free radicals such as:
It will be of benefit if you can practice some form of moderate exercise or sport.
As you can see, these substances have great benefits and this is why is important to understand about antioxidants and free radicals, not only for the way antioxidants boost our health but also for the effects these nutrients have on improving aging skin.
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