how to defend yourself from free radicals

We hear more and more about diets, supplements, drinks and detox patches, but often we simply fall into the deception of wellness marketing. On the contrary, the choice of a diet rich in antioxidant foods it can be a panacea for the body and for the cells that compose it. In fact, every day the body has to deal with oxidative damage coming from within and from the notorious free radicals that come from the external environment. Which foods can support the body’s antioxidant defenses and how do they work?

What are free radicals?

I free radicals they are unstable particles that are continuously produced by the human body, as a waste product of metabolic processes, which use oxygen as fuel for the production of energy (oxidation reactions) necessary for cells and tissues. For this reason they are also called “Reactive Oxygen Species” o ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) and are capable of generating harmful chain reactions at the cellular level.

How do free radicals work?

Free radical is a molecule that has one or more unpaired (unpaired) electrons in its outermost atomic orbital. This unease is caused by metabolic processes or by many others external factorscome pollution, UVA rays, prolonged stress e smoke. So, as happens for people who are looking for their other half, the free radical also tries to complete himself in order to reach a certain degree of chemical stability. Thus begins a frantic search for the electron that could be able to complete the external orbital, giving it the much sought-after stability. But free-radical species don’t mince words and attack key parts of cells, such as i grassi (lipid peroxidation) and proteins present on cell membranes but also inside the cell. Damage can propagate in chains and reach the nucleic acidsseat of the genetic heritage (DNA and RNA) and stored in the cell nucleus.

This chain reactionresulting from free radicals, can lead to damage many cellular structures and create a situation called “oxidative stress“, in which free radicals prevail over antioxidant defenses of the body and create damage, sometimes even irreversible. Oxidative damage can provide fertile ground for numerous pathologies, ranging from the simple aging process to more serious problems such as diabetes, diseases of the cardiovascular system, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, Parkinson’s disease e l’Alzheimer, tumors and many others.

Antioxidants: how do they work?

The human body, in addition to an immune system that defends it from germs and bacteria, also has a defense system that acts against free radicals and cellular oxidation. There are substances antioxidants, which have the task of donating the electrons they lack to free radicals, canceling their instability and interrupting the chain of harmful reactions. Many of these antioxidant molecules, such as the glutathioneare physiologically present in the body, other substances that carry out action antioxidant they are hired instead through the foods. In some moments, the antioxidant defenses of the human body are not sufficient and the assumptions of specific foods, or even antioxidant health supplements and products.

What are antioxidant foods?

  • Among the main plant components, they can be counted polyphenols (coffee, chocolate, vegetables and cereals), bioflavonoids (seeds and leaves, but also tea and wine) e anthocyanins (berries, grapes, red cabbage and radishes).
  • Vitamins also play a key role. Among these we find the vitamin C (kiwi, citrus fruits and peppers), the Vitamin E (olives, peanuts, corn), beta-carotene (vegetable precursor of vitamin A present in carrots and other colored vegetables). You may also be interested in the article “The right diet to tan more easily”.
  • Among the micronutrients they find an antioxidant role seleniumil copper and it zinc (to be everywhere).
  • Glutathione e coenzyme Q10are other molecules essential for their antioxidant action, and for this reason often present in food supplements.

The elements with antioxidant activity can act alone but also cooperate with each other, having synergy action in counteracting oxidative damage.

How to make a healthy antioxidant diet?

There are no magic formulas or miraculous foods, rich in this or that other nutrient with a phenomenal action. A’antioxidant nutrition you can follow through a complete and balanced diet, which guarantees the achievement of the levels of micro and macronutrients necessary for the human body. In this way one of the most effective antioxidant actions can be guaranteed.

Nutritionists recommend a daily consumption of at least 5-6 portions of fruit e fresh vegetables and in season, a diet low in saturated fat (of animal origin) e of hydrogenated fats, coming from packaged products, snacks and industrial snacks. To prefer the hiring of pesce compared to meat andextra virgin olive oil as a condiment, due to the presence of highly effective antioxidant elements. Even foods like garlic and onionin addition to being an excellent source of antioxidants, they stimulate circulation, protect the cardiovascular system and improve liver function.

To conclude this small antioxidant vademecum, one could not be missing regular hydration daily and one constant physical activity. Key elements of a healthy diet and, therefore, of a diet that has the right load of antioxidant elements.

To receive a balanced and varied food plan, which takes these food choices into account and at the same time preserves the health of the body, it is always good to contact a dietician or nutritionist.


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