Fighting Free Radical Damage Naturally!
So I'm sure you have heard people talking about Free Radicals and how bad they are for our health...
But what the heck is a free radical anyway? And how do they negatively affect bodies?
Free radicals are molecules that have one of more electron in their outer valence shell (ugh I know who cares about biology!) but all you need to know is, that this makes them extremely reactive as they attempt to correct their imbalance they attack important macromolecules leading to a disruption in the bodies homeostasis and cellular damage. Free Radicals damage our DNA, Enzymes and cellular membranes.
Reactive Oxygen Species known as oxidative stress effects every organ and system in the body is believed to be the leading causes of degenerative disorders and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disease, arteriosclerosis, cancer and heart disease to accelerated aging, asthma, diabetes, ulcerative colitis/ Crohn's, leaky gut syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts and ulcers. As you can see free radicals should defiantly be on your health radar and make sure you are protecting your body from these harmful molecules.
Sources of Free Radicals:
- UV Radiation from lights and too much sun exposure
- Radiation (X-rays & therapeutic gamma rays)
- Pharmaceutical drugs (anti cancer drugs, corticosteroids & antibiotics)
- Environmental Pollutants
- Too much exercise
- Unhealthy fats (trans fats, thats you cookies, cakes, biscuits, margarine, microwave popcorn etc.)
- Processed & refined foods (ANYTHING IN A BAG, BOX OR PACKAGE)
- Excessive amounts of sugar and sweeteners
- Stress hormones generate free radicals in the body STRESS CAUSES FREE RADICALS PEOPLE ...
I know I know I'm sure some of you are covering your eyes reading this list and thinking you have free radical overload.. but don't be so hard on yourself!
Everyone in the world is exposed to free radicals on a daily basis, its inevitable. However, Im here to save the day by telling you that we can counteract and prevent free radical damage with nutrition, spefically ANTIOXIDANTS! YAY!
Antioxidants nutrients act as soldiers that come to our rescue! They are molecules that actually stop the damaging reaction caused by free radicals by attaching themselves onto the radical to form a stable molecule, which inhibits and calms them down from attacking other cells within our bodies. antioxidant vitamins are Vitamin C, E, and A, bioflavonoids and beta carotene and antioxidant minerals are Selenium, zinc, copper and maganese play a major role in defending our body from those destructive radicals!
Foods high in Antioxidants:
In order to determine which foods have the highest antioxidants you MUST look for the ORAC VALUE (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity Units). Basically what this value does is tells you which foods have the highest amounts of antioxidants based on a unit of measurement. Foods highest on the ORAC value chart are
- Acai berry
- Gogi berries
- DARK CHOCOLATE (yes I said chocolate :) but it must be at least 70% cocoa or greater)
- peppermint leaves
- sunflower seeds
Ultimately, eating the rainbow and a wide variety of whole foods, limiting your exposure to environmental free radicals and reducing the overall stress in your life will reduce the toxin load in your body and leave you alive & thriving from the inside out!
Best wishes of health & happiness; mind body and soul
Jade Boychuk xo.