If you’re interested in losing weight, staying healthy, or just curious about the way that the body works then you’ve likely heard the terms “free radicals” and “antioxidants” but do you know what they actually are? What they do to you? Here are the effects of free radicals and antioxidants on your body.
In general the cells in your body have an even number of electrons. A free radical is formed when a cell with a weak bond splits and it leaves behind a cell with an odd electron. This is what’s known as a free radical. These free radicals are unstable and will generally attack the closest cell to them in an attempt to “steal” an electron and become stable again. This damages your body and causes a number of problems including inflammation. There are even studies that suggest free radicals could be one of the causes of cancer.
The thing is though that free radicals can actually do some good. Their attacks are sometimes used by the body to fight off infections. They damage the cells around them so if there is just enough of them you can see how they can fight off an infection. Things become bad when there are too many of them in the body. Then they start attacking the good cells too and leave you inflamed, sick, and even overweight. Inflammation is one of the leading causes of many problems in the body including cardiovascular disease, illnesses, and weight gain. All of these problems are tied to inflammation and inflammation is tied to free radicals. You can see how all of this fits together and how free radicals are bad news for your body. So how do you stop them? Antioxidants.
Antioxidants are cells that are able to safely interact with free radicals. Vitamin C and E in particular are great antioxidants that help to protect you from the more destructive aspects of free radicals. In a sense antioxidants are the good Samaritans of the cellular world. They are able to neutralise free radicals by “donating” one of their own electrons to stop the free radical from “stealing” electrons around it. Antioxidants are able to stay stable even with one electron less so they don’t become free radicals themselves after this donation process.
It’s believed that antioxidants can help keep your mind and body healthy by stopping these free radicals and reducing inflammation. Many studies have made the correlation that taking in a lot of vitamin C can help reduce your risk of developing cancer. Antioxidants also help you lose weight and can prevent erectile dysfunction in men. That’s right men; inflammation is the reason that your soldier can’t stand up straight.
An abundance of free radicals causes a problem known as oxidative stress. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, nuts, vegetables and dark chocolate (yes chocolate is good for you!) you can take back control from free radicals and keep your body healthy and your heart happy.