What are Free Radicals and Antioxidants?
Free Radicals - How Radical Can They Be?
It's all over the news, health magazines, and your doctor's office. Free radicals are something to be feared - but what exactly are they?
Well, if it's broken down scientifically, a free radical is an atom that has a free electron that isn't paired. This free electron allows it to interact with other healthy, purposeful cells and damage them. The free radical is looking for a cell that can help it become more stable by giving or receiving an electron- but the healthy cell will then become unstable if paired with the free radical.
This creates a domino effect - the now paired, once healthy cell is now unstable and will go on to produce other unstable cells.
Free radicals are a product of oxidation, the process where the free radical was created - the atom made with the free electron.
Antioxidants - The Rally Against Radicals
Antioxidants are just that: anti-oxidants. Antioxidants inhibit the oxidation process. The idea is that substances containing antioxidants can bond with the free radicals in the body and prevent the oxidation process, prevent the free radical from bonding with and harming normal cells, and prevent the rapid reproduction of harmful cells.
The jury is out, though. Take it all with a grain of salt. (You know, like when eggs were bad for you, then good for you . . .) Studies are not fully conclusive that consuming antioxidants will stave off cancer or disease. Do your own research, come to your own conclusions and proceed from there.
- Antioxidants and Cancer Prevention: Fact Sheet - National Cancer Institute
Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Free radical damage may lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals and may prevent some of the damag
- MedlinePlus: Antioxidants
Learn the substances that contain antioxidants, and where to find them in food sources, along with several antioxidant-related articles.
- Antioxidant food table
From the Cleveland Clinic: Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Best Food Sources of Antioxidant Vitamins
When it comes to antioxidant vitamin content, all foods are not created equal. A study published in a recent issue of the Journal of Nutrition analyzed the total antioxidant content of various fruits, berries, vegetables, cereals, nuts, and legumes.
Breaking It All Down
OK, so that's a bunch of science hooey, right? Let's try it this way.
I'm a cell in the human body. I need 3 things to function - neutrons, protons and electrons. I had a healthy balance of all 3 until some inhaled tobacco smoke came along and knocked things out of whack. So, I split to make more healthy cells, but because of the damage I don't split evenly. Now I need to attach to a cell that is healthy to make me healthy. However, that makes me like a parasite - if I'm better after the attachment, the next cell won't be. And the effect cascades from there.
- Vitamin C
- Found in citrus, strawberries, spinach, broccoli
- Vitamin E
- Found in nuts, green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin A
- Found in carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes
Antioxidant Therapy in the Kitchen
Most people find that making their morning blueberry smoothies or drinking green tea are easy ways to get their daily dose of antioxidants.
Some of the most widely acclaimed antioxidant-rich foods include:
- red beans
- citrus fruits
- tropical fruits
- sweet potatoes
- Blueberry Thrill - The Power of Blue!
Baking with blue - good stuff!
- Pomegranate Power
Pomegranates are the latest craze in antioxidant foods. This site has some interesting recipes, including pomegranate pudding.
- All-Star Foods That Fight for Health - Healthy Recipes and Menus - CookingLight.com
Find out which foods rank highest in antioxidant content, and find links to several recipes.
- Cancer Prevention Primer: Low fat healthy recipes,nutrition,fitness
Recipes,diets,fitness and nutrition information for healthy living. Low-fat healthy recipes,diet plans, fitness and nutrition calculators.
Blueberry Coconut Smoothie Video Recipe
Blend Your Way to Wellness
Pomegranate Passion with Ann Kleinberg
Green Tea Properties
Green AND black tea contain antioxidants. Those of you who enjoy a nice cup of Earl Grey Tea don't have to switch. Even oolong tea contains antioxidant power. According to WedMD, all of these tea types are made form the same leaves - it's how they are processed that makes them different. Tea is rich in polyphenols, a botanical antioxidant derived from plants and also found in fruits or vegetables.
- Drinking Green Tea
This page explores more of the health benefits of drinking green tea.
- Antioxidants in Green and Black Tea
Learn about the different types of tea and their antioxidant components.
- Green Tea Ice Cream Recipe : Emeril Lagasse : Food Network
Makes 1 quart
Nuts are a great source of Vitamin E and the skins contain flavonoids, yet another source of antioxidants. Almonds have been found to be particularly high in these substances. Almonds and other nuts are also thought to assist in heart health, weight control, and cholesterol levels.
- Healthy Eating
Here are a few quick, easy and inexpensive recipes that allow for healthy cooking at home, using fresh ingredients.
- 20 Fascinating Facts About the Natural Healing Power of Bananas | The Thinking Blog ~ Knowledge Grow
Cookbooks for Antioxidant-Rich Foods
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