When you lightly walk down the street, even the autumn sky covered with gray clouds pleases you, as well as a well-tailored suit, and the eyes of men stop with interest on your slender figure, it seems to you that everything is fine in life. And we don’t want to think that something can change our mood and well-being. However, surprises always lie in wait for us – it can be stress, a chronic disease, or just aging. Do you know that on our planet, almost always, destruction processes take place with the participation of oxygen through oxidation?
Iron rusting is oxidation. Fallen leaves rot in the forest – this is oxidation. We get sick, gradually grow old, and this, very approximately of course, can be called the process of oxidation. Both aging and diseases – all these processes take place in the body with the formation of free radicals, in other words, products of incomplete oxygen reduction.
How does this happen?
Free radicals are extremely active formations (molecules, that is, particles that have unpaired electrons), more precisely, an unpaired electron in the last electronic level, which makes them extremely unstable.
Because of this, such molecules very easily enter into chemical reactions. An unstable particle, colliding with other molecules, “steals” an electron from them, which significantly changes the structure of the “affected” molecules.
Since these “conquerors” seek to take away an electron from other full-fledged molecules, in turn, the “affected” molecule itself becomes a free radical – a destructive chain reaction develops that has a detrimental effect on a living cell.
By taking away an electron from a molecule, free radicals inactivate cells, thereby disrupting the delicate chemical balance of the body. In this case, irreversible changes occur. This chain reaction can damage millions of molecules in a fraction of a second, damaging the structure of vital cells in our body.
Chain reactions involving free radicals can cause many dangerous diseases, such as stress, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, varicose veins, atherosclerosis, heart disease, depression.
The destruction of human tissues by free radicals is the driving force behind various diseases, including immune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, hepatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver.
Why is it important?
When the balance between antioxidants and free radicals is disrupted, oxidative stress occurs. Free radicals are formed during the life of the body, as well as under the influence of adverse environmental factors: such as radiation, polluted atmosphere, tobacco smoke, as well as chemical compounds that enter the body with food.
When the process happens again and again, a chain reaction of free radicals begins, while cell membranes are destroyed, important biological processes are undermined.
An excess of free radicals leads to disruption of the functions of the cell membranes of our body, to a violation of health and premature aging. The acceleration of the aging process is also largely due to the effects of free radicals.
Free radicals can damage the structure of DNA molecules, causing changes in hereditary information and cancer.
Usually, a healthy body copes with free radicals that arise during the natural metabolism of cells, however, adverse external factors lead to a situation where the body’s defenses are no longer able to neutralize the excess of aggressive particles, and the risk increases many times with physical and emotional stress.
What to do? How can we protect ourselves?
In the process of evolution, wise nature has created protection against the destructive action of free radicals. Control over the formation of free radicals is provided in the body by the antioxidant defense system (vitamins, enzymes).
How Antioxidants Work
Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers. By donating an electron to a free radical, antioxidants stop the chain reaction by acting as a buffer for the electrons.
Proper regulation of this balance helps the body grow, produce energy, fight infection, and inactivate chemicals and pollutants. Studies have shown that antioxidants help the body reduce tissue damage, speed up the healing process, and resist infections and the aging process. As a result of research, it has been proven that they can increase a person’s life expectancy.
To help your body
To prevent the formation of free radicals and help the body cope with their harmful effects, actively eating foods containing antioxidants can:
These are kiwi, lemon, sauerkraut, rose hips.
They are rich in vegetable oils, nuts (almonds, peanuts), turnips, green leafy vegetables, cereals, legumes, egg yolk, liver, milk, oatmeal, soy, wheat and its sprouts.
Most beta-carotene is found in carrots, pumpkin, spinach, broccoli.
One of the most powerful antioxidants found in tomatoes.
One serving of cocoa contains 564 milligram equivalents of the flavonoid epicatechin; in red wine – 163 mg, and in green tea 47 mg.
selenium, zinc, copper, manganese and iron (honey, nuts).
It is recommended to use kvass (up to 2 glasses a day), onions, garlic, blueberries.
Fruit: grapes, prunes, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, cherries
Vegetables: beans, eggplant, spinach, cabbage, beets, onions
is recognized as the most useful in terms of antioxidants contained in its traditional dishes. Eat more fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables.
There are also medicinal herbs with antioxidant activity:
– Ginkgo biloba. A plant that prolongs life, improves cognitive abilities; this is the only plant that has not changed since the Ice Age due to its resistance to environmental pollution, the antioxidant effect is manifested in the protection of brain cells and heart tissues at the level of small vessels, which helps to prevent the development of various diseases;
– Golden root
– Ginger officinalis (root)
Plants are forced to exist in such environmental conditions from which they need to protect themselves. For protection, they produce various protective substances, including antioxidants – antioxidants. By eating these plants, we also protect our body from free radicals.
Since our skin performs a number of important functions for the body, it is also exposed to oxygen: from the inside (oxygen coming from the blood), and from the outside – atmospheric oxygen. Of course, this area also has its own “methods of putting things in order” – the body contains endogenous (or internal) antioxidants. But the modern lifestyle leads to a reduction in the amount of endogenous antioxidants, which weakens the natural protective functions of the skin.
How to help your skin?
Vitamins A, B, C and E are considered the most powerful antioxidants in cosmetics.
Protects the skin, as well as cosmetic preparations in which it is contained.
Enhances the antioxidant properties of vitamin E; improves collagen synthesis in tissues.
Protects lipids from oxidation, and cell membranes from destruction.
The composition of cosmetics often includes grape seed extract – a wonderful natural antioxidant.