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Antioxidant magic: Here’s how you can fight free radicals

Antioxidant magic: Here’s how you can fight free radicals

November 07, 2020
Festive season is almost here and it brings the time for us to have delicious food with our family. Food that is oily, spicy and tastes like heaven. However, it can be a stressful time of the year for your gut because it has to digest all that high calorie food. You can choose your food wisely to help reduce stress on your gut, which in turn leads to a healthy immune system.

Festive meals are loaded with salt, fat and sugar. It spikes blood glucose and levels of insulin in the body when eaten in large portions all in a single day.The other damage it causes is a peak in the amount of free radicals. Free radicals can be defined as unattached molecules that can do some serious cellular damage in our body. 

We’ve frequently been told to consume foods that are rich in antioxidants. But why do we need them and what are they? Let’s discuss the process of oxidation and why it's important to control it.

Shuffling of electrons

Losing its electrons to another substance makes that substance become oxidized. The substances which accept those electrons are called oxidizing agents or electron acceptors. They keep electrons for themselves. If these unpaired electrons are unable to bind with other electrons, these oxidizing agents become free radicals. They negatively alter our cellular metabolism and even mess with our DNA.  

Metabolism through nutrients and free radicals

We’ve all learnt the age old phrase “mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell”. Basically mitochondria is responsible for burning the fuel in our food to produce energy in each of our cells. This process is a cellular chain reaction involving a series of further oxidation and reduction reactions (meaning electrons are giving or receiving electrons).

After protons and electrons are matched, some electron shells are left unpaired in this process. They then hunt our body in search of electrons for pairing.

The oxidative process leads to formation of oxygen containing chemically reactive molecules which can lead to production of free radicals in higher concentrations.

It’s not like all free radicals are harmful. The process of forming free radicals is important for conversion of nutrients in our food into chemical energy. However when free radicals get accumulated, they mean harm to our health. They put oxidative stress on the cells that is detrimental to the functionality, damaging their growth, development and even survival. As they are reactive in nature, they form side reactions that are unnecessary that impairs and injures the cells in our body.

Not only do they damage the cells and our DNA but also lead to mutations which cause cells to grow at an abnormal capacity, which leads to cancer and aging. Problems related to aging such as hardened arteries, diabetes and wrinkles are caused by free radicals in our body.

Foods rich in antioxidants

Overeating causes more free radicals in your body because as you consume more food, the mitochondria release more activated oxygen at abnormal levels during the consumption of energy, causing more and more free radicals. With certain food categories, the risk of oxidative stress is much greater. It is also influenced by how the food is cooked.

You must ensure that you have food that is rich in nutrients and contains antioxidants because nutrient deficient meals are the major sources of free radicals.

Here is how you can fight free radicals
  • Avoid foods that are rich in refined carbs and sugars, also called high glycemic foods. These foods are responsible for creating high quantities of free radicals.

  • Limit your intake of processed meats such as sausages, bacon etc. Processed meats contain preservatives that are responsible for generation of free radicals. 

  • Limit your intake of red meat because of its vulnerability to oxidation owing to the high content of iron. 

  • Don’t reuse the oils and fats you have already used for cooking because heating them again and again generates free radicals that we ingest along with food. 

  • Limit your alcohol intake because it is responsible for generation of free radicals in your body. Moreover it contains empty calories that leads to weight gain that is difficult to lose. 

  • Antioxidants are chemicals that limit the process of oxidation by neutralizing the free radicals stopping them from causing any harm to your cells. Plant based foods that are rich in Vitamins A,C and E, selenium have antioxidants. Cranberries are said to be the best source of antioxidants. You must include broccoli, sprouts, carrots, corn, mangoes and tomatoes in your diet.

  •  Replace dessert like chocolate and cakes with fruits such as apples, cherries, grapefruit, kiwi, papaya and strawberries. You can mix them together and make a fruit salad. 

  • Nuts are rich in Vitamin E which helps fight free radicals in your body. Have nuts such as walnuts, almonds and peanuts everyday. 

  • Green tea has polyphenols that combat oxidation. You can have a cup of green tea early in the morning or during your evening tea break. 

  • Nutraceuticals in the form of superfood such as Dayly Guard fight the free radicals while strengthening our innate immune system. It also protects you against seasonal infections and works as a blood purifier. Have a dose of Dayly Guard daily to increase the absorption of nutrients in your body.

After being equipped with all the information on how to fight free radicals, all you have to do is incorporate the healthy habits in your life to have healthy and happy cell membranes.

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