So where do these cells which reek so much havoc actually come from?
Reigning in free radicals
To understand the process, it should first be noted that oxygen molecules have two electrons. When one is missing an electron, it becomes unstable and goes in search of another electron from the next molecule it encounters. As a result, the next molecule becomes a free radical because it is missing an electron. Ultimately, a single free radical may start a chain reaction of new free radicals causing damage to your cells.
Most alarmingly, free radicals can go on to attack DNA, the genetic material of cells and cause them to mutate, the first step on the path to cancer.
Protecting against free radicals gone wild
This process of "oxygen molecules gone wild" is commonly known as oxidation. But there are ways to protect yourself against the worst influences and even repair the damage they may have already caused by supplying your body with plenty of antioxidants found in fresh fruits, legumes, and vegetables and in vitamin supplements such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Top antioxidant foods
Red Beans (dried)
Red kidney beans (dried)
Red Delicious apples
Granny Smith apples
1 cup (whole)
1 cup (hearts)
Russet potato (cooked)
Black beans (dried)
In addition to proper nutrition, other rules to limit the formation of
free radicals include:
Exercise - keeping your body strong and fit through regular exercise usually results in the formation of fewer free radicals.
Eliminate toxins from the environment - cigarette smoke, chlorine
in water, pesticides in foods, smog.
Protein - made up of amino acids from which the body makes protective
Get proper sleep - one of the most powerful scavengers of free radicals is melatonin, a hormone released when you sleep.
Stress management is also very important to reducing free radical formation, as persistent emotional stress very often translates into physical ailments and, at worst, serious disease.