Free radicals – what are they and why does not anyone put them away? So many questions all being relevant, as they are a constant threat to our health and our arteries.
They invade our bodies, destroy our precious cells and riot when ever they can. That is, if we let them.
Free radicals are aggressive oxygen molecules which are highly reactive. Chemicals, pollutants, smoke, food preservatives, alcohol, radiation all generate these single O molecules, which we inhale, eat or absorb via our skin. The average person living in the city, taking a car to the regular office job is exposed to about 50,000 different toxic chemicals a day!
The reactions free radicals engage in in our body are numerous. Yet, common to all is the altered state of the cells attacked. Cancer, auto-immune diseases, alzheimer`s disease, early death of the cell and arteriosclerosis are among the known outcomes of these reactions. As a highly toxic gas, these oxygen molecules have the same impact on our bodies as the oxidation process known as corrosion has on our cars or on damaged fruits.
Now, you might think, well, isn`t oxygen good for us? Yes, in a compounded and saturated state, such as in the air we breath. As an isolated molecule it is highly toxic.
Unfortunately, we also generate our own free radicals:
Anxiety, pain, worries, hatred, envy, noise, fear, terror all generate free radicals. Whenever we are faced with any of these or create them within, we would theoretically have to consume one tablespoon of Vitamin C in order to neutralise them.
Metabolism is the entirety of chemical conversions in our body. All the food we eat, the medication we take, the fluids we drink are processed. Our food is converted into energy in our little stoves, the mitochondrions, which require oxygen. During this process, free radicals are generated as a by-product. In simple words, the more the body has to burn and the more difficult the food is to digest, the more of these tiny monsters are created.
This is a possible explanation, why people who eat little live the longest, the Hunza people offering a perfect example. Large quantities of food, meat products, gravy and fatty meals, as much as eating in the evening are the perfect nursing stations for little baby free radicals. Did you know, that it takes about 35 hrs to metabolize a piece of meat?
Well, what is wrong with that? Didn`t you know all along that exercise was no good? Sorry, exercise is fine, but in moderation. All athletes, marathon runners know, that they are dealing with a large amount of free radicals. They cope with this and take precautions. Their lungs, heart and muscles are all subjected to an increased oxidation process, because of their higher rate of metabolism.
Have you ever noticed that the slowest animals have the longest life? Turtles are the best example of it!
There is a neat little clam called “Artica” which lives about 375 years. To be able to become this old this little creature has decided to lower its rate of metabolism to an absolute minimum. It practically never moves and dwells some feet underneath the sand of the ocean. I would not call this kind of life-style precisely fun, but in terms of longevity and avoidance of oxidation processes this creature definitely beats us humans.
Other creatures who are much smarter in this respect are some plants. Some use their outer skin to protect them against free radicals. The peel of a pumpkin for example or of blueberries are full of protective antioxidants. So far modern science has only detected a few of these agents, which are so powerful in collaboration with all the enzymes, vitamines, minerals, co-enzymes and trace-minerals inherent in these plant that they are able to fight off the most aggressive invaders – well, except us. The most famous ones are the lycopene in tomatoes, the beta-carotene in pumpkins or carrots, or the resvreratol in dark grapes.
As humans, we should be smart and enjoy these great species for our own protection! This is the only way to sooth the attack of free radicals and to reduce their impact to a minimum. Don`t let them ruin your arteries or other vital organs!
What they exactly are capable of doing particularly to your arteries you will read in my next articles. Stay tuned, subscribe here and you will find out more on this topic!
Luv thy heart!