Do you know your own body? Do you know how we get energy and heat ? Have you ever touched your body and actually said “hello” to it? The statement about free radicals, oxidation stress and antioxidants might not mean very much to you, but donot worry, the matter is really very simple.
With in every cell in the body is a furnance called “ MITOCHONDRIA” . Imagine yourself in front of a crackling warm fire ( fire place).It burns safely most of the time .But on occasion , out flies a cinder that lands on your carpet,buring a little hole in it. One cender is not a threat for your carpet. But if this continues month after month, year after year, your carpet will end up with a pretty ragged carpet.
The cinder represents a free radical and carpet represents your body. Which ever part of the body receives the most free radical damage, is the first to wear out. If it is your eyes, you could have cataract. If it is your brain , you could have Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. The problems casued by free radicals is called oxidative stress.
Free radicals are mainly oxygen molecules or atoms that have atleast one unpaired electron in their outer orbit.
When you eat a McDonald’s cheese burger, it gets oxidized and heat energy is released at a suitable rate to keep your body temperature and supply energy to the cells. So oxidation is obviously important and necessary. But it can also be damaging. Releasing energy is a double edged weapon. Matches can light the gas ,but can also set fire to a house. Petrol can be used to drive your car engine, but can be also used for destructive purpose. It is exactly the same with free radicals. Body can not do with out free radicals because they are involved in many essential chemical reactions to create bursts of light with in the body. If these free radicals are not rapidly neutralized by an antioxidants they may create even more volatile free radicals or cause damage to the cell membrane, vessel wall, protein , fats or even the DNA molecules of the cells.
Antioxidant can be considered as a screen that we place in front of the fire place. The sparks( free radicals) are still going to fly, but your carpet( your body) is protected. Antioxidant is a substance that has ability to give up an electron to a free radical and balance out the unpaired electron which neutralizes the free radical.
Our body do have its own antioxidants ( superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase). But our body donot produce all the antioxidants we need. The rest of the antioxidants we must get from food we eat. As long as adequate amount of antioxidants are available for the amount of free radicals produced, no damage to the body. But when more free radicals are produced than there are antioxidants available, oxidative stress occurs. When this situation persists for a prolonged period of time, we develop chronic degenerative diseases. So our body must always be armed with more antioxidants than free radicals.
The most common antioxidants are vitamin C, vitamin E , vitamin A, Beta-carotene,Coenzyme Q10, Alpha-lipoic acid,colourful bioflavanoid. Some antioxidants have the ability to actually regenerate other antioxidants so they can neutralize more free radicals. For example, vitamin C, is a water soluble and is therefore the best antioxidants to target free radicals with in the blood and plasma. Vitamin E is fat soluble and is the best antioxidant with in the cell membrane. Glutathione is the best antioxidant with in the cell itself.Alpha –lipoic acid works both with in the cell membrane and the plasma.( so it is both water and fat solubale)
Vitamin C and alpha-lipoic acid have the ability to regenerate vitamin E and glutathione so they can be used again.
So Our goal should be to have only enough antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals we produce ?? No. This is not just enough!! The antioxidants also need adequate antioxidant minerals ( such as copper, zinc,magnese , selenium etc) and B Cofactors ( such as vitamin B1,B2, B6 and B12).
The number of free radicals we produce is never constant. Our defense system if body never knows exactly how many free radicals it will have to deal with on any given day.
Green Tea contains many antioxidants , antioxidant minerals and B Co factors. Try to choose a higher quality brand of green tea, because some of the lower quality brands contain excessive levels of fluoride. That being said even if you choose a lower quality brand the benefits still far outweigh any risk.
A CUP OF GREEN TEA CONTAINS AS MUCH AS 5 TIMES THE ANTIOXIDANTS IN AN APPLE.( AS PER USDA DATABASE FOR THE FLAVONOID CONTENT OF SELECTED FOODS). GREEN TEA IS ALSO A PRO OXIDANT AND INHIBIT THE GROWTH OF CANCER CELLS.
This article is Dedicated to my beloved parents Late R Uthamakumar Shenoi and Ms Premila who have made me what I am today.
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