Keys to longevity Free Radicals and Antioxidants
Today's world allows less and less time for a proper nutrition. Many articles are devoted to the negative influence of free radicals on a human organism. Pharmaceutical industry produces a range of biologically active supplements with anti-oxidant activity for daily use, which are offered to people for health improvement and decreasing possibilities of different diseases.
The essence of the free radicals theory
Last century an American scientist Denham Harman offered a theory of organism’s aging under free radicals influence. The theory states that every day free radicals, damaging body cells, appear in our bodies. Accumulation of these damages causes organism’s aging. Antioxidants eliminate the harmful influence of free radicals on the organism, protecting cells from damaging. Thanks to this process, organism’s aging is slowed down.
Free radicals cause a range of diseases, for example, atherosclerosis, stenocardia, diabetes and others.
Healthy functions of reactive oxygen species or free radicals
Free radicals and immune system
Do free radicals bring any benefit? Nature is always very rational. If there are free radicals in a healthy organism, it means it requires them. Really, tracheas, bronchi, and lungs are always under the action of reactive oxygen species. Reactive oxygen species include free radicals. It was noticed that reactive oxygen species are formed by the immune system’s cells. It happens in case of collision with pathogenic stimulants or substances polluting the air, for example, with dust.
Some immune system cells kill pathogenic microbes with free radicals. While immune system cells are contacting pathogenic microbes, the consumption of oxygen is sharply increased, quick glucose oxidation occurs and penetrability of the cell membranes is raised. This is called a “breathing explosion”. Free radicals are accumulated in the immune cells and are a weapon for fighting against infection.
Free radicals cleansing function
Reactive oxygen species renew cell membranes. They oxidize obsolete biomolecules, which are further withdrawn from the organism leaving space for the new ones. Really, free radicals take part in protection of the organism from diseases, parasites, and tumors. Besides, reactive oxygen species participate in toxins neutralization in the liver, turning them into harmless substances. Thanks to free radicals, necessary biological processes in our organism run, i.e. they possess useful characteristics.
Free radicals negative influence on the organism
Everything is good until free radicals and antioxidants stay in balance. If this balance is broken, free radicals excess (of reactive oxygen species) starts destroying the organism’s cells anyway: with oxidizing or reducing reaction. First, they break the cells’ membrane, eliminating its barrier property and then destroy it. Antioxidants can stop this chain reaction. In this case, free radicals are evil. The reason of misbalance between the organism’s free radicals and antioxidants is connected with misbalance of energy transfer inside the cell and metabolism misbalance.
Antioxidants and flavonoids reduce harmful influence of free radicals.
That is why the role of healthy eating is important in a person’s life. You should consume foods contain natural antioxidants and flavonoids, which slow free radicals’ negative influence on the organism. Flavonoids are the group of polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants. The importance of polyphenols is essential and put them in the same range with such strong antioxidants as vitamins C and E.
This group of antioxidants is not studied well. However, their positive influence on the organism is evident. Everybody knows the paradox of French, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese peoples' meals. These nations consume fats of animal origin, meat, fatty cheeses. It seems such meals contribute to the development of the diseases of the century: atherosclerosis and cardio-vascular diseases. However, statistics indicates another thing. In France, Italy, China, Japan all these diseases are spread considerably less than in other developed countries where eating ration includes the same products. The cause is that French people consume juices and wines from red and black grapes. Italian, Japanese, and Chinese people consume a lot of greens, fresh vegetables, fruits, and green tea. All these products contain a big quantity of flavonoids. Foods that contain natural phenol combinations are very healthy for the human organism. The content of flavonoids in foods is various. There are many ways to get antioxidants in the body. The best way is to eat a well-balanced diet filled with flavonoids. A big content of flavonoids can be found in berries of red and blue color, in red and purple grapes, in red wine, tea, apples, citrus fruits, onions, kohlrabi, broccoli, parsley, celery, soy products, and green pods of haricot and peas.
Eat these products and your health will be supported for many years.