Fighting Free Radicals

Fighting Free Radicals


What are free radicals?

Generated within the body from both external and internal processes, free radicals are highly reactive molecules that are the by-products of cellular reactions. Everyday, free radicals have the ability to destroy healthy cells and tissues and cause a chain reaction all over the body. The damage done by free radicals is known as oxidation, and it has been frequently linked to fatigue, reduced liver detoxification, heart disease and premature aging. Free radicals do however serve a purpose. They are used by the immune system to locate damaged tissue so that they can be removed from the body. Therefore it is important that the body is functioning optimally, so that it is not overwhelmed with the number of free radicals present. 



Why do I need antioxidants?

The body has an innate defence system against free radicals – antioxidants. Found within many wholefoods including dark pigmented fruit and vegetables, antioxidants have the important role of protecting cells against the damaging effects of free radicals by controlling the number circulating our body. If there is an overproduction of free radicals, a high toxin exposure (pollution, smoking and alcohol), or a reduced supply of antioxidants, severe damage may be done to our cells. Some antioxidants are produced by our bodies, however their production decreases with age. It is essential that antioxidants be supplemented or consumed within a plant based diet so that they can work to neutralise free radicals at any age.



Tips to avoid free radical damage

The simple act of breathing can cause the development of free radicals, however poor nutrition, increased stress and an overload of toxins can accelerate the damage they cause. Increasing antioxidants and avoiding processed food is an easy way to protect your cells from damage. Processed, fried foods and baked goods contain harmful fats (commonly trans-fats) which are directly linked to free radical damage within the body. Frying foods with fat that is highly processed (such as vegetable or canola oil) not only damages the oil further, but the food you are consuming. Fortunately, coconut oil has a high smoke point, meaning it can be heated to a very high temperature, without creating free radicals. To retain the quality of the food you are consuming, use coconut oil when cooking and frying. Consuming coconut oil will also help to regulate your blood sugar levels and provide antimicrobial support. Exercise too can help combat free radical damage. Although in excessive amount, exercise can increase physical stress, regular exercise enhances the body’s defence system and can reduce stress levels, protecting your body against free radical damage. 


Top 5 antioxidants you need today


A powerful antioxidant, CoQ10 is used by every cell in the body, providing energy and reducing oxidation. CoQ10 binds to damaging free radicals, reducing the signs of aging and protecting our heart, immune and nervous system. Naturally occurring from within, the production of CoQ10 is essential for good health however with age, our bodies begin to produce less, so supplementation may be needed.

2.Vitamin C

Abundant in fruit and vegetables, Vitamin C may well be the most well known vitamin, however it also functions as an antioxidant. Not only does Vitamin C protect us from the damage caused by free radicals, it is responsible for the growth and repair of our cells and regenerates other antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Another reason to have your 5+ a day!


The most popular herb of 2017, antioxidant can be added to the list of why people are adding turmeric into their diets. Turmeric helps to protect and reduce damage done by free radicals, supports detoxification and helps to promote glutathione production, one of our body’s most powerful endogenous antioxidants.

4. Beta-carotene

Beta-carotene, the rich yellow-orange pigment responsible for giving many fruit and vegetables their vibrant colour, functions too as an antioxidant. Foods that are not yellow or orange however, such as spinach or kale, also act as excellent sources, as the beta-carotene is hidden by the green pigment chlorophyll. Beta-carotene plays a crucial role in protecting our cells, healthy vision, reducing oxidative stress and improving glutathione metabolism.

5. Grapeseed

Grapeseed, from grapes themselves, is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown effective in fighting free radicals. Rich in oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs) and resveratrol, grapeseed supports blood vessels for cardiovascular health, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and aids Vitamin C activity, for improved antioxidant protection.


It may be impossible to avoid free radicals, but through good health and wellness you may be able to change their course of action so that they can help, rather than harm you. When it comes to fighting free radicals, the best source is found around us. It is when people are feeling stressed or tired that we tend to consume more coffee and eat nutrient depleted food, but this is exactly when we need to be consuming more antioxidants. Provide your body with the support it needs to prevent and reduce free radical damage, and reap the benefits found in good health.

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