Explaining anti aging diets, antioxidants and free radicals

Anti aging diets are all about foods containing antioxidants that stop the effects of free radicals. This all sounds very complicated and scientific but what does it mean? This really isn’t as hard to understand as it seems.

If we go back to high school chemistry, we'd remember that atoms bond together by sharing electrons to form stable molecules. Normally, these bonds don't break but when a weak bond splits, it frees up the molecule and becomes unstabalized. The term radical comes from the fact that it now floats around trying to reform that bond by stealing another electron elsewhere. Unfortunately for humans, free radicals are everywhere in the environment as we are exposed to pollution, herbicides and pesticides. The free radicals attack our cell walls leaving it unstable and turning it into another free radical. The process just perpetuates.

Antioxidants on the other hand refer to a group of organic vitamins and minerals that have the property to donate their electrons without turning unstable. It stops the snowball effect of the destructive nature of free radicals. Left unchecked, free radicals can cause diseases as it attacks cell walls and structure. Free radicals also destroy genetic material. Being exposed to high levels of free radicals has been linked to cancer, strokes, and heart disease. Therefore, to stop the onslaught of free radicals, we should increase our intake of antioxidants. The vitamins and minerals known to be antioxidant agents are the vitamins A, C and E and the mineral selenium. Added to this group are carotenoids which are pigment compounds giving fresh fruits and vegetables their vibrant colors.

Perhaps now you would be tempted to go out to your nearest nutrition store to stock up on vitamins. This would not be a good idea. The long term effects of mega doses of vitamins and minerals have not been studied and more is not always better. It is much more prudent to get your vitamin and mineral fix the natural way from eating fruits and vegetables as it is more easily absorbed into your body. Expert scientists recommend that the best way to counter the effects of free radicals is to have a wide ranging anti-aging diet with foods known to be super anti aging foods which had been discussed in a previous post. So enjoy your grocery shopping down the fruits and vegetable aisles keeping in mind that there is a science to an anti aging diet!

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