Nutrition and DietHealth effects of free radicals

Health effects of free radicals

We know that antioxidants, in one way or another, tend to protect our body from the harmful and tremendously negative action of free radicals.

Some very unstable and reactive atoms about which, surely, at some point you will have heard or read something about them.

The truth is that more and more effects of free radicals on health are known, an added advantage when we want to take care of our health and avoid their harmful action.  However, we must not forget that the best way to take care of ourselves is to consume foods rich in antioxidants.

What are the free radicals?

Explained more or less simply (and above all, understandable), free radicals are atoms – usually oxygen – reactive and tremendously unstable that originate as a chemical reaction in our body due to the use of food.

Due, mainly, to the fact that the cells of our body, as you surely know, require oxygen to function.

Although free radicals can intervene in different beneficial physiological cellular functions for the body, the truth is that above all they have a great potential to damage both our cells and the genetic material they contain, mainly due to the fact that they are capable of reacting very quickly with different molecules.

Health effects of free radicals

There are several effects of free radicals. We summarize the most important ones below:

  • Appearance of cancer.
  • Heart conditions and disorders.
  • Nervous system problems.
  • Immune system problems.
  • Arthritis.
  • Vision problems, such as cataracts.

These are the main ones, although it is known that they can contribute to the development of more than sixty degenerative diseases.

External sources of free radicals

Although our body, more specifically our metabolic activity, generates free radicals, there are also external sources that we must avoid to the best of our ability:

  • Snuff smoke.
  • The alcohol.
  • Diet rich in saturated fat.
  • Diet low or poor in antioxidants.
  • Ultraviolet radiation from sun exposure.
  • Environmental pollution.
  • Ionizing radiation from radiology equipment.

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