by Will Grumke August 05, 2020 4 min read
When you hear the term “free radicals” you may have no idea what that means or you may know it is somehow associated with antioxidants and your health.
Whatever your knowledge is, we are here to explain all about what free radicals are and what they do to your body - the good and the bad.
We will help you learn how to reduce free radicals, and understand how to take steps against creating excessive amounts inside your body!
Simply put, free radicals are unstable atoms. These unstable atoms are highly reactive and chaotic.
Free radicals will bounce and bump against other atoms, causing damage to cells, until they are stable again. How these atoms become unstable and stable again is not so simple. It requires a basic knowledge of chemistry.
Every element within our world has a certain and specific number and balance of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
Atoms are composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
Protons and neutrons are concentrated in a tightly knit ball in the center of the atom, called a nucleus. This is the most stable part of the atom. Electrons race freely around this nucleus.
Because of the nature and location of the electrons, it is easy for these particles to get bumped out of place or stolen by other atoms.
Atoms can also share electrons, which is how molecules are made, but certain conditions must be met for this to happen.
When an atom completely loses an electron, this disrupts the balance of the atom and it becomes unstable.
When an atom is unstable, it will pull and rip electrons from other atoms to become stable once again. This causes a chain reaction of free radical creation. Free radicals cause damage to parts of the cells like the proteins, cell membranes, and even DNA.
The process where free radicals destroy these cell parts and steal an electron is called oxidative damage. Oxidative damage accelerates nerve cell injury and cell death. This weakens our immune system, causing aging and other health issues.
Surprisingly, free radicals are necessary for our bodies to function correctly. Free radicals help in metabolic processes and are necessary for our immune systems.
During the metabolic processes, the chain reactions caused by free radicals turn oxygen and food into chemical energy within our bodies.
Within our immune system, free radicals float through our veins and attack foreign substances.
While an excessive amount of free radicals is dangerous to your health, a balance is needed.
You can’t completely eliminate free radicals from your system, because your body naturally creates them. The metabolic process creates free radicals through natural oxidation and they are created in immune system responses.
Yet, you can protect yourselves from introducing unnecessary free radicals into your body. Foods, drugs, medicines, and pollutants in the water and air can contain free radicals.
By being aware of these types of products and situations, you limit your free radical exposure. The products and situations below promote free radical production:
An abundance of free radicals causes premature aging (known as the free radical theory of aging) such as loss of elasticity of the skin and grey hair.
They can also contribute to weak immune systems, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s, to name a few.
Many of these, and more, health issues can occur due to oxidative stress from free radicals.
Oxidative stress is when there is not a balance between free radicals and antioxidants within the body.
Symptoms of oxidative stress include fatigue, headaches, noise sensitivity, and decreased immunity.
Antioxidants are the key to eliminating and controlling the free radicals already within your body.
To stop free radical chain reactions, the atoms must once again regain a balance of electrons. Antioxidants can solve this problem.
Antioxidants are like scavengers, they search for extra free radicals to either give them an electron or neutralize them through chemical reactions.
This stops the free radical chain reaction processes - saving your cells from lasting damage.
Antioxidants are the key to eliminating free radicals and stopping the chain reaction processes created by them.
Antioxidants are natural substances that provide nutrients, such as vitamin C or E, that remove damaging oxidation agents.
Antioxidants are found in foods that are colorful, natural and full of nutrients. These types of foods are sometimes referred to as superfoods. Here are some superfoods that hold a lot of antioxidants:
But how do you know if you have consumed enough antioxidants? An easy way to ensure that you are getting enough antioxidants is through antioxidant powders.
Antioxidant powders concentrate superfoods so that they are mostly antioxidants and vitamins. Powders are a quick and easy way to consume antioxidants.
There are different types of antioxidant powders. Red powders, also known as berry powders, contain ingredients like berries and other red-ish colored fruits and veggies.
Green powders have ingredients that are mainly leafy and green and tend to be lower in calories than red powders.
People tend to prefer the taste of red powders but will often use green powders in smoothies, because fruits can easily boost the flavor.
Here at 1st Phorm, we have red antioxidant powders and green antioxidant powders to help not only boost the flavor of your smoothies, but to help you get the nutrients and antioxidants you need to fight off excess free radicals.
We stand behind our products and have seen in our personal lives and the lives of our customers the difference they can make.
Give them a try and experience the difference in the way you feel!
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer