Let’s take an in-depth look into what free radicals are, how they affect you and what should be done to deal with them.
First up, what are free radicals?
Free radicals in the body are natural by-products of biochemical reactions such as regular metabolic processes and immune system responses. They are basically highly-reactive, toxic atoms or molecules that react with other cellular structures, causing damage.
What is free radical damage?
Simply put, the body undergoes oxidative stress. The Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons, called free radicals. These atoms seek out other electrons to pair with, which leads to damage of healthy cells, proteins and DNA.
Accumulation of free radicals is associated with skin ageing.
What causes free radicals?
Numerous factors lead to the creation of these free radicals:
- Pollution – Smog, dust and cigarette smoke
- Excessive and prolonged exposure to the sun
- Alcohol and fried foods
- Emotional or physical stress
- High intake of anti-biotics3
Antioxidants and free radicals
Antioxidants are a saving grace! They are compounds that can contribute an electron to a free radical so that the free radical does not take an electron from healthy atoms. Antioxidants contain vitamins that fight free radicals, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
Here’s a list of anti-oxidant rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, dry fruits, nuts (and more) that you must stock up on:
- It contains various vitamins, minerals and even fibre. It isn’t called a super food for nothing!
- Tomatoes & Apricots – They contain Lycopene that not only protects your skin but fights various other diseases like diabetes
- Kidney beans – High Manganese content helps maintain antioxidant levels
- Pecans – Make them a part of your cooking or munch on them in-between meals
- Prunes – They taste delicious and help fight cancer. What can be better?
How else to care for your skin?
Use skin care products that contain anti-oxidants – There’s a wide variety of creams, serums and lotions available that contain antioxidants and help combat skin damage. Antioxidants help slow down the effects of free radicals and protect us from diseases and signs of early aging. Always remember, the best way to reduce free radical damage is through a healthy diet and lifestyle.