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20.2.2017

Are you too much of a " free radical“?

Recently, there has been many articles regarding some kind of free radicals in our body and that it is necessary to protect ourselves from them using antioxidants. Yes, everyone understands that, but what a "free radical" is and what kind of "mischief" can it cause in your body? It is an element or compound which misses one or more unpaired electrons in its cover. Therefore it becomes an unstable radical and it is looking in its surrounding for a missing electron to add it into the empty space. In order to find it, it attacks the nearest molecule and snatches an electron from some other compound. Afterwards, the radical becomes saturated, but it also harms other cells in the body.

But enough of chemistry! There is a simpler explanation. If the balance between free radicals and antioxidants becomes impaired, there is oxidative stress. Prolonged oxidative stress not only leads to exhaustion, virus diseases, but also the development of serious diseases (Parkinson, Alzheimer, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attack ...).

And how do these free radicals occur in your body? Unfortunately, they are everywhere around us. We draw them from sunlight through the hole in the ozone layer, from drug use, smoking (including passive smokers!), and consumption of toxins from agriculture chemicals, chemicals in foods, heavy metals, as well as the smog, alcohol consumption and stress. They also arise in the case of a disease and when one uses the chemical drugs. Our body keeps free radicals in check by antioxidants. In layman's terms - antioxidants are substances that have the ability to destroy free radicals.

Antioxidants are found only in plants. They are present in animal products only to the extent in which the animals eat and then store the antioxidants in their tissues. Antioxidants are present in matcha tea, and other high-quality green teas, green food, carotenoids (cherries, plums, apples, citrus fruit, peaches, avocados, raisins, tomatoes), flavonoids (broccoli, kale, leafy greens, brussel sprouts, spinach, beets, cabbage, garlic, onion, watercress, squash, carrots), herbs (rosemary, peppermint, sage, thyme, oregano, dill), vitamins A, E, C (used in their natural form - NO synthetic) .

But we cannot forget that free radicals have huge impact on our body. They participate in a wide range of chemical processes which are for us necessary. E.g. white blood cells destroy with their help germs, yeasts, and fungi. Free radicals allow egg fertilization.

And my tip, how to keep free radicals and antioxidants in balance? Drink every morning cup of matcha tea or other antioxidant herb, eat good-quality vegetables and fruits, chlorella and barley, avoid industrially processed foods, stress and get sufficient rest!

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Mgr. Alena Vídeňská

Fitness trainer, nutritionist and green food specialist

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