Nutrition: Antioxidants | Naples Sports Medicine
Antioxidants are compounds that prevent and repair damage cells caused by pollution, sunlight and normal body processes. These elements cause oxidation in our body, which produce dangerous chemical compounds called free radicals. These compounds are highly reactive and have the potential to damage DNA, causing mutations that can result in the malignant transformation of cells. Free radicals can easily cause harm to the inmune system, whose cells divide often. They may also be responsible for some of the changes of aging.
We can help the body in its ability to scavenge and destroy free radicals before they cause harm by supplying it with natural substances that act as antioxidants. These substances block the chemical reactions that generate free radicals in the first place and destroy the ones that have already formed.
Conditions of normal metabolism, radiation, exercise, ozone exposure, carcinogens and other environmental toxins cause oxygen molecules inside our bodies to break down. Loss of one of its electrons to another molecule during such processes causes the oxygen molecule to become highly reactive, capable of combining with other molecules in its quest for another electron to take the place of the one lost. In this volatile state, it becomes known as a “free radical”.
When the renegade molecule finds an electron mate, it bonds wit it, giving it an extra electron. This new electron makes that molecule highly reactive and a self-perpetuating vicious cycle begins. Cell membranes are destroyed, immune system integrity compromised and DNA is altered or destroyed.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules, which target your tissues’ protein bonds, the DNA in cells’ nuclei membranes. Once initiated, a chain reaction begins that ultimately results in the the total destruction of that cell. Scientists have determined that over 60 age-related maladies are a direct result of longterm damage resulting from free radical activity. There are seven “species” of free radicals.
By far, prevention is the most important course of action against the ravages of free radicals. Some preventives measures are:
- Abstaining from smoking.
- Strict adherence to a carefully constructed exercise program.
- Avoidance of pollutants and other toxic substances that are known to cause free radical formation.
It has, over the past few years, become scientific dogma the antioxidants indeed make a difference in the body’s ability to recover more quickly and to aid in preventing many of the maladies associated with premature aging.
Some of them are:
- Green Tea
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Maria Thistle
Orthopedic Corner | Leon Mead MD Orthopedic Doctor | 730 Goodlette Road North, Suite 201 Naples Florida 34102 | Phone: (239) 262-1119