Free radicals are atoms or molecules that have one or more unpaired electrons. These unpaired electrons make them highly reactive and unstable. Free radicals can be generated naturally in the body during various metabolic processes, and they can also be introduced into the body through external sources such as pollution, tobacco smoke, and radiation.
When free radicals interact with other molecules in the body, they can cause damage to the body. This damage can lead to a variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, not all free radicals are harmful. Some are actually essential for normal cellular function, such as those involved in immune responses and cellular signaling.
The body has natural defense mechanisms against free radicals, including antioxidants, which neutralise them before they can cause damage. However, in some cases, the body’s defense mechanisms can be overwhelmed, leading to oxidative stress and cellular damage. This is why antioxidants are often promoted as a means of reducing the risk of disease by neutralising excess free radicals.
What are some foods that help the body deal with free radicals?
Many foods contain natural antioxidants that can help the body neutralise free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Some examples of foods that are rich in antioxidants include:
Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and other berries are rich in anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that help to protect cells from damage.
Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation and improve heart health.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, and other nuts and seeds are rich in alpha-tocopherol, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect cells from oxidative damage.
Green leafy vegetables: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in certain nutrients, as well as antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
Citrus fruits: Key Limes, Oranges, and other citrus fruits are rich in ‘vitamin C’, which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to boost the immune system and protect cells from oxidative damage.
Spices: Turmeric, cinnamon, and other spices are rich in antioxidants such as curcumin and cinnamaldehyde, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Incorporating these foods into your diet can help to provide your body with the antioxidants it needs to neutralise free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
What are some herbs that can help the body with free radicals?
There are many herbs that contain natural antioxidants and other compounds that can help the body to neutralise free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Some examples of herbs that can help the body deal with free radicals include:
Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It has been shown to help protect cells from oxidative damage and reduce inflammation in the body.
Ginger: Ginger contains gingerol and other compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can help to reduce inflammation and protect cells from oxidative damage.
Rosemary: Rosemary contains ‘rosmarinic acid’, which has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It can also help to protect cells from DNA damage caused by free radicals.
Thyme: Thyme contains thymol, a natural antioxidant that can help to protect cells from oxidative damage. It also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Sage: Sage contains compounds such as ‘rosmarinic acid’ and ‘caffeic acid’, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It can also help to protect cells from oxidative damage and improve brain function.
Holy Basil: Holy Basil (also known as Tulsi) contains compounds such as eugenol, ‘rosmarinic acid’, and apigenin, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It can help to protect cells from oxidative damage and reduce inflammation in the body.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
Oregano: Oregano contains compounds such as ‘rosmarinic acid’ and thymol, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It can also help to protect cells from oxidative damage and improve digestion.
Milk thistle: Milk thistle contains silymarin, a natural antioxidant that can help to protect liver cells from oxidative damage. It is often used as a natural remedy for liver problems such as cirrhosis and hepatitis.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that can help the body to better cope with stress. It contains compounds such as withanolides, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It can also help to improve brain function, boost energy levels, and reduce inflammation in the body.
Incorporating these herb into your diet or taking them as supplements can be a helpful way to support your body’s natural antioxidant defenses and reduce oxidative stress.
– Turmeric: Effects of Curcumin in Neurological and Neurodegenerative Diseases – A Review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627017/
– Ginger: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of ginger: A review of recent research: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464613001368
– Rosemary: Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties of Rosmarinus officinalis Extracts: A Review: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464613000879
– Thyme: Biological activities of thyme (Thymus vulgaris) extract: focus on antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potentials: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2015.1072493
– Sage: The effects of Salvia species on memory, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease: A systematic review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6813728/
– Holy Basil: Ocimum sanctum Linn. A reservoir plant for therapeutic applications: An overview: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296439/
– Cinnamon: Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/
– Oregano: Oregano: Health Benefits, Side Effects, Uses, and More: https://www.healthline.com/health/oregano
– Ashwagandha: Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha): A Review: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/
– Pham-Huy, L. A., He, H., & Pham-Huy, C. (2008). Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health. International journal of biomedical science: IJBS, 4(2), 89–96. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697/
– Valko, M., Rhodes, C. J., Moncol, J., Izakovic, M., & Mazur, M. (2006). Free radicals, metals and antioxidants in oxidative stress-induced cancer. Chemico-biological interactions, 160(1), 1–40. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0009279705003304
– Lobo, V., Patil, A., Phatak, A., & Chandra, N. (2010). Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy reviews, 4(8), 118–126. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
– Fimognari, C., Lenzi, M., & Hrelia, P. (2011). Chemical properties and mechanisms determining the anti-cancer action of garlic-derived organic sulfur compounds. Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry, 11(3), 267–271. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21466436
– Wang, Y., Gao, X., & Xu, H. (2018). Protective effects of ginger root extract on Alzheimer disease-induced behavioral dysfunction in rats. Rejuvenation research, 21(5), 445–454. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29140143
– Birt, D. F., Hendrich, S., Wang, W., & Dietary agents in cancer prevention: flavonoids and isoflavonoids. (2001). Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 90(2-3), 157–177. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0163725801000576
– Tundis, R., & Loizzo, M. R. (2016). Natural products as alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase inhibitors and their hypoglycaemic potential in the treatment of diabetes: an update. Mini reviews in medicinal chemistry, 16(2), 156–176. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26684497
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.