Free Radicals and Antioxidants

Sorry it has been a while since my last post. My husband has recently accepted a new job out of state *woot woot*. We have been busy packing and getting ready for the move. I’m excited for this new adventure, but wow it’s a lot of work. And, on top of that I started a summer graduate class last week. Yikes.

Last week, I flew to our new town to find a house and discovered they have an Ikea. Yay!!! I love Ikea. I stopped by thinking I would quickly run in and out, um nope, that place is huge. It’s like a giant maze. I could not imagine shopping there with my kids or without a plan.

When we get settled into our new house, I’ll start posting more consistently and get back into baking. I have a new group of people to share my delicious creations with. I hope they like cake.  


Today’s post is on free radicals and antioxidants. I’m going to keep the information general and not go into too much detail. I hope you find it interesting and useful and not like a boring science class *yawn*.

So, what are free radicals and antioxidants?

Free radicals are unstable molecules that have unpaired electrons. They are constantly attacking other molecules to steal their electrons, so that they are balanced. One free radical can attack a million or more molecules in a chain reaction causing oxidative stress, which if left uncontrolled can cause serious damage. This is where antioxidants come to the rescue.

Antioxidants are molecules that safely interact with free radicals by either donating electrons to free radicals, neutralize or block damage done by free radicals. The body produces enzymes that scavenge free radicals, but the majority of antioxidants are obtained through diet and supplements. One thing to keep in mind is antioxidants are not essential. We do not need antioxidants to live.

Some effects of antioxidants are:

· Prevent and/or block formation of carcinogen
· Imitate hormones
· Block/decrease inflammation
· Activate detoxifying enzymes
· Protects DNA from cancer cells
· Improves DNA repair
· Enhance immune response
· Antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial activity
· Anti-adhesion for certain infections


The chart below is a list of some antioxidants, its main health benefit, and its source.

Antioxidant Name Main Health Benefit Source
Resveratrol Promote heart health, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions

Red grape (skins), grape juice, red wine
Anthocyanins Improve blood vessel health, protects against aging (red, blue, and purple pigments) Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, strawberries, red onions

Quercitin Decrease risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma. Reduce allergy inflammation.

Apple (skins), onions, red grapes, broccoli, cranberries, pears
Hesperidin Slow proliferation of cancer cells, may lower cholesterol, antioxidant

Citrus fruits and juices
Phenolic compound Have anti-cancer properties, promote heart health, and reduce risk of neurodegenerative diseases

Fruits (berries and grapes), prunes
Ellagic acid Reduce risk of cancer, decrease cholesterol level Blueberries, raspberries, red grapes, strawberries, kiwi

Sulphoraphane Reduce risk of colon cancer Cruciferous vegetables

Indoles Reduce size of cancer tumors, initiate enzymes to block or suppress DNA damage, may protect against breast cancer

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale
Allum compounds Block carcinogens and carcinogenic changes in cells, decrease cholesterol

Garlic, onions, leeks, shallots
Zeaxanthin Slow down age related macular degeneration and cataracts Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, and collard greens, corn

Eating meals with brightly colored fruits and vegetables, will ensure you take in a variety of antioxidants.

Have a great Wednesday!

1 comment:

  1. IKEA's are the best but they are dangerous. I especially love their kitchen stuff because they have great prices on gadgets I love to own, like egg slicers!

    Good luck with your move. Moving is hard!



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