Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that usually result from metabolisms and other body reactions.
When you burn food for energy, breath polluted air, drink polluted water of even live a stressful life, your body releases unstable oxygen molecules which float freely in search of a molecule to partner with. These unstable oxygen molecules will steal any molecule they come across. This could even be from a healthy cell tissue. In the process they create other unstable cells which in turn look to steal a molecule from other healthy cells and the process goes on and on and on until tissues are damaged.
These unstable oxygen molecules (or unstable tissue cells created thereof) are what are known as Free Radicals. Free radicals accelerate the rate of cell oxidation particularly among cells within the blood vessels leading to cholesterol formation and clogging of blood vessels, a major cause of high blood pressure. Free radicals are also known to cause a host of degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, premature aging etc.
Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals
Nutrients like Vitamin A, Beta – Carotene, Vitamin B2, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Selenium amongst others have been found to have very powerful antioxidant activity. Many of these nutrients are removed during food processing. We have to eat foods or take dietary supplements that contain sufficient amounts of these protective nutrients if we are interested in protecting our body against the undesired effects of damaging free radicals.