Free radicals

Free radicals

In the body, free radicals are produced when oxygen combines with complex
metabolic molecules. Free radicals are highly unstable molecules ready to
react with anything they can. When they react, the result is called “oxidation.”
Once the oxidation process begins, it can produce a chain reaction that generates
more free radicals.

Oxidation in the human body is the same thing that happens to metal when
it rusts. The rusting or oxidation can destroy a strong piece of metal in just a few
years. By painting the metal or putting on a rust-inhibiting product you can prevent
rusting. This is the same thing that antioxidants are doing to the “rusting”
in our bodies—preventing oxidation and keeping them strong. Like the rust
inhibiting product which prevents the metal’s cells from oxidizing and degrading,
antioxidants prevent our body’s cells from oxidizing and degrading. Fortunately
for our bodies (and our health), antioxidants are capable of joining with oxidizing
free radicals, thus rendering them harmless.
There is a very easy and interesting experiment you can do in your home
that shows what oxidation is all about: Take an apple and cut it in half. Now take
a lemon and cut it in half and drip the lemon juice on one half of the apple. Drip
it all over the cut side of the apple, and leave the other apple half as is with no
lemon juice. Keep the two halves at room temperature for an hour or two, then
look at both halves: The half with the lemon juice will look pretty much the same
as it did when it was cut; the half without the lemon juice will probably be turning
brown and “going bad.” If you leave them out longer, the difference will
become more pronounced. This is oxidation and antioxidant protection happening
before your eyes. The unprotected half is oxidizing quickly. The half with
lemon juice is oxidizing very slowly or not at all because of the antioxidants present
in the lemon juice. Lemons have Vitamin C and citrus bioflavonoids.
part of
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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