What if I told you that aging, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Type II diabetes, cataracts and arthritis are all caused or worsened by the same health-wrecking "monster?"
This creature is inside all of us, and it isn't always a bad guy...but when it's allowed to get out of control for a long enough period of time it will unleash its wrath.
Then your health can begin to crumble and/or you start looking old.
This monster I'm referring to is free radicals.
Now, most people have heard of free radicals and have an idea that they're "not good," but aren't really sure exactly what they are.
So I'll give you a quick crash course on free radicals, and then tell you how to help keep yours under control so you can stay healthy and not age before your time!
What’s a free radical?
A brief but simple chemistry lesson is needed to understand free radicals.
Your body is made up of cells, each cell is comprised of smaller molecules, and each molecule is created by one or more tiny atoms.
Atoms are made up of a nucleus (the center), protons (positively charged particles in the nucleus) and electrons (negatively charged particles surrounding the atom). The number of protons in an atom determines the number of electrons the atom needs.
The little electrons "orbit" around the atom in one or more shells or rings--they look like this:
Atoms strive to always maintain their proper number of electrons. But sometimes an electron can get stripped away--that’s when the atom becomes a free radical!
The free radical is unstable and goes on a frantic search to find another electron to complete its set. It will desperately grab on to any electron it can find, and in this process, it can destroy the molecule that it just “robbed.”
Or the atom "robbed" of its electron can itself become a free radical and in turn attack other atoms.
A chain reaction can result with atoms frantically attacking each other to get their missing electrons...with LOTS of inflammation being created as a result.
Now you know what free radicals are...but there's more.
Free radicals--the good and the bad
When people hear about the electron-stealing mayhem I described above, they automatically think that all free radicals are bad.
That's not entirely accurate.
Free radicals are actually a natural part of your metabolism. Your cells need to burn oxygen to keep you alive and during this process, they create free radicals.
Believe it or not, free radicals do help you by destroying viruses and bacteria, controlling blood flow through your arteries, keeping your brain sharp and even killing cancer cells!
The real danger is when free radicals get out of control--that's when they become a health-destroying monster, lighting fires of inflammation, triggering disease and killing your cells (so you begin looking old).
What makes this worse is that we can also get bombarded with free radicals from the environment--from eating foods with inflammatory fats, from chemicals and pollutants, and especially from cigarette smoke.
Take a good look at a person you know that's smoked for several decades. I'd be willing to bet they look older than their years. That's free radicals in action.
If it goes on long enough, uncontrolled free radical damage can eventually lead to:
- Heart disease
- Accelerated aging
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Neurological disorders
- Lung diseases
- Type II diabetes
How to keep free radicals under control!
Thankfully, there are some very effective ways to "calm down" free radicals and get them under control so they can't take their health toll on you.
Here are four of the best ways to tame free radicals and minimize their harmful effects on your health:
1) Stop smoking
Every time you puff on a cigarette, you set out the welcome mat for countless free radicals to flood your body.
There are many smoking cessation programs and aids out there. Pick one and put that deadly habit behind you for good.
2) Take advantage of Nature’s perfect anti-inflammatory
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are Nature’s perfect anti-inflammatory!
Unfortunately, the average person gets very few of these in their diets. Our food supply contains merely a fraction of the Omega-3 fats that it used to, while at the same time, our typical diets are inundated with inflammatory Omega-6 fats from processed foods and vegetable oils.
To make sure your body maintains a health-supporting level of Omega-3 EFAs, supplementation with a pure pharmaceutical-grade fish oil formula like VitalMega-3 is crucial.
VitalMega-3 provides a soothing 1,000 mg of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fats in every 1- capsule dose, including the Superstars EPA and DHA—that are critical for your brain and cardiovascular health.
3) Get antioxidants from your food
Antioxidants help to control free radicals by surrounding and engulfing them. The best-known antioxidants are Vitamins C and E, lipoic acid and Coenzyme Q10.
Here a quick lowdown on each:
1. Vitamin C
Food sources: Citrus fruit, tomatoes, red peppers, broccoli, cranberries, cabbage, potatoes, guava, strawberries, kiwi.
Vitamin C has these impressive benefits:
- Cancer prevention by protecting DNA from free radical damage
- Strengthens immune function
- Fights the development of wrinkles
- Helps prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease
- Cataract prevention
2. Vitamin E
Food sources: Wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils, turnip greens, nuts, nut butters, rice bran oil, barley and avocado.
Here are some of the ways it enhances your health:
- Keeps your skin youthful by protecting against UV radiation damage
- Relieves symptoms of arthritis
- Reduces the risk of prostate cancer and can stop the growth of breast cancer cells
- Decreases heart disease risk
- Enhances immune function
- Cataract prevention
3. Lipoic acid (alpha lipoic acid)
Food sources: Potatoes, spinach and red meat.
Lipoic acid is very versatile and able to hunt down free radicals wherever they lurk. It's also the only antioxidant that can recycle other antioxidants.
Lipoic acid also helps in these ways:
- Protects against stroke, heart disease and cataracts
- Strengthens memory and prevents brain aging
- Shuts down genes that can accelerate aging and cause cancer
- Treats liver diseases such as hepatitis C
4. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Food sources: Oily fish (such as salmon and tuna), organ meats (such as liver), and whole grains. CoQ10 is also synthesized by your body.
CoQ10 is a key antioxidant involved in the Krebs cycle, which is how your body produces energy. It also recycles Vitamin E and offers protection against UV radiation-the leading cause of skin aging and skin cancer.
CoQ10 supplementation is wise for people taking statins since these drugs inhibit the synthesis of CoQ10 in your body.
Here are some other ways CoQ10 helps you:
- Prevent and treat heart disease
- Rejuvenates brain cells
- Treats gum disease
4) Have an anti-inflammatory diet
Strive to minimize or avoid these 10 foods, which are the worst inflammation triggers:
- Sugar (including HFCS)
- Refined carbs (anything made with white flour and/or sugar)
- Vegetable oils
- MSG (monosodium glutamate)
- Factory farmed meats
- Processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners
On the flip side, be sure to get lots of fresh vegetables, clean proteins and healthy fats, and drink plenty of water each day.
Get going on your journey to better health by fighting free radicals now!
To your health,