What else you can do to prevent the signs of aging
The full scope of the aging process is too complex and bewildering to be understood as a whole. That is why there are many things that can be done to control this biochemical process.
You've heard it all before--perhaps even a thousand times. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. But it's rarely understood why one should follow this age-old advice. The main reason for doing so is because plants, such as fruits and vegetables contain phyto-chemicals. These chemicals are a combination of things actually. Some phytochemicals are known as vitamins; others are known as enzymes; and some aren't entirely understood. One of the greatest benefits of these chemicals is that they are proven to stamp out free radicals--the extremely reactive molecules formed in your body.
What are antioxidants? Antioxidants are basically what their name implies. They simply prevent oxidation reactions from occurring in the body and elsewhere. Over time these oxidation reactions are known to cause damage to cells and slowly dry the body out.
What are free radicals? Simply put, a radical is a molecule that has an unpaired electron on one of its parts.
For a given molecule, a state of high reactivity is the ability to steal an electron from a nearby molecule. The reason for this reactivity is electronic; there is unpaired electron on a molecule (and yet electrons like to travel in pairs). Because electrons circulate around all molecules in pairs, this unusual circumstance causes the molecule to steal an electron from another molecule inside of the body, usually inside of a cell. When an electron is stolen, the electron donating molecule is oxidized and propagates into a free radical itself, attacking another nearby molecule and the process repeats until one of two things happens. Either two free radicals run into one another and the two radical molecules become one. the two single radicals. Antioxidants are chemicals that stamp out free radicals. Radical reactions are characterized by three phases in succession: initiation, propagation, and termination.
Why free radicals are believed to cause aging? Radical reactions can cause a cells to replicate imprecisely. They damage the blueprint within a cell that ptells it how to reproduce itself.
Radicals also generally cause things to break down at a molecular level--to split apart. Although the mechanism is complicated, the overall effect is multifactorial. The drying effect of oxidation reactions becomes quite evident in the aging of joints. The natural lubrication in joints is like oil to a car, and becomes broken down (less slippery) and there is less of it. The breakdown and depletion prevents the linkage of joints from gliding along with ease.
Where do free radicals come from?
Radicals are generally the result of chemical reactions in the presence of heat or light. Given enough heat or light, any molecule will split apart. However, with enough heat or light the two electrons in a broken bond each go their separate ways, one to each piece of the break. The two electron bond that holds the two pieces together (normally the two electrons used to hold a bond together will go one way or the other, but not both).
Why are radicals dangerous? Radical reactions are generally dangerous, but they are also very usefull. A foreign object in the body is decomposed by radicals made by your own body. In some cases however, a foreign matter inside the body is especially resilient to these reactive molecules as in the case with asbestos in the lungs. It is believed that this leads to cancer because the body responds by producing these radicals and they end up destroying the cells in lungs, making them cancerous.
Cigarette smoking is mostly dangerous because the effect of burning an organic compound results in a myriad of free radicals produced from partially burned organic matter. This is also the same reason it is not recommended to burn food, or to order a hamburger well done. Once deployed, free radicals attack other molecules causing a chain reaction that continues until the unlikely event of termination. By then a single free radical has caused thousands of chain reactions with nearby molecules, causing disruption to the biological functions they serve.
Free radicals are also known to accelerate the aging process of food. Chemicals known as potassium sorbate, BHT, vitamin E and many others are used for their ability to stop free radicals.
Why free radicals are they formed (if they have no benefit)?
The formation of radicals is a natural chemical process that happens under conditions of enough added energy. Mixing two chemicals in the dark is a lot different than mixing the same two chemicals in the presence of heat or light.
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