Anti Ageing – 1 Way to Combat Free Radicals

fruit and veg

Free radical are THE major reason we age, they cause wrinkles on our skin and cause of bodies to deteriorate.

Here in the UK we are advised by our government and health service to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg (combined) each day.

But why are they so good for us?

Our bodies use oxygen to burn fuel, like glucose. There are two products from this process: one is energy, which is good, the other is something called free radicals, which aren’t good.

This is very much like a car. A car engine burns fuel and produces energy which makes your car go. Unfortunately it also produces pollutants. So there is a good side and a bad side to burning fuel in your car.

The same applies to your body.

Oxygen contributes to energy production, but the downside is the production of free radicals. Although this is normal, your body needs to be properly equipped to deal with these. Otherwise the free radicals will do you harm by causing damage to healthy cells and the lining of your blood vessels.

What’s the result of free radical damage?

Over time, if free radicals are allowed to run rampage through your body, you will succumb to at least one of the degenerative diseases that are common in affluent Western countries. The list is long but here are some of them:

  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • dementia
  • cancer
  • arthritis
  • skin wrinkles (not a disease but certainly not desirable)

So where does fresh fruit and veg come in? They contain lots of antioxidants.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants act like scavengers. They seek out free radicals and neutralise them before they are able to do their damage. There are thousands of different antioxidants, some of which are produced in your body. However, you need to be eating a good amount of food containing antioxidants to have enough to neutralise the free radicals you are producing constantly.  Examples of antioxidants are the vitamins C, E and folic acid.

Fresh fruit and vegetables (more so organic) are great sources of antioxidants and this is one reason they are ESSENTIAL to your daily diet. They provide the building blocks to your body to defend itself against free radical attack.

It is also important how you prepare them. You will get the full benefit from eating them raw. If you want to cook, the best way to preserve as many of the goodies as possible is by steaming. Using a microwave will destroy just about all of the goodness in any fresh food.

So, there are 2 take home messages this week:

  1. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables every day
  2. Eat as much of it as possible either raw or steamed

Uber Health to you, Dr Julie (any ads that appear are nothing to do with me, I am NOT endorsing)

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3 thoughts on “Anti Ageing – 1 Way to Combat Free Radicals”

  1. I thought our recommendation in the States was 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetable, but I could be completely wrong. Our government recommends an unbelievably high bread intake. It’s really cool to read a doctor writing about this. My doctors always seem either skeptical or stunned when I describe what I eat in a day. They seem to have all given up on recommending actual healthy food and started just pushing supplements preemptively.

    1. Call me cynical but I think what both yours and my government recommend has more to do with industry and money than what is good for us. That’s why it’s so important to find the right information for ourselves, so we can make informed choices.
      Not all doctors educate themselves about healthy nutrition, don’t eat it themselves and therefore can’t advise the patients about it.
      7-8 portions is a lot better than our 5 🙂

      1. I agree with you totally. The government stance on every food imaginable is influenced more by lobbies and industrial ag than actual concern for people’s wellbeing here, but on so many occasions I have had doctors object to my typical diet as ‘too extreme’ or unrealistic. I cannot imagine what would possess a doctor to tell a patient that a healthy diet she ALREADY ate was unreasonable because it was too healthy.

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