While we all want to maintain a healthy, disease-free life, we also want to look and feel great. Looking older than we should at our age is a sure sign that your body has too many free radicals.
Although free radicals naturally form in the body, their production is accelerated with an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Luckily, antioxidants are a great way to counterbalance your free radicals allowing you to live healthily and look great. Turning to a juicing diet is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants necessary to turn back the hands of time and start looking and feeling great.
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What Are Free Radicals?
Understanding free radicals forming in the body is the first step to understanding the impact free radicals make on your appearance and overall health. Free radicals can be dangerous if left to populate wildly and have been connected with heart disease and cancer. A free radical forms when an atom with an incomplete shell of electrons bonds together with another incomplete atom to form a highly unstable and damaged cell.
How Are Atoms Constructed?
To understand what a free radical is, you must first understand how individual atoms are constructed. An atom is surrounded by external electrons that revolve around the atom in shells. Specific shells must be filled with the correct amount of electrons. Once a shell reaches that number, the following shell starts to form.
Sometimes, an outer shell on an atom won’t become completely full, but it will join up with another unpaired electron to complete its shell. When two incomplete atoms bond together, they create free radicals. An atom with complete shells is a stable molecule, but free radical atoms create an unstable molecule.
They also tend to react with other substances and chemicals in the body quickly. Specific free radicals that are created from an oxygen molecule can lead to oxidative stress. Ongoing oxidative stress created by free radicals can lead to disease, aging, and wrinkles.
How Are Free Radicals Created?
To be honest, the verdict is still out on what creates free radicals in the body. These atom anomalies may be the reason why some people age less than others. Many scientists believe that lifestyle factors can accelerate free radical damage and further production. Certain harmful activities that can cause free radicals to form include:
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating fried foods
- Cigarette Smoke or tobacco smoke
- Ongoing exposure to pesticides, caustic chemicals, or air pollution
Many of these lifestyle choices have been connected to diseases like heart disease and cancer, which may link oxidative damage and disease.
How Do Free Radicals Impact Aging?
Aside from potentially causing certain chronic diseases to develop, free radicals can impact how quickly you age. Everyone will experience normal oxidative stress caused by free radicals residing in oxygen atoms, which causes your body to experience more damage to the functioning cells. Over time, this creates a degenerative process that is normal aging. Everyday oxidative stress is something everyone lives with.
However, when your production of free radicals increases due to lifestyle choices and diet, free radicals are left to spread and populate at alarming levels. Increased free radicals lead to increased stress, making a person appear much older than what is “normal” for their age.
Particular free radicals that form in the mitochondria may have more impact on aging, accelerating ongoing cell damage. As free radicals build-up, the pace of aging becomes accelerated, causing people to age quickly.
How Can Antioxidants Fight Free Radicals?
As a result of stress, chemicals, and toxins, free radicals are allowed to form and replicate in the body. Unstable oxygen molecules that create free radicals feed off toxins and pollutants, accelerating the process. Loose skin, deeper wrinkles, and aging faster than usual result from too many free radicals in the body.
Changing your diet can help eliminate toxins and give you a powerful tool to fight free radicals. Scientific research has suggested that an increase in antioxidants can help reduce the number of free radicals in the body. Antioxidants are commonly found in foods and will work as a sponge to soak up toxins and chemicals, removing them from the body.
When there are fewer toxins, oxygen molecules are more stable, resulting in less free radicals, which keeps you looking younger for longer. Plus, antioxidants are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help keep your body healthy. A diet rich in antioxidants can help slow the aging process, boost the immune system, and maybe reduce your risk of developing certain degenerative diseases like arthritis or cardiovascular disease.
How Can Juicing Fight Free Radicals?
One of the best defenses against free radicals is a healthy diet without toxins and chemicals mixed with a high dose of antioxidants. Many antioxidants are found in fruits and vegetables, including beneficial vitamins and minerals. Juicing is a widespread diet practice that combines high concentrations of fruits and vegetables into a potent dose of minerals and vitamins. Often eating or drinking fruits and veggies raw can help the body absorb more antioxidants and faster. Creating juices that focus on high antioxidants is the perfect way to fight free radicals.
Plus, a juice diet revolves around healthy eating before, during, and after the juice cleanse. Reducing alcohol, toxins, and chemicals from the body in the form of processed fats and saturated sugars is the best way to have a successful juice cleanse. Conveniently, eliminating toxins commonly found in your diet is a great way to reduce and slow the production of free radicals.
Is Juicing Beneficial?
Overall, juicing is a very beneficial process that many people like to do as a regular staple in their diets. Juicing involves pureeing raw fruits and vegetables into an easily drinkable and digestible form. Not only can juicing help fight free radicals, slowing the signs of aging, but juicing can also help improve overall health. Juicing is the perfect way to boost your immune system, lose weight, and keep your digestive tract healthy. Plus, juicing allows you to take in concentrated levels of vitamins and minerals, which can make you look and feel great.
How Can I Juice Safely?
Countless people worldwide turn to juicing as a safe, healthy, and effective way to get much-needed vitamins and minerals. Juicing is a great way to stay healthy and even lose weight. It is possible to juice safely and smartly to get the most out of your new diet. For some, juice cleanses will only consist of fruits and vegetables. For others, a juice cleanse may involve smoothies packed with protein powder or yogurt. For others still, juicing may involve just one meal replacement a day, combined with a clean diet.
The key to juicing safely is to keep your foods clean and fresh and never stay on a juice cleanse for longer than three consecutive days at a time. You’ll want to ease back into healthy, solid foods following a cleanse. If you are pregnant or nursing, be sure to maintain a healthy diet and do not follow a juice-only cleanse. Switching to juice only is considered an elimination diet and may prevent you from getting much-needed calories and nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy.
Are There Downsides to Juicing?
While the benefits of juicing significantly outweigh the negatives, there are some potential downsides to juicing, especially if done incorrectly. Many people who juice report feeling tired, sleepy, or lethargic at the juice cleanse to start. The lack of calories may result in headaches or feeling light-headed. If you choose to juice cleanse too long or hold your cleanses too close together, you run the risk of doing serious damage to your body. Extended juice cleanses can cause you to lose muscle and bone density.
What Are Good Foods to Fight Free Radicals?
The best way to fight free radicals is with a diet rich in antioxidants. Not only can antioxidants be found in certain foods, but Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, and glutathione all contain potent antioxidant properties.
The best foods with a high amount of antioxidants include:
- Citrus Fruits - Oranges, lemons, pineapples, and limes all have high amounts of vitamin C, which can help boost your antioxidant intake.
- Berries - Think of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries to help boost your antioxidants.
- Beta-Carotene - Carrots are the best source of high beta carotene.
- Curcuminoids - Turmeric and extra virgin olive oil are great sources of antioxidants and have the ability to reduce inflammation.
Remember that half of the battle when it comes to controlling the number of free radicals forming in your body is being able to control the toxins and chemicals you intake every day. While you may be increasing your intake of antioxidants, you also must decrease the number of toxins you take in. Smoking, drinking alcohol or eating trans fat and saturated fat continually can cause your free radicals to replicate at an alarming pace. Be sure to balance your intake of antioxidants against your intake of toxins.
What Are Great Juice Recipes to Fight Free Radicals?
Juicing is a terrific way to introduce some much-needed vitamins and minerals into your diet. Because certain fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, adding juice to supplement your meal is the perfect way to give your body an added boost. Finding the right juice recipe to fight free radicals is essential. Look for recipes that have loads of citrus or berries included, and try to find recipes that are high in antioxidants and vitamin C and D. Some of our favorite recipes include:
- 1 cup of Baby Spinach
- 1 Banana
- ½ Orange
- 1 ½ cup Almond Milk, unsweetened
- 1 Brazil Nuts, dried
- ½ cup Brown Rice, cooked and cooled
This recipe is a great smoothie that will give you a boost of antioxidants and vitamin C. Add the listed ingredients into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and drink immediately. This smoothie is rich in healthy fats to keep you energized and enough citrus to fight off free radical formation.
- 1 cup collard greens chopped. Be sure to remove thick stems
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- ½ green apple chopped and skin removed
- 8oz can Pineapple (Use the juice too!)
- 1 Tbsp flax
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup (Natural is always better)
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and combine until smooth. Be sure to drink immediately. Although maple syrup is a sweetener, this ingredient can be optional. Not only are the greens high in vitamins and minerals that can help fight free radicals, the pineapple includes much-needed vitamin C which has several beneficial effects on the body. Plus, many of the ingredients in this juice will be able to boost your immune system and fight chronic inflammation.
Can Antioxidants Prevent Cancer?
While natural antioxidants and even synthetic antioxidants are primarily beneficial for the body, many online sources will tout their ability to prevent certain human disease, like cancer, from forming. The idea is that several cancers are caused by an increase of free radicals in the cells, which antioxidants can eliminate. It follows that by increasing antioxidants, one should be able to decrease free radicals and cellular damage, increase oxidation, and thus reduce the risk of cancer. While the scientific theory does show some promising results, the actual scientific testing has proved mixed results.
Several studies have been conducted to test this theory, but unfortunately, the lack of controls in the test subjects has limited any type of conclusive findings. The solution is to simply test with randomized test subjects to study if cancer is directly linked to fewer antioxidants in the body. Worldwide, nine different randomized studies have been conducted. Unfortunately, these nine studies
could not provide any conclusive evidence that antioxidant supplements were able to prevent initial and primary cancer development.
Still, this is not a reason to abandon the thought that antioxidants are largely beneficial. Many antioxidants can help the body, reduce free radicals, and slow the signs of aging. Antioxidants can also boost the immune system, and many are rich in other beneficial vitamins like vitamin C and D. Including a boost of healthy antioxidants into your body is a great way to stay healthy and feel and look great.