Maybe you haven't heard a term called free radical before, but this is a term we all need to know because it has the power to turn our entire body upside down. In our body under oxidative stress, oxygen is split into two separate atoms that have no paired electrons. These atoms that travel alone and have missing electrons are called free radicals. However, electrons like to travel in pairs. That's why free radicals in our body travel around our body to find another electron. During this circulation, cells, proteins and DNA are damaged. Free radicals can cause many diseases. It can lead to diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, vascular occlusion. These free radicals can be caused by the foods we eat and the drugs we drink.
The formation of free radicals can cause a chain reaction to occur. It can take the electron pair, which is a free radical, from another molecule and disrupt the structure of the molecule from which it receives electrons. Thus, this molecule also becomes a free radical, and this time the molecule whose structure is disrupted can cause a breakdown in the structure of another molecule. This cause and effect relationship may cause disruption in the structure of the entire cell. Thus, the cell is damaged. This chain reaction can affect the cell's membranes. When there is disruption in the control mechanism of substances entering the cell and substances leaving the cell, it can cause a tumor. Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals in our body and when cell deterioration becomes frequent. Oxidative stress that causes diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and ulcers may not be reversible.
Antioxidants try to prevent chain reaction by keeping free radicals under control. Antioxidants, which prevent free radicals from taking electrons from healthy molecules and thus causing permanent damage to our cells, donate electrons to free radicals. While giving these radicals, their structure does not deteriorate. Thus, they prevent chain reactions. In other words, antioxidants work to scavenge free radicals in our body. We can get antioxidants from vegetables and fruits. Especially colorful vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidants. Berries such as blackberries, strawberries and tomatoes, broccoli and spinach are the nutrients we need to include in our diet. We can also take antioxidants into our body with food supplements. Food supplements containing vitamins C and E may be preferred in this regard. Vitamin C is successful in fighting free radicals. Food supplements containing selenium and vitamin C at the same time can help protect our body from oxidative stress.