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Why should I try to reduce free-radical damage through my diet?

Free radicals are highly unstable molecules, due to the fact that they’re missing an electron. They react with oxygen, bonding with other molecules and swiping electrons from them, which initiates a chain reaction as successive molecules lose and gain electrons. This disruption of normal cellular processes causes oxidative stress to cell membranes, DNA and other important tissue components (similar to the rusting of metal or the browning of a sliced apple exposed to the air). Over time, this oxidation can cause inflammation and other unhealthy cellular changes, which are characteristic of every major disease. In terms of the brain, free radicals interfere with neuron function, causing a reduction in the number of synapses. But studies indicate that eating fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidant activity can help offset the free-radical damage that accelerates the aging process. Every major disease has an oxidative stress and inflammatory component.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.