How Antioxidants Help the Immune System|
by Alex Cosper
Saturday, April 30, 2016
The term "antioxidants" has become part of mainstream nutrition talk, yet most people are still not clear what they are or what they do. Part of the problem is that they exist at the molecular level, so it's not something in plain sight to think about. Many adults also have a vague sense of what their immune system is. It's amazing how antioxidants and the immune system fit together like perfect puzzle pieces and clear up some of the mystery about the body's natural health care system.
Antioxidants protect the cells in your immunes system from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable atoms or molecules that crash into other cells. Free radicals are the bad guys within the body because they are out of control like vandals looking for property to destroy. Their problem is that they have missing electrons, making them highly reactive with other chemicals.
The reason antioxidants are the good guys is because they can provide electrons to free radicals, causing them to become more stable. Once free radicals are neutralized, they no longer threaten to destroy other atoms and molecules. Free radicals cannot be eliminated from the body, but without antioxidants acting as guards of the immune system, our bodies wouldn't last long.
Cells of the immune system actually use free radicals to kill invading bacteria infections. The key is that antioxidants remain balanced with free radicals. When free radicals heavily outnumber antioxidants, it leads to a very unhealthy state of the body known as "oxidative stress." Some of the factors that cause oxidative stress include air pollution, tobacco smoke, radiation, excessive sugar, lack of oxygen, alcohol and other toxins.
Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, whereas processed food and fast food usually are not. It's still important not to overload your system with antioxidants, which can have a reverse effect. At the same time, the right amount of antioxidants is essential for all life. Some of the best antioxidants for protecting human cells include blueberries, cherries and strawberries. Leafy greens, spinach and broccoli are vegetables rich in antioxidants.
Letting oxidative stress go untreated disrupts the immune system and leads to cell damage then illness. Some of the most harmful consequences include cancer and heart disease.
Another component to the puzzle of disease prevention is pH level, which measures the power of hydrogren in substances. While water is neutral, junk food is very acidic, which is a low pH level. Studies suggests that cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment, but cannot exist in the opposite alkaline (high pH) environment.
Sticking with real foods that come from the earth instead of a lab is important for building a strong immune system. Eating fresh organic produce is a very healthy choice. Staying away from synthetic food made from hard to pronounce ingredients is another clear path to better health. By putting the right food in your body and living a healthy lifestyle, you can protect your immune system and let it do its job to protect your body.
Disclaimer: this article is not meant to be considered medical advice and is published for research purposes only. Please consult a medical professional for more information.