Free Radicals

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What are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are a set of impaired electrons present in almost every molecule, which combines with other constituents very quickly and gives the results accordingly. Many organic molecules have a concise life, and that is why even free radicals need to multiple themselves from time-to-time to avoid getting destroyed entirely from a single body.

In Chemistry, a free radical is an atom or a molecule free in its space and independent in its nature. The molecules that have unpaired electrons are called free radicals, and such radicals can be easily mixed with their respective components without getting affected by the outside atmosphere. 

These free radicals play a vital role in the proper functioning of the body, and that is why there should be more presence of them in humans' bodies.  

There are a lot of examples of free radicals in chemistry, which primarily consists of Nitric Acid (NO), Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2), Hydroxyl radical (OH), and so on.


Types of Free Radicals

 There are two types of free radicals. They are-

  • Neutral Free Radicals

These free radicals do not charge them that’s why they have a much lesser reactivity than the charged free radicals.  

  • Charged Free Radicals

The free radicals charged are very strongly reactive and emit great capacity to mix with the other components and constituents. These free radicals can either be positive or negative.


What Causes Free Radicals?

Sometimes, the metabolic processes that seem to be expected in the body cause free radicals. These metabolic processes are the essential and required processes of the body, and that is why total eradication of the same is impossible and unhealthy for the body. 

Free radicals can also get into the body by external sources such as X-rays, cigarette smoking, etc.

The free radicals in the body of living beings cause quick combinations with the other components and also form large reaction chains for the same reason. These radicals are very quick to react with every molecule, and these reactions are precisely termed 'oxidation reactions' in living beings, especially humans.  


Properties of Free Radicals

There are various properties of free radicals that can be listed with short details as below-

  • Instability

Due to the free radicals' unstable nature, they can attract and combine with any chemical component very easily and freely.  

  • High Reactivity

The free radicals' reactivity is very high, which makes it available and open for the other components to come and merge with them. The free radicals' above properties make them unique and useful for the people in their bodies and from any other outside source. The primary and most crucial task of free radicals is to combine with the other free components present in your body. In this process, the free radicals may sometimes cause acceleration of heart disease and some other minor disorders.  


What are Free Radicals in Food?

Some specific foods have a massive amount of free radicals present in it. These foods can be stated as below-

  • High Glycemic Foods

The glycemic foods that are present in the market are a very active source of free radicals, and their consumption can give you ample free radical benefits for sure.  

  • Processed Meats

Processed meats like sausages, salami, and bacon are rich in free radicals, and that is why these foods should be consumed in vast amounts if you want to increase the number of free radicals in your body.

Free radicals can sometimes cause significant loss to your body, but the other times, it is a precious and essential component present in your body. So, it would help if you actively contributed to increasing the number of free radicals in your body by consuming rich foods. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the most essential uses of free radicals in the human body?

There are some primary and specific things that free radicals do in our lives. To keep the body functioning, proper and balanced, free radicals indeed play a vital role in the following ways-

  • Killing pathogens:

Sometimes the WBCs present in the body does not function properly, leading the body to lose its immunity. In this function, free radicals play a vital role by bringing the anti-bacterial and other cells back into action and killing all the harmful microorganisms and pathogens before entering the body. 

  •  Regulation of cell growth:

Many times, cells fail to reproduce themselves and start to reduce in its quantity day-by-day. In such situations, the free radicals are the only support of the people as these free radicals can significantly reduce the stress on the cells and help them grow faster and faster. By doing so, the free radicals must help the body in increasing more and more cells in your body. 

2. What foods should be avoided to save the free radicals in your body?

Some foods have agents that eradicate free radicals from the body, and if you want to save your free radicals from getting lost, you should avoid eating these foods. Some of them can be listed as below-

  • Foods having the richness of Lutein:

Lutein is a potent and effective ingredient, and almost all green leafy vegetables are rich in Lutein. That is why these vegetables should be strongly included in your diet, and you will feel fitter and better day-by-day. 

  • Presence of beta carotene in the Food:

Foods like carrot, sweet potato, spinach, etc., are rich in beta carotene and help increase or at least maintain the beta carotene level in the body. 

  • Lycopene-rich foods: 

Foods that have an active presence of lycopene should be included in your diet, and you will never face the scarcity of free radicals in any way possible. 

The above foods should strictly be avoided to make sure that your body is rich in free radicals so that the activeness and balance of your body remain the same for a longer time.