Free Radicals: Coupling Up to Support Your Immune System The Power of Antioxidants
Supporting your Body From the Inside Out
When you breathe in the air around you, oxygen enters your lungs. When that oxygen in your body is used, it creates free radicals, which are atoms that have one or more unpaired electrons. While a certain amount of free radicals in your body is normal, an imbalance can cause health issues and impact your immune system in three ways:
- They damage immune cells
- They interrupt the communication pathways that take place between immune cells
- They disrupt the balance of already existing free radicals
To ensure there is a balance to the creation of free radicals, you can look to antioxidants. These are a group of nutrients that can help protect your body's cells from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidents help by giving free radicals a "partner" electron. This pairing helps stabalise the free radicals so they won't attack other cells in your body, playing an important role in your overall health.
How Do You Get Antioxidants?
Food can be a great starting point for making sure you're getting antioxidants. These can be found in foods like:
- Citrus fruits, potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes and Brussel sprouts for Vitamin C.7
- Salad dressings and margarines made with vegetable oils, wheat germ, leafy green vegetables, whole grains and nuts for Vitamin E.7
- Organ meats (liver, heart, kidney), seafood, walnuts and grain products for Selenium.7
- Red meat, poultry, oysters, beans and nuts for Zinc.7
Can You Do More to Support Your Immune System?
Even if you know where antioxidants can be found, ensuring that you're getting enough of them can still be difficult. Healthy food choices can help make sure you're getting a consistent supply of antioxidants like the ones listed above. Micronutrients such as Vitamins C can compliment a healthy balanced diet to provide support for your immune system as it contributes to the normal function of the immune system.