Ever since humankind was banished from the Garden and death became a reality, the cells that make up the human body have always been under attack. The battle is coming from a familiar-sounding foe: free radicals! You know you've heard of them, but what are free radicals, and why is it so critical that we be victorious over them?
If you took high school chemistry, you learned that every atom has electrons spinning around its nucleus. Some atoms and some molecules (combinations of atoms) are more stable than others. The unstable ones are lacking an electron in their outer shell and will steal one from other molecules in order to be stable. Free radicals are such unstable molecules that attack healthy molecules by stealing an electron from them. The attack results in a chain reaction of "electron stealing" that must be stopped.
It is estimated that every one of the cells in your body receives 10,000 hits a day from free radicals. While some of these hits are a beneficial part of our immune systems, most of them can be damaging to the cells if not stopped. The attacks mostly occur from oxygen molecules that are formed in the normal course of the cells' chemical reactions with oxygen, which we obviously need to live.
These attacks also come from foreign sources in the air we breathe and the food we eat. There exist today, chemical compounds that enter our bodies through our nose, mouth, and skin, that human bodies were not subject to before the last hundred years. They're known by names such as additives, colorants, steroids, antibiotics, petrochemicals, carcinogens, radiation, etc.
As each of these enter our bodies they must be encountered and dealt with at the cellular level. Studies have convincingly shown that prolonged exposure to any of these can have toxic effects on the human body. The most toxic effect of these attacks is damage to the cellular membranes, which weakens the cells, and often renders them incapable of functioning properly. They make our bodies' tissues deteriorate and age more quickly.
God has designed the body to win these attacks. But we each have an important role in helping our bodies' marvelous capacities to be victorious. Obviously we need to expose ourselves as little as possible to these chemicals that our bodies were not designed to encounter. Protect your skin, your lungs, and your stomachs from every kind of potentially harmful substance.
The body's defense comes from a source you've heard of before: antioxidants. The antioxidants give one of their electrons to the free radicals, but don't become reactive themselves. In this way they end the destructive free radical chain reaction. Some of these are produced by our cells and some of them are found in the foods we eat. Here's another way that we can help our cells win the battle against aging: give our bodies plenty of antioxidants. A significant proportion of the foods we eat should be raw, whole foods, which are rich in enzymes and antioxidants.
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