In generations past food was eaten as fresh as possible or it would rot. The nutritional value or composition of the food was not altered by synthetic or artificial compounds like it is today. Almost everywhere we look there is processed food and with that free radical oxidation. This contributes to the health or “unhealthy” crisis we are dealing with right now as a nation.
There are more free radicals in today’s day than in the past for many reasons. The main two are: the over processing of our food which leads to the depletion of antioxidants, and the environmental toxins we come in contact with on a daily basis. In addition to the free radicals we produce in a normal day, we also produce more during exercise, after physical trauma, after any injury, during infections and emotional stress, after strokes and heart attacks and with those who smoke, take most any drug, drink lots of alcohol, and during exposure to both solar and background radiation.
The other main “new” source of free radicals is the amazing number and diversity of chemicals we now have in our water, air and food. Did you know that there are over 80,000 synthetic chemicals used in industry today? The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has full toxicity data on less than one-quarter of them and manufacturers are bringing new chemicals to market at the rate of almost 1,000 per year. Tragically, only around 500 have been tested to see if they cause cancer and most provide little data on what health impacts these compounds have. Practically none are tested to discover oxidative potential.
Here are some facts to be aware of. At least 70% of the processed foods in your grocery store contain at least one genetically engineered ingredient that has never been tested for its potential harm and most have more than one altered compound. There are more than 3,000 synthetic chemicals that are regularly added to U.S. food products; hardly any have been tested for their interactive toxin-producing effects in the human body. Most vitamins and supplements sold in stores that advertise themselves as organic, holistic or natural are actually synthetic chemical concoctions that contain coal tar, preservatives, artificial colors, and a vast range of other potentially harmful additives, some of which they don’t “technically” have to put on the label.
Think about this, in the 9 or so vaccines given to your children before they enter school are harmful additives and preservatives, including mercury, aluminum, MSG, formaldehyde and others linked to disorders ranging from brain and nerve damage to autism and ADD. Medical evidence is coming out that suggests the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas may cause brain tumors, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The numbers get higher if you include pepperoni at the same time, say on a pizza. The occurrence of these diseases has risen dramatically in proportion with the expanded use of synthetic sweeteners and food additives
Chemical hazards we come in contact with include pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and other animal drugs, cleaning supply toxins as well as naturally occurring toxins, food additives, allergens and toxic chemicals that can get into food through the process of manufacturing. Think of the processing aids added to food so it keeps its color and texture longer. Smog is a storehouse of oxidant particles. There are over 20 chemical compounds in smog that promote oxidation reactions; such as ozone, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. More than 100 million Americans are exposed to levels of ozone higher than the safe level recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A once pristine area can be so altered by environmental change that we hardly recognize it or remember what it used to look like. Think of Los Angeles or Denver; where once was clear, pure air now people with breathing problems are asked not to live there for health reasons. We are exposed to oxidant-producing chemicals on a level unheard of in the history of our planet. Most of this stuff is new to recent generations and all of it has to be broken down by the body as it detoxifies itself. During the detoxification process our bodies literally become a free radical factory, releasing free radicals on a massive scale.
The only way to prevent total damage is to ingest more antioxidants and limit oxidant exposure. Eating fresh deeply colored fruits and vegetables on a consistent, daily basis will help. Incorporate these foods into your normal dishes; buy vegetables and use them to cook stew or chop up cabbage and kale or eggplant and fry them with ground hamburger meat to make sloppy Joes or tacos or Sheppard’s pie. Buy as many colorful veggies as you can, chop, sauté and season, add some tomatoes, season again, and blend until mostly smooth to make your own spaghetti/pizza sauce. You will never go back to store brand again.
Another way to get more antioxidants is to take good, reputable supplements. Make sure you check on the manufacturer before you buy anything, they should have information about themselves around the web. Many companies have had to deal with recalls, so you will want to do your homework. You also want to limit exposure to toxins. Go green with tough natural cleaning products. Shaklee’s Get Clean system has no toxins, is biodegradable, and will get rid of all the nasty chemicals you have floating around your home.
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Filed under: Antioxidants
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