Around Our Town...To your health
Getting Radical Part II
05/01/2005 - In last month's issue I introduced the main culprit in the damage and aging process
to the body – the free radical. It essentially goes after three favorable targets: DNA,
proteins and fatty acids. By stealing an electron from these targets, it damages these important structures. The result is alteration of its structure and, in turn, improper function. The #1 cause of free radical production is breathing, which is not a controllable item in that you cannot stop breathing. It is recommended that, if you exercise, do it moderately. Prolonged, strenuous training substantially increases free
The #2 cause of free radical production and the most controllable is inflammation.
Some individuals associate inflammation with just pain. But pain is only one of the responses of inflammation. Other responses are joint disease, fibrosis and vascular
disease and, of course, free radical production.
In a previous issue I mentioned a term called "prostaglandin E2" (PGE2) as being responsible for inflammation. (Interesting note: In the New England Journal of Medicine, November 14, 2002, an article mentioned that inflammation is a stronger predictor of heart disease than cholesterol level and measuring it would involve a simple blood test called C-Reactive protein).
So how do we control the imnflammation? You guessed it – DIET. By avoiding
rich non-nutritious food (SORRY FRUIT ROLL-UPS DON't CUT IT) and avoiding processed cooking oils we decrease the production of PGE2. Processed foods unfortunately contain ingredients that will stimulate production of PGE2. There is more concern with increasing the food shelf life, which will result in decreasing your shelf life! By decreasing the production of inflammation we therefore decrease production of the damaging free radicals.
As also mentioned in the previous issue, we need to consume more anti-oxidants. Here are some examples of anti-oxidants: Vitamins – A, C, E, K, D; Minerals – Magnesium, Zinc, Manganese, Selenium; Anti-oxidant Compounds – alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, Pycnogenol, N Acetyl Cysteine. There are also numerous plant phenols that are important antioxidant compounds. But the best and richest supply of anti-oxidants is fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the "berry" family. If you
have children, get them to eat some fruits routinely instead of giving them a choice of junk snacks. And have fresh vegetables (NOTE PLURAL) to eat at dinner, no baked potato or fries.
In the Bible you may recall in the Book of Daniel how Daniel and his companions were selected and ordered to eat at the king's table, which consisted of rich food and wine (THE PRECURSOR TO DOUBLE CHEESE BACON BURGER AND
COKE). Daniel asked if they could avoid therse foods. He was told if he didn't eat these he would be pale and thin compared to those his own age. As a test
Daniel and his companions ate only vegetables (NOT GENETICALLY ALTERED) and water (NON-FLUORIDATED). After 10 days it was Daniel and his companions
who looked healthier (HMMM).
I called this article " Getting Radical" because of the mind set you will need to correct the path we are traveling on if we want to slow down the aging and disease process. Unti next time.