What on earth is a free radical and why do I need antioxidants?

FREE RADICAL – just hearing it, I think of some hippy in the 60’s who had radical ideas and believed in being free. NOT.


Our skincare products are filled with jargon and I sometimes have to stop myself and wonder how much do we actually know about what goes on in all the jargon we find on our labels.

Free radical has been a buzzword for sometime now, but most people don’t really know what this is or why they are bad.

Let me explain this in a way even I understood it.

We have lots of oxygen molecules in our body. The oxygen is a little molecule. Sometimes these little oxygen molucules split in two. They call this “unpaired electrons”.

Electrons are not keen on being unpaired so they will constantly look for a mate to pair with again so they are not “unpaired”. These free little atoms that wonder around looking for friendship we call free radicals.

They travel looking for any atom to pair up with, just not to face their own loneliness. The problem with this dating game is that they don’t mate with singles, they actually rob other molecules of their halves and pair up with them. Pretty much like stealing someone else’s boyfriend.

Does the relationship show potential? If it started out this way, there is no way it has a chance.


They pair up with anybody and this causes damage to skin cells and the DNA, (remember there is a robbed molecule somewhere who’s better half was stolen) and this is why we need to get rid of these free travellers.

Free radicals are associated with disease, cancer, parkinsons etc so we need to fight them with everything in us. It also causes our cells to grow incorrectly and that is what we see on the outside as ageing.

More symptoms of free radicals according to Dr Donielle Wilson is fatigue, headaches, noise sensitivity, memory loss and brain fog, muscle and joint pain, wrinkles and gray hair, vision trouble and decreased immunity.

How you may ask…. The good news is that the body has a natural defense mechanism to fight these free travellers, we call this antioxidants. So the next time you see that a food or nut contains antioxidants, (berries, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, nuts and green tea.) you know what it will do when it comes into contact with the unfriendly free radicals. It will start fighting them to push them out of the body.

What causes free radicals?

They say that excessive exercise causes free radicals, but before you cancel the gym contract, note they said excessive. Normal exercise will always be healthy.

And of course fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides and air pollutants are all causes of this free radical forming process.

Model of the story? Eat colourful foods, exercise regularly and drink healthy water. It will slow down sickness and definitely slow down the ageing process.


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Shantelle Booysen
Shantelle Booysen is an innovator and entrepreneur. She recently made her début as a public speaker and in her captivating talks, Shantelle encourages the audience to explore and discover their inner wisdom and instinctive knowledge.

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