Maybe you saw this headline and thought, a) there’s a typo, or, b) the author of this blog has gone a bit doolally. Well, it’s neither because the truth is: we really are rusting inside. You, me, everyone. But, it doesn’t have to be as bad as it sounds. Read on and I’ll explain.
In A Little Known Reason You Should Eat Your Greens I talked about how a diet rich in fruits and veggies helps you smell sweet. All thanks to those little things called antioxidants. In this post I thought I’d sing their praises some more.
Back in the 70s, scientists came up with a theory to explain why we age. Put simply – we rust. Except it’s called oxidation. And it doesn’t look like rust. But the principle’s the same.
Oxidation, aka free radical damage, aka oxidative stress, happens in our cells all the time.
Whenever food passes our lips (every couple of hours or so, in my case), mitochondria, little power plants in our cells, work overtime to convert the energy in that lasagna you just ate into something a bit more user-friendly.
So, while oxidation is a by-product of natural cellular processes, it also causes our cells to age. And by extension, us.
Then, of course, we go and add insult to injury by doing stuff that adds to the damage. Think smoking, binge drinking, and gorging on foods high in sugar, salt, saturated- and trans fats. You name it.
Is there a good part to this story? you may ask. Yes, and here it is. We’re all the proud owners of an enzyme (please Google it, or I’ll go off on a tangent) called Superoxide Dismutase. SOD, for short. And?
Well, SOD works hard to neutralise those pesky free radicals busy causing mayhem inside the mitochondria. SOD is to your body what Batman is to Gotham City. Or Spiderman to New York… you get the picture. In short, a biochemical super hero.
Now, here’s the even better part. The part where we can actually do something to help our poor, hard-working SOD. Ready? OK, so what do you reckon helps boost it?
A pack of twenty Marlboro Lights? A 6-pack of Stella? Hours in the sun with no SPF? No. No. And no.
By now, you must have an inkling… Yep, you got it: antioxidant-rich foods. Think berries, citrus fruits, green tea, black tea (minus milk and 3 sugars), veggies — the deeper the colour, the more antioxidants. Think rainbow. And there’s many more.
So, you see, there’s hope. You can stay as ‘rust-free’ as possible, just by ‘eating a rainbow’, every day. And look after your SOD — think of it as a pet. Nurture it. Nourish it. Love it.
You know what you need to do.
Until next time