Free radicals are harmful compounds in the body which are released as a result of oxidative stress or ingested from smoke, pollution, and other toxic elements. Uncontrolled, free radicals can cause changes and mutations to healthy cell DNA— resulting in cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other inflammatory conditions. Antioxidants are compounds which fight free radicals. A balance of antioxidants and free radicals are necessary for good health and proper functioning of all systems in the body. Antioxidants are found in fresh fruits and vegetables— especially in leafy green vegetables, berries, and certain nuts and beans. The paleo diet essentially cuts out foods which do not contain antioxidants, and provide no protection from free radicals— and instead encourages foods with high levels of antioxidants.
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