sorry but can you explain free radical damage to me? what is it and how do I fix/prevent it? i love in ny which isn't that clean of an environment so I feel like I should be more informed
This is big question, so I’ll keep it as simple as possible. It’s true that everyone should have an idea of what free radical damage is, because it affects everyone.
What are free radicals and what do they do?
Free radicals are atoms/molecules that have an unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs. Our cells have plenty of electrons on their DNA, protein, cell membranes, etc.
Free radicals are greedy bullies. They see that our cells have electrons and they steal them. This process of stealing electrons happens through oxidation. This might sound familiar. Oxidative damage or oxidative stress are other names for this electron-stealing activity.
When our cells lose their electrons, they can no longer function properly. They then die. The ultimate result of free radical damage is cell death. Cell death is bad.
Where do they come from?
Now, free radicals are bad, but they aren’t unnatural. We produce free radicals constantly through the biochemical reactions in out body. Free radical damage is an unavoidable part of life.
There are certain behaviors that can increase the amount of free radicals in our bodies:
What can I do to prevent free radical damage?
For starters, attempt to avoid the above free radical producing things (I will say that mild to moderate wine consumption can be beneficial).
This is where antioxidants come in! Antioxidants are “free radical scavengers”. They can either 1) prevent free radicals from forming or 2) donate electrons to the free radicals, thus neutralizing them. Antioxidants are good!
Within the context of this blog, there’s two ways you can add antioxidants into your life.
First, through your diet. Vegetables, fruits, teas, herbs and spices, nuts, salmon, eggs, etc. All of these contain antioxidants. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will provide you with plenty of antioxidants. Antioxidant supplements are also an option.
These are the top 10 most antioxidant dense foods:
Second, you can topically apply them through skin care. Many skin care products contain antioxidants. Specific antioxidants you can apply are plant extracts, vitamins, niacinamide, asthataxin, polyphenols, ubiquinol, ferulic acid, etc. Just skim the ingredients list for these things, or run them through cosdna.com and it will tell you if it contains antioxidants.
The ingredients in the MasterChef at Home Mystery Box this week were: Salmon filets, bacon, black beans, balsamic vinegar, rice, fresh basil, fresh mint, and Plain Greek yogurt. I knew that the salmon had to be the star of the show, but I definitely wanted to use the bacon. I decided to break out the electric smoker for this dish, & wrap the Salmon in bacon. I finished it under the broiler to crisp up the bacon. It was soooo good! Every bite was heavenly and smoky and fresh. This was one of the best dishes I’ve ever made.
Here’s how I made this delicious Smoked Salmon:
Rinse 1 cup of rice a few times until the water runs clear. Add to a pot with 4 cups water and a pinch of salt. Simmer until al dente, drain and add back to the pot. Add 1 tsp chopped basil, ½ tsp chopped mint, sprinkle of celery salt, a grind of black pepper and a pinch of dried dill. Toss together with a fork, then cover and set aside to steam.
Drain and rinse black beans. Add to a bowl with 1 small chopped Persian cucumber, 2 tblsp balsamic vinegar, ¼ tsp minced garlic, ½ tsp fresh chopped basil and ½ tsp chopped mint, and season with celery salt and pepper.
Turn the smoker to about 180 to 200 degrees. Soak apple and mesquite chips in water. Remove any bones from the salmon. Rinse and pat dry. Drizzle the salmon with some of the balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with a little brown sugar, season with salt and pepper. Smash and chop 1 large garlic clove, (reserve ¼ tsp of this garlic for the dressing) spread the rest of the garlic on the fish. Slice a lemon very thin, you need about 4 thin slices of lemon depending on the size of the filets. Place basil leaves on the fish, top with the lemon slices, wrap with the bacon. Crisp up the remaining bacon for garnish. Place the fish in a shallow foil pan and into the smoker. Smoke the fish about 25 - 35 minutes. When it comes out, it should be most of the way cooked. Turn the broiler to high, sprinkle a little more balsamic vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar on top. Broil a few minutes until the sugar bubbles and the bacon crisps up.
While your Salmon is in the smoker, make the creamy basil dressing. In a small bowl add 10 - 15 basil leaves, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, celery salt and pepper, ¼ tsp smashed & minced garlic, juice of ½ lemon, 1 tblsp balsamic vinegar, and a tiny pinch of brown sugar. Blend with a stick blender.
Serve the Smoked Salmon on a bed of Herbed Rice with the Creamy Basil dressing and a side of Black Bean and Cucumber Relish with Crispy Bacon Crumbles. Yum!