How Water Can ‘Capture’ Free Radicals
Free radicals are thieves, stealing electrons from healthy molecules or cells and pushing the molecule/cell out of balance. Their positive charge enables them to attract electrons, triggering a chain reaction. A free radical robs an electron, causing another molecule to become positively charged and meaning it will also try to steal an electron from a neighbouring molecule, and so on.
This process can be observed when metal is rusting, or if a bitten apple is left on the table. The exposed fruit is gradually becoming brown as it oxidizes, meaning it has emitted electrons. This is why substances which stop oxidation are called "antioxidants". In general, antioxidants are good for the body because they catch and neutralize free radicals.
When something is oxidizing, or robbing electrons, another molecule is simultaneously reduced, being robbed of electrons. The ability of substances involved in this oxidation-reduction process is measured in redox potential or ORP value. The test is done by holding a measuring tool in the liquid and reading the measured voltage in mV (millivolt). Acids have a very high charge, for example, cola has a redox potential of approx. +300 mV. This value goes down in the case of other beverages and can even become negative if an electron excess is present. Alkaline water from a ionizer can have a value of up to -570 mV. This is illustrated in measurements taken by the Fresenius Institute in Mainz, Germany on July 15th, 2010. Kangen is alkaline water created with a water ionizer from Enagic:
Local water supply: (Mainz, Germany)
pH 7,47 ORP +270
pH 8,47 ORP -295
pH 9,01 ORP -397
pH 9,50 ORP -570
It’s clear that the tap water of Mainz is slightly alkaline, but has a positive ORP value, so it steals more electrons than it is delivering. Alkaline water from a ionizer, the one shown here is from Enagic, has a high negative ORP value. So, it provides electrons which can capture free radicals.
Free Radicals Are Everywhere in The Body
Free Radicals develop during metabolic processes where molecular oxygen is present in the body. When free radicals are released, they interfere with the function of important molecules within a cell, such as DNA and RNA, along with various proteins and lipids. Although the cell can produce substances which render free radicals harmless, according to a thesis by Denham Harman, the steadily growing accumulation of damaged cell material can accelerate the ageing process.
Therefore, it is important to provide the body with enough electrons to stop this oxidation process, and alkaline water provides such electrons. Other antioxidants such as ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, flavonoids and polyphenols, also provide electrons for neutralizing free radicals. Ascorbic acid is also known as vitamin C, whilst beta-carotene, which the body transforms into Vitamin A, is found in green cabbage and in deep yellow to orange fruits and vegetables, like carrots. Beta-carotene is fat soluble, so it can only be absorbed by the body when fats are present in the food. Flavonoids are secondary plant substances which can be found in the skin of an apple.
Polyphenols are also secondary plant substances, whilst zinc, selenium, vitamin E and vitamin B2 help to protect cells from oxidative stress. Tomato and garlic are just as good in capturing free radicals. Fresh vegetables are a wonderful antioxidant. Antioxidants are also found in coffee, which for many people is the main supply. However, coffee or tea should not be relied upon as a key source. More beneficial is the consumption of fruits and vegetables, since the body also gains vitamins, minerals and fibre from these.
Dried amla, or Indian gooseberry, is packed with antioxidants, as is dried dog rose, dried wild bilberries, barberries and fresh dog rose from Spain and Norway. Most berries are an excellent source of antioxidants - but the antioxidants decrease in numbers when they are processed, for example when used to make jam or cakes. However, dried apples, lemon peels, okra flour, dried plums or apricots, artichokes, curly kale, green and red chilli and prunes have many antioxidants. In terms of spices, the clove has the greatest antioxidant potential, followed by peppermint, allspice, oregano, cinnamon, thyme, sage, rosemary and saffron. Nuts can have many antioxidants, especially when they are eaten with the skin. Meat and fish have little to no antioxidants.
Here’s an idea for an extremely antioxidant-rich meal:
1-2 glasses of good alkaline water
A tomato soup made with fried onions, garlic, fresh tomatoes, broth, thyme and oregano.
Rosemary potatoes from the oven with olive oil, with a pan of fresh greens or frozen vegetables like onions, olives, carrots, peppers, zucchini, artichokes, green cabbage and chilli to taste.
Serve with a good red wine.
Apple crumble with unpeeled apples, some maple syrup and lots of cinnamon. Try a crumble of wholemeal flour, unpeeled almonds, some maple syrup and coconut fat as well as and cloves
Finish with a cup of coffee.
However, there are natural processes in the body which produce free oxygen radicals that are in fact good for our health. These free oxygen radicals are formed by neutrophils in the blood. They work to oxidize unwanted microorganisms and then destroy them. So, the body does use free radicals to stay healthy, but the concentration of these free radicals remains low, as they can also attack healthy cells.
Alkaline ionized water not only provides antioxidants, it also has many other benefits. Its molecules are particularly small or micro-clustered and so the water can enter cells very easily. The molecular groups are often hexagonal, which makes them the ideal bodily transport medium. Plus, this structure helps to degrade acidic waste, and support de-acidification and detoxification processes within the body.
One of the most useful things about having a water ionizer at home is that you don’t have to buy plastic bottles and carry them home. This both saves you money and helps you to protect the environment. It also ensures you and your family avoid plasticizers from bottles, which can leach into the liquid when it is stored for long periods.