Why do we age? And, more importantly, why do we have to look old as we age? One theory of aging that is gaining a lot of traction today is the free-radical theory of aging (FRTA). Free radicals are rogue, unstable molecules that cruise around the body. Because the free radicals are unstable and off-balance, they seek to attach themselves to more stable molecules, including the cells of your skin, your heart, your lungs, and other important body areas. But once the free radical gloms onto the healthy molecule, it creates damage. So now you no longer have a free radical, but you do have a damaged cell. Everybody has free radicals, even babies. The miraculous human body contains many built-in systems aimed at keeping these rogue molecules in check and destroying them. But sometimes the free radicals overwhelm the body’s natural defenses. This can happen when you get sick, you are overly stressed (including being tired), or you do not nourish your body properly. Many foods are just loaded with free radicals, so you could be doing some of this damage with your own fork. One other thing that can cause the free radicals to go haywire—age. As we get older, our bodies’ natural defense systems get weaker. The FRTA theory states that over time, damage from free radicals builds up and we start to look and feel old. Antioxidants are substances that take out free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules and the very name antioxidant tells us that these substances are “anti” free radicals. Antioxidants wipe out free radicals and, in so doing, may reduce the signs of aging, preserve health, boost the immune system, raise our energy level, and make us feel good.