Greetings, joyful viewers, and welcome to this week's edition of Healthy Living, the first in a two-part series featuring the nutrition and wellness advice of Dr. Steve Blake, a vegan naturopath, herbalist, neuromuscular therapist, and Doctor of Holistic Health.

Dr. Blake is the author of the books 『Vitamins and Minerals Demystified,』 『Healing Medicine』 and 『Understanding Dietary Fats and Oils,』 the creator of health-related software, such as 『Diet Doctor,』 a nutritional analysis program and 『Herb Doctors,』 an electronic compilation of herbal remedies for various health conditions as well as the founder of the College of World Health in Maui, Hawaii, USA. He encourages a natural approach to health with a plant-based diet as its cornerstone.

Dr. Blake(m): It's estimated that every cell in our body is attacked 10,000 times a day by free radicals, and we have 100 trillion estimated number of cells in our bodies, so that's really quite a lot. Luckily our bodies have two different types of defenses against free radicals. One is the vegetables and fruits that we eat are loaded with antioxidant vitamins, and also with antioxidant bioflavonoids and other polyphenols inside the plants.

Our other system of antioxidant protection involves our internal systems that are designed to scavenge these free radicals and to neutralize them and stop any damaging chain reactions that could happen.

HOST: Many of us have heard that free radicals, or atoms and molecules with unpaired electrons that can cause cell damage, are related to the aging process. Dr. Blake says free radicals are also connected to heart disease and stroke - which according to the World Health Organization are the leading causes of death worldwide.

Dr. Blake (m): Free radicals do cause heart disease and stroke most directly. Heart disease and stroke as you know are caused by atherosclerosis, the clogging of the arteries. And this at the beginning stage can happen from ages two to eight years old when the sides of the arteries are initially damaged and form fatty streaks. This process continues throughout life, and as we become older we become more susceptible to the end product of our atherosclerosis which is either a heart attack or a stroke.

Now when we want to circulate cholesterol in the bloodstream, which is very useful for our bodies, for instance we make steroid hormones like testosterone out of this, when our liver wants to package this cholesterol for circulation in the blood, our liver puts on antioxidant protection in a form of vitamin E.

HOST: When accompanied by this antioxidant, Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol can be beneficial to us. However insufficient amounts of vitamins E and C in the body leads to LDLs becoming oxidized by free radicals, thus injuring us. Dr. Blake(m): LDL will stick to and damage the inside of our arteries leading to atherosclerosis, which leads to heart attack and stroke. And for this purpose lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are very good to take every day. In their raw form is always best.

HOST: What about taking a synthetic vitamin E supplement to avoid harm from free radicals? Is this the equivalent to eating vitamin E rich foods for protection? Dr. Blake(m): Synthetic vitamin E contains eight different isomers. Isomers are similar molecules but different shapes. This isomer is not an antioxidant but is present in synthetic vitamin E. So let's say that your liver grabs some of these and puts them on the LDLs to circulate - no protection at all.