These substances are called free radicals. Free radicals can be harmful to the body, especially if there is an excess of them. They may cause damage to the cell membranes, causing them to weaken. Because free radicals are chemically unstable, they have this bad habit of stealing electrons from stable molecules and in so doing, turn these molecules into free radicals themselves. Antioxidant Ever wondered how you get all those wrinkles? Those annoying crow's feet at the corners of your eyes? Or those laugh lines around your mouth? Sure, these things are but part of the normal aging process. But what causes aging anyway? And is there anyway to retard it? In biological systems, the normal processes of oxidation are what lead to aging. The reason that free radicals are highly reactive is that they lack electrons, which cause them to be highly unstable. To achieve maximum stability, free radicals therefore steal electrons from other molecules around them and in so doing, destroy the cell membranes and weaken the cell. Free radicals cause a chain reaction of "electron stealing" because the minute they start taking away electrons from other molecules, those molecules become free radicals themselves. Chronic inflammation leads to damage in the cells of our brain, heart, arterial walls, and other body structures which are attributed as the cause of such illnesses as heart disease, Alzheimer's, senility, Parkinson's, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, prostatitis, stroke, and a few other diseases brought by aging. It seemed that these so-called free radicals are rogue oxygen molecules that are highly unstable and which have harmful effects to the body. There is growing evidence that the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), including free radicals, is behind the aging process and initiation of age-related disease. Plants are where we get most of our foods and our medicines, relying on them almost entirely for developing our bodies to their full potential and at the same time reducing the causes of degenerative diseases. Recently, scientists have discovered the substance responsible for many of the health benefits we've been receiving from plants.