First we need to know…….what is Oxidative Stress?
According to News Medical Life Sciences, “Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants”.
As the free radicals are produced in your body, you are probably already aware that they create havoc with your immune system as your body is supposed to be able to detoxify these little nasties by neutralizing them with antioxidants. That’s the theory anyway.
The biggest cause of oxidative stress is when your bodies’ defence system has a lack of antioxidants which are our front line defense against free radicals. The cause may be that you have been burning the candle at both ends.
I am sure you will all have come across the term “free radicals” before but you may not of had an adequate explanation of what free radicals really are and can do to your health.
It’s a molecule that contains oxygen and has at least one unpaired electron. It is for this reason that they are reactive to other molecules.
Generally speaking, oxygen-containing molecules aren’t reactive, but some of them go through a change within the body that transforms them into reactive ones.
That doesn’t mean all of the reactive species are harmful, however, free radicals are a pretty nasty bunch which is why you need to know what is going on inside your body if you want to stay in peak condition.
They can affect DNA and sap protein or their electrons to stabilize themselves. That might not sound like such a big deal, but this causes a destabilization of the other molecules, which then triggers a large free radical chain reaction.
Free radicals are most famous for the fact that they can cause cancer.
Just so as you are aware, antioxidants are molecules within cells that are supposed to eliminate the possible damage that free radicals can cause. When an imbalance between the two takes place this is when oxidative stress usually occurs.
About Oxidative Stress Damage
There are a variety of issues which can be caused by oxidative stress.
An example of the more serious health problems would include Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, most types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke and septic shock, rheumatoid arthritis, gene mutations, atherosclerosis, mitochondrial dysfunction, chronic inflammation and chronic fatigue syndrome.
And then we also have another issue, that of premature aging.
Of course, this may pale in significance when compared to those more serious diseases listed above; however, it is still a very real and imminent threat to your health.
It has been found that the major cause of oxidative stress damage to your skin is due to UV rays from exposure to the sun.
If you happen to live in the tropics like me and spend a lot of time in the ocean then this makes perfect sense especially when you consider how much damage the sun’s rays can cause your skin if you head out in the middle of the day without any sun protection.
So this means it’s essential to wear protective clothing and a good slather of sunscreen to prevent the major cause of oxidative stress damage associated with premature aging.
Additionally, free radicals also break down collagen production, which is another one of the major premature aging causes.
16 Tips for Fighting Free Radicals
Would you like to reduce the risks of premature aging and oxidative stress? Well the most effective way is by actively fighting the free radicals.
16 Ways to Reduce Oxidative Stress Damage:
1. Avoid all foods containing or cooked in hydrogenated fats.
2. Eat foods with high antioxidant values. Here’s a list of 3100 foods and beverages.
3. Enhance your indoor air quality. Avoid pollutants like aerosols.
4. Don’t consume foods cooked in oils at a high heat.
5. Don’t smoke or be in the vicinity of smokers.
6. Avoid drinking water treated with chlorine.
7. Drink plenty of water – avoid becoming dehydrated.
8. Be mindful of your sugar intake and grain fed animal proteins. Eat grassfed.
9. Avoid foods containing high levels of preservatives.
10. Take medications only when absolutely necessary.
11. Avoid using cleaning materials containing harmful chemicals.
12. Watch your intake of alcoholic drinks.
13. Avoid exposure to any sources of radiation.
14. Buy organic foods where possible to avoid ingestion of dangerous pesticides.
15. Watch your stress levels – maybe try some Yoga or meditation classes.
16. Wear sunscreen whenever you go outside…..even on cloudy days.
Each day your body is creating a number of free radicals but that doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to the damage of premature aging and potential lifestyle diseases.
To help your body avoid oxidative stress and premature aging then try and follow the 16 tips above…….there are many more things you can do but this is a great place to start.
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
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