We’ve all heard about how we need to consume more antioxidants for our health’s sake. But do you really understand the clear picture involving antioxidants and what they’re actually preventing? There comes oxidative stress. One of the primary reasons medical and nutrition experts recommend foods high in antioxidants has something to do with preventing oxidative stress.
The question is – what’s oxidative stress, really? You may have heard about it from a health-conscious co-worker or someone who’s selling you some supplements, but you have no idea what’s the fuss all about. Basically, oxidative stress takes place when there’s imbalance between reactive oxygen species, also commonly known as free radicals, and antioxidants.
Free radicals are naturally produced in the body as normal bodily processes occur, like metabolism, breathing, and other essential functions. If you’re healthy, you have sufficient level of antioxidants to make sure that this entire procedure is under control.
However, the free radicals assume full control when the body has a lower amount of antioxidants, resulting in oxidative stress. Free radicals can be detrimental, but their generation in the body isn’t completely terrible. They’re generally thought to be harmful because they’re unstable molecules.
Because free radicals are missing an electron (elections exist in pairs), they respond with anything they interact with, robbing cells of one of their electrons. This then leads to the impacted cell that’s now missing one electron to fail to function normally. This process also transforms some cells into electron-robbing thugs as well, leading to a chain reaction in the body and the propagation of more free radicals. Eventually, healthy cells and tissues are obliterated, causing serious medical issues.
When the free radicals take over, you can only expect them to cause serious damage. Over time, free radicals severely impair proteins, fats, and even generic information in the body. When oxidative stress takes place, the body becomes more vulnerable to life-threatening diseases, such as cancer, lung disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease, among others.
Normally, free radicals co-exist in harmony with antioxidants in the body. That’s when you’re healthy. It’s, however, when this balance is disrupted, due to low consumption of antioxidants and build-up of free radicals, that the process of aging is hastened and health issues arise.
So, is there something you can do to reduce oxidative stress or even prevent it from ever happening? Of course! Here they are:
1. Do more plant-based diet
The topmost method when it comes to keeping away from oxidative stress is through a plant-based diet. The wider assortment of plants, the better; and since oxidative stress takes place due to a lack of antioxidants, that means you have to increase your consumption of fruits and veggies since these are the kinds of foods that are packed with these substances.
Aside from these, you can also increase your intake of almonds, sunflower seeds, strawberries, broccoli, and bell peppers. Lycopene and lutein, the carotenoids in red, orange, and yellow veggies are also valuable they can substantially combat oxidative stress.
2. Do more research
So, you found out you’re short of antioxidants. Is the solution here really going to the health store to buy an antioxidant supplement? Some experts believe that taking supplements may not be the best option as the antioxidants and carotenoids in these products may not come from foods. Thus, consumption of these said dietary supplements could pose some health risks as indicated in many studies.
On other hand, others oppose to the assumption that antioxidant supplements are toxic to the body. For one, the studies made use of dl-alpha tocopherol, which is an artificial kind of Vitamin E that’s harmful to the body. It should also be considered that some of these clinical tests are not credibly devised.
For example, many tests are conducted with only one or a few nutrients despite the fact that vitamins and minerals usually collaborate and never function separately from each other. Lastly, clinical studies are frequently carried out in individuals who have already experienced the disease being studied. Naturally, it’s tough to measure effectiveness when you consume a supplement post suffering of a sickness.
3. Get physically active
Working out regularly is vital for the sustenance of a healthy weight, which is a crucial aspect when it comes to oxidative stress prevention. Getting yourself to work out on a regular basis is certainly a challenge for many people. They frequently start with the intention of getting healthier, but they end up feeling bored or overwhelmed that they just quit. The thing is that exercise doesn’t mean treadmills in the gym. You can also engage in outdoor activities like trekking, swimming, and biking as means of exercising.
4. Steer clear of toxic items
The chemicals present in your everyday life, which comes from cleaning products, contribute to oxidative stress. You think you don’t have time to think or worry about them because you already have a lot on your place, but you’re thinking long-term health and wellness here, so priorities. What you can do is replace your household and personal care products with something that’s not toxic, like something that only contain natural ingredients. Surely, there are healthier options in everything we use.
5. Soothe your mind
Lessening your stressors is a great method to avoid oxidative stress. You can do yoga, meditate, write in your journal or just anything that can keep your mind off your present worries. These things that you love to do can help you control your stress level. It’s not only vital for managing your anxiety, but also for shielding your body against oxidative stress.