Oxidative Stress is a process caused by an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals, which are essentially molecules that contain oxygen. While I obviously don’t want to get caught up in a very technical discussion of Oxidative Stress, it is important to acknowledge that it is the uneven number of electrons that allows them to react so easily with other molecules. These reactions can be positive or negative, but in this blog, I want to explore the effects of Oxidative Stress on your body and how you can prevent serious health issues from developing as a result.
Causes of Oxidative Stress
While Oxidation is normal, Oxidative Stress is caused by a serious imbalance which could be caused by a variety of factors. While the body naturally produces free radicals, it is often worsened when there are unhealthy factors present within your environment or your diet. For example, pesticides, cigarettes, radiation, and excessive pollution can cause serious issues, but Oxidative Stress is also commonly caused by a high sugar and fat diets, and alcohol abuse. If one or a few of these elements are present, it could cause serious problems for the balance and could contribute to worrying amounts of free radicals present within your body.
What does Oxidative Stress Do To You?
Oxidative Stress is a huge problem and can lead to a variety of serious diseases, most of which are known to be directly linked to the overproduction of free radicals:
- atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the blood vessels
- inflammatory conditions
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are many strategies that you can employ to mitigate these problems and to live a healthy and risk free lifestyle.
How to reduce oxidative stress
Increasing the number of antioxidants and preventing the excessive formation of free radicals starts with an awareness of what causes these processes. It is also is heavily dependent on the amount of changes you are willing to make to both yourself, your diet, and your environment, and how stringent you are willing to be with these important adjustments.
One of the main ways you can prevent this is by ensuring that you are absorbing enough antioxidants in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are crucial to this, with the following being particularly helpful when trying to increase antioxidants:
- berries & cherries
- citrus fruits
- dark leafy greens
- olives & nuts
- onion & garlic
- Cinnamon & turmeric
- Anything high in Vitamin E and Vitamin C
While these changes are important, you’ll also need to do more than just inject a bit of fruit and veg into your life. To really prevent Oxidative Stress from occurring, you may need to make serious lifestyle changes. Regular exercise routines are crucial with this, as this can help boost natural antioxidant levels. Sleep is another big factor as this allows you to get the right amount of rest you need. It’s also been proven to balance out free radicals and promote a healthy lifestyle in general. Environmental factors will also need to be taken into account, as pollution is particularly harmful and promotes the production of free radicals. This includes smoking, which is one of the single worst things you can do to your health, especially with regards to Oxidative Stress. Other healthy lifestyle choices can also prevent or reduce oxidative stress, like reducing your alcohol intake.
Hopefully this blog has been helpful and will aid you in making some important changes to your lifestyle.