Oxidative Stress: What is it and What Can You Do About it?
March 18, 2020
You may have heard the term oxidative stress, but it’s likely that few of us really understand what it means and how it impacts health. Some oxidative stress is good, but a lot of it is bad. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Oxidative Stress?
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals are created during normal metabolic processes that make and break down glucose for energy. They’re impossible to avoid since common things that cause them include exercise, exposure to cleaning chemicals and even environmental exposure. Antioxidants help neutralize or remove free radicals, providing cellular and body-wide protection.
Not all effects of oxidative stress are harmful. For example, free radicals from exercise regulate tissue growth and promote antioxidant production. However, long-term stress wreaks havoc on the body’s cells, DNA and proteins, leading to premature aging. In extreme circumstances, it could affect our nervous, cardiovascular or circulatory systems or even cause damaging inflammation.
What increases the risk of long-term oxidative stress?
- Eating lots of processed foods, fats and sugars
- Exposure to radiation, pollution or pesticides
- Smoking and alcohol consumption
- Not maintaining a healthy weight
What can you do to prevent this?
- Eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Limiting processed foods high in fats and sugars
- Reducing stress
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing exposure to harmful environmental factors
Even though the body produces natural antioxidants, it is important to obtain them from your diet. If you’re in need of an extra antioxidant boost, look into supplementing your healthy lifestyle with these herbal products.