Oxidative stress is a type of stress that occurs when there are more free radicals in the body than the body can neutralize with antioxidants. Free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, are waste materials that are produced by cells as a result of normal metabolic processes. They can also be made in response to environmental factors such as pollution and radiation. When there are too many free radicals in the body, they can cause damage to cells, impair cell function, and lead to a range of diseases.
How does oxidative stress affect the body?
Oxidative stress is a major contributor to many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, joint inflammation, autoimmune diseases, respiratory diseases, and weakened immunity. It can manifest in minor symptoms such as fatigue, lack of energy, depression, migraine headaches, and angina.
There are several reasons why oxidative stress occurs. An unhealthy lifestyle with a diet high in processed foods, smoking, alcohol consumption, and little physical activity can all contribute to oxidative stress. Exposure to environmental toxins, such as air pollution and UV radiation, can also increase the amount of free radicals in the body.
How to Fight Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress?
The good news is that there are many ways to reduce oxidative stress and its impact on the body. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, polyphenolic compounds, and vitamins can help protect the body against oxidative stress.
Locally grown fruits and vegetables are particularly effective in reducing the formation of free radicals in the body. Other foods like vegetable oils, spices, seeds, and homemade teas also play an important role.
Supplements such as green tea, resveratrol, and turmeric are known for their powerful antioxidant properties and can help reduce oxidative stress even more effectively.
Getting enough high-quality sleep is also essential in reducing oxidative stress, as it allows the body to rest and recover from stress effectively.
The US National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has published guidelines based on medical literature and research. The recommended sleep time by age group is:
Younger adults (18 to 25 years): 7 to 9 hours
Adults (26-64 years): 7 to 9 hours
Older adults (65 years and over): 7 to 8 hours
Less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep per day is associated with many negative health effects in adults. From an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack to a higher chance of mental health problems.
Make the changes a part of your daily life
In conclusion, it is crucial to understand the impact of oxidative stress on our health and take steps to reduce it. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and consuming a diet rich in antioxidants can protect our cells and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.