Welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! This week we want to cover oxidative stress, what it is, and how it may benefit or harm your body.
There are amazing anti-aging benefits when reducing oxidative damage in the body. Think of a cut apple on the kitchen counter as it slowly browns due to oxygen and free radicals. The miraculous thing about our bodies is that we can turn back our biological clocks through lifestyle and the power of epigentics.
Want to take a deeper dive into oxidative stress with our founder Brit? Read this article she wrote as she has healed from a crippling spinal autoimmune disease and works to speak up and share her experience with those suffering in silence.
Oxidative stress is the occurrence of an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant activity. These free radicals are also called oxygen reactive species.
To put it simply, oxidative stress is an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants in your body.
There are multiple causes of oxidative stress. Here we will explore the different causes, learn about the benefits and harms, what could cause long-term oxidative stress, what effects it has on the body, and how to prevent it. And furthermore, access the incredible anti-aging benefits as you turn back your biological clock.
Causes of Oxidative Stress
There are many different things that may cause oxidative stress. The most well-known causes of oxidative stress are poor habits.
These habits include:
Inadequate or inappropriate exercise
Photo by Lil Artsy.
Smoking causes oxidative stress. The ingredients found in cigarette smoke such as nicotine, ammonia, and phenols create two phases that begin to harm your body. These phases begin to form oxidative damage.
Those who smoke cigarettes are more likely to reduce their intake of antioxidants. As a result, oxidative stress rises and antioxidant protection drops.
Photo by Prem Pal Singh Tanwar.
Alcohol consumption is associated with many health conditions and diseases including oxidative stress. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver. This is a concern because any unfavorable effects will harm the organ.
Additionally, alcohol reduces the number of antioxidants a person takes. Damage to the liver and the sudden decrease of antioxidants cause oxidative stress.
Photo by Tim Samuel.
Your diet is known to be a leading cause of oxidative stress. Diets that are unhealthy and specifically high-fat or high-carbohydrate diets cause oxidative stress.
This happens because these diets raise the levels of protein carbonylation and lipid peroxidation and lower antioxidant protection.
Photo by Julia Larson.
Inadequate or Inappropriate Exercise
Inadequate exercise is when a person participates in physical activity that is not enough for their specific height and weight. Inappropriate exercise is any physical activity that is not performed correctly and may cause injury or harm.
When exercise is done inadequately or inappropriately then it could cause oxidative stress. This happens when muscle damage occurs. When muscle damage occurs, it promotes phagocyte cells to flood the injury site.
When the injury site is flooded with phagocyte cells, it begins to create oxidative damage and causes oxidative stress.
Benefits of Oxidative Stress
When there is a slight imbalance where there are slightly fewer oxidants than antioxidants, it could be beneficial to the body. Oxidants are needed to produce cellular structures which fight off pathogens.
Some ways that oxidants benefit the body include:
Signal several cell types
Proper blood flow modulation
Normal neural activity
Production of cellular structures
When oxidants are maintained at a low to moderate level then they are vitally important to our body and overall health.
Harms of Oxidative Stress
When an imbalance occurs and there are more oxidants in our body than antioxidants, a harmful process can begin to negatively affect many cellular structures. Some of these structures include DNA, lipids, and proteins.
If the imbalance is not controlled and does not return to its balanced state then the body will be put at risk. Oxidative stress is responsible for several diseases. These diseases may be chronic and degenerative.
Oxidative stress is also responsible for speeding up the body’s aging process and causing injuries such as trauma and stroke.
What causes oxidative stress to become long-term?
Considering the causes of oxidative stress that have been previously discussed, there are quite a few things that may cause oxidative stress to become long-term.
Risk factors for long-term oxidative stress include:
Exposure to radiation
Exposure to pesticides or industrial chemicals
What effects does oxidative stress have on the body?
When there is an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants in our bodies, we begin to develop issues. During a good balance, the oxidants in our body can help fight off pathogens, viruses, and bacteria.
However, when there is an imbalance it becomes difficult for the oxidants to work properly. As a result, the oxidants begin to damage fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins in our bodies.
Diseases that develop after these damages include:
High blood pressure
Ways To Prevent Oxidative Stress
There is no way to completely steer clear of free radical exposure and oxidative stress. However, there are ways to help maintain a balance between free radicals and antioxidants.
Some ways to reduce or prevent oxidative stress include:
Eat bottomless quantities of a variety of organic antioxidant fruits and vegetables everyday (*important to eat the rainbow each food provides a different source of health for the various tissue, organs, and cells in your body)
Regular, moderate exercise
Limit alcohol intake
Get plenty of sleep
Oxidative stress can be both harmful and beneficial. However, the negatives outweigh the positives. It is important to keep our levels of free radicals and antioxidants balanced in order to maintain our health. There are many strategies, tips, and lifestyle changes that can be made in order to prevent or reduce oxidative stress.
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Check out our most recent Wellness Wednesday blog: Holistic Care for the Lymphatic System
Written by Emma Suarez
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