You have probably read a lot about the negative impact of stress in general – which means stress caused by work overload, unprocessed negative emotions, lack of sleep and traumatic events. But in this blog, you are going to learn about a type of stress that comes from the invisible unstable molecules of oxygen. These distorted molecules of air are called free radicals.
I am sure you’ve heard about them before. The problem with free radicals is that you cannot see them. By understanding what they really are you will have much bigger chance to avoid them and protect yourself from their negative effect.
The Destructive Nature of Free Radicals and Oxidants
A free radical is an atom (or group of atoms) that has an unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive. An oxidant is a molecule with paired electrons but takes an electron from another molecule and hence changes its charge.
Both free radicals and oxidants are capable of harming biologically important molecules such as DNA. In other words, free radicals and oxidants attack important macromolecules and cause cell damage and disrupt the balance of the whole body. Targets of free radicals include all kinds of molecules in the body. The major targets are lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins.
What Causes the Existence Of Free Radicals and Oxidants?
Some of free radicals and oxidants are part of normal biological processes such are metabolism, aerobic respiration and inflammation. Other free radicals are produced as a result of industrial activities such are: pollution, UV rays, X-rays as well as lifestyle choices: poor diet, smoking, alcohol intake, strenuous exercise and stress in general.
Sadly, in this modern age pollutants and toxins, both in the environment and in our food chain, produce such a level of free radicals and oxidants that makes it hard for the human body to cope with. When the levels of free radicals and oxidants exceed the protective capabilities built into our body’s defence system, we experience “oxidative stress”. This means that our body is no longer able to properly detoxify or to repair the damaged cells. This leads to premature ageing, a weakened immune system and illness.
What Are The Signs Of Oxidative Stress?
According to Dr Donielle Wilson, a naturopathic doctor and researcher, there are 5 signs of oxidative stress:
- Brain fog and/or memory loss
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Wrinkles and grey hair
- Decreased eyesight
- Headaches and sensitivity to noise
- Susceptibility to infections
She also mentions three physical conditions that further increase oxidative stress in your body. These conditions occur when you :
- are overloaded with toxins and your liver cannot handle it
- have a leaky gut – usually caused by using antibiotics that kill good bacteria
- have high blood sugar levels
Solution 1: Strengthen Your Natural Defence System
According to Wikipedia “An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules.” It is our body’s primary defence against oxidation damage. In a nutshell, antioxidants help neutralize the destructive effects of oxidation in our cells.
Where do you find antioxidants? You can find them in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, polyphenols and other phytochemicals), as well as enzymes (proteins in the body that assist in chemical reactions).
Foods Rich in Antioxidants
You can find antioxidants in many fresh, whole foods (such as fruit and vegetables). Usually, these vegies and fruits have distinctively bright colours. For example, the deep red of cherries; the deep purple of beetroot; the bright orange of carrots; the yellow of turmeric; and the blue-purple of blueberries, blackberries and grapes.
Also, vitamin C and vitamin E are rich in antioxidants and you can find them in high levels in foods such as parsley, rosehips, elderberries, blackcurrants, citrus fruits, broccoli, nuts and whole grains (oatmeal, rye, barley).
There are some foods that contain exceptionally high levels of antioxidants (plus other nutrients) that they earn the name of “superfoods”. For example acai berries, wild blueberries, green tea and wheatgrass.
Solution 2: Detox and Keep Your Liver in Good Shape
It is equally important to support your body’s ability to detox. Drinking enough filtered water and keeping your liver in good shape is vital in helping your body to get rid of unwanted toxins. Apart from adding herbs to your diet that assist with liver cleansing (dandelion, turmeric and garlic), you can also use herbal supplements. Check our special formulas beneficial for detox and liver health.
Solution 3: Eat Probiotics and Clean Your Colon
The best way to keep your gut in healthy condition is to eat probiotics and keep your colon clean. You can use gentle colon cleansing by eating special food supplements or you can find a suitable colon hydrotherapy clinic.
When you apply any of these three solutions you will be helping to decrease oxidant stress in your body as well as support the self-healing properties inbuilt in your DNA!