This is a story about oxidative stress, a process that happens naturally in our bodies. However, when certain factors in our life become too much it may lead to damage. Those factors introduce too many villains called radicals who become free and reactive thieves. Free radicals are oxygen atoms, molecules or ions that are unstable having an unpaired electron that they must steal an extra electron from other atomic structures to become balanced again. However, the damage has already been done generating a chain reaction of unpaired electrons leading to more atomic structures becoming free radicals being forced to steal from others and so on. Cell injury results indicating oxidative stress. If outside help does not arrive soon, our immune system may initiate an inflammatory response to maintain and protect the area from any more damage until the superheroes arrive…
A diet high in antioxidants may be consumed in berries, beets, artichokes, moringa, figs, cacao and many more foods. Common antioxidants found in such super(hero) foods are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and glutathione. These nutrients scavenge the body to combat free radicals by selflessly giving away an electron to stabilize and make them less reactive. Balance is restored and reparation of the cells may begin.
Keep away from stressors
Limiting factors that may be initiating oxidative stress like smoking, alcohol, fried foods, radiation and even addressing stress management will help lower levels of free radical damage.
Being mindful of our breath is just like meditating, a practice known to give us many health benefits. The air that we breathe is made of the same atom oxygen that free radicals are composed of. When undergoing a stressful situation like exercise our breathing quickens and the body’s natural metabolic process creates more free radicals. When we purposely slow our breath and breathe in deeply we can help lower free radical production. However, sometimes our bodies need to experience stress in order to strengthen.
Yes, intense exercise may create more free radical damage in our bodies, however it stimulates its effective use of antioxidants. Mitochondria are the powerhouses within our cells providing energy especially when we need that extra boost during physical activity. They hold antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase and glutathione reductase that run more efficiently the more they are activated by regular exercise. Although, it’s still vital to take in healthy nutrition and adequate good quality sleep for best results.
There are certain stages in our sleep when our body undergoes recovery for repairing damaged cells. Many significant hormones get released in the middle of the night like the sleep hormone melatonin that also acts like an antioxidant. Sleep gives our body the chance to rebuild and recuperate along with other housekeeping duties such as waste removal. Receiving a nightly dose of eight hours sleep is important when physical and even mental exertion is demanded by our body.
Nature offers many healing touches. Trees provide oxygenated fresh air, the sun allows vitamin D production when it shines on our skin and the earth holds an electromagnetic current. Earthing allows the transfer of free electrons to our body when we expose our skin to come into contact with it. Walking barefoot on sand, grass, soil or in the ocean is an effective way to receive free electrons to neutralize those free radicals.
Oxidative stress is a naturally occurring process in our body. Free radical production is inevitable no matter what we do, however it’s the amount and whether our body is capable of handling it that may affect our health. Ensure to practice these 5 heroic steps as a part of your healthy lifestyle to neutralize those villains so that inflammation does not have to be a part of your story.
Diana Angeles // Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant™