Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons. The uneven number allows them to easily react with other molecules.
Free radicals can cause large chain chemical reactions in your body because they react so easily with other molecules. These reactions are called oxidation.
Oxidation is a normal and necessary process that takes place in your body. Oxidative stress, on the other hand, occurs when there’s an imbalance between free radical activity and antioxidant activity. When functioning properly, free radicals can help fight off pathogens.
When there are more free radicals present than can be kept in balance by antioxidants, the free radicals can start doing damage to fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins in your body. Proteins, lipids, and DNA make up a large part of your body, so that damage can lead to a vast number of diseases over time including things like diabetes, inflammatory conditions and cancer.
What are the risk factors?
Everyone produces some free radicals naturally in their body through processes like exercise or inflammation, environmental factors like pesticides, cleaners and polution. or dietary factors like a diet high in sugar, fat, and alcohol
Oxidative stress can cause damage to many of your tissues, which can lead to a number of diseases over time. While free radicals and antioxidants are part of your body’s natural and healthy functioning, oxidative stress occurs when free radicals and antioxidants are out of balance.
While you can’t completely avoid exposure to free radicals, you can make lifestyle choices regarding diet, exercise, and environment to help keep your body in balance, and prevent damage and disease.
Management of Oxidative Stress :
Eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables high in antioxidants.
Include things like green tea, nuts and fish
Herbs such as garlic, cinnamon and turmeric
Regular moderate exercise : avoid over stressing the body with intense exercise regimes especially when already under stresses from work or home. Intense exercise combined with high levels of stress will do more harm than good and increase oxidative stress on the system. Look at things like yoga and meditation to bring balance to your exercise regime.
Grounding : 15 minutes daily of pure sunshine, with bare feet in contact with the grass can help stimulate the body's natural anti-inflammatory systems to gear up and rid the body of inflammation.
Use caution with chemicals. This includes cleaning chemicals, avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure, and being aware of other sources of chemical exposure, such as pesticides used on food or in gardening.
Decrease your alcohol intake.
Get plenty of sleep. Ample sleep is very important for maintaining balance in all of your body systems. Brain function, hormone production, antioxidant and free radical balance, and a host of other things are impacted by sleep.
Avoid overeating. Studies have shown that overeating and constant eating keep your body in a state of oxidative stress more often than if you eat at appropriately spaced intervals, and eat small or moderate portions.