If you leave your bike out for the winter without looking after it you will probably notice a build up of rust. Constant rain, a bit of snow and salt, your bike won't work like it used to - just like oxidative stress!
Oxidative stress works just like the rust on your bike. It ages you and exposes you to health issues - lots of them!
Why Is Oxidative Stress Detrimental To Our Health?
Think of the rusted bike. Oxidative stress is oxidation or rusting of your body. You can’t get a paint job though and we are all destined to age. But can you keep the rust off longer? Can you slow down the wear and tear of everyday life on your body?
Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the free radicals and antioxidants in your body. This means that there are more free radicals than antioxidants in your system, which may lead to certain chronic diseases like heart disease and Alzheimer's Disease.
Free radicals are considered the bad guys and antioxidants are the good guys. You want to consume quality antioxidants to fight off the free radical damage that happens every day in your body. And there are several other things you can do to fight off the bad guys!
How Do We Produce Free Radicals?
There are numerous ways we produce free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of oxygen and natural chemical reactions. They have a negative charge, which makes them highly reactive with other proteins in the body like lipids (fats) and DNA.
There are several things that effect and contribute to oxidative stress in the body and play a part in excess production of free radicals.
Think about your diet, lifestyle, exposure to carcinogens such as smoking, pollution, industrial chemicals, even radiation. All of these things may contribute to more free radicals in your body which can create a surplus of oxidative stress.
How Do You Fight Oxidative Stress And Free Radical Damage?
There are some easy suggestions and then there are ones that may take effort on your part. Okay, lets give you the basics…
- Sleep - Get quality sleep. Sleep helps mitigate inflammation in the body.
- Avoid Getting Sick - Fighting off infections can help prevent oxidative stress.
- Stress - Take time to care for your mental health. Chronic stress can cause oxidative damage.
- Decrease Your Exposure To Toxins - Stop smoking! Consider what you are putting in to your body.
- Sunscreen & Sunglasses - The sun increases damage to your cells through oxidative stress
- Diet - Proper, nutritious, healthy, colourful food is key!
- Exercise - This helps with stress, diet and even sleep.
- Supplementation - Products that contain powerful antioxidants to fight off free radical damage
What Are Some Powerful Antioxidants?
Antioxidants come from food and from supplementation. Maybe think of antioxidants as that paint job for your rusted bike. Antioxidants counteract the free radicals that damage your cells. Free radicals lack a full package of electrons so they steal electrons from other molecules and create havoc thus damaging those molecules. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons so they can slow down the production of free radicals. We can not entirely get rid of free radicals but we can put up a good fight in counteracting their effects.
Foods containing powerful antioxidants:
Purple or Red Grapes
Supplements: Antioxidants to look for:
Vitamins: A & Beta Carotene, C and E
Minerals: Copper, Zinc, Selenium. Preferably Chelated Minerals - they cost more but are absorbed better in our opinion
Carotenoids: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Lycopene
Get A Game Plan To Fight Off Oxidative Stress!
We are constantly fighting off free radicals and we know they won’t disappear from our bodies anytime soon. The quality of our soil and the nutrients in the food we eat have been depleted. Maybe think about choosing organic, but also remember to go for bright colour in the grocery store. Think about slowly changing the little things identified in this blog as being a cause of oxidative stress and then one by one eliminate them the best you can. And put emphasis on improving your exercise regimen, your diet and maybe getting that 8 hours of sleep you know you need. The little, positive changes will add up so you have a better chance of not getting rusty as you age. Get started today!