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. They can be beneficial or harmful. Antioxidants are molecules that can donate an electron to a free radical without making themselves unstable. This causes the free radical to stabilize and become less reactive. Read on to learn how oxidative stress affects the body and how to manage and prevent this imbalance.
Effects of oxidative stress on the body
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. Pathogens lead to infections. 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. These include: diabetesatherosclerosis, or the hardening of the blood vesselsinflammatory conditions and high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertensionheart diseaseneurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Oxidative stress also contributes to aging.
Managing and preventing oxidative stress
Managing and preventing oxidative stress. It’s impossible to completely avoid free radical exposure and oxidative stress. However, there are things you can do to minimize the effects of oxidative stress on your body. The main thing you can do is to increase your levels of antioxidants and decrease your formation of free radicals. One method of preventing oxidative stress is to ensure that you’re obtaining enough antioxidants in your diet. Eating five servings per day of a variety of fruits and vegetables is the best way to provide your body what it needs to produce antioxidants. Examples of fruits and vegetables include: berries, cherries, citrus fruits, prunes, dark leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, olives and plenty of exercise.