Antioxidants help fight free radicals and thus can be used for oxidative stress relief.
What Is Oxidative Stress?
Oxidation in our bodies brings about the production of free radicals which causes stress on our body's healthy cells. Environmental stress causes the creation of more free radicals, which forces our bodies to process oxygen faster. This is known as oxidative stress. It brings about an imbalance involving antioxidants and free radicals, and this is why taking antioxidants helps bring about stress relief with their anti-aging and other properties.
Oxidative Stress Symptoms
Oxidative stress is thought to contribute to the aging process, neurodegenerative diseases and certain cardiovascular diseases. These include:
- Tissue injury
- Neurodegenerative Diseases: Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's, Huntington's, Parkinson's, and similar diseases
- Cardiovascular Diseases such as strokes and hart attacks
Deficient nutrition also plays a role in oxidative stress. Contributing factors include the lack of pure nutritious foods now that our soil has become so depleted. Along with that, people's diets are filled with fast food and processed foods, which for many, results in extra weight which further depletes our bodies of the required vitamins and minerals they need.
Oxidative Stress Relief Options
When free radicals cause oxidative stress on healthy cells in the body, ingesting antioxidants can bring relief. It is best to take in antioxidants every day for the maximum benefit, and the American Heart Association recommends getting antioxidants by eating a diverse assortment of foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Foods High in Antioxidants
Foods that are rich, healthy sources of antioxidants include:
- Citrus Fruits
- Leafy Greens
- Lean Meat
- Red Capsicum
- Red Wine
- Sesame Seeds
- Tea, Green Tea
- Vegetable Oils
- Whole Grains
While many people use dietary supplements to take in antioxidants, it is not the recommended way to bring about oxidative stress relief. Clinical trials have not yet proven their beneficial effects. However, these supplements are used by people who know their diet is deficient:
- Vitamin E: Some in the medical profession say that based on current available data, doses of vitamin E greater than 100 mg/day have not decisively shown to provide any benefit and may even raise risk of harm. Until more is learned, doctors who choose to recommend vitamin E supplementation suggest dosages less than 100 mg/day. On the other side of the issue, proponents for taking vitamin E supplements claim it protects the body from oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals. The premise behind this theory is that when you have enough vitamin E in your system, unstable free radicals pull electrons from the vitamin E molecules rather than from healthy molecules.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that works as a weapon to fight free-radicals. In one dietary consumption study on the benefits of vitamin C, it was determined that taking 300 mg daily can add years to your life.
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is recommended for a number of skin conditions like eczema, acne, and psoriasis. It is also recommended for night blindness, urinary problems, menstrual cramps, and the prevention of several kinds of cancer. If you are considering taking this supplement to fight free radicals, it is important to note that vitamin A is not recommended for women who are pregnant because excess vitamin A can lead to birth defects.
- Selenium: Selenium is a trace mineral necessary in small amounts. This mineral combines with proteins to create selenoproteins. This is why it plays a role in oxidative stress relief because selenoproteins are important antioxidant enzymes that help avert damage caused by free radicals on a cellular level.
Putting Oxidative Stress into Perspective
Our bodies react to oxygen on an ongoing basis. From the time we're born, we breathe and our cells create energy. From that first breath, our bodies begin to produce free radicals. When free radicals interact with other molecules they can cause oxidative stress. Antioxidants can help to counteract this stress and even help the body to defend itself against resultant damage.