Oxidative stress relief

Oxidative stress refers to how the process of elements combine with oxygen in our body. This process releases substances called free radicals which have been shown to cause damage to the body on the cellular level. Obviously, we cannot survive without oxygen however the level of pollutants that enter our bodies today cause far more stress than it did in prior times. Elements which used to not be found in human tissues are now commonplace thanks to contamination of our air, soil and water. Therefore oxidative stress is much more damaging than it used to be.

Pollution is not the only cause of heightened levels of oxidative stress, however. Particularly in the western world, our modern reliance on processed and refined foods is creating nutritional deficits on a widespread level. Of particular importance is the presence of antioxidants in our diets. Antioxidants are the substances that fight the free radicals and keep them from damaging our cells, as well as repairing damage that has already taken place.

More emphasis needs to be put on oxidative stress relief as the health issues that arise from this stress are many. Oxidative stress is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. It is also a contributing factor to strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases. Research has even shown that oxidative stress unchecked contributes to accelerating the aging process, leading to earlier and more severe forms of cognitive decline and other illnesses.

The best way to ensure that the body has enough antioxidants to provide adequate oxidative stress relief is to include antioxidant rich foods in your daily diet. Vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A in the form of beta carotene are the three most important vitamins that are antioxidants but there are also minerals that are vital to the production of the enzymes needed within the body. The most crucial minerals would be manganese, selenium, copper and zinc. While these elements are in the body only in minute quantities, without the sufficient amounts the body is unable to produce all of the enzymes needed to counter the effects of oxidative stress.

The richest sources of several of the most important antioxidant compounds are fruits and vegetables, especially those with a lot of color as the antioxidants are often contained within the substances that cause the pigmentation. Vegetable oils, particularly olive oil, have several antioxidant compounds but for obvious reasons you won’t want to make oils a primary source in your diet. Seasonings like cinnamon and oregano are good sources for certain compounds, particularly resveratrol and flavonoids. Other sources for those two vital nutrients include coffee, tea, chocolate and red wine.

One problem with getting enough antioxidants to relieve oxidative stress is that many of these substances are altered or destroyed by many cooking processes. The more natural the state of the food, the more antioxidant benefits will be obtained. Even then, many of us are not getting enough antioxidants in our diet and therefore suffer more from the effects of oxidative stress. Nutritional supplements can help with oxidative stress relief but not by themselves. Supplements are not as readily absorbed by the body like food is so cannot be relied on to completely replace dietary sources of nutrients.

For maximum oxidative stress relief, you should be incorporating as many of the antioxidant rich food sources in your daily diet as possible. The most benefit will be obtained by eating these foods as close to their natural state as possible. A supplement containing antioxidants can help with getting the amounts needed for oxidative stress relief as long as you get the bulk of the nutrients from your diet.

Last updated on Jan 31st, 2010 and filed under Mental Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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