Whenever people talk about your health, they throw around words like “antioxidants” “free radicals” “oxidative stress” and “oxidative damage.” And that’s all fine and good, assuming you know what those words mean.
But too often experts and specialists will discuss all this and not bother to explain what all this has to do with staying healthy. So let’s do it. Let’s talk about oxidative stress, oxidative damage, and free radicals – and what they all have to do with antioxidants and your health.
Free Radicals + Oxidative Stress + Oxidative Damage = SERIOUS Health Concerns
Have you ever left a cut apple out on the counter too long? It turns brown, and starts to shrivel along the edges. The same thing happens with metal that’s been exposed to the elements for too long…
That’s oxidative stress, and it doesn't just happen to apples or metal. It’s happening inside your body, too. This damage is actually caused by exposure to oxygen. See, as much as we need oxygen, being exposed to it creates something called free radicals – and they attack everything, from fruit to metal to human bodies.
Free radicals are unpaired molecules on the hunt for a molecule to pair up with. They are created by internal exposure to oxygen, but also to external influences you’re exposed to every day like pollution, chemicals, even sunlight. In fact, so much of what you thought was “just aging” is actually tied directly to these free radicals you can’t avoid. So, since there’s no way to avoid them, you have to counter them.
The free radical hunt for a molecule to pair with starts negatively impacting your healthy cells. This impact is known as oxidative stress, and it can change everything about your health. Your body fights back naturally, and more easily, when you’re younger.
But as you age, and after a lifetime of this attack, your body stops being able to neutralize the oxidative stress as well. Eventually, the cells will begin to die and as they die, you get oxidative damage. Premature aging. Stiffness and aches in your joints. Even your organs and vital systems becoming less efficient.
What Happens When You Don’t Stop Oxidative Stress?
Since free radicals can attack any cell, they can cause oxidative damage throughout your body. As such, oxidative damage can be just as widespread.
From your cardiovascular system, to your organs and glands, nerve cell damage, even to the youthfulness of your skin, nothing is immune from oxidative damage.
And that’s why every conversation about maintaining your health includes at least some discussion of oxidative stress and damage. But even though you can’t avoid free radicals, you can push back against oxidative stress.
So How Can You Stop This Harmful Process?
Antioxidants are the cornerstone of that push back. Known as “free radical scavengers,” antioxidants work by either limiting the formation of free radicals, or by donating a molecule to the free radical.
Once a free radical has its second molecule, it is stabilized, which neutralizes the threat of further oxidative stress. So where do you find the antioxidants to protect your heart, your cells, even your youth? Look for fruits and vegetables with deep, and bright, colors. Some widely respected antioxidants include…
- Açai fruit extract:This reddish-purple fruit comes from a palm tree in Brazil. But more importantly, it may have even more antioxidants than cranberries, raspberries, and blueberries.
- Alpha-lipoic acid: As an antioxidant, this chemical has been used to help protect everything from your brain to your skin.
- Pomegranate fruit extract: Red wine and green tea are commonly used antioxidants – but pomegranate fruit juice has been shown to have three times the antioxidant power of either of them!
- Quercetin dihydrate: A flavonoid found in many foods, it helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and may help reduce symptoms of allergies.
- Curcuma longa root: This root, more commonly known as the spice turmeric, may help promote a healthy inflammatory response, keeping you healthier, longer.
- Tart Cherry: A supercharged antioxidant, which means it is overloaded with vitamins and minerals that help beat back the effects of oxidative stress and promote a healthy inflammatory response.
But you can find antioxidants in vitamins and mineral, too. Vitamins and minerals like…
- Vitamin C: This common vitamin acts as an antioxidant by boosting your immune system, maintaining oral health, helping avoid age-related vision issues, reducing the effects of sun exposure, and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It’s also believed to be a defense against oxidative damage, and the multiple health issues caused by oxidative stress
- Beta Carotene: This colorful antioxidants is one of the most effective free radical scavengers around.
- Zinc: It is involved in almost every aspect of cellular metabolism, growth, and repair. And unlike some other metals used in the body, zinc itself doesn’t oxidize quickly, so it doesn’t contribute to oxidative stress.
The list of available antioxidants could go on and on (and on…) but the important thing to know is that an antioxidant can be one of the most powerful tools you have to maintaining your health.
If you are looking for heart health, joint support, prostate protection, maintaining mental sharpness, even liking how you look in the mirror and oh so many more health concerns, then you must counter oxidative stress before it becomes oxidative damage.
Knowing about oxidative stress – and knowing how to beat it back – is your key to good health.