Stress is not an unfamiliar thing to us as stress can be beneficial at times, producing a boost that provides the drive and energy to help people get through situations like exams or deadlines. When stress becomes overwhelming, different people will have different ways to encounter it, for example listening to music, watching comedy, exercising while some just literally go crazy with it. This is not the kind of stress we would like to discuss today, instead we will talk about how our daily intake of oxygen is doing harm to the body — oxidative stress.

 

Have you heard of oxidative stress?

Like how an apple turns brown when exposed to air, our cells can “rust” too when we breathe due to oxidative stress, a process caused by free radicals. Untreated chronic oxidative stress can damage the body’s cells, leading to a range of diseases and causes symptoms of aging, such as wrinkles. Common causes of free radicals production in our body includes too little or excessive exercise, excessive stress, air pollution, food and water pollution, excessive alcohol and calories consumption, medication and radiations and etc.

 

How to fight the inner war?

God did not leave us defenseless against the onslaught of free radicals. Army of antioxidants, which are able to neutralize free radicals and render them harmless are able to be made by the body and the rest to be consumed through a healthy balanced diet. However, as the exposure towards free radicals increases along with technology advancement, supplementation should be considered as we will need more antioxidant to neutralize the free radicals produced in the body.

 

Vitamin E, the most important antioxidant

Being fat soluble, Vitamin E is efficient in clearing out the free radicals in the cell membrane. Working alongside with LDL cholesterol, vitamin E prevents the hardening of arteries., In addition to its activities as an antioxidant, vitamin E is involved in immune function, cell signaling, regulation of gene expression, and other metabolic processes. Numerous foods provide vitamin E. Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are among the best sources of alpha-tocopherol, and significant amounts are available in green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals

 

Vitamin C, the second in line

The water solubility of vitamin C making it the best candidate for antioxidant within the plasma or fluid of the blood. Through its antioxidant activity, Vitamin C might help prevent or delay the development of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases in which oxidative stress plays a causal role. Yet another benefit of vitamin C is that it has the ability to regenerate vitamin E so they can be used again and again. Citrus fruits, tomatoes and tomato juice, and potatoes are major contributors of vitamin C. Other good food sources include red and green peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe.

 

Phytonutrients, the one people usually ignore

Phytonutrients are natural chemicals or compounds produced by plants. They keep plants healthy, protecting them from insects and the sun. Phytonutrients also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help support a healthy human body. They may also enhance immunity and intercellular communication, repair DNA damage from exposure to toxins, detoxify carcinogens and alter estrogen metabolism. Phytonutrient-rich foods include colorful fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, tea, whole grains and many spices.

 

References:
1. https://www.wallerwellness.com/what-is-functional-medicine/understanding-oxidative-stress
2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318652.php
3. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
5. https://www.healthline.com/health/phytonutrients#outlook
6. https://www.livescience.com/52541-phytonutrients.html

 

Writer: Teddy @ Rev Publika (Pro Trainer cum Nutritionist)

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