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How do you lower oxidative stress? 10 ways

Oxidative stress is best known for its effect on (skin) aging. But unfortunately it also contributes to all kinds of ailments. Just think of cardiovascular disease , cancer , type 2 diabetes , various autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems , Crohn's disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Your lifestyle changes can have a major impact on preventing and combating oxidative stress. That is why we have 10 important tips ready for you.

What is Oxidative Stress?

Oxidative stress means an imbalance between the release of free radicals and the amount of antioxidants present.

Every body produces free radicals. These always arise in a limited amount during the production of energy in the mitochondria. These energy factories use oxygen (hence: oxidation) to create energy. But unfortunately, a waste product is released: the free radicals.

How do you lower oxidative stress? 10 ways

Free radicals are unstable molecules because they have lost an electron. As a solution to this, they are going to steal electrons from healthy cells. But this in turn also turns them into free radicals.

In a healthy body, the limited production of free radicals is compensated by the intake of antioxidants. These antioxidants bind to the free radicals, so that the damage in the body is limited.

Chronic oxidative stress

So a little “damage” is normal. The human body was not made to live forever. And eating an unhealthy snack every now and then won't make you 10 years older. But if this system is not sufficiently under control, you get great chronic oxidative stress, in which many healthy cells are destroyed. This not only causes accelerated aging, but also all kinds of other diseases.

5 Ways to Prevent Oxidative Stress

Prevention is better than cure. These are the 5 most efficient ways to (partly) prevent oxidative stress

  1. Eat healthy

You are what you eat. Eating too much sugar and fast food increases oxidative stress. Baking and deep-frying foodstuffs in particular is very unhealthy. This creates AGEs: harmful substances that are formed by the reaction of a sugar and a protein.

This term stands for advanced glycation end products. But especially remember the abbreviation "age", which means age, because this is unfortunately a good mnemonic to the aging effect.

  1. Eat organic

You can see from your diet, or rather: your food, that the use of hot frying fat is not healthy. Because fried products are not really food.

But not all oxidative stress is equally visible. Just think of eating fruits and vegetables . Very healthy, but only if you eat natural or organic . Because if these healthy foods are sprayed with all kinds of toxic sprays, you still give your body a lot of oxidative stress.

  1. Drink less alcohol

Unfortunately, consuming alcohol creates free radicals. This mainly affects the cells in the liver . In addition, it also weakens the defense system against these free radicals. A double loss if you drink often. Or a double win if you decide to decrease!

  1. Be sensible with the sun

Too much sunbathing and especially burning is very bad for your skin. People who burn frequently are much more prone to oxidative stress and have an increased risk of skin cancer.

But sunlight is natural and healthy for you to a limited extent. We all know that it stimulates the production of vitamin D. However, sunbathing and tanning is not ideal either. Many sun creams themselves contain all kinds of harmful substances.

What now? Ideally, get regular sun all year round, but in moderation. One or more hours a day is possible, but avoid the hours around noon. That way you minimize the risk of burns and you don't necessarily have to lubricate.

Are you going to be out in the sun all day? Then protect yourself with a t-shirt or hat, or grease yourself anyway.

  1. Breathe clean air

Clean air is wrongly given much less attention than exposure to the sun. You have a little less control over it. But research shows that breathing polluted air in crowded cities can significantly shorten your lifespan. The oxidative stress of polluted air is a silent killer.

What can you do about this?

  • stop smoking
  • Don't live in a busy city
  • Buy an air filter
  • Do not cycle between busy traffic
  • Buy purifying house plants
  • Sleep with your windows open (if your outdoor environment is good)
  • Go into nature more often

5 Ways to Fight Oxidative Stress

It is best to prevent oxidative stress as much as possible with the above tips. But avoiding it completely won't work. That is why it is also important to ensure that you can easily manage the oxidative stress that does arise. Here are the 5 best ways:

  1. Eat extra antioxidants

By avoiding fast food, you avoid the formation of oxidative stress. And by eating specific foods with a lot of antioxidants, you can reduce the effect of oxidative stress. Of course all fruits and vegetables are fine, but what else?

  • Vitamin E : this is a strong antioxidant and is found in, among other things, walnuts , almonds , peanuts and hazelnuts.
  • Turmeric : This spice contains curcuminoids, active substances that can neutralize free radicals. The substance mainly has an effect on the respiratory tract.
  • Dark chocolate : cocoa is very high in flavonoids, a strong type of antioxidant. But it is important that you choose pure cocoa or dark chocolate. Unfortunately, sugars have a negative effect.
  1. Drink more coffee and tea

Coffee contains all kinds of polyphenols, protective plant substances. The best known is of course caffeine , which also has a stimulating effect. But coffee beans contain many more of these substances with fun names such as cafestrol, trigonelline, chlorogenic acid, hydroxyzinic acid, melanoidin and quinine.

Tea is also an excellent way to get more antioxidants. Green tea is best known for this. But actually black and white tea are about equally good. Herbal teas can also help, but they don't contain real tea leaves. This effect will therefore depend on the specific herbal tea you choose.

  1. Move and Moisturize

Drinking coffee and tea is not only good for the antioxidants present. Hydrating yourself is in itself a good way to manage oxidative stress. Your body needs moisture to remove harmful substances.

And movement also has this effect. By exercising enough, you also set blood vessels and your lymphatic system in motion. This makes it easier for “the fluid” in your body to go everywhere. A walk or a yoga class is enough for this.

  1. Take Probiotics

Everything that has to do with health or illness has a link with digestion . If you are unable to absorb healthy nutrients, you cannot use them. Healthy intestines are therefore a must.

And probiotics can help too. Some probiotic strains such as Ribospore and Bacillus megaterium produce antioxidant carotenoids. It is best to ask a doctor or nutritionist for advice.

  1. Get a good night's sleep

Ultimately, it is especially at night that your body recovers from oxidative stress. Sufficient quality sleep is therefore necessary to give your body the time and space to do what it needs. Have a good evening ritual and optimize your sleep by darkening your room and making sure it is very quiet.

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