According to new research, oxidative stress is now emerging as a potential factor in many of the more than 600 neurodegenerative diseases recognized today.
What Is Oxidative Stress?
Your body needs both free radicals and antioxidants. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance in the number of free radicals and antioxidants in your body. Essentially, it is when you have too many free radicals, which can have adverse effects.
What Are Free Radicals?
Natural metabolic processes create the free radicals in your body. They are molecules with one or more unpaired electrons, which make them reactive. Free radicals quickly react with other molecules and can set off large chains of chemical reactions in your body. They are unstable and can cause damage to cells all over your body and speed up the aging process.
Free radicals are not just found in the human body. You can also find these oxygen-containing molecules in cigarette smoke, fried foods, alcohol, and pesticides.
How Does Oxidative Stress Affect the Body?
Oxidative stress increases inflammation in your body. The increased inflammation causes the release of more free radicals, leading to a vicious cycle that causes chronic inflammation. This chronic inflammation can lead to diseases like diabetes and arthritis. Unchecked oxidative stress may play a role in the development of several different neurodegenerative diseases, as well.
How to Prevent Oxidative Stress
At one point, scientists thought the antioxidants found in food were fit for preventing the effects of oxidative stress. However, recent studies show antioxidants do not provide reliable prevention against neurodegenerative diseases.
You can prevent oxidative stress by making proactive changes to your diet and lifestyle. A healthy, well-balanced diet made up of whole grains and unprocessed foods can go a long way in countering oxidative stress, especially when paired with regular exercise. Abstaining from tobacco products and reducing conventional external stressors can also prevent oxidative stress.
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