How Do You Know If You Have Oxidative Stress?
Oxidative stress is problematic because it indicates that your body’s balance of antioxidants counteracting free radicals is off. This imbalance can happen due to various factors, such as environmental influences and where you live. Determining whether your body is experiencing oxidative stress can be challenging. Nonetheless, there are specific cues that this might be the case. This blog covers the factors that can influence oxidative stress, risk factors, and how to manage this problem once you’re facing it.
How Does Oxidative Stress Happen?
Free radicals are a specific type of molecule found within the body. They can lead to chemical reactions known as oxidation, which can be damaging by contributing to health conditions or disease or positive, by helping to attack harmful pathogens. Antioxidants help free radicals to become stable and have less of a reaction. They help to manage and balance oxidative stress.
While oxidation is normal, oxidative stress happens because of the imbalance mentioned above. When there are too many free radicals and antioxidants can’t balance them out, you can end up with cell and tissue damage that, over time, may lead to cancer, heart disease, inflammatory conditions, and a variety of other health concerns.
While oxidative stress is normal and part of aging, it can contribute to disease and health conditions when it is chronic. You can even experience accelerated aging. For these reasons, it is worth making an effort to reduce your exposure and balance the free radicals. The key is that healthy oxidative stress should be mild and temporary, whereas the problem arises when it becomes chronic.
What Are the Risk Factors of Free Radicals?
As mentioned, a certain level of free radicals is normal, and they are part of the balance of the body. So, you’ll have some created through physical activity or natural processes like inflammation, which, like free radicals, is normal when it is temporary and doesn’t get out of control to become a chronic problem.
In addition, you can obtain more free radicals through certain conditions within your life. The standard American diet can add to free radicals through its high content of processed foods, fat, and sugar. Alcohol and cigarette smoke can also be contributing factors. Other environmental risk factors you may be exposed to include radiation, ozone, pollution, pesticides, some medications, and cleaning products. Being obese is also a risk factor.
Too many free radicals can lead to oxidative stress that gets out of control and contributes to health problems.
How Can You Manage Oxidative Stress?
Thankfully, it’s possible to influence free radicals and antioxidants so that you can play a role in the balance within your body. By working toward a better balance, you are doing what you can to lessen oxidative stress and reduce the risk of its various health consequences.
Reduce Free Radicals
While you can’t stop free radicals altogether and wouldn’t want to, you can aim to reduce your exposure to environmental ones by cutting down on the risk factors you’re around. Work on what’s in your control. Obese people can aim to lose weight, smokers can aim to quit, and everyone can cut back on cleaning chemicals and seek out more natural sources. Other actions that help against too much free radical activity include wearing sunscreen outdoors, consistently exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating moderate portions with time between sessions.
Increase Antioxidant Intake
Also, aim to take in more antioxidants that help stabilize and balance free radicals. The main way to achieve this goal is through a healthy diet with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. You can also find antioxidants in green tea, onion, and garlic, the spices of cinnamon and turmeric, nuts, and fish. Whether through diet or supplementation, vitamins C and E act as antioxidants.
Try Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is an innovative way to approach the balance of free radicals and antioxidants. Red and near-infrared light have wavelengths that can enter the cells and stimulate metabolic energy processes. They encourage the production of ATP, which contributes to the natural healing of tissue damage. It can also help to cut down on inflammation within the body. Red light therapy is a helpful tool besides diet and lifestyle, as it can help counteract environmental exposure to free radicals that is beyond your control.
TheraLight red light beds allow you to provide this type of light therapy to your entire body at once. Red light therapy can help counteract free radicals to avoid as much oxidative stress as possible and provide natural healing of damage that has already started.
This blog was originally published on January 31, 2022, and was last updated on March 9, 2023.