#10 Protect Your Cells from Oxidative Stress
Do you suffer from oxidative stress? To help you answer this question, today I’ll conclude with the tenth topic of our article series, Food as Medicine. I’ll tell you more about how you can fight the free radicals that attack your cells as a natural occurrence of oxidation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
FREE RADICALS ARE GOOD FOR YOU, BUT ONLY IN SMALL AMOUNTS!
When you breathe, you’re constantly producing free radicals: these are active molecules that are derived from oxygen (about 2% of the oxygen you breathe in) that speed up cellular aging when too many are produced, or when your body doesn’t have enough protection systems. Once again, everything a matter of balance: for example, you need to produce free radicals in small amounts to ensure healthy immune system function, but not too many so that they don’t start attacking your own cells.
THE BEST WAY TO FIGHT OXIDATIVE STRESS
As such, in order to protect itself, your body has internal protection systems, called enzyme complexes, which depend not only on the presence of certain minerals (zinc, selenium, manganese and copper), but also on nutrients from your diet. These include antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E and polyphenols. When you don’t get enough antioxidants in your diet, you promote oxidative stress and, consequently, cellular aging as these components oxidize.
As such, free radicals not only attack your DNA’s structure, promoting carcinogenesis, but also the protein and lipid structures that cause a loss of cell function. This is how oxidized cholesterol is an essential determining factor in preventing cardiovascular disease: in fact, cholesterol oxidized by oxidative stress increases your risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease in general, more than LDL-cholesterol (which is wrongly called “bad cholesterol”).
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
- Favor fresh, seasonal and organic fruits and vegetables or local farming.
- Incorporate foods that are high in antioxidants into your everyday diet, such as green tea, cocoa, turmeric, herbs and spices.
- Favor low-temperature cooking methods such as steam, instead of high-temperature cooking methods such as grilling and barbecuing, in particular, which are powerful creators of procarcinogens.
OVERVIEW OF MY FIRST ARTICLE SERIES
After having read these articles, now you know that good health is closely related to the quality of your diet, especially when you regularly eat a diet that:
- Is high in many organic, local, raw and unprocessed plants: fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices, legumes and whole grain products (while watching out for the ones that contain gluten for those who are intolerant, such as wheat, oats, barley and rye).
- Is low in refined products, processed foods and premade meals that are high in salt and low in healthy fat, soda and sweets.
- Respects your digestive system (including your liver and intestine) and your body’s biological rhythm.
- Is high in healthy fat, like omega-3.
- Includes regular water consumption.
- Includes foods that are cooked at a low temperature.
To eat a diet that’s close to the one our ancestors ate is an ideal solution to eating a diet that agrees with our genetic make-up, knowing that this diet has to be adapted to the current environment in which we evolve… all this while taking the time to chew, savoring your meal with family and friends and without narrow-mindedness. Enjoying your food should be an integral part of your eating habits, and that’s your best medicine!