Are you absorbing and generating too many “oxidants”, and not ingesting enough “antioxidants”? Understanding, and correcting this imbalance will have a huge impact on your health and longevity.
OXIDANTS (a.k.a. free radicals): are highly toxic to your tissues. On an average, you produce an estimated 1 to 3 billion free radicals per day, per tissue cell. These are acquired as follows:
1) On a daily basis as by-product waste chemicals that result from processing food into energy (i.e., the more food ingested, the more free radicals produced):
The way we eat and our sedentary lifestyles are not compatible with our metabolic apparatus, which evolved over three million years of icy conditions. It certainly did not evolve with cheeseburgers and cars in mind, which appeared on the scene fewer than a hundred years ago (see up-coming Medical Pearls- “Running after a wooly mammoth, the pre-historic legacy)”.
2) Gain access into your body from your environment—for e.g., car exhaust particles, industrial waste products and smog.
3) Excessive alcohol intake, as well as tobacco, and illegal drug use (also produce inordinate amounts of free radicals).
ANTIOXIDANTS: Free radical oxidants need to be constantly detoxified; there are 2 types of antioxidants that provide a network of buffers against free radical (oxidant) damage:
– An internal antioxidant defense system: enzymes produced by your own tissues (e.g. superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase).
– An external antioxidant defense system, obtained from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Any free radicals that escape the antioxidant defense systems will trigger a type of stress in your body called “oxidative stress,” causing damage to your DNA, proteins, and lipids (fats). Repeated oxidative stress can accelerate aging and can lead to any of the top ten killer diseases, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as many non-killer conditions such as arthritis, cataracts, macular degeneration, fibromyalgia and depression.
Studies have shown that no matter how many antioxidant supplements you take, you are not likely to neutralize the trillions of free radicals you generate daily. You need to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet profile that highlights a high consumption of fruits, complex carbohydrates (vegetables, legumes such as beans and peas, grains, cereals, breads, potatoes, corn, and pasta), moderate consumption of fish, olive oil as the main source of fat, and low to moderate amount of red wine during meals. For example: Daily: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spicesAt least twice a week: fish and seafoodDaily, or weekly, but in moderate portions: poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurtDaily: small servings of pasta or rice (preferably brown rice or wild rice)Less often and on rare occasions: meats and sweets
Posted in Medical Pearls, Oxidants and Antioxidants