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#5 What is oxidative stress?

Oxidative stress is a term we use when referring to the presence of excess oxidation in our body’s energy-producing processes.

Energy production in the body is a constantly occurring process that requires oxygen to facilitate growth and support normal body functions such as brain activity, heartbeat and respiration. The oxygen we breathe produces oxidizing substances – free radicals – that are involved in genetic damage and our aging.

Oxidative stress also generates too many unstable molecules – free radicals – in the body that can attack cells, leading to various diseases. Thus, the accumulation of this damage in our genome shortens the telomeres (a specific part of our DNA) and accelerates the premature aging of cells. The greater the damage, the greater the presence of wrinkles, poor vision, more gray hair, etc.

Causes of oxidative stress

  • Smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Unhealthy eating habits with an excess of processed products.
  • Excessive exposure to the sun -especially between 12 and 4 o’clock in the afternoon where there is greater solar incidence-.
  • Industrial environment and daily contact with chemical agents or pesticides.
  • Continuous presence of psychological and mental stress.
  • Health problems.

To balance the excess of free radicals that can cause oxidative stress, the body is endowed with endogenous antioxidant mechanisms capable of neutralizing these reactive species. Thus, this mechanism that we all possess is enhanced by a diet rich in antioxidants, it is also important to reduce the consumption of trans fats, ultra-processed products, alcohol, tobacco, among many others.

Perform physical exercise continuously and moderately, since it is attributed to increase endogenous antioxidant capacity.

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