The surprisingly simple key to bouncing back
Your body has an amazing memory.
Okay, so you may have lost the keys for the zillionth time…
Or forgotten your mother-in-law’s birthday…
Or what you had for lunch yesterday or… wait what was the question?
Your cells, on the other hand, are a different story.
The human body remembers past experiences like no one’s business — sickness, stress, emotion… they all make an impression — and use that memory to prepare you for the next time disaster strikes
Your body is equipped to handle stress and keep you going, but putting chronic wear and tear on your body results in a molecular breakdown called oxidative stress.
Even Electrons Get Lonely
Now like most problems, this one starts off as a normal bodily occurrence.
The natural stress of life causes your molecules to oxidize and — long story short — lose an electron.
These oxidized cells are called “free radicals,” and while they may sound like a merry band of revolutionaries — after all, who’s going to miss one electron? — they are far from liberating for your body.
Because electrons are needy little guys. When they aren’t in neat pairs, the odd electron will reach out for just about anyone — making the entire molecule extra reactive. Too many reactionary cells and you will begin feeling the yucky side effects.
So oxidative stress is basically the disparity between the amount of free radicals in your body and ability to counteract their harmful effects with antioxidants.
Oxidative stress can cause:
- Heart disease,
- Wrinkling and age marks
- Kidney disease
- Joint issues.
- Eye damage in the form of macular degeneration and cataracts
Every organ and system in your body is damaged by oxidative stress.
Even autoimmune diseases, lung diseases, and brain issues/diseases can all have some of their roots traced back to oxidative stress.
Your environment may also be a source of oxidative stress:
- certain pesticides and cleaners
- cigarette smoke
A contemporary diet and exercise program is teeming with high oxidation levels, as is a high-stress lifestyle without adequate decompression.
Are You Ready for a Test?
To find out your oxidative stress levels, ask your doctor about the following tests: (She or he will be impressed at your knowledge!)
OxLDL occurs when the LDL cholesterol particles in your body react with free radicals. The more free radicals, the more oxLDL. These particles then begin reacting with surrounding tissues, causing damage, especially in the arteries. This is immediately followed by the accumulation of inflammatory cells, such as macrophages, and makes the area sticky so more and more inflammatory particles start to build up. Eventually, you have vascular disease and issues such as heart disease, dementia, etc. This is a simple blood test your doctor can run for you.
- Microalbumin test
Microalbumin is a protein found in the urine that represents kidney damage from oxidative stress. It can also be found in cases of kidney infections, high fevers, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. The best way to test for it is a 24-hour urine catch.
- PH test
Salivary and urinary pH is a great and very inexpensive way to measure the condition and function of the body.
- Myeloperoxidase (MPO)
This test will help you and your doctor evaluate cardiovascular risk from oxidative stress. MPO is a white blood cell-derived inflammatory enzyme released when an artery wall is damaged from a high inflammatory state. MPO is believed to mediate the vascular inflammation that causes plaque build-up in the arteries.
- Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)
GGT is a liver function test that gives doctors an indication of liver disease and/or helps doctors quantify other disease processes in the body. Elevated levels of GGT are a simple but accurate measure of oxidative stress in the body.
Other helpful tests include monitoring levels of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), SOD1 and SOD2 and liposaccharides. Salivary and urinary pH is another great and very inexpensive way to measure the condition and function of the body.
You don’t need them all, but with the help of a medical professional, choose the ones that might be most applicable to your situation.
For example, if you are a 50-year-old extreme exercise “survivor” with a family history of heart disease, you may want to look at oxLDL and MPO.
If you are a younger, active 25-year-old, stressed out to the hilt, look into the 8-OHdG test.
So We’re Stressed Out… Now What?
Everyone produces free radicals naturally in their body through processes like exercise or inflammation. And they are a normal byproduct of metabolism.
But treating the side effects of their destruction can be costly — and painful.
Let’s nip it in the bud instead.
Counteract those rascally free radicals this week in any of several ways.
Fortify your body from within — using the power of antioxidants.
(The very name means ex- oxidation.)
Antioxidants reach out to lonely electrons and donate one of their own, stabilizing reactive free radicals without taking molecular damage themselves — making the body a less stressful place to live.
Eating five servings per day of a variety of fruits and vegetables is a surprisingly simple way to boost your fighting power. Examples of foods high in antioxidants include:
- Leafy greens
- Dark chocolate
- Fish and nuts
- Foods high in vitamin E and/or C
- Green tea
And remember: Both starvation diets and overeating put extra oxidative stress on your body. Start your day with a hearty breakfast, stay fueled with portioned, paced meals throughout your day, and drink lots of water!
- Exercise moderately on a consistent basis
- Avoid smoking and access to second-hand smoke
- Take note of your toxin exposure. This includes household chemicals, pesticides, and unnecessary radiation exposure.
- Wear sunscreen. Prevent skin breakdown due to ultraviolet light.
- Decrease alcohol intake.
- Get sleep. Proper sleep improves brain and body function as well as hormone and antioxidant balance.
It’s nice to remember that your body is working relentlessly to keep you up and at’em — even when you forget your lunch at home or put the kids in each other’s clothes.
So this week, give yourself a little extra love and take some of that oxidative stress off your shoulders. Eat some veggies, enjoy a walk, protect your zz’s — and always take it one step at a time!
You’ll surprise yourself with how far you go.
Quick note: go much deeper into this topic in my new book Obtainable, so if you’d like to explore a bit more, check it out here!
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