My fight against oxidative stress

To combat oxidative stress and free radicals, you need to fill up on antioxidants. We have all heard or read this somewhere, but without really understanding what it means. Time for an explanationÉ

Oxidative stress, what is it?

Firstly, you should know that oxidative stress has nothing to do with psychological stress and anxiety. As it functions each day, our body constantly produces free radicals, aggressive substances for your cells that can be controlled, even destroyed, by compounds that can ‘detoxify' them. These are antioxidants. The problem arises when there is an imbalance: these free radicals are produced in excess and the body can't do anything to protect itself. This is what we mean by oxidative stress. Whether on a small or medium scale, it provokes the denaturation of several different elements in the body: proteins, lipids, sugars, tissue alteration, muscles, arteries. The result: these phenomenon accelerate skin ageing. 

What causes oxidative stress?

There are a number of factors that encourage oxidative stress and sometimes it can be difficult to figure out which one is the culprit. For example, illnesses such as cardiovascular disorders, cancer or certain chronic illnesses that cause inflammatory problems. Anxiety can also create imbalances as well as excess weight. Exterior factors are also at play here: pollution, smoking, alcohol, medication, sun, intensive physical activity or, in contrast, a sedentary lifestyle. And, of course, imbalances can also appear when you have a lower intake of antioxidants in your diet.  

How can you combat oxidative stress?

To prevent oxidative stress, it's essential to limit the factors which can encourage it, such as tobacco or sun exposure. Having a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet will also help reinforce your body so it's more capable of fighting off these free radicals. But the best way to combat this oxidative stress is to fill up on antioxidants!  - In your diet: focus on vitamin A (tuna, cheese, eggs, fruits and vegetables with orange and red flesh, carrots, spinach, lamb's lettuce, broccoli, green beans), C (citrus fruits, exotic fruits, parsley, kiwi, strawberries, watercress, brussels sprouts, potatoes) and E (sunflower oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, almonds, cashew nuts, prawns, crab, broccoli, avocado, asparagus), the trace-elements (selenium, zinc, copper) and polyphenols (these are found in several different fruits and vegetables, but are also responsible for the antioxidant powers of wine and tea).  - In your cosmetics: Given that you would have to eat a massive amount of antioxidant-rich foods to see a real difference, facial skincare creams lend a helping hand as these antioxidants are integrated almost systematically into the formulas of both moisturisers and anti-ageing creams.  - In your nutritional supplements: if you have a healthy balanced diet, you shouldn't need nutritional supplements. However, if you want to give them a go, pay close attention to the mixtures and dosages and ask your pharmacist for advice.