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  • Writer's pictureHarsha Bipin

Oxidative Stress and Antioxidants

We hear all the time about how certain foods are high in antioxidants, or that we should consume more antioxidant rich foods etc. But why do we need to do this, how does this help our body from premature aging, inflammation and chronic ailments?

Before we dive-in, some definitions first:

Free Radicals: These are oxygen containing molecules that have one or more unpaired electrons making them highly unstable. These molecules can be created within our body during a normal cellular metabolism, or via external sources like pollution, smoke, radiation, medication, and even foods. Normally, our body should be able to effectively neutralize them into harmless chemicals. Free radicals, if not controlled, start destabilizing cell components like DNA, lipid or protein by “stealing” their electron to stabilize themselves.

Antioxidant: These are molecules that have an extra electron to “donate” without getting destabilized themselves. Vitamin C and Vitamin E (beta-carotene) are some potent antioxidants.

Oxidative Stress: Is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract their harmful effects. Simply put, when free radicals get out of control, they increase the risk for serious illnesses and diseases causing stress to the body. It can also be explained as an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants that cause the underlying basis of oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress can cause quite a bit of harm to the body, however, antioxidants can be very beneficial in these circumstances. As defined above, antioxidants have an extra electron that they donate to the destabilized free radical molecules, so they don’t cause damage to the body.

Antioxidants protect the body against all the harm that can be caused by Oxidative stress:

Reduced inflammation

Slower signs of aging

Healthier skin

Reduced cancer risk

Detoxification support

Less risk of dementia

Protection against heart disease and stroke

Reduce vision loss or disorders like cataracts

Foods rich in antioxidants are:

Goji Berries




Kidney beans


Other whole foods like tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, pomegranate, kale, broccoli, grapes and wild-caught salmon.

Even herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, parsley, basil are also rich in antioxidants.

Glutathione, called “The Mother of all Anti-oxidants” by Dr. Mark Hyman, is now found to be deficient in some people. This could cause a lot of issues related to oxidative stress that antioxidants help with (listed above). Consuming foods rich in glutathione boost the immunity levels of the body. Foods rich in Glutathione

Cruciferous veggies: cauliflower kale, broccoli, cabbage, radish, turnips

B vitamins in variety of lentils, beans, beets, avocado

Selenium in Brazil nuts, turkey, sardines, chicken, egg, spinach

Vitamin E and C: Almonds, spinach, oranges, kiwi, berries, sweet potato, squash

Milk Thistle

Ways to reduce Oxidative Stress on the body:

- Eat anti-oxidant rich foods listed above

- Reduce processed junk foods

- Reduce Toxin exposure: Pollution, heavy metals, pesticides, air pollution

- Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise, yoga, meditation, eating right, having fun go a long way towards de-stressing the body.

- Cleanse: A few times a year follow a detox / cleanse program to give your body a much needed break

- Protandim Nrf2 supplement is a specific formula that activates the Nrf2 protein to regulate the body’s stress response. Nrf2 helps the cells produce their own antioxidants, so it can neutralize free radicals, feel younger and live healthier.

Contact me for more info on Protandim.



Dr. Axe

Ananya Mandal

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