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This month's topic - The Details Matter A Lot
Think about an apple turning brown when it is exposed to air. Then think about seeing inside your body and watching your cells rusting when you breathe. Both of those activities occur for the same reason due to a process called oxidative stress.
What does that have to do with you? Everything!!!! As you know, rusting of any kind causes destruction. If your car were rusting, would you be casual and even indifferent about that? Of course you wouldn't, even though you can get another car. So it is that we must do whatever we can to stop the same process within the cells of the only earthly body we will ever have.
Oxidative stress is caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that "oxidize" or damage cells throughout the body. Silently and consistently, oxidative stress leaves our cells and tissues unable to function properly. Over time, this means that free radicals begin to have serious consequences for our health.
The reason the consequences become evident is because they damage tissue, they damage our DNA, they damage our cell membrane. Problems with the cell membrane means that the bad stuff inside them cannot get out, and the good stuff that heals and restores cannot get in. That is the reason for almost all of our chronic diseases, which we are seeing at younger ages that previously did not appear until the elder years.
Free radicals play a significant and fundamental role in serious diseases such as cancer. They also cause hardened arteries, age spots, and wrinkles. Because we are serious about the comprehensive care that we provide our patients, Integrative Health Group is dedicated to recognizing the causes of free radicals and helping patients adopt a lifestyle that helps them fight back in order to safeguard their health by preventing oxidative stress.
Specific Causes of Free Radicals
Our mitochondria are the factories that produce energy in each of our cells. Free radicals are a byproduct of energy consumption inside those factories. As you breathe, you cannot help but make some free radicals, but many other factors in your lifestyle and environment can significantly contribute to their production, like:
Excessive stress. Stress and the stress hormone cortisol increase inflammation, which further increases free radical production.
Eating too many sugars and/or refined carbohydrates. When we eat simple carbohydrates from bread, crackers, cereal, sugar, and most fruits and fruit juices, our mitochondria release more "exhaust," creating higher levels of free radicals as they burn fuel from food for energy.
Exercising too much or too little. Exercise is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle, but too much can increase oxidative stress in our bodies. One of our tests gives us insight into this type of stress. In general, more than 60 minutes per day is considered excessive. A basic 30 minutes of cardio three times per week, plus resistance training, is what all of us should aim to accomplish.
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