Reduce Oxidative Stress and Save Your Body

Reduce Oxidative Stress and Save Your Body

reduce oxidative stressWe must reduce oxidative stress if we are to live a long, healthy, active life.  The body is under constant attack from oxidative stress. Oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these single oxygen atoms, also known as free radicals, scavenge the body seeking an electron so they can “mate”. This causes damage to cells, proteins , DNA and consequently, body organs.

Free Radicals

Free radicals are associated with human disease, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many others. They also may have a link to aging, which has been defined as a gradual accumulation of free-radical damage, according to Christopher Wanjek, the Bad Medicine columnist for Live Science.

Substances that generate free radicals can be found in the food we eat, the medicines we take, the air we breathe and the water we drink, according to the Huntington’s Outreach Project for Education at Stanford University. These substances include fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides and air pollutants.

When free radicals accumulate, they frequently cause a state known as oxidative stress. This may damage your DNA and other important structures in your cells.  Sadly, chronic oxidative stress can increase your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer

According to naturopathic doctor Donielle Wilson’s website, symptoms of oxidative stress may also include fatigue, headaches, noise sensitivity, memory loss, brain fog, muscle and joint pain, wrinkles and gray hair, vision trouble and decreased immunity.


Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body and found in foods. They help defend your cells from damage caused by these potentially harmful free radicals.

Fortunately, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help increase your blood antioxidant levels to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of these diseases.

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The 12 best foods to reduce Oxidative Stress

Here is a list of the 12 best foods that will help reduce oxidative stress in your body.

1. Dark Chocolate

Lucky for chocolate lovers, dark chocolate is nutritious.  It has more cocoa than regular chocolate, as well as more minerals and antioxidants.  IN fact dark chocolate has even more antioxidants than the ever popular blueberries and raspberries, a well known source of antioxidants

Moreover, the antioxidants in cocoa and dark chocolate have been linked to impressive health benefits such as less inflammation and reduced risk factors for heart disease.  For example, a review of 10 studies looked at the link between cocoa intake and blood pressure in both healthy people and those with high blood pressure.

Consuming cocoa-rich products like dark chocolate reduced systolic blood pressure (the upper value) by an average of 4.5 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure (the lower value) by an average of 2.5 mmHg (4).

Another study found that dark chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease by raising blood antioxidant levels, raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and preventing “bad” LDL cholesterol from becoming oxidized (5).

Oxidized LDL cholesterol is harmful because it promotes inflammation in the blood vessels, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease (6).

2. Pecans

Pecans are a type of nut native to Mexico and South America. They are a good source of healthy fats and minerals, plus contain a high amount of antioxidants.  For example, a study found that people who consumed 20% of their daily calories from pecans experienced significantly increased blood antioxidant levels .

In another study, people who consumed pecans experienced a 26–33% fall in oxidized blood LDL levels within two to eight hours. High levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol in the blood is a risk factor for heart disease .

Although pecans are a great source of healthy fats,  they are also high in calories. So it’s important to eat pecans in moderation to avoid consuming too many calories.

3. Blueberries

Although they are low in calories, blueberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.  In fact, several studies suggest that blueberries contain the highest amount of antioxidants among all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.

In addition, research from test-tube and animal studies has shown that the antioxidants in blueberries may delay the decline in brain function that tends to happen with age.  They’re thought to do this by neutralizing harmful free radicals, reducing inflammation and changing the expression of certain genes.

Additionally, the antioxidants in blueberries, especially a type called anthocyanins, have been shown to reduce risk factors for heart disease, lowering LDL cholesterol levels and blood pressure

4. Strawberries

Strawberries are among the most popular berries on the planet. They are sweet, versatile and a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants .

Moreover, strawberries, like blueberries mentioned above,  contain a type of antioxidant called anthocyanins, which give them their red color. Strawberries that have a higher anthocyanin content tend to be brighter red .

Research has shown that anthocyanins may help reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and raising “good” HDL cholesterol .  A review of 10 studies found that taking an anthocyanin supplement significantly reduced LDL cholesterol among people who had either heart disease or high LDL levels .

5. Artichokes

Artichokes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable not very common in the North American diet.

But they have a long history of use in medicine.  In ancient times people used artichoke leaves as a remedy to treat liver conditions such as jaundice .

Artichokes are also a great source of dietary fiber, minerals and antioxidants . Artichokes are especially rich in the antioxidant known as chlorogenic acid.  Studies suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of chlorogenic acid may reduce the risk of certain cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The antioxidant content of artichokes can vary, depending on how they are prepared.  Boiling artichokes may raise their antioxidant content by eight times, and steaming them may raise it by 15 times. On the other hand, frying artichokes may reduce their antioxidant content . but we should be avoiding fried food anyhow right?

6. Goji Berries

Goji berries are the dried fruits of two related plants, Lycium barbarum and Lycium chinense.

They have been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years.   Goji berries are often marketed as a superfood because they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

In addition, goji berries contain unique antioxidants known as Lycium barbarumpolysaccharides. These have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer, and may help combat skin aging .

Moreover, goji berries may also be very effective at raising blood antioxidant levels.  In one study, healthy elderly people consumed a milk-based goji berry drink every day for 90 days. By the end of the study, their blood antioxidant levels had risen by 57%.

While goji berries are nutritious, they can be expensive to eat on a regular basis.  Moreover, there are only a handful of studies on the effects of goji berries in humans. Though these support their health benefits, more human-based research is needed.

7. Raspberries

Raspberries are soft, tart berries that are often used in desserts. They are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, manganese and antioxidants .  Several studies have linked the antioxidants and other components in raspberries to lower risks of cancer and heart disease.

One test-tube study found that the antioxidants and other components in raspberries killed 90% of stomach, colon and breast cancer cells in the sample. A review of five studies concluded that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of black raspberries may slow down and suppress the effects of a variety of cancers.  Moreover, the antioxidants in raspberries, especially anthocyanins, may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. This may reduce the risk of heart disease.

That said, most of the evidence for the health benefits of raspberries is from test-tube studies. More research in humans is needed before recommendations can be made.

8. Kale

Kale is a cruciferous vegetable and a member of the group of vegetables cultivated from the species Brassica oleracea. Other members include broccoli and cauliflower.  Kale is one of the most nutritious greens on the planet and is rich in vitamins A, K and C.   IN recent times, kale has become quite popular along with spinach, in early morning smoothies

Interestingly,  red varieties of kale such as redbor and red Russian kale may contain nearly twice as much anyioxidants as other varieties.   This is because red varieties of kale contain more anthocyanin antioxidants as well as several other antioxidants that give them their vibrant color.

Kale is also a great plant-based source of calcium, an important mineral that helps maintain bone health and plays roles in other cellular functions.

9. Red Cabbage

Red cabbage has an impressive nutrient profile. Also known as purple cabbage, it is rich in vitamins C, K and A, and has a high antioxidant content.  That’s more than four times the amount of antioxidants in regular cooked cabbage.   This is because red cabbage contains anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants that give red cabbage its color. Anthocyanins are also found in strawberries and raspberries.

These anthocyanins have been linked to several health benefits. They may reduce inflammation, protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

What’s more, red cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C may help strengthen the immune system and keep the skin firm.

Interestingly, the way red cabbage is prepared can also affect its antioxidant levels.  Boiling and stir-frying red cabbage may boost its antioxidant profile, while steaming red cabbage may reduce its antioxidant content by almost 35%.

10. Beans

Beans are a diverse group of legumes that are inexpensive and healthy. They are also incredibly high in fiber, which can help keep your bowel movements regular.  Beans are also one of the best vegetable sources of antioxidants.

In addition, some beans such as pinto beans contain a particular antioxidant called kaempferol. This antioxidant has been linked to impressive health benefits, such as reduced chronic inflammation and suppressed cancer growth .  For example, several animal studies have found that kaempferol may suppress the growth of cancers in the breast, bladder, kidneys and lungs.

However, because most of the research supporting the benefits of kaempferol has been in animals or test tubes, more human-based studies are needed.

11. Beets

Beets, also known as beetroot, are the roots of a vegetable scientifically known as Beta vulgaris. They have a mild taste and are a great source of fiber, potassium, iron, folate and antioxidants. They’re particularly rich in a group of antioxidants called betalains. These give beets their reddish color and have been linked to health benefits.

For example, several test-tube studies have linked betalains to a lower risk of cancers in the colon and digestive tract.  Additionally,beets  contain other compounds that may help suppress inflammation. For example, a study found that taking betalain capsules made from beetroot extract significantly relieved osteoarthritis pain and inflammation.

12. Spinach

Spinach is one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables on the planet. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and is incredibly low in calories.

Spinach is also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that may help protect your eyes from damaging UV light and other harmful light wavelengths.  These antioxidants help combat damage to the eyes that free radicals may cause over time.

The Bottom Line

Antioxidants are compounds that your body makes naturally. Unfortunately, our food supply is compromised and very few people, if any, on a traditional western diet get enough antioxidants in their food.  We need to make a conscientious effort to augment our daily diet with foods rich in antioxidants.

They protect your body from potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals, which can accumulate and promote oxidative stress. Unfortunately, oxidative stress raises the risk of heart disease, cancers, type 2 diabetes and many other chronic diseases.

Fortunately, eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals and reduce the risk of these chronic diseases.

By eating a wide variety of the foods in this article, you can boost your blood levels of antioxidants and reap their many health benefits.

Here are the top 12 healthy foods that are high in antioxidants.

  1. Dark Chocolate
  2. Pecans
  3. Blueberries
  4. Strawberries
  5. Artichokes
  6. Goji Berries
  7. Raspberries
  8. Kale
  9. Red Cabbage
  10. Beans
  11. Beets
  12. Spinach

Just so you know: I work with a company that has greens and reds, two organic powders that, when mixed with water (or any other liquid) can provide well above your MDA of all these vital nutrients.  Every one of these essential fruits, goji berry, raspberry , blueberries etc.  are contained in the reds while the greens contain Kale, spinach and many more essential nutrients.    Sorry no dark chocolate.

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Toxins And Our Environment

Since 1970, over 80,000 new chemicals have been introduced and are soaking our environment, our children and you.  And yes! the FDA and EPA allow it.  These industries are, to a great extent, unregulated.   To learn more about toxins in your home and body and your children, check out The Toxic Truth. The magnitude of the problem will astound you.

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