My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.
Chapter 2 – Managing Cellular Stress – the Basis for Feeling, Looking, and Performing Your Best
Manage Cellular Stress to Feel, Look, and Perform at Your Best
Now that you have been introduced to the concept of oxidation and related cellular stressors and learned a little about how they can contribute to cellular damage and dysfunction, it is time to consider what you can do to manage this process to improve how you feel, look and perform. Remember, as long as the body is not overrun by free radicals and other damaging toxins, it can generally prevent or repair normal, day-to-day cellular damage via induction of the CDR pathways. The trick to fighting those cellular stressors, as with so many other aspects of health, is to find the right balance.
When it comes to antioxidant nutrition, your best approach is to eat five to ten servings of brightly colored fruits and vegetables throughout the day. In general, brighter is better, with each color group representing a major class of antioxidants: Think red tomatoes (lycopene), orange carrots (beta-carotene), blueberries (flavonoids), green spinach (chlorophyll), yellow squash (lutein), purple grapes (resveratrol), red onions (quercetin), and blackberries (anthocyanins). Try to get a few servings of each color group every day, because, even though a particular “color” indicates a predominant family of antioxidant nutrients, each fruit or vegetable choice also contains hundreds of other nutrients that work together to deliver balanced protection against cellular stressors.
If you have trouble consuming all the fruits and vegetables that you need, and you choose to supplement your diet to boost your antioxidant levels and overall cellular protection, then keep this in mind: It is the overall collection of several complementary antioxidants that’s important, not any single “super” antioxidant. Often, you’ll see advertisements touting the “best” or “most powerful” antioxidant nutrient. But recent scientific research clearly shows that supplementing with too many isolated or unbalanced antioxidants may be even worse for long-term health than getting too few antioxidants.
Excessive levels of antioxidant supplementation (for example, too much isolated vitamin E or beta-carotene), can actually lead to more oxidation, cellular stress, and tissue damage rather than protection. That happens because, under certain circumstances, excessive doses of unbalanced dietary antioxidants can become pro-oxidants and can interfere with the body’s own protective mechanisms, particularly the CDR pathways. In other words, instead of fighting oxidation and reducing oxidative stress, the excess intake of these nutrients can actually promote oxidative damage in cells throughout the entire body.
Thanks for reading – tune in for the next installment about “The Antioxidant Network.”