We all know that long training sessions are stressful on the body. But did you know that prolonged exercise results in free radical damage (FRD)? Over time, FRD results in premature aging and can lead to serious health conditions later in life. The sources for this are metabolism, pollution, poor diets, exercise, and stress.
Is there anything you can do about reducing Free Radical Damage?
The good news is that there is. Diet and lifestyle changes are the keys to reducing your exposure.
1. Diet and Nutrition
Vegetables and fruit are abundant in antioxidants, which neutralizes FRD. A healthy diet contains at least 10 servings of veggies/fruit per day. If you are older than 50 you should consume 13 plus servings per day. I recommend more vegetables than fruit, since fruit contains a lot of sugar. Processed foods and junk foods contain no or low nutrients along with damaging ingredients. So you want to avoid or minimize consumption of these foods. Focusing on a nutrient rich whole foods diet is the way to go. If you are having a hard time consuming that many vegetables per day consider taking adding PlaeoGreens or PlaeoReds into your diet.
Can you get all your vitamins and minerals from food alone? For most people the answer is no. If you eat 10 plus servings of fresh organic produce a day, which you grew in rich nutrient soils, live in a pollution free area, drink uncontaminated water and have no stress in your life, then maybe you could. The reality is that we buy compromised foods, breathe polluted air, drink contaminated water and have stress in our lives. Even if you buy organic food it often comes from afar and loses many nutrients in transit and storage. Plus you tend to buy the same foods weekly and miss out on some nutrients.
Research suggests supplementation with antioxidants may provide added protection against increased free radical exposure, and specifically – supplementing for 8 weeks prior to your event can attenuate effects of free radical damage. ”The amount of antioxidants that you will maintain in your body is directly proportional to how long you will live.” ~ Dr. Richard Cutler, director of anti-aging research at the National Institute of Health.
Our water sources are contaminated with a variety of chemicals. And often the chemicals added to water are damaging (i.e. chlorine and fluoride). The best way to guarantee drinking cleaner water is to filter using carbon and kdf filters and carrying water in either glass of stainless steel containers. It’s important to avoid buying water in plastic containers, even the ones that are BPA free. Recent articles show that even BPA free plastic can be damaging.
Pollution is pervasive in our environment. But there are some things you can do to minimize your exposure. Try to ride or run in “cleaner” areas, away from highways, factories, fumes and anything toxic. And riding or cycling indoors is advisable when air quality is poor. Swim in open water pools that are lower in chlorine or in lakes and bays. If you are concerned about indoor pollution, have your home tested for environmental pollutants and you may want to get an air filter.
Many of us live hectic and stressful lives. Training puts additional stress on the body. Prolonged exercise raises the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. Two ways to reduce stress include engaging in stress reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, massage, etc. and taking stress modulating supplements. To learn more about those contact me
How can I find out if I’m getting enough antioxidants?
I utilize a noninvasive scanning device to determine antioxidant levels. This measurement provides a convenient and useful indicator for monitoring oxidative stress in the body’s tissues. This 30 second hand scan uses a safe, LED blue light technology developed with an NIH grant to measure skin carotenoid levels, providing an immediate reading. Research suggests that the skin’s carotenoid level is a good indication of your body’s overall antioxidant defense system.
Your score can be tracked over time as you increase consumptions of nutrients. Tracking the score empowers you to make positive lifestyle changes to improve your health. If you are already taking supplements, tracking your score is an effective way to determine if the supplements are working. Not all supplements are equally effective. Scanning will reveal how well your supplements are protecting you. To schedule a scan please contact me.