There is a major force in your body that is the most significant determinant of how quickly you age.
Not just on the outside with wrinkles, greys, dull skin, dull eyes etc…but inside your body too – destroying your cells, and damaging your DNA.
It’s serious business, and you need to be on top of this.
In this guide, today, I’m going to share what it is, what this means for your body – and how you can reverse it.
You’ll also see why the way most people address it actually does nothing to fix it at the root cause – they’re just treating the symptoms – which creates ticking time bomb.
We’ll get onto that in just a minute…
This force is so influential in how you look and feel.
And what is most critical is your body’s ability to balance it.
We’re talking about oxidative stress.
I’ve taught you a lot about the alkaline balance in our body over the years, and indeed about our body’s ability to balance inflammation…but oxidative stress – and your body’s ability to balance it – is key.
The Quality of Our Health Is Determined By The Ability of Our Body to Maintain It’s Delicate Balance
The body craves balance, it’s sole role is to maintain the hundreds, if not thousands, of delicate balances in the body – good bacteria to bad, the pH of our blood, our digestive system, the level of cortisol to melatonin, levels of white to red blood cells, level of fat cells – and indeed super-critically – the level of free radicals present in the body.
Balance, balance, balance – this is so important. If any of your systems get out of balance, it quickly spirals out of control.
Most people address oxidative stress in a ‘fighting fire with fire’ kind of way – and it really does nothing for the long-term but slowly build a bigger and bigger problem, and take more and more of your body’s energy to balance it.
This is critical: You have to get to the root cause and address the body’s capacity to balance the level of free radicals in your body.
Too few free radicals and your immune system, digestive system and detoxification systems are shot. Too many and it will destroy cells, DNA and age you quicker than you can believe…
And believe me, with the way we eat and live these days – having too many free radicals is a very, very easy situation to get yourself into.
The Balance of Free Radicals & The Slippery Slope of Rapid Premature Aging (RPA)
Free radicals, something we’ve all kind of heard of, but don’t really understand. But they’re essential to your health and the level of energy and vitality you’re experiencing right now.
So what are they? To keep this really simple: free radicals are simply broken molecules that are super reactive. They are created in our body from various normal bodily functions, and you could think of them as waste products from various (necessary) chemical reactions in the body.
What does all this mean?
Well, in other words: we create them in our body through all day, day-in, day-out through our normal bodily functioning…
And our body can handle this. In fact, it’s critical to our health to have some level of free radicals in the body. The body’s ability to turn air and food into chemical energy depends on a chain reaction of free radicals. Free radicals are also a crucial part of the immune system, floating through the veins and attacking foreign invaders.
So this isn’t a problem in itself…
BUT through our modern, Western diet and lifestyle choices we are now creating an environment where our body is exposed to levels of free radicals that we simply cannot handle.
The body is overrun with free-radicals and when the body can’t dispose of them all – this creates oxidative stress – a massive imbalance.
Does this sound similar?
Remember how the body creates acidity through it’s normal bodily functioning, but we’ve evolved with this small acid-buffering system that can handle that amount of acidity…
BUT through diet and lifestyle we also create an environment where our body is exposed to TONS more than we can handle.
THE BODY NEEDS BALANCE!
It needs a little acidity…it needs a little free radical action.
But we’re messing it up. We’re creating an environment where the body is SO overrun, and trying to re-balance causes a huge amount of stress.
What Is “Oxidative Stress,” and How Do Antioxidants Fit In?
Free radicals ultimately harm and age the body over time because they damage DNA, cellular membranes, lipids (fats) stored within blood vessels and enzymes.
Normally they live in balance with antioxidants in the body.
It’s when this balance is disturbed by the volume of crappy food, drinks and other lifestyle choices we make (poor sleep, stress, exposure to toxins, repeated use of prescription and OTC drugs and so on) that damage occurs.
This damage is known as ‘oxidative stress’
High levels of oxidative stress are linked to:
- Most cancers
- Immune system disorders
- Rapid weight gain
- Liver damage
- Heart disease
And of course, oxidative stress is the process of our cells and DNA being destroyed – which is, literally, our body ageing – from the inside out.
How Do We Prevent Oxidative Stress & Reverse this Damage?
There are two super important ways to support the body in it’s primary goal: maintaining balance as effortlessly as possible.
Most plans for battling oxidative stress focus on just ONE of these ways – like I said earlier – fighting fire with fire – and that’s to simply try to consume more antioxidants.
But really, this is not getting to the core of the issue. It’s providing temporary relief at best. But because the level of oxidative stress is STILL THERE in the body, the body is having to expand energy just to maintain that homeostasis – a ton of work has to go in just to get back to a level playing field each day.
It’s the same with the pH balance – if you don’t address the root causes, and actually support the body to REMOVE the sources of unnecessary, damaging acidity from WITHIN the body – then you’re starting each day with a mountain to climb just to get to that level playing field.
You HAVE to clear out, cleanse out and support your body to clean house, get the system reset – rather than just taking on more antioxidants each day.
I am going to be running a FREE 3-Part Alkaline Cleanse Kickstart Workshop in the next few weeks – you can register here to be the first to receive that – it’s going to be an incredible series teaching you how to cleanse and reset your body.
The TWO Things You Need to Do to Beat Oxidative Stress & Restore Your Body’s Balance
Part One: Getting it OUT (Preventing the Bad Stuff From Going In)
Just eating antioxidant-rich foods (or taking a supplement, which is less effective than getting fresh foods, but if you do want to take one as a safety net – I recommend this one) – if you only focus on this INTAKE, you are not addressing the core of the problem.
Yes, you’re helping your body to cope with the situation it’s already in, but unless you cut the supply of the stress, your body will not have the tools or energy to begin the repair and replenish job. You’ll be standing still.
I HIGHLY recommend you start to address these biggest causes of oxidative stress in your diet and lifestyle ASAP:
Blood sugar is one of the easiest to spot determinants of the level of oxidative stress occurring in the body. Erratic blood sugar is largely determined by the amount of sugar you are consuming – especially fructose.
We’ve covered why fructose is the sugar to most avoid in other posts, but for now just know that while other sugars can be metabolised and used throughout the body ONLY the liver can metabolise fructose and it’s easily overrun. When the liver processes fructose it causes massive hormone disruption (particularly insulin, cortisol and those ‘fat gain’ hormones: leptin and ghrelin), it signals to the body to rapidly create visceral fat cells, and it sparks a huge inflammatory response.
All of these are massive problems in themselves, but they also contribute to the formation of free radicals, and thus oxidative stress.
If you wanted to pinpoint the most damaging food when it comes to oxidative stress – it would be sugar.
You need to try to lower the amount of sugar you consume on a daily basis. Fructose is in practically every packaged food, so by focusing on real, fresh, natural, whole foods – you immediately eliminate a TON of sugar.
I have covered more on the sugar situation in these two guides, to help you understand WHY you need to cut sugar, and then how to do it:
Poor Sleep & Stress
Sleep and stress are ultimately super-related – controlled by the same hormones, and disruption to either causes a similar state of stress in the body – including an excess amount of oxidative stress.
When we are highly stressed, it massively messes with our body’s cortisol levels. And when we get poor sleep it massively messes with our body’s cortisol levels.
Chronically elevated cortisol is implied as a precursor to many cancers, as well as a leading contributor to an imbalance in your body’s pH level! Again, this is all so interconnected.
Stress also directly affects your sleep (because your cortisol spikes at the wrong times in the day, meaning your body doesn’t produce the right levels of melatonin – your sleep hormone – at night).
And then poor sleep contributes to stress levels…and it goes around in a big cycle.
Sleep is critical to the balance of oxidative stress – think of it as your oxidative stress recovery process.
During deep, delta sleep our body’s cell cleaning processes switch on and the hormones that repair cells get to work. If they don’t have enough time to finish these jobs while you sleep, more cells are damaged, cancer cells escape our monitoring systems, and you experience not only fatigue but also memory loss, weight gain, and increased pain.
Add to this the affects of your adrenals being maxed out by the excess production of cortisol, and you can see how this is a recipe for disaster.
You have to make sleep a priority. It has to be a conscious choice you make to prioritise sleep and take it seriously.
That one is more tricky. We can’t possibly control every event that occurs in our life – so we can’t stop potentially stress-inducing things happening around us…
But we can control our response, and make our response more appropriate, resourceful and calm.
I have absolutely no affiliation with these guys – but I cannot recommend the app called Headspace enough.
It is a mindfulness meditation app – and I know the two words ‘mindfulness meditation’ will immediately put some people off – I implore you to give it a try. I believe they have a free 10-day trial, and I am in no way financially rewarded for recommending this – I just love it, think it is amazing, and believe it can change lives.
It makes meditation SO easy right from the very first session, and you kick off with literally just 10 minutes a day.
We can all find the time for this.
Honestly, it sounds simple, but this is the antidote to stress.
Toxins in the Home
This is the final way to reduce the level of oxidative stress in your body, and it’s SO simple nowadays to do this.
When I first started making this recommendation back in my first Alkaline Weight Loss Solution course in 2012 – getting toxins out of the home was a fair bit trickier.
But creating a chemical-free home nowadays is a piece of cake.
When we’re talking toxins in the home, we’re talking the chemicals in things like:
– kitchen cleaner
– laundry powder
– oven cleaner
– floor cleaner
Basically your home and body cleaning products, makeup, shampoo, shower gel etc.
And since I first started this recommendation – the range, quality and price of these replacement products has gotten so much better.
PLUS in a lot of cases, you can make your own cleaners etc. using simple ingredients such as lemon, baking soda, vinegar etc.
Why Would You Go to All of This Trouble?
Simple: the chemicals used in these products are known neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, stressing the liver, kidneys, your pH balance and more.
Here’s just a few examples:
- Petroleum distillates (aka napthas): linked to cancer, lung damage, lung inflammation and damage to mucous membranes.
- Phenols: these are featured in many household products and are highly toxic, a suspected carcinogen and are rapidly absorbed by the body.
- Optical brighteners: Can cause skin allergy, toxic to fish and can cause bacterial mutations.
- Artificial fragrances: Cause allergies, skin and eye irritation.
- Ammonia: Causes burns, cataracts & corneal damage. Studies have shown that long-term repeated exposure can lead to problems including bronchitis and pneumonia. Ingestion can lead to stomach and oesophagus ulcers.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: when repeatedly in contact with SLS severe eye, skin, and respiratory irritation can occur causing quite some discomfort
- Diethanolamine: this common detergent is listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pesticide and a hazardous air pollutant, and yet it is allowed in detergents and most cosmetics. Research has linked it to endocrine system disruption, as well as brain and nervous system effects. It has also been listed as a human skin toxicant and a respiratory toxicant.
If you can get these out of your life – you will be doing a HUGE favour to your body and reducing a HUGE amount of the oxidative stress these chemicals create.
Part Two: Putting the Good Stuff IN
Now that we’ve addressed cutting off that supply, which will give your body a MASSIVE break – cutting the cycle of stress – it allows your body to repair, replenish and heal – making the maintenance of your daily balance effortless.
Remember – your body will maintain all of it’s balances every single day – no matter what you do and how badly you treat it. BUT it is in the recovering back to balance that the damage occurs. The journey your body has to face each day JUST to keep you alive.
Now that we’ve cut the major sources of oxidative stress, let’s focus on some of those nutrients that can make your body THRIVE.
Glutathoine – The Master Antioxidant
This is a critical nutrient in the battle of oxidative stress and free radical balance. Glutathione is considered the ‘master’ antioxidant (and is SO important for your liver) because it is a precursor to the formation of, and the function of, so many of the body’s other antioxidants. Without sufficient glutathione, you can consume all the other antioxidants you like – but they’ll be a LOT less beneficial.
Pronounced “gloota-thigh-own,” nearly 117,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles have investigated it’s power inside the body. And it’s a nutrient we are – as a population – becoming seriously deficient it.
There are a number of foods we can consume to support our body’s production of glutathione. The body can manufacture it’s own glutathione from the amino acids: L-cysteine, L-glutamic acid, and glycine.
So it’s important we focus on the foods that contain these amino acids to ensure that we have abundant supplies of this ‘master antioxidant’.
Top Food Sources for Plentiful Glutathione:
1. Sulfur Containing Cruciferous Vegetables
Predictably, greens lead the way – if you are getting an abundance of leafy greens in your diet – as I constantly recommend(!) you’ll be getting all of the building blocks of glutathione you need.
The specific greens amazing for this include:
- Bok Choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Mustard greens
Honourable mentions also go to cauliflower, turnip and radish too.
2. Foods Rich in Folate
These foods also provide the body a rich source of those glutathione building blocks:
- Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- Pinto beans
Again, all alkaline, delicious vegetables!
3. Vitamins C, E and the Mineral Selenium
These are probably the most ‘common’ foods we eat for antioxidant health. And they are also helping to produce that master antioxidant that sits at the top of the tree.
- Brazil nuts
- Bell pepper
- Brusssels Sprouts
- Sweet Potato
It’s so easy to see how a diet-rich in fresh, alkaline vegetables is going to support your body’s antioxidant power.
This is why I am always advocating we focus on alkaline, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich foods.
It’s all interconnected and related and by hitting all three of these (largely with the same foods!) we’re giving our body all of the tools it needs to thrive.
What About a Glutathione Supplement
A glutathione supplement can be a useful addition while you’re working on getting your body back in balance. If you feel like you can easily start to incorporate those foods above from the get-go, you will probably be fine without one.
But if you feel like you might need a safety-net for a few weeks or months – this is the glutathione supplement I recommend. It’s from Thorne, who make AMAZING, very safe, high quality products. Their standards are SO strict, I have no hesitation in recommending them.
And Now We Have Glutathione Sorted…
…we can pretty much leave it here for antioxidant-rich foods you need to focus on! You’re all set!
Look at the lists above – these are not only the foods that are going to provide you with the building blocks of glutathione – these are also some of the most antioxidant rich foods you can imagine!
Leafy greens, carrots, bell pepper, beetroot, nuts, seeds – these are so hugely packed full of antioxidants you’ll be simultaneously infusing your body with the glutathione tools AND the antioxidants your body needs at once!
Sometimes amazing health is a lot easier than we’ve been led to believe – and this is one example of that.
So…Where to Start?
The most important thing is not to get overwhelmed and JUST START!
You don’t have to completely change your whole diet and lifestyle all at once – just get started.
Think of ways you can start to include more of these nutrients into your diet on a daily basis: the greens, avocados, broccoli, nuts and seeds, healthy fats and oils…
Starting with a daily green juice or smoothie is an AMAZING start because for just 10 minutes of time invested a day, you can basically get a TON of these nutrients in before you’ve even left the house in the morning.
Of course, the easiest way to do that right now is join my 7-Day Juice Challenge.
There is nothing more powerful that you can do for the small amount of effort needed than have a daily green juice or smoothie.
One I particularly recommend for this – which is actually the Day 1 Juice of the 7-Day Juice Challenge is my Triple A Juice (the triple A stands for Alkaline, Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Rich).
Another suggestion is to simply have a big, big salad as one of your meals each day – think a huge bed of leafy greens topped with avocado, tomato, broccoli, carrot, beetroot, sprinkled with seeds and nuts, dressed in flax and olive oil.
Or just having a side salad of leafy greens with each main meal you have – this is a quick, easy way to get started.
There is nothing wrong with taking it slowly, day by day, step-by-step.
You’ll be amazed at what a huge difference small changes practiced consistency can have.
It Can Start With Baby Steps…But There is Also The Power of the Reset Button
But if you need results quicker – and you want to simply hit the “reset button” for your body – clear out all the junk, the damage and start again – there is HUGE power in doing an alkaline cleanse.
An alkaline cleanse is a complex beast, and it can be really easy to do it the WRONG way – making it a hundred times harder than it needs to be, and possibly even do more harm than good in the long run.
I know how powerful it can be. I do a 7-day cleanse at least once a year (I just wrapped up a quick 4 day impromptu cleanse a few weeks ago and STILL feel amazing 21 days later).
And because I know how powerful it can be (but how easy it is to mess up) I am going to run a free, 3-part online Alkaline Cleanse Kickstart workshop in a few weeks.
If you want to register for that so you’re the first to know (and get the workbook/action sheets) click here and let me know .