Free Radicals, Stress and Low Mood

Stress and depression cause increased production of free radicals, which are incomplete molecules like the pieces of a jigsaw that need to be fitted to another piece to become complete. Free radicals seek their missing part in the membranes and tissues of our body in an attempt to become complete (Yoshikawa and Naito, 2002). But when one molecule is completed, the one from which the missing part was taken remains incomplete and, hence goes in search of its missing part. This triggers a sequence of reactions that are highly damaging to the body. It is important to note that the composition of the brain is especially sensitive to such attacks.

Free radicals can be neutralised by adopting appropriate nutritional and lifestyle adjustments, such as, for instance, antioxidant-rich foods and stress-relieving activities, to reduce the impact of a stressful routine, thus enhancing our capacity to respond to stress and, subsequently, also improving low mood and mild to moderate depressive symptoms.

Useful tips: antioxidant foods mainly contain vitamins A, C and E. Increase your daily intake of berries, apples, cherries, nuts and seeds, green tea, spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel), whole grain cereals, ginger, garlic, and even dark chocolate (a small piece a day containing 70% and more of cocoa).