After my recent nutritional advising for Britvid, a juicing demo at the Crew Show and my “skin & digestion connection” workshop I feel like I talk constantly about the power of antioxidants and their necessary benefits to optimum health and disease prevention.
Antioxidants have become a bit of a buzzword in recent years; most people now understand that antioxidants are good for you, and free radicals are the baddies, but aren’t necessarily sure why, or even exactly what they are.
In truth there are a whole range of essential antioxidants, all of which are useful for different reasons. The most important point to understand however is that including plenty of antioxidants in your diet is absolutely essential for optimum health and longevity – there is now conclusive evidence to suggest that probable antioxidant deficiency and free radical damage is at the root cause of many of the common chronic degenerative diseases.
Free radicals are atoms or molecules that have too many or too few electrons, this gives them a ‘charge’ and makes them unstable. This means that inside the body they take or deposit electrons, which damage the cells in our body in the same way that an apple begins to turn brown if you leave half of it uneaten on the counter for a while! Free radicals come from both inside and outside of our bodies so we will always be exposed to them. However, it is exogenous free radicals (the ones from outside our bodies) that cause the greatest problems by putting excessive strain on our own antioxidant systems. So how can we defend ourselves from the free radicals?
Antioxidants inhibit the damage of cells by free radicals, so maximising our antioxidant intake through the food that we eat can help to reduce the amount of free radical damage that accumulates in our body as we get older.
Minimising our exposure to free radicals – by avoiding pollution, excessive strenuous exercise, sunlight, smoking, drinking alcohol among other things is also extremely beneficial.
Vitamin E – Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, kiwi, spinach, oats, asparagus, salmon, fish-liver oil
Vitamin C – Pomegranate, berries, currants, citrus fruits, peppers, parsley, pineapple, kale, rocket, spinach, bok choy, watercress, kiwi, papaya,
Selenium – Brazils, sunflower seeds, oily fish, eggs
Zinc –.Oysters, clams, egg yolks, milk, pumpkin seeds, cashews, ginger, pulses
Superfood powders abundant in antioxidants and more……….
AcaiAmong acai’s many antioxidants is a powerhouse anthocyanin, which is suspected to be the driving force behind acai’s free-radical and age-fighting powers. It’s common in fruits with rich red and purple colors, like grapes and berries, but acai has far more than any other food. Acai’s ORAC level (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is over 3,500, which is hundreds of times higher than your average fruits like apples.
Baobab The baobab tree is one of the largest trees in the world, native to Madagascar, often referred to as the “Tree Of Life”. Powder is made from the fruit, a valuable source of food or as a traditional medicine. Contains potent antioxidants, high content of vitamin C (six times more than an orange), mineral rich and anti-inflammatory properties
Chlorella has natural detoxification abilities. Chlorella is an algae a “green food,” its natural action will bind it to lingering heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides found in your digestive tract, which is your body’s pathway to your bloodstream where these harmful toxins are delivered and deposited into your body’s cells.
Maca a mood balancer, it is perfect to add to your breakfast if you wake up feeling a little cranky! It can help to relieve symptoms or menopause or PMS in women such as cramps and mood swings and is said to be a natural libido booster too! It is also a brilliant energy booster.
Raw cocoa powder abundant in antioxidants, magnesium and iron
My forthcoming Juicing workshop with Cancer Support Group – 28 April at: