A buzzword in the health food world, we know antioxidants are good for us, but what exactly can they do for our health? Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine answers all your questions on antioxidants and their arch enemies – free radicals.
Think of antioxidants as compounds that fight the ‘bad stuff’, AKA free radicals.
Free radicals are produced in the body as a by-product of metabolism and are also present in environmental toxins that we’re exposed to on a daily basis - like petrol fumes, pesticides, and cigarette smoke.
In a nutshell, free radicals are highly reactive and can cause damage to our cells, with the potential to contribute to ageing and the development of disease.
Because we can’t entirely eliminate our exposure to free radicals, an antioxidant-rich diet that reduces their impact is worth having.
And by eating a colourful diet rich in plant-based wholefoods, you should be getting plenty antioxidants into your system.
Fruit and Vegetables – the more the merrier, and the more that are pesticide free or organic, the better (look up ‘the dirty dozen’ – some fruit and veg absorb pesticides and insecticides more readily than others). Eat the rainbow because one fruit or veg will offer different antioxidants and nutrients to the next. For instance citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, strawberries and potatoes (yes!) provide plenty of antioxidant-rich vitamin C, while carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin are loaded with beta-carotene.
Tea – Whether black or green tea is your thing, both are made with the Camellia sinesis plant, packed with antioxidant-rich plant compounds called polyphenols. The difference between black and green tea is that black tea is made with aged leaves and green tea is made with fresh. The bitterness you can get when you brew black or green tea for a little too long is due to the polyphenol content – think of it as the active ingredient.
Good Fats – like avocado, almonds and olive oil, which are all good sources of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, as is the outer layer (the bran) of brown rice – whole grains give you antioxidants too.
Chocolate – and by chocolate I mean raw or dark chocolate, which, like your tea is rich in polyphenols. The cacao or cocoa in milk chocolate on the other hand has been too diluted or processed to have any health benefit. Feel good about the chocolate you’re eating with MorLife’s Dark Chocolate Covered Goji Berries. Enjoy a small handful straight-up, or add to a homemade antioxidant-rich trail mix with raw almonds and cacao nibs…a bittersweet, satisfying treat.
To find out more on Morlife Dark Chocolate Covered Goji Berries head to www.morlife.com