In the past decade, “antioxidants” have been synonymous with good health and wellbeing, but what are antioxidants? Are they more than a nutritional buzzword?
In a nutshell, antioxidants are extremely helpful nutrients that sweep away the nasty free radicals that can damage our cells.
In an ideal world, our bodies will not have any free radicals but these pesky by-products naturally occur when our cells make oxygen. Other factors like smoking, the environment, a high alcohol consumption and UV light can also cause free radicals to roam throughout our bodies. However, its not all doom and gloom, our bodies can deal with free radicals to a certain degree- it’s the excess buildup that can cause problems down the track.
So how do we help ourselves by overcoming the buildup of free radicals? Eating foods high in antioxidants of course.
Antioxidant rich foods include;
o Fruits and veggies like onions, citrus fruits, berries, eggplants, watermelon, avocado, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi fruit, pumpkin, mangoes, carrots and apricots,
o Green tea,
o Lentils and red kidney beans,
o Nuts and seeds.
Eating foods high in antioxidants could
o Protect your immune system,
o Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease,
o Prevent osteoporosis,
o Reduce your risk of certain cancers,
o Protect eyes and skin from UV damage.
How you can incorporate more antioxidants into your current meals
o Throw nuts and seeds into a salad or soup,
o Eat veggie based soups and stir in a can of no added salt lentils,
o Leave the skin on fruits and veggies - you will get more fibre too!,
o Choose wholegrain bread over white bread,
o Stir oats into your yoghurt or smoothie,
o Have a side of pumpkin and carrot mash with your dinner.
As with all nutrients, there are plenty of supplements on the shelves. However, my approach is always “food first”. Unlike pure antioxidant supplements, eating foods high in antioxidants will not only give you a variety of different antioxidants but also fibre and an array of vitamins and minerals which are undoubtedly important for overall health and wellbeing.
If you think you need to make simple and realistic dietary changes to improve your current eating pattern, book an appointment with me