The Power of Antioxidants

Superheroes, to me, are amazing. Their ability to fly, jump super high, crawl around like animals, and fight crime is impressive.  When I think of the power of antioxidants that’s what they remind me of, superheroes. Antioxidants move about our bodies fighting crime and protecting us from danger. 

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

What are antioxidants ?

In recent times, “antioxidant” has been a huge buzzword in the health community. You can go to any health food store, aisle, website, or book and I bet you see the word “antioxidant” at least 5 times. So, what is it? What do antioxidants actually do for our body? 

In short and sweet terms they are antagonizing to oxidants. In terms that actually matter, antioxidants are natural or man made nutrients that neutralize and protect the body cells from oxidant agents. These oxidant agents, also known as free radicals,  include substances from inside the body and environment that cause cellular damage. This cellular damage affects proteins, lipids, and DNA. Without protection, these oxidants can cause damage unchecked long term. As they get into the bloodstream, they then travel throughout the body causing damage. When the body is insulted with infection, toxins like air pollution, food sensitivities, physical damage, etc the oxidative mediators get released to protect us from insult but overtime can lead to long term damage. If the inflammatory process is not halted, then damage can happen ongoingly leading to chronic disease states. That’s where antioxidants come in. 

Antioxidants counteract and sequester the oxidative stress. This leads to aiding in ceasing the oxidative stress, along with removing the cause from insulting the body. They also play a role in healing the body due to collateral damage that happened during the insult. Common compounds that have antioxidant activity include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A/ beta-carotene
  • Vitamin E
  • EGCG
  • Lycopene
  • Glutathione
  • Resveratrol
  • Curcumin
  • Quercetin

Incorporating more antioxidant rich food

Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

Foods rich in these antioxidants include:

  1. Vitamin C→ broccoli, peppers, citrus fruit, berries, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash
  2. Vitamin A/ beta-carotene→ carrots and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, liver, eggs, dark leafy greens, amla
  3. Vitamin E→ sunflower seeds, peanuts, almonds, leafy greens
  4. EGCG→ green tea, white tea, oolong tea, black tea, peaches, blackberries, strawberries, kiwi, avocado
  5. Lycopene→ cooked tomatoes, watermelon, guava, mango, red cabbage, papaya
  6. Glutathione→  asparagus, avocado, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, garlic, cucumber, almonds, and walnuts
  7. Resveratrol→ red wine (1 glass 2-3 times a week), red grape’s skin, cocoa, pecans, blueberries
  8. Curcumin→ turmeric root
  9. Quercetin→ onion, apples, honey, raspberries, lemon, leafy vegetables
  10. Other foods→ pomegranate, ginger, cinnamon, cherries, pineapple, coconut water

Adding a pinch of turmeric or cinnamon to your foods is a great way to add more antioxidant power to your life. Being sure that half of your plate is abundant in fruits and veggies is best practice to ensure your day is full of antioxidants ready to use their superpowers to support your system. Below is a recipe full of antioxidant power. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts 🙂

Antioxidant smoothie recipe 

Servings: 2-4

  • Ingredients
    • 2 cups spinach or kale (beware if you have Oxalate Overload)
    • ½ avocado flesh
    • Green apple
    • 1 cup pineapple
    • 1 cup frozen mangoes
    • 1 frozen banana
    • 8-16oz of coconut water (use closer to 16oz for a thinner consistency)
      • Consider 8-16oz cooled green tea instead
    • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
    • 1 tsp freshly grated turmeric
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
      • Try adding amla and/or pomegranate powder for added antioxidants
    • 1-3 tbsp raw honey
    • 1 cup Ice (consider using more if fruits are not already frozen) 
  • Directions
    • Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth
    • Enjoy!

Published by jasmynebrown

My passion lies in helping others find health in using natural integrative therapies. I am a doctor or naturopathic medicine, nutritionist, and fitness trainer.

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