Step 2 to Wellness – Antioxidants
So what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are beneficial friendly molecules, while free radicals are detrimental unstable molecules that harm the body and its cells.
Antioxidants are molecules that reduce or inhibit damage by free radicals thereby preventing oxidative stress. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are produced naturally in our body every day as part of our normal metabolism. They are also created by a number of external factors including UV light, radiation, infections, medications, heavy metals, pollution and synthetic chemicals, just to name a few. Subsequently in the modern world it is important to minimise the causes of free radical production as it is impossible to avoid them completely and to protect ourselves as much as possible by consuming an abundance of antioxidants.
Antioxidants inhibit damage to our cells by free radicals, by converting them into harmless molecules. However, when antioxidants are lacking, free radicals attack other molecules to stabilise themselves, which in turn causes the molecules that are attacked to become unstable and subsequently attack more molecules. This chain reaction is called oxidative stress.
Damage caused by oxidative stress may be associated with the pathogenesis of many human diseases, therefore it is important to both minimise exposure to external factors that cause free radical production and also to increase our antioxidant status.
Research has shown that some antioxidants cannot function in an acid environment, so ensuring your body is at optimal pH will ensure optimal utilization of your antioxidants. This is why antioxidants are the second step on your journey to achieve optimal health.
Food sources of antioxidants
Some well researched antioxidant foods include:
You can look for an ORAC table on some food labels which will show you a measurement analysis of the antioxidant capacity of the food or product. The higher the ORAC score of the food the more beneficial it is believed to be for fighting free radicals. ORAC stands for “Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity”, a USDA standard for measuring antioxidant capacity.
Eating an abundance of different brightly coloured fresh fruit and vegetables instead of highly processed nutrient poor foods could be the most important decision you make towards long-term wellness.
The true key is a wholesome, fresh diet containing a vast array of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables. However, when you are unsure if you have eaten enough antioxidant foods to fulfil your daily requirements, it may be beneficial to supplement with a functional food supplement containing a range of antioxidants to ensure that you are getting the antioxidant protection you need.
Key points to remember about antioxidants:
- Can slow down or prevent oxidative stress that is caused by free radicals
- Can affect the aging process
- Can boost energy
- May enhance the immune system
- Important to fight against diseases
Antioxidant Recipe idea
Antioxidant fruit slice
1 cup almonds
½ cup pecan nuts
½ cup Morlife goji berries
½ cup Morlife chia seeds
2 tbsp Morlife dried blueberries
½ cup dates, pitted
1 tbsp Morlife acai powder
3 tbsp dried or freeze dried pomegranate seeds/arils
Add all ingredients into food processor except pomegranate and process until slightly chunky. You may need to add a little water to make it a bit more dough like.
Line a shallow dish and press ingredients to form a slice. Sprinkle pomegranate on top and gently press into slice. You can also sprinkle with some coconut.
OR for a really decadent treat trying adding in some raw cacao powder to create a rich chocolate flavour.