Winter Wellness- Antioxidants
Are you pulling out your blankets, doonas, thermal flasks and scarfs just to keep yourself from the shivers and the chills? You feel like a sneeze might be coming on and a cough just round the corner As winter starts creeping in, we need to safeguard our body from the colds chills of the winter winds. This couple of weeks, we will be focusing on how to build your body to fight against the cold, winter season, and what better way than through the foods we eat. Possibly the quickest and most effective method!
Antioxidant is a term we are frequently exposed to, especially in the health foods industry. These molecules help to protect our body by reducing the damage caused by free radicals, reducing our risk of sickness and diseases. Free radicals can be created by UV light, radiation, infections, medications and pollution just to name a few . Unfortunately avoiding free radicals is an impossible mission but we can do our part by consuming antioxidant-rich foods into our diet to counteract this effect.
Antioxidants are made up of several other compounds including anthocyanins, flavanols, carotenoids, vitamin C and Vitamin E. These compounds are beneficial to our body and shield our cells and tissues from being destroyed. Did you know that the stronger the colour of the fruit, the greater its anthocyanin content! That is why dark coloured fruits such as blueberries and blackcurrants are top of the list followed closely by cherries, cranberries and a whole lot of other amazing antioxidant fruits .
According to Australia’s General Seasonal Fresh Produce [http://seasonalfoodguide.com/australia-general-seasonal-fresh-produce-guide-fruits-vegetables-in-season-availability.html], these berries are not readily available during the winter season and generally sold in the warm summer months. We can however turn to superfoods such as Goji Berries that have shown extremely high levels of antioxidant activity, vitamins and mineral content . These berries have been and are still being used as a traditional Chinese medicine for its superior nutritional quality. Alternatively, you should incorporate a supplement powder that contains antioxidant-rich fruit concentrates and vitamin C and E to ensure your body is given the necessary nutrients it needs to protect itself against this cold and blustery winter.
- Jongen W, 2002, ‘Fruit and Vegetable Processing- Improving Quality’, Woodhead Publishing, pp. 23-50
- Freeman B and Crapo J, 1982, Biology of disease: free radicals and tissue injury. Lab Invest.; 47(5): 412-426.
- Xie C, Xu L, Li X, et al (2001) Studies on chemical constituents in fruit of Lycium barbarum L (in Chinese). Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi; 26(5): 323-324.