Antioxidants; why we need them and where you get them from.
Antioxidant is a word that is thrown around a lot in food advertising these days – you hear about it in breakfast cereals, juices, and even now on chocolate! The hard part is deciding how to interpret this information – dark chocolate is high in antioxidants but the sugar content lowers it’s therapeutic capacity substantially, so you have to read between the lines.
Antioxidants are substances needed in the body to protect our cells and tissues from oxidative damage. Oxidative damage in the body can lead to tissue damage and has been linked to cardiovascular disease and aging. Antioxidants have a protective effect on cells, slowing the aging process and keeping our cells and organs healthy.
Antioxidants are found in many food sources but hormones, neurotransmitters and other compounds in the body also have antioxidant properties.
Some of the best sources of antioxidants include:
- Green tea – especially with lemon juice added
- Berries – especially blueberries, bilberries and blackberries
- Green leafy vegies
- Apples with skin
- Pawpaw and pineapple
- Tomato especially cooked with oil
- Goji berries
- Red grapes
- Red wine – especially pinot noir (in moderation of course)
- Cocao / Cacao (raw cocoa)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Foods which are brightly coloured generally have a high antioxidant content, so aim for a rainbow on your plate!