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WHY YOU NEED ANTIOXIDANTS

By Monica van de Weerd

January 22, 2021

Why you Need Antioxidants

If you want your body to be a lean, mean damage-fighting machine, you need antioxidants in your life. While the word antioxidant gets a bit of buzz in the health space, the actual definition and reason behind consuming antioxidants has gotten itself lost amongst the filters, buzz words and creative marketing. 

So, why do we need antioxidants?

When we metabolise oxygen, it creates unstable molecules known as free radicals (and no, not the cool kind of radical). Free radicals steal electrons from other molecules, causing damage to cell membranes, DNA, cellular protein and lipids. If you imagine your body like a school playground, free radicals are kind of like the bully who steals other kids’ lunches. 

What causes an accumulation of free radicals?

  • The food we eat
  • Environmental pollution 
  • Stress
  • The body’s internal metabolic processes
  • UV radiation 

The reactive nature of free radicals can cause cellular impairment and even injury. An accumulation of free radicals adversely affects the body and can trigger several human diseases, including: 

  • Inflammation of the joints
  • Damage to nerve cells in the brain
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Accelerated ageing 

How do we fight back against free radicals?

Antioxidants are who we have on speed dial, in the fight to prevent and reduce any damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants neutralise damage by scavenging free radicals from the body and are essential for glowing skin, a healthy immune system and overall wellbeing. 

My favourite antioxidants

As a clinical nutritionist, I'd love to share with you my favourite antioxidants that are essential for good health. 

Vitamin A

While vitamin A usually gets praise for its impact on vision, this fat-soluble vitamin is rich in antioxidants and essential for a youthful glow. As vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, eat it with a healthy fat such as avocado, olive oil or nuts. 

Food sources of vitamin A include: 

  • Carrots
  • Cod liver oil 
  • Egg Yolks
  • Liver
  • Mangoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Red capsicum
  • Rockmelon
  • Spinach 
  • Sweet potato

Vitamin C

Everyone knows vitamin C as the first port-of-call for a sniffle, but did you know it’s capable of so much more? Vitamin C is essential for healthy, glowing skin as it supports collagen production, which reduces fine lines and aging. Try our new Super Nourished Hair, Skin & Nails powder. It's a beautiful blend of Love Your Gut powder, collagen and natural berry and beets. This super nourishing collagen blend is also a natural source of vitamin C which helps to enhance your hair, skin and nails.

Foods sources of vitamin C:

  • Berries
  • Broccoli 
  • Brussel Sprouts 
  • Capsicum
  • Citrus Fruit
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Tomatoes

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a potent fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E fights oxidative damage to cells and assists in natural wound-healing and skin turnover. 

Foods sources of vitamin E:

  • Almonds
  • Avocados 
  • Eggs 
  • Hazelnuts
  • Leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

Selenium

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays a vital role in metabolism and thyroid function. Selenium boosts the immune system, prevents acne and reduces the breakdown of collagen. My favourite way to get selenium is to consume a couple of brazil nuts daily.

Food sources of selenium:

  • Beans 
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chicken
  • Red meat
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Whole grains 

Zinc

In my eyes, this powerful mineral can do no wrong. Zinc fights inflammation, assists the immune system and gives us an excuse to eat oysters. Isn’t that zinc-credible? 

Food sources of zinc:

  • Legumes
  • Oysters
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Red meat 
  • Seafood 

To help your body stay fighting fit, make sure to get your daily dose of antioxidants. The more antioxidant-rich foods you eat, the better! 

If you’re looking for an easy way to increase your antioxidant intake, we recommend this bright and beautiful Kale and Blood Orange salad from Lee Holmes' latest recipe book Supercharge Your Life.

Source: Lee Holmes. Supercharged Food

 

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