Antioxidants

Antioxidants are a generic term that describes the mopping up of free radicals (the bad guys) in your body – by increasing oxygenation.

Modern food far from existing in its original state, the stress of living in today’s world, strenuous exercise, sun exposure, pollution, chemicals used to grow our food and make our cosmetics, computers, TV’s and carpets, smoking, and bacterial infections can all cause a rise in free radicals to dangerous levels. This results in damage at a cellular level resulting in premature ageing like wrinkles, bad skin, black rings under the eyes and sometimes, serious illnesses such as cancer.

Many antioxidants are vitamins like C and E, but Carotenoids are the most powerful anti oxidants known. Along with chlorophyll, carotenoids are what give plants their colour. The most powerful carotenoid is Astaxanthin (blue-green algae), and the next is Beta Carotene, of which Spirulina is the richest known natural source. There are other foods high in different antioxidants. This is where you’ll find lots of them –

Astaxanthin

This little known carotenoid is now believed to be the most powerful antioxidant by far. There are only two natural sources of natural astaxanthin—the micro-algae that produce it, and the sea creatures that consume the algae (such as salmon, shellfish, and krill). Astaxanthin is 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than beta-carotene, 550 times more powerful than Vitamin E. No adverse reactions at all have been found for people taking Astaxanthin. It’s perfectly safe. You’ll find astaxanthin in supplement form on line.

You may have heard of astaxanthin before. The synthetic version made in a laboratory is commonly used worldwide to give farmed fish, especially salmon, its pinkish red colour. You really do want to avoid man-made astaxanthin as it’s made from petrochemicals, which makes it a toxic hormone disruptor.

Cacao

According to a study in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” published in 2003, researchers compared the antioxidant capacity of black tea, green tea, red wine and cocoa, concluding that cocoa has the highest antioxidant activity among the four products and the greatest potential for health benefits.

Garlic and its juice

Garlic is one of the best medicines in the world. It has natural ‘germanium’ and is anti-fungal and antibacterial (just to name a few of its actions). If you’re cooking your garlic, crush it up and let it sit for ten minutes before adding it to your recipe. It has to sit so that the enzymes can create the healing phyto-chemicals we need.

Dried Fruit

Goji berries have an enormous amount of antioxidants, yet dried Pomegranate seeds, (also expensive) have almost double the amount. And then comes dried Indian Gooseberries that have around 10 times more than Goji berries.

Green Super-Foods

Spirulina, chlorella and barley grass are chock full of minerals and enzymes. The enzymes are both anti-mycotoxin (mycotoxins are released by yeast/fungal infections) and antioxidants.

Matcha

This premium green tea powder from Japan is used for drinking as tea, or to use as a vibrant, green ingredient in recipes. Other green teas are grown throughout the world, but Matcha is unique to Japan. One cup of Matcha contains as much as 10 times the antioxidants of one cups of brewed green tea.

Quercetin

An antioxidant belonging to a class of water-soluble plant substances called flavonoids. Some research has shown quercetin-rich foods, such as apples, berries, red grapes, red onions, capers and black tea, are ‘natural antihistamines’ as they prevent histamine release. Quercetin is also available in supplement form.

Selenium

Sources include wheat germ, garlic, Brazil nuts, eggs and brown rice. Brazil nuts are perhaps the best source of this important mineral, and eating just 3-4 Brazil nuts per day may provide adequate intake for most people to maintain levels. Although, a supplement may be necessary if levels are low.

Vitamin A

Is found in dark green leafy veggies such as kale, rocket, baby spinach and all your Asian greens and any fruit or veg’ that is green, yellow, red or green in colour – so pumpkin, carrots, capsicum and broccoli, and spirulina has an enormous amount.

Vitamin C

This vitamin has long been known to battle the effects of ageing and disease. Like Vitamin E, Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant so it will help to reduce free radicals. Most fruits especially guava and paw paw are good sources of Vitamin C as are vegetables like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, Brussels’ sprouts and cucumber. Goji berries, Gubinge and Camu Camu have more Vitamin C per weight than most other foods on earth.

Vitamin D

Different from other vitamins because our bodies can make most of what we need with exposure to sunlight, unlike having to get it from our diet. In fact most foods aren’t great sources of vitamin D, and there are only a small amount to choose from. The best sources are cod liver oil, sardines, wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel and mushrooms. Sunlight is the best way to get your Vitamin D as it promotes this vitamin’s synthesis from cholesterol in the skin.10-15 minutes a day is enough, and allowing the sun to shine on as much of you body as you can is the way to go.

Vitamin E

Found in olives, nuts and seeds oils, wheat germ and leafy greens.

Zinc

Good sources are oysters, organic red meat, wheat germ, miso, pumpkin seeds, alfalfa, sardines, legumes, mushrooms, pecans, organic soybeans, sunflower seeds and whole grains.

Herbs + Spices

Extremely high in antioxidants, in fact at least 10 times higher than the foods above per weight, and the herbs and spices below are in a class of their own when it comes to antioxidants. Add these foods to your meals but you can also use them as essential oils and some of them as herbal tinctures. Look for 100 percent pure (therapeutic grade) oils, which are highest in antioxidants, and organic or at least wild-crafted herbal medicine. From the highest are cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, turmeric, cumin, parsley (dried), basil, ginger and thyme  

See also my eBook – Herbs and Spices

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