Why should I care about anti-oxidants? If you are on a functional path of healing, and looking to make changes in your lifestyle to optimize wellness, remember the Two Big Qs we ask: “What is too much” (that could be causing damage….like, too much oxidation- read further!) and “What is not enough?” (that could be helpful in healing your body – like, anti-oxidants?!). Remember that “Food Is Medicine” so let’s see how to further enhance the healing in your own kitchen.
Antioxidants are substances found in certain plant foods as well as manufactured by our bodies. They prevent damage to our cells that are caused by “free radicals.” Free radicals are produced during normal body functions but they can get out of hand if our body is exposed to harmful toxins through our environment or our food. It is important to rid our bodies of free radicals as soon as they are generated to prevent them from harming our health and causing oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is the damage that free radicals cause to our cells. It is linked to a variety of chronic conditions including heart disease, stroke, cancer, immune deficiency syndromes, emphysema, Parkinson’s disease, and other inflammatory conditions.
WHAT CAN CAUSE OXIDATIVE STRESS?
–Industrial chemicals and solvents
–Refined and processed foods
–Tissue damage (from inflammation or injury)
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, thereby protecting us against a number of health conditions down the road.
WHERE ARE ANTIOXIDANTS FOUND?
Antioxidants found in plants are a type of phytonutrient. These include flavonoids, carotenoids, resveratrol, isoflavones, and indoles. Other antioxidants include selenium, copper, zinc, manganese, and vitamins C and E.
Antioxidants are found in a variety of plant foods:
–Nuts and seeds
–Green leafy vegetables
–Cruciferous vegetables \
–Green and black teas
TIPS TO BOOST ANTIOXIDANT INTAKE:
–Drink 1-2 cups of matcha green tea per day
–Eat vegetables with every meal
–Eat fruit 1-2 times per day
–Is your plate colorful? If it is mostly brown, then it’s lacking in antioxidants. Add in foods that are red, green, orange, and blue/purple
–Spice up your meals! Oregano, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric all contain antioxidants
Eating a colorful and varied diet allows you to consume antioxidants in their natural form. This is the best way to combat cellular damage and the development of health conditions related to oxidative stress.