The term superfood is used so frequently it can be hard to keep up! What makes these foods so super is that they contain buckets of antioxidants, the secret ingredient for keeping us healthy, banishing wrinkles and as a possible preventative for chronic disease. Eating (or drinking) antioxidant rich foods has the ability to quench free radicals, adding energy and calm to body and mind.
Antioxidants are present in fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains. Fruit and vegetables that have bright, distinctive colours, such as red tomatoes, purple blueberries, yellow squash and orange carrots are all rich in antioxidants.
As we age, the body experiences oxidative stress from free radicals. This process is natural and happens to everyone. Over time, the damage can become irreversible, lead to disease and take its toll on our complexion and energy levels.
A diet rich in antioxidants is necessary to keep the levels of free radicals in the body low to maintain good health. Smoking, drinking and sunbathing can cause increases in free radical production within the body. Other factors that can increase free radical production include air pollution, infection, and exposure to toxic substances. A number of the vitamins, minerals and compounds in foods have antioxidant properties.
Antioxidants are a part of optimal health. If you find it a struggle to reach the 5 a day target, or suspect that you could do with some dietary support, you may want to consider a supplement.
Six of the best antioxidants:
Helps the immune system and the intestinal, respiratory and urinary tracts.
Foods: carrots, sweet potatoes, kale
Helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Improves the absorption of iron from plant based foods and helps the immune system work properly.
Foods: citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis
Supports the immune system so it can fight infections. Helps blood vessels, prevents blood clots and protects the damage caused by free radicals.
Foods: wholegrains, broccoli, nuts, seeds
An essential mineral that partners Vitamin E to provide oxidative protection. Helps regulate thyroid function and plays a role in the immune system. May slow the ageing process.
Foods: fish, red meat, brazil nuts
Naturally occurring phytonutrient gives fruit & veg their red colour. Studies show lycopene foods reduce risk of cancer, cardio vascular disease & macular degeneration.
Foods: tomatoes, papaya, apricots
A nutrient found in green leafy vegetables, it may reduce risk of chronic eye disease and protects healthy cells. Lowers risk of developing cataracts & macular degeneration.
Foods: kiwi, broccoli, kale, spinach