Antioxidants, A Food for Thought

Free radicals are not necessarily the pure evil that it has been portrayed to be. They are natural by-products of the chemical processes in our bodies. Our immune system utilises some of the free radicals to attack bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, too many cooks (free radicals) do spoil the broth so that is where antioxidants step in to balance things out. Speaking of balance, smoking less, drinking alcohol in moderation, avoid excess exposure to the sun will inevitably help in reducing the production of free radicals.

Looking after your skin is not entirely about topical applications but also what you ingest. It is well established that a balanced diet of antioxidants does your health a world of good. While some antioxidants can be bad they are generally a healthy choice for you.

We are proponents of the ‘everything in moderation’ principle. Eating a healthy, balanced diet which contains five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day is the best way to obtain enough antioxidants. Now let’s look at some of the dietary sources of natural antioxidants shall we.

  • Vitamin E – vegetable oils, avocadoes, sunflower seeds, almonds, oats, spinach.
  • Vitamin A – apricots, kale, sweet potato, carrots, eggs, milk
  • Vitamin C — orange, citrus, broccoli, kiwi fruit, cauliflower
  • Flavonoids & Isoflavonoids – black & green tea, citrus fruits, celery, parsley, tofu, lentils, dark chocolate, black grapes
  • Carotenoids (beta-carotene) — pumpkin, oranges, pawpaw
  • Zinc & Selenium – wholegrains, brazil nuts, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds
  • Polyphenols – oregano, thyme, cloves, dark chocolate

Claims of a typical food that has the 'highest/richest source of antioxidants' need to be carefully considered as such claim may rely on the type of measurement used and may not consider how well particular antioxidants can be absorbed.