Naturopath

Have you had enough Antioxidants today ?

Posted on February 9, 2012 in Practice Information

To understand why we need antioxidants, it is first important to explain what is a free radical. A free radical is a chemically active, unstable atom, that contains unpaired electrons, that can travel around the body looking for tissue to attach to. This process results in damaged, oxidised cells which have been implicated in many diseased states including cancer and cardio vascular disease as well as accelerated aging. What antioxidants do is attach to the unpaired electrons of the free radical molecule, rendering it inactive.

The production of free radicals is a normal part of human metabolic function, however the effect of exogenous free radicals from the environment from smoking, x rays, sun light, pollution etc can accumulate over time and over run our body’s natural ability to deal with free radical build up. That is why, in today’s modern society, where there is increased pressure from environmental toxins, we need to consider our antioxidant status and be mindful of the types of foods that contain potent antioxidants.

Foods rich in antioxidants in a typical Australian diet are blueberries, acai berries, cherries, goji berries, blackberries, pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries, turmeric, green tea, cinnamon, cloves, fresh ginger, red kidney beans, plums and globe artichokes. Check out the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) index for government generated standardised measurements of the antioxidant capacity of most foods.