Are You Getting Enough Antioxidants?Aug 23, 2018
If you’re looking to feel more vibrant, energetic and healthier this summer, then making sure you are getting enough antioxidants is essential to your overall health and longevity.
Our bodies produce what’s commonly known as free radicals. These compounds are a normal part of metabolic breakdown. From stress, to poor eating habits and lack of nutrients, these free radicals can wreak havoc on our healthy cells.
We can also produce free radicals from being exposed to cigarette smoke, over exposure to the sun, drinking too much alcohol or enduring a traumatic injury. Antioxidants are the cells protectors and they help neutralize the effects of free radical damage.
So how do you get more antioxidants? Easy! By loading up your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll supply your body with a variety of antioxidants that help to combat disease, keep your skin youthful and protect you from cellular damage.
Plants produce hundreds of antioxidants for their own protection. Many of these antioxidants are present in vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, nuts and seeds, as well as tea, coffee, extra virgin olive oil, red wine and dark bitter chocolate. As you can see, getting in your daily dose of antioxidants involves eating some delicious foods!
Antioxidants produce the bright colours in fruits and vegetables, such as red peppers, dark leafy green kale and vibrant red strawberries. It’s important to ensure you provide your body with a variety of these foods to ensure you are getting in a wide variety of antioxidants. There just happens to be thousands of them!
Important antioxidants you commonly hear talked about are vitamin C and Vitamin E. Vitamin C is essential for heart health, reducing plague in the arteries and lowering blood pressure. In fact, vitamin C can even help to repair tissue damage caused by cigarette smoke.  Load up on citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemons and limes, as well as kiwis, which contain even more vitamin C than oranges.
Vitamin E is also an important antioxidant for the heart and is beneficial for skin health too! It also assists in the formation of red blood cells and helps to maintain stores of vitamins A and K, iron, and selenium, all which support immunity and bone health. Studies have even shown the positive effect it can have against cancer and relieving symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Be sure to load up on spinach, kale, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, which are all rich in this important antioxidant.
Simply add a variety of fruits and vegetables to your meals throughout the day. And a very important thing to note here is VARIETY. I know how often we can get stuck in a rut, causing us to eat the same foods over and over again, but to ensure that we are getting in a variety of nutrients, variety is key.
This week, I challenge you to try a NEW fruit and vegetable you've never tried before. Get creative and experiment!
By: Samantha Gladish, Nutritionist