SUNDAY, 30 APRIL 2017
ANTIOXIDANTS: THE LOWDOWN
Did you know: antioxidants can stop cell damage, but they can also cause major damage to your health?
I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this one because we’ve been hit with the fact that free radicals are the enemy of health. Reading up on the topic [through scientific research] this is what I’ve learnt:
Our bodies produce oxidants, or free radicals, these bad boys occur naturally in our immune systems to help fight bacteria. Our bodies are smart machines and it can handle free radicals because it produces its own antioxidants. However, because of external factors such as pollution and radiation, and internal factors such as stress and diet, it increases the intensity with which free radicals occur. They are essentially weak atoms that attack the stable molecules by stealing its electron. When other molecules are attacked, they lose their electron, becoming a free radical itself. It becomes a chain reaction.
Even intense exercise cause free radicals to occur, which is why some athletes take antioxidant supplements to balance them.
It’s the same concept as PH levels; everything needs its balance. If we get a good balance of oxidants and antioxidants we are able to protect are cells from sun damage and external free radicals. Now here comes the most important part: always try to consume antioxidants via whole food and not supplements. Supplements increase antioxidants 10 fold which can be a really bad thing for the body remember the balance. Through a healthy diet, you will get every nutrient you need (bar Vit. D if you live in a cold climate and b12 for vegans.) Even my doctor recommends food over supplements – she once told me what the point in being plant-based was if I was going to supplement my diet with pills – she’s correct.
Vitamins are important components of antioxidants. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, are all cell builders. We should be eating at least five pieces of fruit and veg a day as they contain a large amount of these vitamins in raw form. Berries are your best bet in feeding your body antioxidants internally at a good enough level. If you are unsure of which berries, follow the chart below.
My additional tips to balance free radicals:
Eat organic whenever possible – You don’t want to be feeding yourself harmful substances than there already are within the environment we live in today. With all pesticides and herbicides that are used to grow and maintain crops these days, organically-grown provides a powerful hit of antioxidants than non-organic foods because it soaks in antioxidants from the undamaged soil.
Try to limit microwave use – This one’s a no-brainer, microwaved food is bad, period. Cook food in an iron skillet over the stove, eat whilst it’s fresh. The microwave was designed for convenience and convenience has not yet supported long-term wellbeing.
Turn your Wi-Fi off at night I always turn off the Wi-Fi on my phone at night, and in the house. It’s additional radiation that I don’t need.
Get fit but not at a crazy intense level (unless your job requires) Nothing is better for you or your lungs than exercise but this causes a surge of free radicals. I never work out intensely, I just walk A LOT Try and walk for at least an hour a day.
Cut out unnecessary stress. I’ll be the first one to say, our world is in a sorry state at the moment. You want to help but sometimes things are out of your control. Do what you can. Control what you can. Let go of the rest.
Get the antioxidants externally I use rosehip and avocado oil on my body. Rosehip oil is packed with omega fatty acids 3, 6, 7, 9, which renew cells and hydrate the skin externally. And avocado oil is the only oil that penetrates through to the deepest layers of the skin.
Eat up to 7 portions of fruit and veg a day up to 10 when you are ill. Cut out the junk and replace with something healthy.
Snack on Brazil nuts to up your vitamin e and selenium this will keep your energy and mood levels up.
Read more about antioxidants and free radicals here.
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