ANTIOXIDANTS! What? Why? Where?

on Thursday, 25 November 2010. Posted in Organic Living

What is an antioxidant?

You’ve heard the word “antioxidants” around town? Ofcourse you have!  It’s the buzz word of the new millennium.  Everyone’s talking about them!  Everyone’s eating them!  Everyone’s loving them!  But what is an antioxidant?  Why should we be welcoming them in to our everyday life? And, Where do you find them?
An antioxidant is a substance that inhibits oxidation or inhibits reactions promoted by oxygen or peroxides.  Oxidation is crucial to life, our bodies use the oxygen we breathe each day to ensure our natural bodily functions can be carried out.  Oxidation is a chemical reaction and can produce free radicals.  In the human body free radicals are unstable molecules that look for healthy molecules to bond with and in turn can cause deterioration and permanent damage to healthy cells.  An antioxidant is a nutrient, or an enzyme, that can counteract the harmful effects of damaging free radicals in our bodies.  Antioxidants can be found in many foods and a healthy diet or fresh fruit and vegetables rich in antioxidants can help to prevent long term illness and diseases such as cancer and heart disease, boost the immune system and keep the brain healthy. 

Enjoy the biology lesson?  So where can we find the antioxidants we need?

Antioxidants are found in abundance in fresh fruit and vegetables.  Australians are encouraged to eat 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit every day.  Many people however struggle to reach their daily recommended requirement of these foods.  Within Australia only 14% of men and 21% of women report eating more than four serves of vegetables per day.  Plants naturally produce antioxidants to protect themselves from free radicals and these often cause pigments such as orange, purple, blue and red in fruits.  Berries are naturally high in antioxidants, pink grapefruit, oranges and dried fruits such as apricots, prunes and dates are also our antioxidant friends.  Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, egg plant, red beans and dark green leafy vegetables should be eaten a plenty and if you need a treat it may please you to discover that dark chocolate, black tea and red wine are also a must for this diet!

Your local farmers market is the best place to find all the foods you need to ensure your diet

is rich in antioxidants.  The finest selection of fresh fruit and vegetables are available to tempt you and make your transition to a healthy lifestyle an easy one.

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