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Let's Talk About Antioxidants; It's Not Just Vitamin C


Antioxidant rich foods

We’re often told conflicting information about what we should and shouldn’t eat and drink. It seems that almost as often as fashion changes, there are new villains and superheroes in the food world.


How can we simplify things to take charge of our health in a sustainable, timeless, and easy-to-understand way?

Antioxidant rich breakfast

One of my favourite all-stars of the nutrition world is antioxidants. I’m sure you will have heard the term thrown around liberally in marketing speak…but what are they, and why should we be interested?


Antioxidants are like the firefighters of our internal systems - you’ve probably heard of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant vital for our health. They are molecules that neutralise free radicals in our bodies.

Antioxidants versus Free Radicals

While they may seem like a band name from the 70s, free radicals exist in all of us.

They are an inevitable by-product of the body breaking down food into energy, produced when we exercise and as a result of exposure to pollutants.


As with all things, balance is so important, and we need some free radicals; however, if the balance tips, we can end up with too many.

Oxidative Stress

Free radicals are scavengers; they steal electrons from other molecules, which can leave them unstable and result in what is called oxidative stress and inflammation. With enough damage, this inflammation can lead to more serious issues.

ENTER ANTIOXIDANTS


Antioxidants contain enough electrons to donate to a free radical and stabilise it - no more damage is caused, and the free radical is neutralised.


The body has its arsenal of antioxidants to keep free radicals in check, but it’s also essential to include antioxidant-rich foods in your diet, such as:


Dates

Spinach

Blueberries

Strawberries

Beetroot

Goji Berries

Spices

Dark Chocolate

Kale

Raspberries

Red cabbage

Food rich in Antioxidants

A good rule of thumb is to ensure you regularly eat fruits and veggies with a rainbow of colours. The more colour-dense a fruit or vegetable is, the higher its concentration of antioxidants.

One of my favourite ways to increase my intake is with smoothies, which are quick, easy to make, and yummy.

Antioxidant rich berry smoothies

Here’s one for you to try:

CHOCOLATE BERRY SMOOTHIE

Keep a selection of berries in the freezer for a go-to delicious smoothie. I also keep a container of chopped frozen banana - add to any smoothie to thicken and add creaminess.


Makes 1 650ml serving


Ingredients


100g/1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries

120g/1 ¼ cup of fresh or frozen raspberries (or any other berry of choice)

One frozen chopped banana

One tablespoon of ground flaxseed/linseed

Two tablespoons of high-quality cocoa powder

5ml vanilla essence (optional)

One tablespoon of almond butter

A couple of ice cubes (optional)

360ml/1 ½ cups water

Pop all your ingredients into your blender and whizz until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more water.

If you need more sweetness, add a couple of dates, a drizzle of honey or some agave syrup.


Serve immediately and enjoy!


Ilona Coryndon Burns

Yoga Instructor

Nutritionist



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