Antioxidants have been a health buzzword for ages -- but what they hell are they?
Found in all fruit and vegetables, the most well-known antioxidants are Vitamins A, C, E, Zinc and Selenium. They have been shown to help combat the activity of excess free radicals and the process of oxidisation in the body. This process is associated with age-related health issues (hello, wrinkles).
Free radical cells, left uncontrolled, have the potential to wreak havoc in our bodies. Although we produce free radicals naturally every day -- and in some cases they can actually be good for you -- if you have an excess of free radicals they can become difficult for your body to control.
These processes can be enhanced by external factors such as environmental toxins (any smokers out there?), poor diet and stress. It is possible to reduce the rate of scavenging free radicals by increasing your consumption of antioxidants which help to balance the free radical “seesaw”.
So basically the antioxidants are the good guys who fight the free radicals, who are the baddies.
Although antioxidants are found in all fruit and vegetables, the rate of antioxidant activity can be far richer than others. Principal of Health Schools Australia Stephen Eddey breaks down six trending antioxidants you're likely to see on health food shelves right now.
Baobab has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any fruit in the world. It is a rich source of vitamin C, Calcium, Potassium and Thiamin -- plus it is almost 50 percent fibre.
Baobab is a great source of energy, it supports the immune system due to its high levels of vitamin C and it helps support a healthy nervous system due to its potassium levels. It also helps to improve iron intake. When vitamin C is present with the consumption of iron, the rate of absorption from iron improves.
This one may come as a surprise as most people who have been in close contact with nettle remember the irritating itching feeling they experienced afterwards.
This is because nettle leaves and stems have fine hairs on them that release reacting chemicals when they come in close contact with skin, however nettle is actually highly recommended for its many health benefits.
Nettle contains vitamins A, B, K, riboflavin and folate. It is also rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium and potassium making it great for maintaining energy levels.
Nettle is a natural diuretic so it is great for your kidneys and urinary tract as it can flush out toxins. It has also been known to act as a natural pain killer and ease muscle aches plus it has been used to combat allergies, a must for spring.
Ubiquinol is one of the most powerful antioxidants. It is found naturally in our bodies and is present in all living cells. Australian supermodel and mum, Elyse Taylor, claims to take Ubiquinol for its heart health benefits.
Ubiquinol’s role in the body is to extract energy from food and assist in powering the body’s overall energy levels as well as supporting the health of our major organs.
Science shows that as we age or put our bodies under stress our Ubiquinol levels decline often leaving us feeling fatigued and lacking in energy.
Although Ubiquinol is found in food such as spinach, red meat, peanuts and chicken, you would need to eat a large quantity of these foods to get the required dose, so with that in mind your practitioner may recommend supplementation.
Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes (red wine) and is a member of a group of plant compounds called polyphenols which are thought to have high antioxidant properties.
Resveratrol has gained attention as it reportedly helps support anti-aging and has shown disease combating benefits. It is also thought to be good for supporting heart health.
The Mediterranean Diet is often hailed for its balanced approach to food and with the inclusion of red wine.
Matcha, which literally means ‘powdered tea’, is a form of green tea.
The difference is that with Matcha you consume the actual leaves which have been finely powdered and made into a solution whereas, with green tea, the leaves get infused in hot water and then discarded.
Matcha is a potent source of nutrients that is rich in polyphenols which have been tied to many health benefits including protection against heart disease, improving blood sugar regulation and assisting in anti-aging.
It has also been shown to help boost the metabolism. Be careful about when you consume Matcha though as you may end up consuming up to three times the amount of caffeine per cup so be sure to drink it earlier in the day.
Furthermore, as Matcha is in powdered form, you can also add it into food such as protein balls and snacks as well.
Gubinge powder is the highest natural source of vitamin C known to date. It contains 13g of vitamin C per 100g of fruit -- which is over 50 times the concentration found it oranges!
Fun Fact: Gubinge comes from the Kimberleys in Western Australia and is traditionally known as a source of “bush tucker”, an antiseptic and a healing remedy for the local Indigenous population for thousands of years.
As always, read the label and consult your healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements