Antioxidants are everywhere. They’re in our food (fruit and veg), and our skincare. Theres hardly any serum, tonic or potion that doesn’t seem to have them or fruit juice that doesn’t have it written in bold, but what are they? and what do they do?
Antioxidants are compounds which prevent oxidation and deterioration of cells caused by free radicals. These free radicals are caused by both internal and external factors such as diet and pollution. Antioxidants work by destroying chain reactions which can cause damage to body cells and consequently can cause mutation leading to cancers and other conditions. The oxidation process is also thought to contribute to diseases such as Alzheimers. Furthermore, research suggests antioxidants can lower LDL cholesterol (the dangerous type) and consequently reduce risk of heart disease, inflammation and atherosclerosis. It is therefore crucial we include them in our diet.
Foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants:
- berries – strawberries, blueberries, goji, raspberries
- nuts – pecans, almonds
- vegetables – kale, red cabbage, beetroot, spinach, artichoke
- legumes such as beans
- dark chocolate
*typically any natural food with a strong pigment/colour contains levels of antioxidants*
Ideas to include antioxidants in your diet:
- Include a variety of berries into your diet by having with yoghurt for breakfast, lunch or as a dessert in the evening. It is tasty and super healthy. You could even include nuts so there is more texture and so you maximise the nutrients of the dish.
- Use nuts as snacks throughout the day as a healthy alternative to cripss and cereal bars.
- Treat yourself to a cube or two of dark chocolate in the evening with a cup of tea or coffee for a little comfort and pick me up whilst you wind down from the day.
Skincare: Antioxidants are often including in skincare to prevent oxidation of cells caused by pollutants and sun damage. You can also include them in your skin care routine to prevent skin ageing. For a cost effective way of including into your skincare routine try making diy facials such as blueberry or pure dark chocolate and use regularly (please ensure you use fairtrade organic if you considering using chocolate…check out this article for fairtrade here). Alternatively look for moisturisers and serums that contain antioxidants and protection from pollution. For an idea on sustainable brands we love at the SGO check out this post on hand creams.