Before taking a walk down nutritional lane we should probably look at what antioxidants are. For some antioxidants are the elixir of life, promoting good health, fighting cancers, heart disease the list is endless. For others antioxidants are the fountain of youth, slowing down the ravages of life and helping them look younger.
Antioxidants basically bind themselves to free radicals in our bodies and help to stop them doing damage. Free radicals can be caused by pollution, but also by oxygen which means that when you’re trying to get fit and healthy you could be producing more free radicals because you’re inhaling more oxygen. I was once told that free radicals were like the rust that old cars get and an antioxidant was like the primer they put on your old car to stop the rust spreading. I think that’s a good analogy. Now let’s look at food.
Take a big, sweet, juicy strawberry and dip it in melted bittersweet dark chocolate (at least 80% cocoa solids) and indulge yourself. The sweetness of the strawberry combined with the bitterness of the chocolate is heavenly. Wash this down with a glass of red wine and you’ve just had a delicious treat that is rich in antioxidants.
Studies in both the US and Scotland have heralded cocoa as being high in antioxidants. However, be warned, not all chocolates are created equal. White chocolate contains no antioxidants, the best is a dark chocolate with over 80% cocoa solids. The bitter taste of cocoa powder can also be used in savoury dishes as the Inca’s did.
Berries are also high in antioxidants, blueberries have been heavily promoted as an anti-aging food because of their antioxidant content. The new kid on the supermarket shelves is the Acai berry. This Brazilian berry has been called one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and has ten times the antioxidants found in blueberries. Try to add a handful of berries everyday as part of your diet whether you choose blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries or raspberries.
A number of studies have touted red wine as being high in antioxidants and it is recommended for people to partake of a glass a day. White wines do contain some antioxidants, but the antioxidants are far stronger in red wine. The best red wines are Cabernets and Merlots, this is because the highest concentration of the antioxidant come from the red grape called Cabernet Sauvignon.
Tomatoes are another antioxidant rich food, one of the cornerstones