Week beginning Friday 17th July 2020

This Week: Pack in the Antioxidants

What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are compounds produced in your body and found in foods. They help defend your cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as “free radicals”.

If we have too many free radicals in our body, they may cause a state known as “oxidative stress” and this may cause damage and can also increase your risk of chronic disease.

So, by eating a diet rich in antioxidants, you can help fight this oxidative stress and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.

Now, one of the things I love about nature is how these antioxidant-rich foods attract you to eat them…they’re bright, vibrant and colourful, as though they are screaming out at you “I’m over here, look at me… don’t ignore me!”

They know they are the only ones that can ward off free radicals and protect you from the threat of disease.

Your food choices should be packed with antioxidants; hopefully they already are! To help you, I’ve picked some simple choices that are, perhaps surprisingly, rich in antioxidants.

  • Mixed Tomato Bruschetta
    Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the powerful antioxidant Lycopene, which gives it it’s rich red colour. They are also a great source of the antioxidant vitamin; vitamin C as well as Lutein and Beta Carotene; both crucial antioxidants for eye health. Eating them raw, mixed with a little oil is the best way to ensure the uptake of lycopene in particular. With this easy bruschetta recipe, packing in the lycopene and all the other health benefits won’t take much effort!
  • Creamy (no cream!) Carrot soup
    This delicately sweet creamy ginger carrot soup is subtly spiced with ginger and does not use cream! Providing great fibre and an array of vitamins, including beta-carotene, a precursor to the antioxidant vitamin A, this rich carrot soup doesn’t skimp on flavour. Naturally warming, this ginger carrot soup is perfect for the whole family as a simple lunch or snack
  • Mixed Radicchio Salad
    This may seem an unusual choice to include, but my point here is that when you’re choosing a lettuce for a mixed salad, try to opt for one where the leaves are richer in colour, whether that’s a dark green, deep red or a dark pink and purple, as shown here. (This pic was taken during a recent holiday in Italy, where these tasty leaves are very popular)Any red or pink leaf lettuce is a great source of antioxidants, in particular Anthocyanins; a group of antioxidants as well as antioxidants beta carotene and vitamin C.The deeper the colour, the higher the amounts of antioxidants and therefore the more nutritious your simple side salad bowl of leaves becomes!
  • Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond Bark
    Lucky for chocolate lovers (like me), dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids is actually quite nutritious and one of the best sources of antioxidants. Generally speaking, the higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains.TIP: make up a batch of this bark and you’ll have something ready when that sweet tooth kicks in after a meal…when only chocolate will do!