Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 990 - Antioxidants

Do you have enough anti in your life?

Apparently there are these things called free radicals in your body that do bad stuff like let cancer cells take over and encourage other gremlins to take over your immune system.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that antioxidants tell those free radicals to "get back in your box you trolls" and help boost your immune system.  So it seems we all need a little anti in our life. I know, I know, I'm not being very scientific. You want the scientific version? Then here you go ...

This information comes direct from Wikipedia which is not overly scientific and is often poo poo'ed as a source of reliable information, but it's a Professor Google favourite and you all know how much I adore Professor Google, so you'll just have to trust me on this one. 

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons or hydrogen from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions. They do this by being oxidized themselves, so antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols, ascorbic acid, or polyphenols.

So why am I having a rave about antioxidants?  Well, because I need them in my body and, because of my food sensitivities (amines, salicylates and MSG),  I don't necessarily get enough of them through my normal diet.  

There are a whole heap of herbs and spices that are high in antioxidants, and we all know green tea is a good one, as well as dried fruits and deeply pigmented fruits like cranberries, plums, blackberries, strawberries etc. Vegetables such as cabbage, artichokes, broccoli, asparagus, beetroot, avocado and spinach are also fairly high. Nuts also have a moderate amount of antioxidant properties as do some brans and cocoa (yes, that's a big WIN for the chocoholics).  

I've started taking an antioxidant supplement called OPC3 by Isotonix which I buy through Market Australia. It's a nice easy way to get my immune system boosted up and to combat the free radicals. When I take this regularly my fibromyalgia systems are kept to a minimum (if indeed I do have fibromyalgia*) and my headaches are also less frequent. 

But if you want to boost your antioxidant intake even further there are these awesome seeds called Chia seeds that apparently have super high antioxidant properties and all you have to do is mix some in your cereal or sprinkle them on your salad and BINGO you've got a whole bunch of soldiers in your system to fight those free radical bastards. The added bonus is they are the highest plant source of Omega-3 with apparently 8 times more Omega-3 in them than salmon! 

But wait, there's more.  

These little gems also stabilise blood sugar, give energy, have anti-inflammatory properties, can boost your metabolism and promote lean muscle mass making them great for weight loss, can detoxify the body (particularly the colon), contain high quality protein, provide fibre and other nutrients, AND improve brain function.** And you don't have to travel to exotic locations and harvest them yourself. You can buy them at your local health food store. 

So there you have it.  Do you have enough anti in your life?  

* I am constantly questioning my fibromyalgia diagnosis simply because my body pain is not as bad as many fibro sufferers.  Plus while I am "in remission" it's easy to question that I was ever actually "sick" in the first place. 

**This information was sourced from What's Cooking America  

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