Antioxidants are amazing little helpers – they promote healthy cells and a healthy heart, but also help support your memory, joints, muscle recovery, eyesight and skin. If you're not familiar with them, it's time to get up to speed.
Our cells use oxygen; when they do they naturally produce free radicals. Free radicals are neutralized by antioxidants, but if you don't have enough they can put your body in a state of oxidative stress - thought to be a precursor to many different health conditions.
Selenium occurs in high levels in Brazil nuts, but is also readily found in fish, seafood (notably oyster and shrimp), most meats, pasta, mushrooms and eggs.
As well as supporting your body against a range of health conditions, selenium accelerates the body’s natural antioxidant-making process.
2. Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 helps to support heart health and also the body’s natural resilience to oxidative stress. For such a vital antioxidant, it's challenging to get enough CoQ10 from diet alone. Including CoQ10 rich foods can help, but adding a well-absorbed CoQ10 supplement like MitoQ is the best way to ensure you're getting enough.
The foods with the highest CoQ10 are not ones you'll frequently eat. Heart, liver and kidney meats are outstanding sources, but more likely sources include legumes, soy (such as tofu and soybean oil), vegetables (specifically, spinach and broccoli), fish (any), and nuts and seeds (peanuts, sesame seeds and pistachios).
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is known to support defense against heart disease and as an immunity booster, and your best sources are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, mango and broccoli.
4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known to support vascular health and has the added benefit of helping the body absorb vitamin E more efficiently. As you probably know, citrus is a great source of vitamin C. You can also get good amounts from broccoli and green leafy vegetables, but also sweet potato (kumara), strawberries and tomatoes.
This antioxidant includes carotene, which gives carrots their distinctive color. They're also present in lots of other brightly colored orange and yellow fruits and vegetables including apricots, sweet potatoes, mangoes and cantaloupe (rockmelon).
As an antioxidant, carotenoids help to promote eye and skin health, and aid CoQ10 in supporting management of free radicals.
Probably the least well-known antioxidant on the list, isothiocyanates have been found to have a fascinating role in supporting inhibiting cell mutation associated with cancer.
Isothiocyanates are found in abundance in cruciferous vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, horseradish, kale, mustard, turnip, swede and watercress.
It's worth finding a way to incorporate these foods into your diet on a regular basis, but try to avoid boiling them as it will greatly reduce the quantity of isothiocyanates available. Steam, stir-fry or eat them raw where possible.
It's easy to see why polyphenols are an exciting addition to add to your diet. Supporting brain health and memory-loss, they can be found in dark chocolate, red wine, tea, coffee, apples, red cherries, soybeans, oranges and onions.
Lycopene is another easy antioxidant to eat – it's found in large quantities in tomatoes, watermelon, apricots, guava, papaya and pink grapefruit.
It supports a wide range of functions, including cardiovascular, eye, bone, brain and prostate health.
A very common antioxidant in many crucial bodily functions, zinc supports immune levels and is needed for a healthy white blood cell count. It also helps to keep hair and nails healthy. Seafood, lean meat, chickpeas, milk, cashews and almonds are all good sources of zinc.
Antioxidants and MitoQ
Taking antioxidant supplements such as MitoQ, a revolutionary targeted form of Co-enzyme Q10, can help to boost our own supply of antioxidants which may reduce free radical damage.