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.
The Nine Antioxidants You Need
Selenium is probably best known because it 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 speeds up the natural antioxidant-making process.
Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 helps to support heart health and reduce the effects of oxidative stress For such a vital antioxidant, it's extremely challenging to get enough CoQ10 recommended by some researchers from diet alone. Including CoQ-10 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).
Known to support defense against heart disease and immunity, your best sources are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, mango, broccoli, and safflower, corn and soybean oils.
The most famous one on the list - known to support vascular health and use 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 include 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, it helps to promote eye and skin health, and helps CoQ10 in supporting management of free radicals (which cause oxidative stress).
Probably the least well-known antioxidant on the list, they have been found to have a fascinating role in supporting inhibiting cell mutation associated with cancer.
It is 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 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 - we recommend steaming, stir-frying or eating them raw where possible.
It's easy to see why polyphenols are an exciting challenge 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 organs 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 keeps hair and nails healthy!
The easiest way to include zinc in your diet is to regularly consume seafood, lean meat, chickpeas, milk, cashews and almonds.