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  • Writer's pictureLucy Sparkes

Antioxidants - eat all your colours

Updated: Oct 17, 2020

Why rainbow nutrition from diverse plant foods is key for health

Antioxidants are all the rage today. And, justiably so. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals which cause cell damage, which ultimately can lead to diseases of the heart and cancer. It seems everywhere you go it's blueberry this and blueberry that. You have your choice of wild blueberry juice, blueberry-pomegranate juice, blueberry-cranberry juice and so on and so on. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love blueberries. But, in our rush to embrace the latest antioxidant food craze (blueberries, cranberries, pomegranates) we’re ignoring some very high-antioxidant foods that are probably sitting ignored in our cupboards.

“What?” You ask, “What could possibly be higher in antioxidants than my beloved wild blueberry?” Well, how about the small red bean? That’s right, I said “bean.” The small red bean actually has more antioxidants per serving size than the wild blueberry. And the red kidney bean and pinto bean have more antioxidants per serving size than a serving of cultivated blueberries. What other foods are high in antioxidants? For starters, there are artichoke hearts, blackberries, prunes, pecans, spinach, kale, russet potatoes and plums. And, no, that’s not a mistake. Russet potatoes are on the list of foods high in antioxidants. The truth is, there are many common foods high in antioxidants and you should not just restrict yourself to one particular food source. Why? Well, have you ever heard the expression, “eat the rainbow?” That refers to the fact that foods are in different colour “families” containing different types of antioxidants which have different benefits. For example, the yellow-orange colour family of peaches and nectarines help our immune systems. The purple-red colour family of foods (pomegranates, beetroot plums, berries) helps reduce inflammation. It’s important to eat foods from all coluor groups to reap the full benefits of antioxidants. The good news is that you can eat healthy foods high in antioxidants (by eating them raw, lightly cooking them, or juicing them yourself) without having to pay a high price for the “flavour of the month” antioxidant juices being peddled in the supermarkets. So, give your blueberries some company at the dinner table. Invite some beans, spinach, sweet potatoes and kohlrabi to your plate, and enjoy the diversity that nature has to offer!

If you want to start with a couple of supplements to top up your antioxidants whilst you are working on your diet, make sure they come from a clean source, are sustainable and provide the nutrients in the forms your body recognises. Here are a couple I often recommend in my clinic:

1) Multivitamin by Ethical Nutrition.

This multi is the best quality, best value on the market providing active forms of folate, iron, B12, vitamin D amongst others. It's 100% biodegradable & vegan to boot.

2) There are so many superfood powders in the market however here are a couple of my favourites for antioxidants and not forgetting flavour:

  1. Haskap berries indigenous to Japan -

  2. Berries from Finland such as Seabuckthorn and Wild Blueberry;

Wishing you health and happiness,

Lucy 💚🌈

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