The sun is shining, warming your skin and soul, and you want to nourish your whole self so that you are beautiful inside and out this summer. Antioxidant rich foods are your best friend for a boost of vitality, ageless sexy skin and holistic whole body wellness.
Free radicals are the reckless saboteurs of the microscopic world. These unstable molecules try to breakdown our body’s cells by stealing electrons, starting a chain reaction of oxidation that results in premature aging, inflammation, and disease. Free radicals are generated all the time during normal metabolism, but are produced in larger numbers when we are exposed to environmental pollution like chemicals in our cosmetics and household cleaners, refined and processed foods, sun exposure, birth control, and smoking.
Cue antioxidants – the micronutrient heroes that jump on the grenades of free radicals, neutralizing the damage and slowing the cellular decay associated with aging. Antioxidants are so cool because they can stop free radicals dead in their tracks – but rather than sacrificing themselves in the process, they get recycled by other antioxidants, finding renewed strength to go back out to prevent more free radical damage.
Antioxidants come in many forms – Vitamins A, C, E, the minerals zinc, selenium, and many more – and as with most nutrients, they are much more bioavailable and powerful when they come from our food rather than pills. The key is to get a wide range of different antioxidants in your diet, since they each have a favorite partner that they depend on for recycling.
Fruits and veggies are the first place to look for antioxidants – the darker and more vibrant the color the better (so eat a rainbow) – and the key is to eat produce that is freshly picked and naturally grown. Organic plants don’t have any of that chemical garbage that trigger free radicals in the first place. Freshly picked fruit and vegetables have the highest levels of antioxidants, simply because they haven’t yet used up their own antioxidant supply, trying to prevent their own decay after they are plucked from the plant.
The best place to check off all the boxes on the list is at your local farmers market. Farmers bring their freshest seasonal produce grown with love and nutrient dense soil, and it’s bursting with antioxidants. Ask your farmer if they are certified organic or certified naturally grown to cut down on your chemical load, or better yet, become a micro-farmer yourself. Any windowsill or countertop is ample space to grow a jar of sprouted seeds or potted herbs, and a well-watered patio pot will support fast growing greens or a colorful heirloom tomato plant. You can’t get any better antioxidants than edible wellness fresh from your own backyard, still warm with sunshine, and bursting with life and love. Food is medicine. Eat well.
Berries (all varieties, plus cherries and grapes too)
Greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, and sprouts)
Orange foods (sweet potato, squash, and citrus)
Red roots (beets, raw onion, and radish)
Nuts (pecans, walnuts and brazil nuts)
Seeds (hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds)
Fresh herbs and spices (garlic, cilantro, and cinnamon)