Antioxidants guide

Antioxidants – why do we need them?

The term ‘antioxidants’ has been a bit of a buzz word in health and beauty for decades. But what exactly are antioxidants, why do we need them and how can we get plenty of them?

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules (found in certain foods, fruits and vegetables) that help fight free radicals. Free radicals are unstable cells that are produced naturally within the body as a by-product of bodily processes including breathing, or from external factors like pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol and sunlight.

Those free radicals are molecules which contain an unpaired electron and which, to make themselves whole again, ‘steal’ electrons from nearby cells, which causes a domino effect of damage. Antioxidants ‘donate’ electrons to free radicals so that they don’t have to ‘steal’, helping prevent and reduce damage.

We actually need a balance of free radicals to be healthy: it’s only when they get out of balance that they can cause problems. When too many free radicals accumulate, a process called oxidative stress can occur – damaging cell structures and contributing to ageing. Oxidative stress has also been linked to the development of certain illnesses including cancer, autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular disease.

Why are antioxidants so important for our skin?

According to leading skin expert Abigail James, “antioxidants are essential when it comes to staving off the ageing process and preventing damage to the skin, particularly in the long-term. Free radicals can damage collagen, which can cause skin dryness, fine lines, wrinkles and premature ageing. Our body produces an army of antioxidants to defend itself against free radicals, which act a little like a chill pill to rebalance and calm the unstable cells down.

Nutrition, supplements and skincare ingredients high in antioxidants are vital for preventing cell damage, premature ageing and restoring health and balance. Incorporating antioxidants into your diet will make a big long-term difference to your complexion and will do wonders to repair, rejuvenate and brighten your skin.”

How do we get a good supply of antioxidants in our diet?

Examples of antioxidants include vitamins A, E and C, selenium, carotenoids, lycopene and flavanols, which can be found in a wide variety of foods. Opinions vary about how many antioxidants we should eat in a day (and how to measure them) however general advice is that we should aim to eat between 5-8 servings of antioxidant-rich foods a day.

6 of the most antioxidant-rich foods:

1. Cacao

Regular cacao is well known for its high antioxidant content but Aduna Super-Cacao Powder deserves the ‘super’ name! With 8 times the flavanol content of regular cacao powder, it’s an antioxidant powerhouse. It is also the first cacao scientifically proven to support healthy blood flow which gets an even greater supply of nutrients, water and oxygen to the skin, supporting a healthy cell turnover and giving you a glowing complexion. Who needs a better excuse to enjoy healthy chocolate treats every day?

2. Cherries

Cherries are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids and have a considerable amount of skin-loving vitamins A and C. Its dark red colour comes from the high antioxidant content – a perfect snack for the afternoon break!

3. Baobab

The African superfruit baobab has the highest antioxidant content of any fruit according to The Journal of Nutrition. Baobab powder has twice the antioxidants gram per gram of goji berries and more than blueberries and pomegranates combined. A single serving of Aduna Baobab Superfruit Powder (2-3 teaspoons) also provides 33% of your daily Vitamin C requirement. Vitamin C is essential for skin health, supporting collagen formation and protecting the cells from oxidative stress and your body can’t make its own so you need to get a good supply from food every day.

4. Walnuts

Walnuts are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids which help strengthen the membranes of skin cells, locking in moisture and keeping out toxins. Walnuts are the superheroes of the nut world!

5. Turmeric

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric make it a handy natural skin agent. Applied topically as a paste (use the powder mixed with coconut oil or water), it can be used to treat skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, along with minor cuts and scrapes. Turmeric is also available in tablet form.

6. Moringa

The nutrient-dense leaves of the Moringa Tree are one of nature’s richest sources of antioxidants. Aduna Moringa Superleaf Powder has 6 times the antioxidants of goji berries. It is also a source of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin and vitamin E, protecting cells from oxidative stress. With a green spinachy flavour, use moringa in green smoothies, soups, salads or as a superfood seasoning for savoury dishes.

Try the Ultimate Skin-Loving Smoothie Recipe

One of the easiest and most delicious ways to ensure you get your antioxidant fix is to make a super-charged fruit smoothie in the morning. Aduna’s Cherry, Walnut & Super-Cacao Smoothie contains everything you need to get the glow this summer and is very easy to whip up in the morning.

 

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