Pack a mighty punch with an antioxidant garden
Phyllis, December 2015
You don’t have to be big to pack a mighty punch (ask my son after his little sister has beaten him up), which is why antioxidants are such an important part of a healthy diet. Antioxidants are compounds found in foods that neutralise or 'mop up' molecules called free radicals that can harm our cells. Damage caused to cells by free radicals is linked to certain diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E and carotenoids such as beta-carotene, minerals, phenolic compounds and other natural chemicals with antioxidant properties. Flavonoids are another powerful antioxidant and are contained in red wine and tea. ANTIOXIDANT SOURCES:
- Beta-carotene: Converts into vitamin A, which we need for good vision and eye health, for a strong immune system, and for healthy skin and mucous membranes.
- Lutein: One of two major carotenoids found as a color pigment in the human eye. It is thought to function as a light filter, protecting the eye tissues from sunlight damage.
- Lycopene: May help protect cells from damage. This is why there is a lot of research into lycopene’s role in preventing cancer.
- Selenium: A mineral that is needed in small amounts by the body to help regulate the thyroid hormones and support a healthy immune system.
- Vitamin A: Helps skin to repair, stay moist, and produce the enzymes that stabilise the production of collagen.
- Vitamin E: Helps with proper immune function, plays a role in the use of vitamin K, which helps blood clotting, acts as a blood thinner by widening blood vessels, turns generic cells into the specific types your body needs, aids cell division and cell signaling.
- Vitamin C: Helps the body make collagen, an important protein used to make skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.