Monday, January 16, 2012


 Protect the Integrity of your Cells, Let thy food be your medicine and antioxidants!

About antioxidants: Protect Yourself from Free Radical Damage! 
Anyone interested in natural foods these days has almost certainly run across the word "antioxidants". You have no doubt been hearing that antioxidants are good for you and that you should be getting lots of them, right? But what exactly are antioxidants and why are they good for us?

What are Antioxidants?
First let's look at the word. We've got "anti" and "oxi". So does that mean antioxidants are anti oxygen? Well, not quite. The important thing to know is the difference between oxygenation and oxidation. Oxygen is good and being oxygenated is very good. Every organ in our bodies needs oxygen. But oxidation refers to the breakdown of materials by aggressive little atoms and molecules. An iron bumper on a car breaking down and turning to rust is an example of oxidation. So when you think antioxidants, think anti-oxidation. Antioxidants are compounds that help us fight against damage from oxidation. Our bodies are constantly reacting with oxygen as we breathe and as our cells create energy. But this process along with poor quality foods and pollution can create an abundance of highly reactive molecules in our system called free radicals.

What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that are missing electrons. Free radicals bounce around looking to replace the missing electrons and cause our cells oxidative damage. They can damage proteins, cell membranes and even genes. Oxidative damage has been implicated in the cause of many diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's and is also said to accelerate the aging process. Poor quality foods and environmental pollutions have exposed us to more free radicals than ever before. This is where antioxidants come in handy. They are rich in electrons and neutralize free radicals, stopping their oxidative damage in its tracks.
Where can you get antioxidants?
Here comes the fun part. There is a wide variety of foods that are brimming with antioxidants, and they come in all different flavors, textures and colors. In fact you may notice that many antioxidant rich foods are very colorful. That is because in most cases, the color IS the antioxidant. For example the dark purple color of Maqui Berries comes from antioxidant compounds called phycocyanins. The bright orange of carrots and goji berries is from the antioxidant compound called beta-carotene. So whether you're a chocoholic, a berry lover, or a green food fan, you'll be able to find your favorite source of antioxidants.

The ORAC Scale
One of the ways antioxidant power can be measured is by the ORAC scale. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and it measures the power of a substance to neutralize free radicals. The higher the ORAC score, the more powerful the antioxidant power.

Here are the ORAC scores of some of our favorite foods:

Food                    ORAC Score
Mango                   3
Raisins                   21
Goji                        133
Acai Powder           536
Maqui Powder        606
Cacao Powder       908

That's right. You read correctly. Cacao is the richest source of antioxidants of any food. Followed closely by Maqui berries. And you if you take a close look at the people who have traditionally consumed Cacao and Maqui berrries you will find renowned examples of health and longevity. 

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