Alina and I met a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t until a year later that our foodie stars aligned us with some common ground: eating well and putting our good food vibes out in the world. Nowadays we bump into each other at nutrition meet-ups, make recipes off each other’s Instagram feeds, drool over things like healthy butter chicken and guest post on each other’s blogs. Here is our first jab at something we’ve been meaning to do for a while, Alina gives you the real nutritionist deal and I follow it up with a recipe, today, it’s a delicious antioxidant rich smoothie
As a Holistic Nutritionist, one of my favourite pastimes is browsing through healthy cookbooks, blogs – like The Quirky Princess, of course – and Instagram feeds. The mouth-watering food, up-close angles and creative photography always leave me in awe, hungry, and inspired to learn more.
Being the nutrition nerd that I am, I love it when food bloggers educate others and share why the food or recipe is healthy as well. That is why we are introducing a blog series called, “Buzzwords Explained”. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be demystifying the most common, trending nutrition phrases so that you know why you’re making Sahar’s delicious and healthy recipes!
So unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few years, you’ve probably heard of phrases like antioxidants, Omega 3, alkaline, and superfood being thrown around! I’m sure you know that all these things are good for you, but do you really know what they mean?
So brew up some herbal tea, take out your reading glasses and notepad, and nerd it up with me for the next five minutes!
Today’s buzzword: Antioxidants
What it means:
Think back to chemistry class for a moment. Remember those things that float around atoms called electrons? What we learned in high school was that an electron is more stable when paired with another electron. When oxidation occurs, unstable, unpaired, and highly reactive electrons are created called free radicals and they wreck havoc in the body by damaging cell walls.
Oxidation is a process that occurs naturally in the body, but is made worse by things such as stress, eating junk food, consuming nicotine and alcohol. So the more you stress out, live in a big city with pollution or eat junk, the more you increase the level of oxidative stress being placed on the body.
Therefore, the role of an antioxidant is to inhibit the oxidation process by neutralizing the free radical. Antioxidants will either lend an extra electron to the free radical, or break down the unpaired electron to make it stable.
Why they’re good for you:
Since antioxidants essentially help repair and prevent cell damage, they are good for overall health (skin, heart, brain, gut) since our entire body is made up of cells. They are also known for their anti-aging and immune-boosting effects.
Where they’re found:
Primarily plant foods. Some foods a renowned for their high antioxidant value, berries, grapes, and citrus fruits are good sources. Foods and supplements rich in vitamin A, C, E, zinc, and selenium are also excellent antioxidants. Eating a varied plant diet with lots of different colours will definitely help to get the benefits of different antioxidants.
The most important and effective antioxidant is glutathione, and our body makes it. Eating whole food, getting regular exercise, reducing stress, helps our livers to efficiently make glutathione.
In a nutshell, if we eat whole foods, get regular exercise, enough protein, optimize digestion, and consume sulfur-rich foods like garlic, onions and cruciferous vegetables, we’re in good hands!
If you’re feeling extra nerdy, you can go to oracvalues.com to see a complete list of foods and antioxidant quantity listed in order of % value.
Want to get your antioxidants on? In light of Alina’s nutshell, try my delicious cacao and blueberry smoothie from The Quirky Kitchen. Cacao, blueberries and almonds are some of my favourite ways to get antioxidants into my body, this smoothie is also full of potent vitamins and minerals, great for digestion with the inclusion of dates and has a little kick of protein. I love drinking this before or after a workout, or when I fancy a healthy and nourishing treat!
1 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
A couple of dates
1tbsp almond butter
1/2tbsp cacao powder
1tsp ground flax
Blitz it all together until smooth.