What is Antioxidant Nutrition?
What exactly is antioxidant nutrition? It’s not just pills and supplements. Eating a diet high in antioxidants can give you increased energy, relieve your aches and pains, increase your lifespan, and make you feel generally younger and better. Nourishing organic whole foods are nutritional powerhouses, which you can gradually use to replace the empty junk foods typical of North American diet.
The delicious foods full of antioxidant nutrition :
• Sprouts: Sprouting various seeds can tremendously increase their nutritional profile, by up to 10 times!
• Nuts and Seeds (which you can also sprout)
• Legumes (also sprout-able): beans, peas, lentils, chick peas.
• Whole grains: also called “grits”, “berries” or “groats”, which you boil or bake to prepare
• Supplemental vitamins, minerals, and extracts
• Coffee and tea (IN MODERATION: maximum one cup a day for coffee)
• Red Wine (IN MODERATION: ½ -1 glass a day)
Filling yourself with antioxidant nutrition might mean excluding the foods that have little or no nutritional value. This is mainly processed foods, deep fried foods, refined sugar, refined starches, and GMO foods.
Here are the things you might want to avoid, and why …
Deep Fried Foods: Deep frying foods completely destroys their antioxidant content (yes, even deep fried spinach and blueberries ;D). Not only that, but eating deep fried foods will increase your free radical levels, that means you will need more antioxidants to combat the effect!
Processed Foods/Reconstituted Foods: These are a bit harder to avoid considering the abundance of processed foods. I am not just talking about chips and spam here. This also includes many snacks, drinks, condiments and dairy products. Stick mainly to the produce isle when grocery shopping! The middle isles are where all the processed food lie, and they lie there for a looooong time (mould becomes an issue). Many crackers and breads are considered processed (check to see if they include “enriched white flour” in the ingredient list – not good.) Avoid pretty much everything that comes in a box (cereals, bars, cookies, etc.). Do not be tempted by processed foods that say “source of antioxidants” or “organic” on the label, as this is just a gimmick.
Refined Sugar and Salt: Another bonus to avoiding all the boxed and packaged food is that most of it has refined sugar. Refined salt, sodium chloride is also harmful (i.e. it raises bad cholesterol). Hint: Steer completely clear of bottled fizzy drinks. When shopping, I alwayslook on the ingredient list for things that shouldn’t be there. Refined sugar is in so many products, where you least suspect it. Follow the “less boxes, more real foods” rule.
Fruits, dates, stevia, yacon syrup, maple syrup and raw honey are all excellent sweeteners.
For salt alternatives you can use seaweeds, salty vegetables like celery, more herbs to season, or Himalayan Rock Salt. I love using the Himalayan salt because it seems just like regular salt, but it has 84 essential minerals and comes from the tallest mountains!
Refined Carbohydrates: Foods made with machinery that removes the bran and germ from the whole grain (includes white bread, pasta, and white rice). This process makes foods soft and last longer, but it also removes important nutrients like B vitamins, fibre, and iron. Just like sugar, refined carbs raise your blood glucose levels, and over time this effect leads to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, including increased risk of death from heart attacks and strokes.
GMO Foods: GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. Mother nature didn’t intend for humans to mess with the DNA of foods, so these foods are not readily digestible and might even be toxic to the human body. GMO foods can cause allergic reactions. They have significantly less antioxidant nutrition. There have been no long-term studies of GMO effects on humans, but studies on mice and rats led to cancer and other health problems in them. Stay clear of these foods and products with these foods: corn and soy are the main ones. 90% of processed and packaged foods contain derivatives of corn and soy – another good reason to avoid them! So-called “vegetable oil” is actually soy-bean oil. Sunflower, flax, hemp and olive offer great alternatives. USDA certified organic produce is non-GMO.