Eat Yourself Young!
Updated: Apr 12
While many of you may have been wringing your hands in despair last week following our post on the apocalyptic effects that Free Radicals can have on the body, particularly in ageing our skin (which is our big concern here at The Otto Clinic), the good news is that this week we are going to start arming you with the ultimate arsenal to fight off these bad guys!!
Just in case you’ve forgotten, Free Radicals are the highly unstable wildcards rampaging around our bodies because they are missing one electron and will do anything to get it back including breaking up perfectly happy atoms which possess 2 electrons – see 'The Trouble With Free Radicals' for more information. As you can imagine this causes tons of problems such as the unstoppable process of ageing. Unstoppable that is, unless you know how to combat it!
Antioxidants – The True Superheroes!
However, Antioxidants are true superheroes because they fight Free Radicals by neutralizing them - they give these atoms the extra electron they crave so that the Free Radicals become even-numbered atoms which are able to join forces with each other and repair cell damage. And just in case you’re wondering, Antioxidants don’t become Free Radicals by giving away an electron because they have electrons to spare.
So, where do we find Antioxidants??
As for many matters of the mind and body, the answer lies within. We have all heard the old adage “You are what you eat” and never a truer word was said when it comes to youthful, glowing skin. Whereas last week we discussed a topical, superficial approach in the use of creams etc., now we focus on taking a holistic approach to caring for our bodies and our organs. The harm caused by Free Radicals doesn’t just affect you on the outside!
A well–balanced diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables has long been advised by doctors and nutritionists as the key to good health. Given that Antioxidants combat the Free Radicals caused by excessive sunlight, smoking and pollution etc, it follows that foods rich in Antioxidants are essential in slowing down the ageing process.
Vitamins A, C & E (e.g. oranges, blueberries and broccoli), Omega-3 (e.g. salmon, avocado), carotenoids (e.g. carrots, spinach) and flavonoids (e.g. Green Tea) contain powerful antioxidant properties that have proven to minimize Free Radical damage. But how much of these protective foods do we really need to eat to effectively slow down ageing? A measurement index called ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) was established by the US Department of Agriculture and calculates the capacity of certain foods to neutralise Free Radicals in the body. Studies have shown that by consistently eating sufficient quantities of high ORAC foods, you can increase the antioxidant effectiveness of your blood by up to 25%!
The ORAC top 10 are, in descending order of ORAC levels:
So start today and up your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to reap the benefits, not just for your skin but your entire body inside and out. Join us here next week when we take a look at how to make sure you are eating well and we list the TOP 50 ORAC foods.