Antioxidants help to keep us healthy by protecting the body’s cells from free radical damage due to normal body functions and exposure to toxins and pollutants. The army of warriors that make up our immune systems (our immune cells) can also fall victim to free radicals, which means antioxidants are important for helping to keep our immune systems in peak condition so we can remain healthy. Antioxidants are especially important in winter when colds, flus and other winter ailments are going around and our immune systems need all the help they can get.
Where can I find antioxidants?
Some types of antioxidants can be created by the body and others are provided by the foods that we eat. Antioxidants known as ‘anthocyanidins’, can be found in purple, blue and red fruit and vegetable such as red grapes, cherries, berries and pomegranates. Other types of antioxidants known as ‘catechins’ and ‘flavonols,’ can be found in dark chocolate, tea, apples, onions and broccoli.1 Certain vitamins and minerals are also considered to be important antioxidants including vitamins C and E, zinc and beta‐carotene, and are well‐known for their immune boosting properties. Herbal extracts such as olive leaf can also help boost our antioxidant defences. Olive leaf extract has potent antioxidant effects and may help protect the body from free radical damage. In fact, scientists even claim it has twice the antioxidant power of green tea!2
The best way to increase your antioxidant intake is by adding more fruit and vegetables, of any kind and every colour, into your daily diet. You might also like to try a supplement that contains ingredients such as vitamin A and C, zinc, beta‐carotene or olive leaf.