What Are Antioxidants? An Overview
Most everyone has heard about antioxidants and how important they are when it comes to having good health but exactly what are they? How do antioxidants help the body? Antioxidants are nutrients that are found in many of the foods you eat. They prevent or slow down the damage caused by “free radicals”, which are produced naturally when the cells in your body use oxygen. In order to understand antioxidants and how they help the body, you need to understand what free radicals are and how they can damage the body.
The body needs oxygen in order to function correctly. However, when the body uses oxygen it creates free radicals or oxidants as a side effect. These oxidants cause cell damage which can lead to many different chronic diseases. Simply put, free radicals are molecules that are unstable because they have one too many electrons or they’re missing one.
In an attempt to become stable, they will try to take away or give electrons to other healthy molecules.
This changes the structure of the healthy molecule making it unstable. This in turn creates a chain reaction that can spread throughout the body over time. Antioxidants have the ability to neutralize free radicals by giving or receiving an electron without being turned into one. However, they will become inactive once this transaction takes place. For this reason, it’s important to continue providing the body with antioxidants so it can continue to prevent and repair damage done by free radicals.
Medical conditions associated with these include the following:
Weakened Immune System
Some studies indicate that free radicals may be responsible for certain types of arthritis as well.
Not only are these created naturally but they can also enter the body through external sources such as pollution, stress, cigarette smoke, radiation and even too much exposure to the sun.
Since you cannot avoid coming in contact with free radicals, it’s important to make sure you keep them under control with antioxidants.
The body naturally produces some antioxidant enzymes. The three most common ones are listed below along with a brief description of how they can help the body stay healthy.
Superoxide Dismutase – This enzyme changes the structure of the free radicals or oxidants and then breaks them down into hydrogen peroxide.
Catalase – This enzyme will break down the hydrogen peroxide turning it into water, very small oxygen particles or gases.
Glutathione – This enzyme acts as a detoxifying agent that will bind the different toxins changing their form. This in turn helps them to be removed from the body in the form of waste.
Other antioxidant agents can be found in different foods, culinary herbs and medicinal herbs. By supplying your body with a proper diet that includes foods containing antioxidants, you can help improve your health, extend your life and reduce premature aging. Taking care of your body has many benefits. You’ll look better, feel better and have more energy to enjoy all that life has to offer.
Lisa Mason is a freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles and the author of How to Earn a Living Writing for the Internet as well as two poetry anthologies and a how-to poetry book. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of ebooks and thousands of website pages and related content.
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Cleansing Salad with Pepper Cups
Image by Barry Gourmet and Raw Breakfast or Lunch Approx: 10 min. serves one Cleansing Salad with Pepper Cups “This delicious RAW rainbow of colors,of Green,Red,Orange,Yellow, and Purple will have you covered for high antioxidant and phyto nutrient support for your immunity and cleansing protocol.” Ingredients for Cleansing Salad: Your favorite fresh Leafy Greens around the house? I chose Water Cress, Chinese Spinach,and Red Oak Leaf, in equal parts about 2 cups. A few Cherrie Tomatoes (Organic) One Beat Root One Medium Carrot Ingredients for Cleansing Vinaigrette: On stand by all in glass 100 % Organic Cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil Wet pressed Virgin Coconut Oil and centrifugally extracted Cold pressed Raw & unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother of Vinegar Raw unfiltered Honey Bee Pollen (Natures Mineral and Vitamin Supplement) Lemon or Lime Juice Ingredients for Cleansing Pepper Cups: 1 Hand size Sweet Red Bell Pepper (Organic) 1 Haas Avocado 1 cob of Corn (Organic) 1 half Onion (Medium Size) 2 garlic cloves A hand full of Your favorite unsalted Nuts of , Whole Almonds with skins ( If you soaked them over night and rinsed them out in the morning you have Sprouted Almonds. Or you can use any nut such as Walnut, Cashew,Chestnut,Brazil,Hazel,Pine,Pecan,Pistachio, or even Peanut which is really classified as a Legume or Bean. On stand by your favorite green SUPER FOOD such as , Spirulina, Chlorella, Kelp,Sea Weed combinations, Wheat or Barely Grass, or any mixed reputable whole food Green Super Food Powder that has no fillers in it. Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cold Pressed ¼ Cup of loose fresh Mint herb On stand by have the following Shaker Options at the ready ! (Organic is Best) Red Chili Powder (Hot & Spicy) Garlic Powder (Pungent) Ginger Powder (Sweet Savory) Mustard Powder (Hot Sharp) Wasabi Powder (Hot Sharp) Sea Salt Powder (Salty) Black Pepper Powder (Pungent) “ Please do not worry I am not going to force you to use all of the above powders at one time!” On stand by have the following Liquid Options at the ready! Lemon or Lime Juice (Sour) Sole ( Pink Himalayan Sea Salt Crystal that is dissolved in pure water) (Salty) Cleansing Salad Method : On your cutting board chop your selected leafy greens into small pieces and place in a large mixing bowl for tossing. Add your diced Beats and Carrots with Cherrie tomato and put bowl aside. Cleansing Vinaigrette Method: In a separate mixing bowl add the following ingredients: 1 table spoon Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 table spoon Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil 1 tea spoon Cold Pressed Raw Apple Cider Vinegar 1 tea spoon unfiltered Raw Honey 1 tea spoon Lemon or Lime Juice 1 tea spoon Bee Pollen 1 level tea spoon of your favorite Green Super Food? Stir together and taste..... What do you think? Savory ? Brings a Smile to your Face? It did for me and since all people have different taste buds you are allowed to make adjustments to your liking . You are the Gourmet of Your Kitchen. Cleansing Pepper Cups Method: On your cutting board split the Sweet Red Bell Pepper in 2 parts down the middle. Scrape out the seeds and flesh .( Discard or do what I do Compost and save seeds for planting) With a pairing knife cut V shapes around the edges of the 2 Bell Pepper Cups. Do not discard the V shaped little pepper shapes , you can toss them in your Salad Bowl with Greens. ( Nothing should go to waste in your Earth Kitchen) Put your newly decorated Pepper Cups aside to make the chutney style filling. Chutney style Filling: Cut ,peal and spoon the flesh of your Avocado into a medium size mixing bowl and squash the fruit down with a fork. ( Discard the Pit) On your cutting board , with a knife slice down ward ,turning the cob as you cut the raw kernels downward and across the board. Split the pile of kernels in half and add that half to your salad bowl greens to join the previously V shaped pieces of Peppers. Divide again the pile of corn kernels into 2 parts , then add that part to the mixing bowl of your mashed Avocado. Then on on your cutting board chop very finely the fresh Mint Herb and divide into 2 parts. Mix in the one part Mint with your Corn kernels and mashed Avocado. Add your selected whole nuts or you can elect to chop them smaller for that nutty flavor. Less will give you a more creamy paste and more will give you that crunchy nutty flavor , its your call? “I like the nutty option myself “! Add in your finely chopped half medium onion and 2 garlic cloves. If you wish to thin down your Chutney paste ,then just add a little Olive Oil for this and keep mixing. Now taste it …... What do you think ? How do you Feel ? Believe it or not the whole Avocado used seemed to have neutralized the pungency of even the 2 garlic gloves and half onion, but the added fresh Mint Herb added some savory taste with the sweet corn kernels. The texture and nutty flavor is there of course , but other wise the Chutney filling is rather bland to my taste , but could be fine for you ? This is where it gets interesting. For me I like that Hot Spicy taste , so with my arsenal of powdered cleansing herbs I add a dash of Red Chile Powder and Garlic & a small pinch of Mustered and stir it in until I got it just right. I enjoy a sour sweetness to my foods so I added raw unfiltered Honey and Lime Juice to taste. After you have achieved your combination taste , then spoon the filling into your decorated Sweet Red Bell Pepper Cups on a serving plate. On the surface filling of each Pepper Cup add an island of corn kernels surrounded by a sea of your finely chopped fresh Mint herb. Pour your vinaigrette dressing into your salad and toss then spoon into your serving salad bowl. Complement your Cleansing Salad with Pepper Cups with your favorite Lemon or Lime drink or do what I do if you live like I do in the tropics for convenience. I pour fresh Coconut Water into my Cup with a squeeze of Lime,Orange and Raw Honey. “Very refreshing and Alkaline for your body enjoy” Barry Gourmet & Raw Nutritional Information: This RAW Cleansing meal is very easily digested and nutrition is assimilated effectively into your body with all the Enzymes , Good Fats,and Proteins intact from these Living Foods. It is scientifically proven that a Vegetarian Based diet that is rich in raw foods will assist you for effective weight loss, I know because I did it for one year to cut my body weight all most in half. It is very important to eat this hydrating , high fiber meal (Fiber Supports the Liver) slowly and thoroughly as digestion starts in the mouth to break down the complex carbohydrates . We don’t want to be rushed at the table ,even though it takes only about 10 minutes to make this wonderful Cleansing Meal, which is a good thing. I must add that this Cleansing meal is also anti -inflammatory with out the meat Purines to help you with any Gout or Arthritis condition. I was once afflicted with gout and arthritis myself many years ago and when I slowly changed to a plant based diet , these symptoms are no longer in my life. About the unrefined Oils ,Nuts and Avocado ,the Good Fats: We need certain FATS like the ones in this Cleansing Salad to help the Fat Soluble Vitamins A,D,E,and K to be absorbed by our bodies fat reserves. The Fats in this Cleansing Salad are Essential ( Meaning we cannot make it our selves and we must get it from out side foods)consisting primarily of Omega 3 fatty acids found mostly in whole unrefined oils, nuts, seeds,Sprouts, Avocado and in some of my other recipes as well ,with oily cold water fish such as wild Salmon, Sardines,Mackerel ,Tuna and other seafoods of non predatory nature, that are placed lower on the marine food chain.It is important to note that Sea vegetables such as the Super Green Food Spirulina is providing a massive amount of mineral nutrition including Iodine that is less available on land with our unsustainable agricultural practices of mono cropping.( This is why the refined Salt industry is putting iodine into their salt product, because it is missing a lot or deficient on our land based produce. )It is common practice with Organic farmers in America to amend their soils with sea vegetables to put back needed Calcium, Magnesium ,Iodine, and other trace minerals to help replenish our top soils that in return feed the plants that we in return consume. Iodine is a nonmetallic black crystal element that in trace amounts is essential for the health of our brain functions. All Ocean sea weeds are a great source of essential iodine for your body and that is why I included this ingredient into the Cleansing Salad from sources of Super Green Foods from the sea. One other Super Food from Nature that I would include in your life for supreme nutrition would be Bee Pollen. The pollen is a fine spore grain that flowers produce to in huge quantity to entice honey bees , butterflies , and other insects to feed on ,and to transport to other flowers for cross reproduction. This food from Nature has been used by man for centuries and contains a broad spectrum of trace minerals and vitamins that I use personally for additional support for my immunity and good health. About the Water Soluble Vitamins in this Cleansing Salad is many. This Salad is very high in Vitamin C from the Greens and Red Peppers. The color Red is normally very high in C but destroyed by cooking. This salad provides a lot of the B vitamins as well. The Super Green foods, plus the Bee Pollen provided from NATURE will help provide additional nutritional Vitamin and Mineral support for the cells in your body. “Experience the Gourmet in YOU “ Why do I go out of my way to list certain Foods to be Organic on my Recipes? You probably noticed that for some of the ingredients I list in (brackets ) the word Organic is listed. Why would I do this you may think? Well I have done a lot of research on the subject and later discovered after many years of study that the intensive , and unsustainable farming practices today has effectively stripped a lot of our foods vitamin and mineral base , and further depleted our top soils with chemical fertilizers and pesticides to combat disease and insect infestations of our food crops. There is a very important point behind all this . I know that most people do not want to hear this , but the TRUTH needs to be spelled out and addressed so that consumers can take necessary precautions to limit their exposure to certain foods that are treated with chemical pesticides. The Truth is that all living things including our selves , and the Vegetable Kingdom of Fruits ,Vegetables ,and Grains are all SYSTEMIC. Systemic meaning that the roots of any plant will absorb the good and the bad such as pesticide Chemical residue into the internal cells of the plant through the plants root systems. So this means that all the washing , scrubbing , and cleaning will not help us at all to get rid of of the plants toxin.If I can use this analogy, Its like how our own skin functions , such as letting the hormone Vitamin D absorb into our body from the sun. But the D will be blocked by Sun screen lotion applied to our skin and like Vitamin D will be absorbed into our body.But again our skin will release fluid salts and waste materials through our skins pores when we sweat ,and perspire toxins out to dissipate, so plants are the same way we are, with incoming and out going exchange of materials good and bad. The BioTech industry knows very well that the root systems of all plants absorb everything attainable from the soils, so the agribusiness scientists over the years have developed many delivery systems to help the host plant take up the pesticide through its root systems to make the edible plant more pest resistant. But the problem with this playing with Nature Protocol is now backfiring on us , as the target insect , or pest develops immunity over time and new ,and much more stronger toxic chemicals are being developed,over time to try and stay ahead of the problem. When will this dangerous but short term profitable Mono Factory Farm practice ever end? As we know today , it is all most impossible to find a grocery store that stores and sells everything 100% Organic. Most stores will have some items , but in most cases most of the fruits and vegetables are conventionally treated with chemicals, so what can one do? First I need to point out that , and not a whole lot of people that I talked to know about this. And that is most of the agricultural fat soluble pesticide residues are found in the fatty flesh of animal and less in the fruits and vegetables. Simply put , our crops are less exposed to the treatment with shorter growing seasons compared to a cow that lives 30 years longer than a plant. Alot of the feed that is growing for livestock consumption is GMO ( Genetically Modified Organisms. ) These crops are Soy, Corn, Rapeseed/Canola,Sugar Beets,Rice,Cotton,Dairy,Aspartame/Artificial Sweetener,Papayas,Farm raised Salmon and many processed packaged food items, from the giant food manufacturers with confusing labels that take all day to read.Yes people will say that going Organic is more expensive , but is it really? Organic farming is more labour intensive to amend the soils , and to harvest the bounty ,and today every farm that wants to make the change over to Organic is required by Law to let the land heal and settle into a more natural state then 3rd party inspections are enforced to Certify the produce. So it is understandable why Organic Fruits, Vegetables, Seeds , and Nuts will cost more. But the trade off in my mind is worth it as ,after all its something we put into our body, and I love to eat the edible skins where most of the nutrition is held anyway. Farmers markets and buying locally is also a good idea as well. So this fact compels me to post a list of what foods are contaminated and what foods are more safe to eat if its conventional. I cannot think of a more authoritative source than Environmental Working Group EWG. Regards Barry Gourmet & Raw EWG'S SHOPPER'S GUIDE TO PESTICIDES Trade Mark Owned by EWG DIRTY DOZEN By These Organic Worst 1 Celery 2 Peaches 3 Strawberries 4 Apples 5 Blueberries 6 Nectarines 7 Bell Peppers 8 Spinach 9 Cherries 10 Kale/ Collard Greens 11 Potatoes 12 Grapes (Imported) CLEAN 15 Lowest in Pesticides Best 1 Onions 2 Avacoco 3 Sweet Corn 4 Pineapple 5 Mangos 6 Sweet Peas 7 Asparagus 8 Kiwi 9 Cabbage 10 Eggplant 11 Cantaloupe 12 Watermelon 13 Grapefruit 14 Sweet Potato 15 Honeydew Melon List Resources: Environmental Working Group www.foodnews.org Comment from Barry Gourmet & Raw: This list provide by the Environmental Working Group is more comprehensive if you visit their website at www.foodnews.org This list is valuable information to inform you about the pesticide load on certain foods to help you to make informed decisions and to reduce your exposure. But over all it is still wise to eat a wide variety of fresh Fruits and Vegetables more and to limit or reduce your intake of packaged processed goods.
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