Antioxidant Rich Foods
Antioxidants and the Liver

Our body requires antioxidant rich foods in order to function without disease. A balanced diet would include a wide variety of colourful foods; foods which are local and foods which are abundant for the season you're in.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants protect our cells and the body’s systems by uniting with undesirable oxygen. Antioxidants are selective against unwanted oxygen reactions, not against the oxygen we require. Oxygen is necessary for our body's functions, but the presence of too much or too little oxygen creates a toxic by-product called free radicals.

Free Radicals

Protons, neutrons and electrons (which normally come in pairs) make up atoms and molecules. Electron pairs form chemical bonds which hold molecules together. Free radicals contain an unpaired electron which creates an unbalanced state, causing free radicals to be stimulated to combine with other molecules. This combination may destroy an enzyme or protein or a complete cell.  

The destruction causes chain reactions of the release of thousands more free radicals which get out of control. This:

  • Stimulates age pigment
  • Damages protein structure
  • Impairs fat metabolism; affects fat digestion and assimilation

Free radicals are highly reactive substances that can damage cell structures, harming the immune system and altering  DNA codes, which can result in:

  • Degenerative disease
  • Premature aging
  • Poor immune response
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Compromised immune system; get colds easily, auto-immune disorders
  • Heart Attack
  • Cancer
  • Opportunistic diseases; candida yeast overgrowth, chronic fatigue syndrome, HIV

The body eliminates toxins by directly neutralizing the free radicals or by excreting them in the urine or feces. They are also eliminated in a slighter degree from our lungs and skin.

Antioxidant Rich Foods

The Liver has a very important role in protecting us from free radical damage and needs antioxidant rich foods to do so.

There are three very important functions of the Liver and detoxification

  1.  The BloodEvery minute almost two quarts of blood moves through the liver for detoxification

   2.   The BileEvery day the liver               produces approximately one quart of bile. Bile is necessary for the elimination of toxic materials, through the intestines where it is absorbed by fibre and excreted.
Bile is also needed for the excretion of cholesterol and excess calcium. Bile is needed for emulsifying fat and fat soluble vitamins in the intestines.


Antioxidant Rich Foods

3.   Phase I and IIThis is a process to neutralize unwanted chemical compounds from environmental sources and any other substance which has to go through the liver or kidneys, such as pharmaceuticals, household cleaners, chemicals on and in our food and water.

The most important and powerful antioxidant for neutralizing free radicals is glutathione, which is made in the liver.

Phase I – Modifies chemicals through its own chemical process making them easier for one of many Phase II enzymes systems. 

Glutathione –

Glutathione and the enzyme it forms (GTH peroxidase) is made from three amino acids which are in antioxidant rich foods.  

These three amino acids are

  1. Cysteine
  2. Glutamic acid
  3. Glycine

Cysteine controls the amount of glutathione made in the liver and gives GTH its metabolic strength as an antioxidant and detoxifier and is the most important amino acid of the three.

Glutathione and GTH are very important and necessary for life

In humans GTH is found in all tissues - highest levels in the

  • Liver
  • Spleen
  • Pancreas
  • Kidneys
  • Lenses of the eyes

Glutathione is the most important antioxidant for neutralizing free radicals made by phase I by-products and for Glutathione conjugation of Phase II 

Phase II- This pathway involves a process called conjugation in which many enzymes in the liver attach to the chemicals (xenobiotics) to neutralize toxins and make them easy to be excreted through the urine or bile.

There are six major Phase II Enzyme Systems–

  1. Glutathione conjugation
  2. Amino Acid Conjugation
  3. Methylation
  4. Sulfation
  5. Acetyulation
  6. Glucuronidation

 Through an internal chemical process, Phase I modifies chemicals-making them an easier mark for one or more of several Phase II enzyme systems.  

Glutathione and GTH protects us against

  • pesticides
  • plastics
  • benzene
  • heavy metals
  • cigarette smoke
  • smog
  • carbon monoxide from cars
  • drugs
  • solvents
  • dyes
  • phenols
  • nitrates

We cannot utilize Glutathione in supplement form, and if supplementation is needed taking N-acetylcyteine (NAC) converts into Glutathione

Antioxidant Rich Foods

Cysteine or Cystine

poultry, yogurt, egg yolk, red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, Brussel sprouts 

Glutamic acid

animal protein, vegetable proteins, raw cheese, almonds


gelatin, meat, eggs, seeds, seaweed, algae


Antioxidant Rich Foods

Other Important Antioxidants are Vitamins A, C, E and trace mineral Selenium

Vitamin A -

According to Dr. Weston Price, protein, minerals or water-soluble vitamins cannot be utilized by the body without Vitamin A, and without those nutrients we cannot live a strong healthy life.

Vitamin A is essential for:

  • Utilization of protein, minerals and water-soluble vitamins
  • Cell protection (antioxidant)
  • Stimulating the secretion of digestive juices needed for protein assimilation
  • For strong bones
  • For healthy rich blood

Vitamin A Retinol comes from: Butterfat, egg yolk, organ meat, seafood and fish liver oil (especially cod liver oil).

Beta carotene comes from: yellow-orange fruits and vegetables and seaweeds; kelp, dulse, hijiki and wakame.

Vitamin C- A major antioxidant in preventing free radical damage. Very important for the immune system! Foods rich in Vitamin C are uncooked fruits and berries, especially acerola berry, rosehips, blueberries, raspberries, lemons, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, red peppers, orange peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, parsley, dark leafy greens, cabbage and sauerkraut.

Vitamin E -  Fat soluble antioxidant which is important for the immune  system and works synergistically with selenium. Vitamin E is plentiful in nuts, seeds, cold-pressed oils and eggs.

Selenium Protects the body from heavy metals and free radicals. Selenium is also a  component of glutathione. Found in broccoli, brazil nuts, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, garlic, mushrooms, onions, quinoa, brown rice and rye.

Antioxidant Rich Foods

CoQ10- is a fat soluble antioxidant which is a necessary enzyme carrier for the foundation of cellular energy. CoQ10 is made in the liver, and is plentiful in liver, heart, meat, poultry and fish. There is some CoQ10 in eggs, nuts, raw dairy, vegetables and fruit. For many people it is best to supplement with CoQ10 until liver health is functioning optimally. 

Antioxidant Rich Foods

Astragalus- a root herb rich in antioxidants is known to prevent heart disease, nourish exhausted adrenals, combat fatigue, improve circulation, reduce fluid retention, lower blood pressure and enhance the immune system, making us strong and resilient. This root can be taken daily.

I like to make a blend with other adrenal (adaptogens) and immunity supporting herbs and foods: Maca root, schisandra berries, ashwagandha root, blue berries, raw vegetables and fruits as well as fermented foods.

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