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.
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:
Free radicals are highly reactive substances that can damage cell structures, harming the immune system and altering DNA codes, which can result in:
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.
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 Blood–Every minute almost two quarts of blood moves through the liver for detoxification
2. The Bile–Every 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.
3. Phase I and II–This 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 and the enzyme it forms (GTH peroxidase) is made from three amino acids which are in antioxidant rich foods.
These three amino acids are
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
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–
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
Cysteine or Cystine
poultry, yogurt, egg yolk, red peppers, garlic, onions, broccoli, Brussel sprouts
animal protein, vegetable proteins, raw cheese, almonds
gelatin, meat, eggs, seeds, seaweed, algae
OUR OVERALL HEALTH and VITALITY DEPENDS ON OUR LIVER HEALTH and ON ANTIOXIDANT RICH FOODS!
Other Important Antioxidants are Vitamins A, C, E and trace mineral Selenium
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:
Vitamin A Retinol comes from: Butterfat, egg yolk, organ meat, seafood and fish liver oil (especially cod liver oil).
carotene comes from: yellow-orange fruits and
vegetables and seaweeds; kelp, dulse, hijiki and wakame.
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.
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.
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.