What are antioxidants?
“Antioxidants are essentially a chemical property, and the term is used to describe a family of “defenders” that help the body work more effectively,” Kate tells me.
“There are quite literally hundreds and hundreds of types of antioxidants.”
Antioxidants are present in food, as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. The most well-known antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E. These, along with others such as beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and selenium are vital for our physical wellbeing.
How do antioxidants work?
Antioxidants are essential for the body because of the key role they play in fighting free radicals that can be damaging to your cells and DNA” says Kate.
“As the body processes what you eat and drink it produces free radicals. These are unstable molecules that feed on other molecules and cause damage. Antioxidants neutralise these nasties to slow the damage and boost health.”
To put it another way, when free radicals outnumber antioxidants, there’s a risk of oxidative stress. Long term, oxidative stress can damage your DNA and other important molecules in your body and is linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease.
“What we consume as food and drink can either be the most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison,” Kate says. “Antioxidants are the former, so they carry a whole raft of health and beauty benefits.”
Kate notes that studies have shown diets with high levels of antioxidants help prevent diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some other illnesses. They can assist in collagen synthesis and can have an anti-ageing effect, while also preventing inflammation.
“The brain is very susceptible to free radicals, so it’s understood that antioxidants can influence positive brain function and mood,” says Save.
Where can we find antioxidants?
Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help increase your blood antioxidant levels to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of disease and cell damage.
“The most important thing to remember about antioxidants is that there are so many, and they all have a unique role to play. No single antioxidant does everything. Variety is key,” says Kate.
“My recommendation is to eat a very colourful rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day.”
Kate tells me that foods rich in antioxidants include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes. The antioxidant levels in plant foods are over 64 times higher than the average animal-based foods.
Examples of food sources bursting with antioxidants include:
- vitamin A – liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, milk, and egg yolks
- vitamin C – oranges, blackcurrants, kiwifruit, mangoes, broccoli, spinach, capsicum, and strawberries
- vitamin E – vegetable oils (such as wheatgerm oil), avocados, nuts, seeds, and whole grains
- zinc – seafood, lean meat, milk, and nuts
But what about the belief that chocolate and wine are good for you because they contain antioxidants?
“There is some truth to that,” says Kate. “There are antioxidants in both, but that comes with a cautionary tale around alcohol and sugar. The best alternative for absorbing these antioxidants is to eat low or no sugar chocolate and sip on low sugar, non-alcoholic wine.”
Taking Kate’s advice on board, I’ve been filling my plate with an array of healthy goodness. I’ve been eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day, and, in the evening, I’ve been enjoying a nice cool glass of Wild Life Botanicals Sparkling blush, which is high in antioxidants.
Upping my antioxidant intake has never tasted and felt so good.
Non-Alcoholic wines with added antioxidants?
The product: Featuring champagne-like bubbles, aromas of rose and strawberry and a rounded mineral palate, Wild Life Botanicals Sparkling Blush is a best seller at Sans Drinks. As well as added antioxidants, this sparkler is vegan-friendly and low in sugar.
What customers are saying: "This was truly amazing. I can’t rave enough about the beautiful flavour of this product! I Will definitely buy this one again."
The product: Featuring berry flavours, this is a European style Rosé with a bright palate and dry profile. Plus & Minus use grape seed extract to give their wine extra antioxidants.
What customers are saying: "I really enjoyed this, definitely one of the more ‘realistic’ ones out there."
The product: Featuring flavours of jammy fruits, blackcurrant, and morello cherry, this non-alcoholic red wine has a firm tannic structure and a warm, peppery palate. As well as being antioxidant-rich, this wine has been organically made with no added sulphites*
*Natural sulphites may still be present.
What customers are saying: "Beautiful raspberry undertones with a slightly peppery finish. Just the right amount of sweetness and being preservative-free what’s not to love?"