Welcome to Week 4 – Antioxidants for Healthy Skin

During Week 4 we will focus on Antioxidants and how they feed our cells and prevent damage. Antioxidants are also phytonutrients, which we discussed during Week 1. This week we’ll learn more about what an antioxidant is and how it works in the body to reduce inflammation, prevent cellular damage and provide the building blocks for healthy skin cells.

We hear all about free radicals and antioxidants in advertising, but what exactly are they? Antioxidants are compounds found in whole foods that “POW” out or neutralize the bad guys – the free radicals! Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that have only one electron instead of two. They scavenge around looking for electrons to steal, damaging cells along the way. Foods that are rich in antioxidant are those that provide the needed oxygen molecule and squelch the free radicals.

Below is a short list of antioxidant-rich foods. The challenge this week is to consume 2 servings per day from the list below:

  • Green Tea
  • Legumes & beans (esp. red)
  • Artichokes
  • Acai berry (pure juice or whole fruit)
  • All berries
  • Spices:  oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, fennel, nutmeg, ginger, etc.
  • Russet Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Prunes/Plums
  • Apples

Yes, chocolate is on the list! Now don’t get too carried away here and think that we are suggesting that you eat two Snicker’s bars every day to reach your goal. When you add milk fat and sugar to the chocolate you neutralize the benefits. The antioxidants in chocolate come from regular (not Dutch processed) cocoa. Cocoa contains flavonoids, which are increased even more when heated. An occasional cup of “real” hot cocoa is a good thing. Dark chocolate is also great (70% or higher). We’ll post some recipe suggestions during the week.

Watch for more posts this week where we will discuss the ORAC Scale for classifying foods by their ORAC rating and how you can use it to ensure that you are preventing cellular damage by consuming the most antioxidant-rich foods. We know this is a tough week with holiday gatherings and goodies all around. Do your best to reach your goal each day! Don’t stress out if you have a bad day, just stay positive and start fresh the next morning. Stick with the program and together we work together to achieve and maintain healthy, glowing skin through good nutrition!