What Are Antioxidants And Why Are They Important?

What Are Antioxidants And Why Are They Important?

It’s a word we hear a lot, but what actually are antioxidants? And why are they so important for our health?  Antioxidants are a vital part of your diet, here’s why…

 

WHAT ARE FREE RADICALS?

 

Before we get into antioxidants and their benefits, we first need to understand free radicals. These are molecules with one or more unpaired electrons in their outer shell (remember your chemistry teacher drawing these on the blackboard at school?). In order to replace the missing electron(s) they rob cells of their electrons, resulting in damage to these cells. This process is understood to contribute to many diseases. One scientific theory of ageing, known as the ‘free radical theory of ageing’ proposes that ageing is the cumulative result of oxidative damage to the cells and tissues of the body caused by free radicals. In short, while they are naturally occurring and unavoidable, it’s important to keep our free radical load in check.

 

HOW ARE THEY PRODUCED?

 
The body naturally produces free radicals when it converts food to usable energy, in the same way that cars produce Co2 when turning petrol into energy. This is an essential metabolic process but there can be external contributors, too. Free radicals are created through smoking, drinking alcohol, eating fried foods and the ingestion of certain medications, pesticides and polluted air. Therefore it’s important to minimise our exposure to these free radical generators and to understand how we can to combat their effects.

 

WHAT ARE ANTIOXIDANTS?

 
The good news is that we can take action to protect ourselves from the effects of free radical damage. This is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants are a type of molecule that can neutralise free radicals by donating an electron to stabilise the free radical molecule and preventing the harm they cause. They include vitamins C and E, minerals zinc and selenium and plant compounds such as proanthocyanidins in cranberries, blueberries and plumbs, catechins in green tea and lycopene in tomatoes.

 

WHY ARE ANTIOXIDANTS IMPORTANT IF YOU EXERCISE?

 
We all generate free radicals as a result of producing energy, but if you exercise regularly you are likely to be generating more energy to fuel your workouts compared to less active individuals. More energy production = more free radicals, and therefore more potential damage to our cells. Whether or not you exercise regularly it’s important that we counteract the effects of free radicals by ensuring that we have a sufficient intake of antioxidants.

 

WHERE CAN I GET ANTIOXIDANTS FROM?

 
There are many dietary sources of antioxidants but unfortunately we typically don’t eat enough of them. Fruits and vegetables tend to be amongst the best sources of antioxidants. The compounds that give plant foods their colours are often also antioxidants. For example, beta carotone gives plant foods their yellow, orange or red colour and can be found in carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash and bell peppers. This is the reason for the ‘eat a rainbow of colours’ message, eating a wide variety of different coloured vegetables is a great way to up your intake. I advise my clients to aim for a minimum of three portions of veg or salad with lunch and three with dinner. Other sources include minimally processed dark chocolate, unroasted nuts and red wine.

 

CAN I TAKE A SUPPLEMENT?

 
A variety of antioxidant supplements are available on the market and their quality varies hugely. I always recommend taking a ‘food first’ approach to nutrition, but you might wish to consider a good quality antioxidant supplement if you feel you could benefit. Vitamin C is one of the most potent and well-researched antioxidants. Personally, I take YourZooki Liposomal Vitamin C daily.
 



AILSA HICHENS

 

Ailsa is one of our most experienced practitioners. She specialises in helping clients to lose weight, develop a healthy relationship with food and finally feel comfortable in their skin. Ailsa’s mission is for everyone she works with to enjoy the journey and that working with a nutritionist should not be a punishment, but your access to a new possibility.

 

Ailsa is not only an experienced weight loss nutritionist, she is also a skilled coach. She helps our clients overcome emotional eating, destructive habits and self-sabotaging behaviours that have prevented successful weight loss in the past. Ailsa has spent years in clinic working with clients who have experienced yo-yo dieting and have discovered that long term weight loss is not just about eating less until you can stand it no longer.

 

Working with Ailsa you will be comprehensively supported, not only in improving your nutrition and lifestyle, but also your eating habits and your relationship with food. When you work on all these elements together, the results can be truly astonishing.

 

To enquire about working with Ailsa, please contact us.

Test Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of the business. Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning. A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

NIKKI ANDRIANI

 

Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of th clinic.

 

Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning.

 

A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.

STÉPHANIE ACHAR

Stéphanie is a skilled nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner with additional training in eating disorders, disordered eating and obesity. She believes that working towards both physiological and mental health is key in achieving optimum wellbeing.

 

Stéphanie’s personal experience of emotional eating and the ongoing struggle to find the right support led her to combine the science of nutrition with behavioural coaching to motivate and empower her clients. She specialises in helping people who struggle with their weight and their relationship with food. She helps them develop a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.

 

To enquire about working with Stéphanie, please contact us.

INNA WEARN

Inna is passionate about supporting women on their journey to improved health and wellbeing. She believes that the solution to effective weight loss does not lie in ever more restrictive diets, but a more sophisticated approach that optimises health and vitality, as well as promoting effective weight loss.

 

Working with Inna you will benefit from her in-depth knowledge of female health and hormones. She will support you in developing a healthy diet, lifestyle and mindset that ensures you reach your ideal weight and maintain it in the years to come.

 

Inna is passionate about food with a wide repertoire of delicious healthy recipes and meal ideas to ensure your weight loss journey is as enjoyable as possible!

 

To enquire about working with Inna, please contact us.

ANIA MASON

 

Ania is a firm believer that improving your health and losing weight should be a positive, empowering journey, not one centred around deprivation.

 

After being diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions in her twenties, Ania spent several years educating herself on the power of food and nutrition. She put it all into practise and changed her diet and lifestyle, reversing her endometriosis and thyroid disease. After experiencing such a significant improvement in her health, Ania had a big desire to help others. She embarked on a four year journey to study nutrition, graduating from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition with distinction.

 

Ania specialises in autoimmunity and works with clients who have underlying health issues preventing successful weight loss. Her expertise enables her to successfully support our clients with conditions such as hypothyroidsm (underactive thyroid), PCOS and diabetes. 

 

To enquire about working with Ania, please contact us.