Our modern life is filled with Free Radical-producing toxicants, but our body is the biggest producer.
Any metabolism occurring in each and every of our cells, involving oxygen, creates Free Radicals (also called Reactive Oxygen Species, or ROS). Some of which are extremely damaging, to our blood vessels, to our liver, and to all cells, producing energy.
Mitochondria are our energy producing factories. While doing an excellent job at it, they also produce the biggest amount of Free Radicals (e.g. Hydrogen Peroxide), responsible for ageing and its self-destruction (Apoptosis) through its own DNA damage. 1
"Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by mitochondria are produced as by-products of normal oxidative metabolism. The fate of these species is governed by a number of factors that vary from tissue to tissue in mammals and may be involved in the pathogenesis of disease. Reactive oxygen species are also invoked as agents that are important in the processes which become active in cells undergoing apoptosis." (Rahaa, S. Robinson, BH. 2001. p. 62) 2
The liver is the organ that produces the most Free Radicals, through its detoxifying phases. if you remember my articles on detox, the liver cells work in different ways: 1) making the toxicant (prescriptions, virus, bacteria, food preservatives and additives, pesticides and herbicides, and any chemical present in food) water soluble, 2) making the molecule less reactive, 3) making bile. 4) Elimination/excretion out of the body.
During phase one, usually bacteria or viruses, or any other molecules, are broken/deactivated, via several processes, some of which involves H20 (Hydrolysis). This exposes the content, which may be even more damaging than the original molecule, to the body.
To counteract the damage from these ROS or Free Radicals, the liver requires a great amount of antioxidants, some of which are naturally produced by the body (e.g. Glutathione, Superoxide Dismutase, CoQ10...), but the more toxicants a diet contains the more the body will drain its pool of antioxidants, and it is therefore important to help the body with raising the level of antioxidants, by having an antioxidant-rich diet (e.g. Citrus (Quercetin, Vitamin C), Berries and Green Tea (Catechins and Polyphenols), Herbs and Spices (Polyphenols)4, Açaì Berries (Anthocyanins, Proanthocyanidins, and other Flavonoids).
Blueberries are at the top of our Western World list of antioxidant-rich foods: "blueberries had high levels of proanthocyanidins and anthocyanidins, which might be responsible for their strong antioxidant activities" (Huang, W-Y. et al. 2012. p. 94); with the world opening up to new superfoods, such as Maca, Baobab, and Açaì berry, amongst others, we are able to supplement our diet with the highest Antioxidant-rich fruit, such as Açaì berries.5
Açaì berries are available frozen or freeze-dry, and can be added to any dish, dessert at the moment of serving, to preserve the bioavailability of Antioxidants.
1 Teaspoon of Açaì Berry powder added to a yogurt can increase the antioxidant content of a rather very simple snack. Adding Quercetin (e.g. dehydrated Organic Pink Grapefruit, Lime or Lemon Rind) can greatly reduce the damage of Free Radicals produced by liver Phase I detoxification.
I am not sure where my love for Açaì Berries started... Or was it my love for a country such as Brazil, with still so much unknown about it, and its century-old superfoods, that brought me to enjoying Açaì Berries on a near-daily basis.
So today, I am bringing to you that love of this simple berries that is known to be the most antioxidant-rich foods (above blueberries, Goji Berries, etc.)*.
110 g Raw Goat's Milk Yogurt, or Kefir (or Raw Fermented Coconut)
1 Handful of Blueberries
1 Tsp Freeze-dry Açaì Berry Powder
1 Tsp Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tsp Sesame Seeds
1 Tsp Sunflower Seeds
* A quick note: Many foods contain many different Antioxidants; therefore, a varied and balance diet is the perfect way to bring all those naturally occurring molecules into our cells.
Remember that most antioxidants are plant natural defence mechanisms, and therefore, to be available in consequent levels, the fruit (in its wider term) must be ripe, and free of chemicals.
Chemicals (pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, etc.) prevent the plant manufacturing its own defences, and will result in little or no antioxidant production at all. Plus, all those chemicals, in whatever trace they are present on or in food, will generate a bigger demand on antioxidants to be detoxified out of the body.
1. Rahaa, S. Robinson, BH. (2000). Mitochondria, oxygen free radicals, disease and ageing. Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 25 (10), pp. 502–508.
2. Rahaa, S. Robinson, BH. (2001). Mitochondria, oxygen free radicals, and apoptosis. American Journal of Medical Genetics. 106 (1), pp. 62–70.
3. Huang, W-Y. et al. (2012). Survey of antioxidant capacity and phenolic composition of blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry in Nanjing.Journal of Zhejiang University of Science. 13 (2), pp. 94–102.
4. Scalbert, A. Johnson, IT. Saltmarsh, M. (2005). Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 81 (1), pp. 215S–217S. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/1/215S.full. last accessed: 2nd June 2016
5. Schauss, AG. et al. (2006). Antioxidant Capacity and Other Bioactivities of the Freeze-Dried Amazonian Palm Berry, Euterpe oleraceae Mart. (Acai). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 54 (22), pp. 8604–8610.
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This Blog offers an easy-to-read condensed descriptive of food groups, nutrients, and their role on our body; cooking processes; world news with major impact on food and consumers; comprehensive reviews of restaurants (Menus, Food-on-plate and Quality of Service); and easy-to-follow Exquisite recipes, as well as healthy snacks and juices.
Olivier is a Michelin trained chef, a registered Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating.