I am a firm believer in getting ‘back to basics eating’, consuming wholesome foods containing all the nutrients that your body needs for optimal health. The foods that I recommend in my F.I.T. programs do not only include all the macronutrients and micronutrients that you body requires to function optimally, but also other nutrients that will boost your health and help fight fat. Some of these fat-fighting nutrients are antioxidants.
Antioxidants are nutrients that help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are small molecules or atoms that cause reactions (e.g. oxidation) in the body, which can lead to cell damage, artery disease, and some cancers. How many free radicals you are exposed to depends, at least to some degree, on your lifestyle (smoking and exposure to pollutants and heavy metals). However, most of the free radicals are created in your body through normal processes.
By following my programs, where you are eating healthy grains, lean protein, legumes, nuts, vegetables, and fruit, you will ensure that you get enough antioxidants. This may help protect you against the diseases I mentioned before. Antioxidants have also been shown to reduce inflammation and might even help fight fat by reducing the size of fat cells. However, the main fat-fighting property of these antioxidant-rich foods is that they are normally lower in calories and that they are able to keep you fuller for longer, making you eat less.
Some of the main antioxidants are
1. Carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin)
Carotenoids are found in yellow, orange and dark green vegetables, such as carrot, capsicums (peppers), sweet potato, pumpkin, broccoli, kale, apricots, cabbage, oranges, and spinach.
Tip: Include any of these vegetables in your daily diet. Why not try oven roasted carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, sweet potato and capsicum? Yum!
Lycopene is found in red vegetables and fruit, such as tomatoes, pink grapefruit, and watermelon.
Tip: Try my Quick tomato sauce recipe below. I am sure you will love it!
3. Flavonoids (anthocyanidins, hesperidin, isoflavones, quercetin)
Anthocyanidins are found in blue and purple fruits and berries, like blueberries, blackberries, cherries, cranberries and plums. Hesperidin is found in citrus fruit, whilst isoflavones are found in legumes and peanuts. Quercetin is found in vegetables such as kale, broccoli, and onion. Quercetin is also found in fruit such as apple and black grapes, and berries.
Tip: Focus on eating a variety of different foods to ensure you get all the different types of antioxidants. Why not making a mixed berry, apple and kale smoothie?
Selenium is a mineral, but also act as an antioxidant. Selenium is found in nuts (in particular Brazil nuts), meat, poultry, seafood (n particular oysters and tuna), whole grains, onion, and garlic.
Tip: Try my Berry & Brazil Nut Porridge recipe below. This recipe will not only provide you with selenium but also flavonoids.
5. Co-enzyme Q-10
This antioxidant is found in plant and animal foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, beef, sardines, and mackerel.
Tip: Have you tried to make cauliflower rice yet? It is delicious!!!!
6. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant and is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, capsicums (peppers), broccoli, kiwi, and tomatoes.
Tip: Squeeze some lemon juice over your broccoli. Not only will it boost the vitamin C content, but also help you absorb the iron found in the broccoli.
7. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another common antioxidant found in seeds, nuts, some oils, vegetables, and fruit.
Tip: Sprinkle your salad with some sunflower seeds. It will give it an extra crunch too!
Quick Tomato Sauce
• 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes
• 1/2 tsp. of pink Himalayan salt
• 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
• 400g (14.1 oz.) fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
• Water, as required
• Zest of one lemon (optional)
• 1 tbsp. of fresh oregano
1. Combine the ingredients for the tomato sauce except the tomatoes in a large skillet.
2. Stir the ingredients while you heat the skillet over medium heat.
3. Sauté for about 2 minutes until everything is fragrant. Make sure not to brown the onion and garlic.
4. Stir in the tomatoes and heat to a gentle simmer. Add water if needed.
5. Lower the heat. Add more salt and spices if needed.
6. Finish off by stirring in the lemon zest.
Berry & Brazil Nut Porridge
• 1/4 cup of buckwheat flakes
• 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
• 1/2 cup of water
• 6 egg whites
• 10 blueberries
• 4 raspberries
• 3 Brazil nuts, crushed
• 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
• 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk, optional
1. Bring the flakes to the boil with almond milk and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat and then let simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
2. Stir often or until mixture starts to thicken.
3. Turn heat off, add the egg whites, then stir and set aside for 1 minute.
4. Serve with cinnamon, blueberries, raspberries, almond milk and Brazil nuts.
You can find more antioxidant-rich recipes in all of my programs.