Five Antioxidants to Get You Through Winter
By naturopath and nutritional consultant with Australis Natural Health College,
Antioxidants are the good guys that keep our immune system in peak condition. Protecting the body’s cells from free radical damage, they are especially important in winter as we battle colds, flus and other ailments.
1. Olive Leaf Extract
One of the causes of a weakened immune system and inflammation is free-radical activity. Antioxidants such as polyphenols, act as free-radical scavengers that find and destroy free-radical activity. Olive leaf extract is a powerful antioxidant that provides an important daily dose of polyphenols. It has been traditionally used to support the immune system and relieve symptoms of colds and flu, sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections. To ensure the best quality and potency, it’s advisable to choose olive leaf extract that is ‘fresh picked’.
Found naturally in the body, Ubiquinol is the active (more readily absorbed) form of coenzyme Q10, and works by promoting energy production in the cells of the body and delivering it to the organs. As we age, stress or over exert ourselves, our natural Ubiquinol levels decline and may need to be replenished, particularly if you are finding that you are feeling foggy, fatigued and are struggling to bounce back. Ubiquinol also helps with oxidative stress, protecting cells from free radical damage, and assisting with the neutralising of bad LDL cholesterol.
Resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant, is found in the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and mulberries, and is a key ingredient of red wine. Research suggests resveratrol may help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce low-density bad LDL cholesterol and prevent blood clots. While the antioxidant could also be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease, there is also suggestion of the anti-ageing properties of resveratrol on the skin. Before you go and chug copious amounts of red wine, keep in mind that you would need to drink many litres a day in order to reap the benefits of resveratrol, which is of course not recommended. It is advisable to consult your healthcare practitioner for more information about Resveratrol.
An important cellular antioxidant, glutahthione (GSH) plays an important role in regulating oxidative stress, detoxification and immune function in plants, animals, fungi, and even some bacteria and archaea, by preventing damage to important cellular components. Found in avocados, eggs, whey protein and sulphur-rich foods, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and spinach also stimulate specific enzymes in the body which aid glutathione’s functions.
5. Grape Seed Extract
Anthocyanidins are found in purple, blue and red fruit and vegetable such as red grapes, cherries, berries and pomegranates, making grape seeds rich in powerful antioxidants and natural plant compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). OPCs demonstrate a host of beneficial activities in the body including improving flexibility in joints, arteries and body tissues such as your heart. Grape seed extract’s high concentration may also help to improve blood circulation by strengthening capillaries, arteries and veins.