Antioxidant Juices, Red Berry Superfood Drinks, and The Fight Against Free Radicals
This is the first of a series of articles on Red Berry Antioxidant Drinks and how they form the second major pillar of a successful natural health diet (the first pillar being green superfood drinks). Return here for more articles, product comparisons and tips on finding, buying and using red superfood drinks.
Fighting Free Radicals
The best way to prevent free radical damage to your cells is with a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are positively charged molecules that combine with negatively charged and oxidized free radicals — thus gaining the name anti-oxidants. Some of the most powerful antioxidants include the vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, and the minerals Selenium, Zinc and Copper. Others include flavonoids, uric acid, plant-based phytochemicals, and co-enzyme Q-10. Many of the mineral elements, such as Zinc and Selenium are encountered in meats, nuts, fish, and grains. The beta-carotene and vitamin antioxidants (and some of the minerals) are commonly found in fruits and berries, especially those with dark colors.
Vitamin E is lipo-soluble, and acts directly on the cellular membranes, inhibiting oxidation. Vitamin C acts to neutralize free radicals by supplying electrons that disarm the free radicals and eliminate their detrimental effects. It also helps to protect vitamins A and E from oxidation, thus extending their effects in the system. Beta-carotene is technically a precursor to vitamin A. It works on certain types of free radicals and supports the production of vitamin A in the system.
Co-Enzyme Q-10 is essential in the conversion of food into energy — a process that occurs in the cells. Supplementing CoQ-10 helps the cells convert energy, making them stronger and more protected against free radicals. Flavonoids also act on the body’s cells, helping to regulate many cell functions. They are also known to seek out and eliminate free radicals, especially in “active” cells. As such, are an important part of the body’s immune system. They also sustain the effects of enzymes, including co-enzyme Q-10 and they stimulate the “genetic expression” within the cells, which is a way of saying that they “pump up the volume!”
As you can see, these different antioxidants work together to fight oxidation and it’s important that you get a combination of all of these substances in your diet. One of the best and easiest ways to do that is with a red antioxidant drink.
Sources of Antioxidants
Vitamin E is found in abundance in wheat germ, dark colored vegetables, avocado, soybean oil, nuts, egg yokes, brown rice, cottonseed oil, grape seed oil, chicken and turkey, apples, and peaches. Vitamin C, as most people know, is encountered in citrus fruit but also in legumes and dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, parsley, etc.). Tomatoes have plenty of vitamin C, along with cabbage, green peppers and garlic. Here are five of the best sources:
- Red and yellow peppers
- Acerola Cherry
Co-enzyme Q-10 is found in oily fish like sardines, salmon and tuna. It’s also encountered in broccoli, spinach and sesame seeds and peanuts. Flavonoids can be found in green tea, dark chocolate, red wine and red fruits.
Given the variety of antioxidants and the many different foods in which they are encountered, how does a person get a wide variety of these elements on a daily basis? The easiest way is with a red antioxidant berry juice. Just as a green superfood drink is the best way to get food nutrients, a red drink is the best way to get the antioxidants. All healthy diets should include a green drink and a red drink to provide a wide range of health benefits.
Finding red antioxidant berry drinks is not difficult. It’s an exploding category in the health food business. Some drinks focus on a single fruit, such as pomegranate, acai, black currant or blueberry. All of these are great berries and full of antioxidants. Personally, I look for a mixture of berries in my red drink and when I taste it, I measure that dry, tannon taste in the back of my mouth. The more of this the better! A red drink should taste thick, strong, slightly bitter, slightly sour and very dry.
In my next article in this series, I’ll look at a variety of red antioxidant drinks and offer some comparisons. I’ll also talk about ORAC values…the official measurement of antioxidant power.