5 Signs of Oxidative Stress & 5 Superfoods to Fight it (+How to Use Them!)
by Vickie Chin on Jul 22, 2018
We’ve all been told that we should be eating foods that are high in antioxidants. Often this advice is paired with the claim that blueberries will keep your skin soft and wrinkle free, thanks to their high levels of antioxidants. Yes, it’s true that antioxidants are extremely beneficial and it’s also true that blueberries are higher on the scale of antioxidant rich foods, but do we really know what this means and how this works? Do you know what the signs of oxidative stress are? Do you understand how antioxidants work to reverse this stress within the body? What’s an ORAC?? We have broken down these questions to give you a better understanding of what oxidative stress is, 5 signs that it’s happening to you + a list of 5 antioxidant rich foods and how to use them (that doesn’t include blueberries!). Keep reading to find out more!
Oxidation itself is a naturally occurring process within the body. Our cells are constantly undergoing the process of removing electrons from oxygen, which generate energy as well as free radicals. The free radicals that are generated during this process are part of the normal oxidative routine. However, free radicals are also generated when we are exposed exterior elements such as tobacco smoke, air pollution and more. Enter antioxidants. When a build up of free radicals occurs within the body, antioxidants then help by becoming oxidized themselves, helping out the cells that are in need of saving. Our bodies have an antioxidant reserve ready for times like these, however often our bodies are exposed to more oxidative stress than our reserves can handle.
Oxidative stress then occurs when there is a build-up of free radicals within the body and is often the source of damaged tissue, cells and DNA. This is what often translates to premature signs of aging. Therefore, we have been told that in order to prevent this from happening, we need to have a diet packed with antioxidant rich foods. Because of this, many claim that antioxidants are anti-aging nutrients. This statement however is false. Anything that claims to be anti-aging is essentially fake news. Inevitably we all age, that’s just life and there’s no way of stopping it. What we can do however, is slow down this process while fighting the signs of aging by incorporating more antioxidant rich foods into our lives!
Oxidative stress can lead to a number of issues, not just wrinkles! In reality, we don’t want to wait for signs of stress on the outside before we decide to take action. There are a number of red flags from within the body that can point to oxidative stress and let you know that you could benefit from consuming more antioxidant rich foods.
5 Signs Of Oxidative Stress:
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory loss/ brain fog
- Chronic headaches
- Premature aging
- Joint pain/ inflammation
These are signs that you could benefit from adding more antioxidant rich foods to your diet. Blueberries are often praised for their high levels of antioxidants, but what if blueberries aren’t your thing? Good thing there are so many other antioxidant rich foods that you could be eating! Below we have compiled a list of 5 foods that score higher ORAC values than blueberries.
Before we get to that list, you’re probably still wondering what in the world an ORAC is. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and is a unit of measurements for total antioxidant capacity. It was developed by the National Institute of Aging (NIA) at the National Institute of Health (NIH). The higher the value, the higher amount of in vitro antioxidant activity. The ORAC value is based on 100g servings, and just for reference, raw blueberries have an ORAC value of 4,669!
5 Antioxidant Rich Foods You Need to Know About + How to Use Them!
1. Triphala Powder (ORAC value of 706,250)
What is it? Triphala powder is made from a blend of 3 fruits: Amla berries, haritaki and bibhitaki. A staple in Ayurvedic medicine for over 2,000 years, triphala powder is a traditional herbal blend containing a mixture of gallic acid, ellagic acid and chebulinic acid. Each of these acids are extremely powerful antioxidants.
How do I use it? For traditional use, add ½ tsp of triphala powder to hot water and enjoy as a tea. You can combine it with honey or ghee to enhance the flavour.
For more on Triphala Powder click here
2. Amla Powder (ORAC value of 261,500)
What is it? Also known as Indian Gooseberries, amla powder, derived from amla berries are the world’s highest antioxidant rich food in the world (excluding spices). Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as a diuretic, amla berries are also known to relieve insomnia and even resolve scalp issues. Compared to blueberries, Amla berries have 50X the amount of antioxidants! This is due to the high amounts of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, found in the berries. 1 tsp of our Organic Amla Berry Powder contains 42 mg of whole food Vitamin C!
How do I use it? Like our other fruit powders, you can add amla powder to fresh juices and smoothies. Amla powder has also been used externally in the form of scrubs, hair masks and face masks.
For more on Amla Berry Powder click here
3. Baobab Fruit Powder (ORAC value of 140,000)
What is it? Baobab fruit is derived from the Baobab tree native to the continent of Africa. The baobab tree was dubbed “the vitamin tree” by national geographic, due to its use as a food source and herbal remedy throughout Africa. The fruit of the tree contains 6X the amount of vitamin C found in oranges, 2X the amount of calcium found in milk, is loaded with B vitamins and is rich in iron, phosphorus, magnesium and polyphenol. Baobab fruit is also made up of 50% fiber, making it a powerful diuretic.
How do I use it? Baobab is naturally sweet with hints of citrus, pear, custard and vanilla. This makes it suitable for adding to juices, water, smoothies and even baked goods. Our baobab fruit powder is extremely versatile so the possibilities are quite endless.
For More on Baobab Fruit Powder click here
** Our baobab is wild harvested and sustainable. It is directly harvested from co-operatives of rural women in South Africa providing a sustainable income and a stable livelihood
4. Turmeric (ORAC value of 127,068)
What is it? You should know by now that Turmeric aka Curcuma longa belongs to the ginger family and should also belong in your life. The most beneficial compound found in turmeric is curcumin, a potent antioxidant that has the power to neutralize free radicals in the body. Not only does curcumin neutralize free radicals but it also boosts the activity of the resting antioxidants that our bodies keep on reserve while stimulating the natural production of more antioxidants.
How do I use it? Heating turmeric with black pepper or fat is known to increase its solubility and bioavailability. This makes cooking with turmeric one of the best ways to ingest it. You can also add turmeric to your bulletproof coffee’s and matcha lattes, just be sure to add a pinch of black pepper so you can reap all it’s amazing benefits.
For more on Turmeric click here
5. Acai Berry Powder (ORAC value of 102,700) :
What is it? Acai berries are derived from the acai palm found in Central and South America. They are considered to be one of South America’s most important superfruits used in both ceremonial and medicinal preparations. Acai berries are a low glycemic superfruit with balanced amounts of fiber, carbohydrates and fats. One teaspoon of acai berry powder contains an ORAC value of roughly 1,900.
How do I use it? Acai berry powder is another versatile fruit powder that can be added to a number of dishes. Try adding a ½ tsp too smoothies and juices or simple sprinkled over fresh fruit for an added antioxidant punch. Acai berry powder is a wonderful way to add flavour to yogurt and oatmeal but can also be added to so much more!
For more on Acai Berry Powder click here