Part 1 of 3: Diet
It’s no secret that stress, lifestyle, sleep habits, diet and genetics are all factors in how well we age. But with the right tools, knowledge, and mindset we have the capability to enhance our overall health to improve our quality of life – and it starts from the cellular level!
As we age, our cells age too. Cells become more fragile and inefficient leaving us feeling rundown and sluggish but with a little focus on your diet, sleep, and stress levels – the three most influential factors to wellness – you can start making positive change to your overall health.
In the next 3 articles I will address these topics and proivde tips and tools to support your wellbeing.
Let’s talk Antioxidants!
There’s a lot of talk about antioxidants and making sure you ‘eat the rainbow’ by incorporating brightly coloured veggies and superfoods into your diet like blueberries, kale, and goji berries.
But what I want to talk about today are other foods that can be easily incorporated into your diet to help improve your cellular health.
However, before we do that, let’s get an understanding of what makes our cells unhealthy and how that can impact illness.
Our cells are little engines that work to produce energy, proteins, and lipids. Each cell has its unique skill set and is responsible for a specific job within the body- ultimately ensuring our organs and brain are functioning properly.
But like a car engine creating exhaust (CO2), the normal functioning of the cell creates a by-product known as free radicals. Free radicals (ROS) are molecules that bounce around and cause cellular, nuclear, and DNA damage. Large volumes and long-term damage by free radicals can result in disease, cancer, and chronic inflammation. In addition, as cells age, the cells become less efficient resulting in a high production of free radicals, hence why we are more susceptible to disease as we get older.
While free radicals can be a natural by-product made within our bodies, increased free radical production is also generated from exposure to environmental factors, such as cigarette smoke, certain drugs, pesticides, radiation exposure, and environmental pollutants.
So, what can we do to help ourselves?
We can counteract free radical damage by including more antioxidants into our diet.
Antioxidants are molecules that absorb and remove free radicals from our cells. The prevalence of antioxidants alone can help to reduce inflammation and reduce cellular damage. There are many additional functions of antioxidants, such as: aiding the body’s natural defence system by improving immune function, repairing oxidative damage, anti-aging benefits, lowering the risk for cancer and disease, and providing key nutrients needed by the body to neutralize free radicals.
The strength of an antioxidant is measured by the Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity (ORAC). The higher the value the better it is at absorbing free radicals.
Foods to include into your diet that have high ORAC values include.
ORAC Value List, Top 10 (measured at 3.5 ounces per serving)
|4||Sorghum, bran, raw||240,000|
|7||Acai berry, freeze-dried||102,700|
|8||Sorghum, bran, black||100,800|
|9||Sumac, grain, raw||86,800|
|10||Cocoa powder, unsweetened||80,933|
For the full list of the top 100 antioxidant recommendations please visit.
Inflammatory Foods to Reduce and Avoid:
- Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- Red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
- Margarine, shortening, and lard
While there is still a lot to learn about antioxidants and their impact on our health, it is now common knowledge that these superfoods do help our health.
Incorporating 5000 ORAC is the recommended daily value for optimal absorbency. Also, reducing environmental factors, inflammatory foods, and incorporating exercise will significantly increase the quality of your cellular health and overall wellbeing.
Try some of these antioxidant foods and boost your cellular health today!