4 Ways to Improve Antioxidant Levels
Like a battery you need to be charged up every day. At the atomic level, our bodies run through an electrical energy system. The coordinated flow of this electrical energy at all times is what makes up the presence of life. Lifestyle habits that add voltage to our system help sustain the flow of energy while habits that subtract voltage reduce the presence of life. Antioxidants are free electrons that enhance our energy and protect against inflammatory damage (1).
Your body is made up of trillions of cells that operate in synchrony to keep your body breathing, healing, and living every single day. Each of these cells acts as a little machine that is cranking out energy in the form of a biological unit called adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
The solar power of the sun charges most all life on earth and directly and indirectly charges our bodies. The grassy fields, the trees, the seawater algae and the herbs are living agents that harvest the sun’s light through the process of photosynthesis. When we or any other animal consumes these foods we take in the sun’s energy as electrons. These electrons are then used to produce ATP.
Increase Your Life Force:
As we increase the amount of electrons through our diet and lifestyle, we build an ATP surplus and a stronger life force. This electron flow improves the process of healing, remodeling and rejuvenating within the body (2).
Unfortunately, in our society today most individuals are deficient in electrons and produce dirty energy. Dirty energy production creates ATP but also a high level of waste in the form of free radical particles. When these free radicals are able to run rampant in our bodies they restrict our life force and accelerate aging and tissue degeneration.
Clean Energy Sources and Antioxidants.
Antioxidants act to neutralize these dangerous free radicals and bring balance to the body (3). Clean energy sources are rich in trace minerals, electrolytes and antioxidants and produce very little free radicals. The net effect of this energy source is a surplus of antioxidants to protect the body from future stresses. Certain lifestyle habits produce antioxidant rich clean energy while others produce free-radical loaded dirty energy (4).
The most powerful sources of clean energy include raw, organic vegetables and superfood extracts. Most people know that raw fruits and vegetables are good for health, however, they misapply these natural nutritional powerhouses.
Fruit contains high levels of fructose so it is best to limit fruit consumption and use fruits that are low glycemic such as berries, avocados & citrus fruits & granny smith apples. Some vegetables are digested better in a raw form while others are best marinated, lightly steamed or sautéed.
The key to increase antioxidant levels is to focus on real foods in their least processed state. We also have to consider the sugar load of the food as sugar (even natural sugar) increases free radical activity in the body and drains antioxidant levels. Finding foods that are very high in antioxidants and phytonutrients and low in sugar should be our goal to give our bodies the cleanest form of energy.
Increase Your Antioxidant Intake:
The veggies that are best in the raw form include celery, carrots, cucumbers, spinach, bok choy, bell peppers, romaine lettuce, parsley, cilantro, radishes, snap peas and beets. The veggies that have a challenging outer cellulose layer are much more bioavailable when they are lightly steamed or marinated in lemon or apple cider vinegar. This would include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, onions, cabbage, watercress, Brussel sprouts & asparagus.
Superfood extracts that provide mega-doses of antioxidants include organic herbal teas and water infusions (5). These drinks have no sweeteners or calories and include mega doses of high powered nutrients. Boiling water can impact some of the anti-oxidant content of the tea so be sure to keep the water temperature low.
Chlorophyll rich greens also have an alkalizing effect on the body. The acid/alkaline balance has to do with the ratio of hydrogen to oxygen. The more hydrogen = more acidic. The more oxygen = more alkaline.
Our blood stream is designed to be in a slightly alkaline state of 7.365. Stress, environmental toxins and poor diet increase the hydrogen production and put us in a more acidic state. When our physiology gets stuck in this acidic state, we lose energy and develop chronic disease (6).
The best way to balance this delicate pH level out is to reduce stress and toxin exposure and consume more chlorophyll and oxygen rich foods and herbs. You can also add in super greens powders to help add more powerful chlorophyll and increases anti-oxidant levels.
The Power of Juicing:
One of my favorite ways to increase my antioxidant levels is through juicing fresh veggies. This is the easiest way to provide mega-doses of powerful vitamins, minerals and living enzymes into the body. Because juicing removes the fibers from the fruits and veggies, it is easier on the digestive system and more live nutrients are able to make it into the bloodstream. If your digestion is not impaired it is good to consume some of the fibers at a later time such as in a salad.
Some of my favorite things to juice are green apples, cucumbers, celery, lemons and limes as these all make a lot of juice and are low in sugar and rich in nutrients. I add in things like dandelion, cilantro, parsley, bok choy, spinach, kale, ginger, etc.
I would not add more than 1 small apple or more than 4-5 carrots at a time to keep sugar to a minimum. Anytime you are juicing higher sugar items always be sure to add in a whole lemon or lime. The citric acid will lower the glycemic impact and reduce the inflammatory component of the sugar.
It is best to drink the juice fresh as that is when it contains the most nutritional value and highest antioxidant levels. Every minute it sits, the nutrients oxidize and are lost for good. Best to stick with organic ingredients if at all possible and only put your fresh vegetable juice in a glass. Plastic has dangerous xenoestrogenic chemicals that we don’t want inside of our body. Enjoy your juicing!