The Power of the Antioxidant (and some Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups).
By Amy Crawford
Free radicals - they're little buggers. Roaming wild and free throughout our bodies, causing havoc! Damaging our joints, deteriorating our eyes, accelerating how we age and increasing the risk factors associated with many an illness. Under healthy conditions the body has the ability to neutralise these free radicals on its own, however ageing and external factors such as pollution, UV radiation, alcohol, chemicals and smoking can cause an overload of free radicals that the body is unable to cope with.
So how do we support our body in knocking free radicals on the head? By consuming foods rich in antioxidants, that's how. And quite notably, our chocolate peanut butter cups. But more on these little beauties later.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are compounds that mop up the free radicals, working to neutralise them before they cause cellular damage. Upon neutralising a free radical, antioxidants become inactive, which means they need to be constantly re-supplied to our bodies through the right foods.
Sources of Antioxidants.
Fruits, vegetables and tea (green tea too!). Most antioxidants come from plants and include vitamins A, C and E and carotenoids such as beta-carotene, minerals, phenolic compounds and other natural chemicals with antioxidant properties.
Flavonoids are also another powerful antioxidant and are contained in red wine, cacao and tea.
While vitamin supplements containing antioxidants are available, eating a varied diet rich in a variety of natural whole foods (nuts, seeds, legumes, fruit and vegetables) is the best way to supplement your body with antioxidants.
Check out our breakdown of some great antioxidant rich foods:
Beta-carotene – carrots, pumpkin, apricots, sweet potatoes and leafy greens such as kale
Lutein – leafy green vegetables such as spinach
Lycopene – tomatoes, watermelon, papaya
Selenium – rice
Vitamin A – carrots, sweet potato, egg yolks
Vitamin C – fruits and veggies! Parsley, broccoli, berries, oranges, cauliflower, kale, blueberries
Vitamin E – almonds, vegetable oils, mangoes, nuts, broccoli
My free radical fighting suggestion?
Go take a tea break (just 80 seconds of mindfulness, for productivity!) and accompany your delicious antioxidant rich brew (my recommendation? Tetley has a great green tea) with these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Cacao, nuts, mesquite - these morning tea treats are fiercely free radical fighting.
1 cup raw cacao powder
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup organic peanut butter
4-5 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 heaped teaspoon mesquite powder*
1 pinch of sea salt
Arrange 8 patty pans in a muffin tray or plate.
In a mixing bowl, dissolve the coconut sugar in the warm coconut oil. Add the cacao and sea salt and stir until all lumps are removed.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of chocolate in the bottom of each patty pan. Place into the freezer until firm, approximately 10 minutes.
Combine the peanut butter and mesquite in a mixing bowl. Remove the chocolate based patty pans from the freezer. Spoon in 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter mix into each patty pan and gently flatten it down with your finger on top of the chocolate, but not so much that it hits the sides of the pan. Cover the peanut butter with another heaped tablespoon of chocolate, ensuring the peanut butter is completely submerged (be generous). Return to the freezer to set.
Remove from the freezer and peel away the patty pans. Best kept stored in an airtight container in the fridge (the chocolate will turn white if left in the freezer for too long).
*Mesquite in this recipe can be optional. However, the mesquite imparts amazing burnt caramel notes to these peanut butter cups, and really sets them apart. Mesquite leaves also have been found to have antioxidant properties, great!
By the way, in case you had not yet discovered this, as part of their 80 Seconds of Mindfulness campaign, Tetley are running a competition where you could win 80 hours of bliss in the Blue Mountains! Click here to find out how to enter.
*This is a sponsored post, however please know that we will only ever promote products or services that we believe will add value to the lives of our readers.