Free Radical Fighting Choc-mint and Berry Smoothie
By Amy Crawford
This smoothie was the result of a post holiday empty fridge and a strong sense that I needed a hefty dose of free radical fighting antioxidants post a slightly over-indulgent festive season (slightly? Hardly!). Enter my antioxidant powerhouse – a minty choc-berry 'need a spoon consistency' smoothie, blended until smooth and creamy and ready for teaspoon dippage (my favourite way to eat a smoothie is not to be able to 'drink' it).
"So what are the benefits of antioxidants?" And "why is fighting free-radicals so important to our health" I hear you ask. Well, I’ll tell you.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are produced as part of everyday life. Even breathing in oxygen is enough to cause the production of free radicals! Under healthy conditions the body has the ability to neutralise these free radicals on its own, but 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, leading to damage. It is this damage that is the primary cause of visible and internal aging and can also contribute to inducing illness. Examples of damage caused by free radicals include:
- joint inflammation
- eye (and sight) deterioration
- accelerated aging
- increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers
- damaged nerve cells in the brain
The Benefits of Antioxidants.
Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemicals that neutralise the negative effect of free radicals in our bodies. Oxidation in the body produces these free radicals which in turn cause oxidative stress/damage within the body. Antioxidants, as their name suggests, are capable of stabilising the free radicals before they cause damage.
As an example of the protective effects of antioxidants, the lycopene in tomatoes may help protect men against prostate cancer, the lutein in spinach and corn may reduce the degeneration of the eye lens, and flavenoids may help to lower the risk of heart disease.
Some of the best overall sources of antioxidants are berries, walnuts, raw cacao, sunflower seeds, pomegranates, and ginger. Just think of these as the super foods of the antioxidant world!
Handful fresh blueberries
Handful fresh mint
2 frozen strawberries
130g coconut water
1 raw egg (optional, or choice of protein powder)
1 dessert spoon chia seeds
1 heaped teaspoon maca
1 heaped teaspoon ground flaxseed
1 heaped teaspoon raw cacao
1 heaped teaspoon goji berries
1 tablespoon organic natural yoghurt
Simply combine all the ingredients in your blender and whizz it up. Pour into your serving glass and allow to sit for twenty minutes to allow the chia seeds to soften. Voila!
What's your favourite free radical fighting recipe?