What Are Antioxidants?
It's no secret that we're kind of wild about fruit here at Twisted Citrus. We grow it, sell it, and eat every variety that we can get our hands on!
What's not to like? It's delicious, natural, pretty to look at, aromatic, and just downright good for you.
There are so many things to love about New Zealand’s amazing supply of fresh fruit.
One of the things we most often hear about when discussing the benefits of fruit is antioxidants.
So, these antioxidants are clearly a good thing, but what exactly are they, and how do they work?
We decided it was time to give you the full scoop, so let’s have at it!
What Is An Oxidant, And Why Do We Need An Anti?
The word antioxidant actually refers to the ability to fight the state of oxidation in the body, which is caused by some nasties called free radicals.
Unfortunately for us, free radicals are produced just from being alive, so they are impossible to avoid entirely. The mere act of converting food into energy produces these chemicals in the body, as does exercising, inhaling cigarette smoke or air pollution, or exposure to sunlight.
Free radicals are pesky things that have a habit of stealing electrons from other cells. This can alter the structure or function of said cell. The outcome of this thievery varies widely. It might encourage a “bad cholesterol” molecule to get trapped in the wall of an artery or interfere with the ability of cells to absorb or repel certain substances.
When there are too many free radicals in the body, oxidative stress occurs. This a situation that can eventually lead to damaged cells and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
How Do Antioxidants Work?
Sounds grim, doesn’t it? Luckily, our bodies are smart machines. They are able to produce and/or utilise molecules that neutralise free radicals.
You guessed it – antioxidants!
Antioxidants are the robin hoods of our body – minus the stealing from the rich. They kindly donate electrons to these roaming free radicals so they don’t have to steal them from elsewhere. Thoughtful, right?
But wait, there’s more! Antioxidants can also help repair damaged DNA and keep cells healthy. So they are rather essential.
Where Do Antioxidants Come From?
Hundreds, if not thousands of substances can be antioxidants. The ones that you will know the best include vitamins C and E and beta carotene, as well as selenium and manganese, but there are countless more.
Not all antioxidants are the same. Each one has unique properties and does slightly different things, so it's crucial to supply the body with a range of different antioxidants.
Most antioxidants occur naturally in foods, although our body can produce some, too. Although they are widely lauded as being “miracle molecules,” the research isn’t clear cut on their value.
Yes, they are fantastic for our health, but they don’t work alone. Antioxidants need the support crew of various minerals, fibres, and other nutrients found in a range of fresh, natural whole foods to really be effective.
Best Sources Of Antioxidants
And that brings us back to our adoration of fruit! Fresh, whole fruits and vegetables are fantastic sources for a wide range of antioxidants.
Citrus fruits and berries are particularly high in antioxidants, as are green tea and chocolate (woohoo!) Tomatoes, onions, and potatoes, walnuts, brazil nuts, and hazelnuts all contain good amounts.
So there you have it.
If you needed another excuse to enjoy fresh, in-season local fruit, we have provided it. Next time you are biting into a juicy orange or popping an apple into a lunch box, take a moment to appreciate the superhero powers contained within.
Ready to get your fix of delicious in-season fruit? Then head on over and browse the varieties we have available in our fruit boxes now. We only stock the freshest and most amazing fruit, then we deliver it right to your doorstep. Shop the collection now.