Antioxidants are your cell’s protectors. They protect your body’s cells just as paint protects your car from rust or lemon juice prevents a cut apple from turning brown, or ‘oxidising’. The process of oxidation causes free radicals to be produced which can damage cells and other structures including proteins, fats and DNA. The body can cope with some free radicals and actually needs them to function effectively. However, an overload of free radicals has been linked to certain diseases in addition to poor sperm and egg health.
Oxidation can be accelerated by many factors including stress, cigarette smoking, alcohol, over-exercise, medication, sunlight and pollution. Antioxidants can protect the body and help it to repair itself, thus minimising the negative effects of the free radicals. The protective effect of antioxidants is essential for good health and keeping our eggs healthy for optimal fertility especially if you are trying to conceive.
Not all foods were created equal – some are so packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and other beneficial substances that they are often called “superfoods”. Some of the Top Super Foods are listed here and should feature regularly in your diet.
TOP 5 SUPERFOODS
1. Acai berries
Benefits: Acai contains an amazing concentration of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids. It’s considered one of nature’s best offerings to combat premature raging thanks to its high monounsaturated oleic acid content. Oleic acid helps omega-3 fish oils penetrate cell membranes which helps to reduce inflammation and promote healthy hormone balance.
To use: Acai berry powder is easily sprinkled into smoothies, muesli, yoghurt and muffins.
Also other spices such as cinnamon, fennel, chill, cloves, cumin and ginger
Benefits: Powerful antioxidant, helps to reduce inflammation and pain in the body, improves digestion and immunity, high in trace nutrients and minerals. Great for endometriosis, period pain and headaches.
3. Chia Seeds
Benefits: Chia seeds have been used medicinally and as a food source for centuries and was considered so powerful that it was believed to be more valuable than gold. This seed is full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and protein.
To use: Sprinkle these flavourless black and white seeds on salads, muesli, vegetables, smoothies, muffin or pancake mixes. To assist digestion, cholesterol, weight control and blood sugar levels, you can make a gel by mixing 1 tablespoon with 1 cup water, wait 10 minutes and consume.
4. Wild Salmon
Also Sardines, herring, trout, oysters, clams
Benefits: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for reducing inflammation, stabling the immune system and balancing hormones. Most women of reproductive age should be taking good quality fish oils. Fish oils are essential for preconception and pregnancy in addition to any issue of hormonal imbalance.
Also Kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower
Benefits: Broccoli is full of the oestrogen-metabolising indole-3-carbinol. Load up on broccoli to support healthy oestrogen detoxification and reduce breast cancer risk, fibroid development, PMS and so much more. The high levels of natural folate in broccoli make it a daily must for anyone considering conception in the next few months.
For more great tips on hormonal health including which foods to eat, delicious recipes, premium period tracker, a personalised hormonal health quiz and so much more, download the Seed iPhone App below!