Antioxidants in foods have become a bit of a trend. For example, Acai berries created a big buzz in the food world for their rich antioxidant properties. We interviewed Sophia Medinski, Nutrition Expert and Clinical Dietitian, to get her point of view on the best antioxidants.
A recent study reported at the 2009 Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans shows that eating just one and a half servings of tart cherries could significantly boost antioxidant activity in the body. Cherry vs Acai berry: which one is the best antioxidant to include in our diet in your point of view?
Antioxidants help tissue repair and fortify blood vessels in the body. Many fruits and vegetables have antioxidants. I would try both, cherries and acai berries and determine which one I like best. I prefer cherries as I like them.
What do you think of resveratrol, the antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes?
Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in red wine. In many cultures, it is custom to consume 1 glass of red wine for dinner to maintain heart health. Now, researchers discovered resveratrol which prevents blood clots and helps lower cholesterol. All I can say is that our ancestors knew what they were doing before science could prove the benefits of certain practices.
What is your own list of the 10 best antioxidants (if you’ve got a list)?
I fancy the antioxidants below:
- Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C)
- Vitamin E
- Beta Carotene
- Dioscorea extract
Another recent study shows that antioxidant-rich foods lose nutritional value over time and levels of good compounds drop after 6 months (antioxidant-rich foods lose nutritional value over time). Are there antioxidants that preserve better than others?
I think Vitamin C and Beta Carotene are best antioxidants because they are water soluble and cannot accumulate in the body to toxic levels. They also preserve better in my opinion.
Does a diet rich in antioxidants really slow down the aging process? Is there any scientific proof?
In my opinion, the jury is still out on that one. I have not seen reliable research articles that support this claim. However, every year researchers make new discoveries. So, I keep an open mind.
We always hear that antioxidants are good for you. But foods like coffee, chocolate, or red wine are also known to trigger some skin conditions. Is it best to avoid some of them despite their high antioxidant content?
Too much of anything is not good for anybody. Everything in moderation is the best! If one consumes these foods in moderation, one can benefit from antioxidants without triggering the skin conditions.
How can antioxidants be beneficial to people with a chronic skin condition?
Antioxidants may reduce symptoms or help to maintain chronic skin conditions under control or prevent them from getting worse.
Do you recommend to supplement your diet with antioxidants, such as vitamin E,C, Alpha Lipoic Acid, to name a few?
Sometimes I recommend supplements for my clients when I think clients may benefit from them. I usually recommend vitamin C and Beta Carotene.
Is there any risk of taking too much from food and supplementation?
- Toxic effects of Beta carotene: yellowing of skin, diarrhea and arthralgias
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Diarrhea, gastric upset at intake > 2000 mg
- Vitamin E: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, possible antiplatelet effects, headache, fatigue and blurred vision at intake > 800 IU/d
Is there anything you would like to add about the intake of antioxidants?
Consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for good health.