Antioxidants - we've all heard about them but what exactly are they? Why are they good for us? And where do we find them? This article will shed a little light on these important compounds and let you in on a little secret on how to get the best bang for your buck.
What are Antioxidants?
Every day billions of chemical reactions occur in our body. A percentage of these produce chemicals called "free radicals", which run through our system causing damage to our cells. This is why we age. It also why some of us develop chronic disease such as cancer or heart disease. Fortunately, we can rely on certain chemicals, such as Vitamins C & E, to neutralize free radicals and slow down the onset of ageing and disease progression. These chemicals are also known as antioxidants.
Where do we find Antioxidants?
There are three common sources of antioxidants available to us:
- Food - whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits and vegetables are chock full of antioxidants.
- Beverages - drinks such as coffee and loose leaf tea (e.g., Purgo Tea) are also great sources.
- Supplements - there are thousands of different vitamin, vegetable and herbal supplements - some better than others.
At Purgo Tea we are strong believers that natural, unprocessed foods are the best for optimal health. Nature has it all figured out for us and what we make in labs just doesn't always cut it. So, how do you get the most natural antioxidants per dollar?
Yes, those little green sprouts of the broccoli plant are one of the most concentrated sources of cancer-fighting antioxidants you can find.
What Makes Broccoli Sprouts so Special?
- Sulforaphane - this potent antioxidant is exceptional when it comes to fighting cancer. It happens to be in very high concentrations in fresh broccoli sprouts and is readily absorbed into the bloodstream. What's more is that effective concentrations last in the body for up to 48 hours after eating. A single cup of sprouts has as much sulforaphane as 27 cups of broccoli! Therefore, you only need 1/4-1/2 cup of sprouts per day.
- Cheap - a bag of organic broccoli seeds costs about $30 CAD per lb. This makes about 75 cups of sprouts, which works out to approximately 40 cents per cup. Since the sulphoraphane content of one cup of sprouts is 27 times more than that of broccoli crowns, it's the equivalent of paying just over 1.5 cents per cup of broccoli for all those antioxidants.
- Easy to grow - all you need is a jar and seeds and you can have a year-round supply. Keep your eyes peeled for our "how to" post, coming soon!
- Taste great - the peppery bite from these sprouts is fantastic on salads or one-bite treats like bruschetta.
- Connect with your food - it is very rewarding to eat food you have grown. You get to marvel at nature and you know exactly where it came from.
- More effective than supplements - as we said before, nature has it all figured out. Broccoli supplements simply cannot compete with fresh sprouts when it comes to getting sulforaphane into your bloodstream. See here, for example.
Like everything, you can have too much of a good thing! A cup or two per day is fine, but don't go much beyond this. So, go ahead and add a few cups of broccoli sprouts to your routine while on your Purgo Teatox!