What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are enzymes and nutrients (both naturally occurring and man-made) that can prevent or slow cell damage. Antioxidants work by donating one of their own electrons to neutralise the free radicals.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are atoms or molecules with an unpaired electron and are produced in our bodies all the time as a result of normal metabolism and energy production. They can easily increase in numbers by stealing electrons from any nearby molecule. Exposure to cigarette smoke, pollution, UV light and stress can increase free radical formation. In large numbers free radicals can severally damage the human body. Free radical damage is thought to be responsible for heart disease, many cancers, ageing and post exercise muscle soreness.
What do Antioxidants do?
Antioxidants are one of the first lines of defense that our body employs to keep free radicals in check and prevent them from causing a domino effect of damage on other cells. Antioxidant compounds can “donate” electrons to unstable free radicals so they don’t have to steal electrons from unsuspecting nearby cells. Antioxidants can also help repair cell damage caused by free radicals.
Antioxidants and Chia Seed
In 2008, a study by the Department of Foods and Nutrition, Indiana, USA reported that Chia contained, among other things, a remarkable amount of antioxidants, the most abundant of which are quercetin, kaempferol, myricetin, flavonol glycosides, chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid. These antioxidants have significant value to human health particularly in the area of cell protection, repair and regeneration. Due to the abundant amount of antioxidants in Chia seeds they can remain shelf stable for up to 3 years.
Quercetin, Kaempferol and Myricetin
Quercetin is considered one of Chia’s most powerful antioxidants and has been proven to significantly boost energy and increase the supply of energy to our brain and muscle cells. Quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin are antioxidants that have been shown to protect against a host of chronic diseases like ischemic heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, prostate cancer, asthma, and type II diabetes.
Chlorogenic Acid has been found to possess anti-cancer properties and could be used to prevent growth of certain brain tumours. It is also understood to slow the release of glucose into bloodstream after a meal, and is a compound of particular interest when looking to reduce the risk of developing Type II Diabetes.
Caffeic acid may be used as a component to contribute to the prevention of colitis (a condition that could lead to colon cancer), cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, mitosis (cell division) and inflammation. It also helps maintenance a healthy immune system.
Chia Seed Vs Flax Seed
Unlike the highly perishable flax seed, which has an indigestible hard coating that keeps its nutrients fresh, Chia’s abundant antioxidant properties allow them to remain fresh, prevent rancidity and be shelf stable.