‘Antioxidants’……. It’s probably a word we all hear a lot, but don’t necessarily understand what it actually means. We know they’re apparently good for us, but why?
Antioxidant compounds work to destroy ‘free radicals’, which are chemicals that are created in the body as a result of toxins from the environment or foods and drinks we consume, and also from stress – whether physical (exercise or injury), or mental.
They’re said to repay and delay damage to the body, and essentially slow down the ageing process, if you think of ‘ageing’ as the gradual decay of the body.
It’s recommended that we should all consume lots of antioxidants in order to keep the body healthy, the most common foods containing antioxidants you’ve probably heard of are blueberries and other dark berries, red cabbage, nuts and seeds, broccoli and other dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables, green tea and good quality coffee. A diet high in antioxidants usually leads to better health, enhanced sense of wellbeing, and healthy-looking skin, hair and eyes.
There is one thing to remember though; there is such a thing as ‘too much of a good thing’. Consuming too many antioxidants (and of course how much constitutes ‘too many’ differs depending upon who you are) can have adverse effects and actually cause more harm than help…. Over-the-top levels of antioxidants in the body – usually down to taking antioxidant supplements on top of an already healthy diet – can lead to impaired muscle function and shortness of breath. Click here to read a well publicised article from the Daily Mail explaining why it’s important to consume antioxidants in a balanced way.
Acai berry = Originating from areas of South America like Brazil, the acai berry has been used for thousands of years, most recently to maintain health of metabolism, skin and eye health.
Gogi berries = A classic ‘superfood’, gogi berries can usually be found dried in health shops and some large supermarkets even stock them now. Gogi berries are also high in antioxidants, and most notably help keep the immune system healthy while boosting brain function. Surprisingly, gogi berries are also noted as beneficial for maintaining muscle and bone strength due to their high concentration of B vitamins.
Rose water = Not only is this fragrant water helpful for calming skin irritations like eczema and dermatitis by balancing the pH and oil levels, it can also serve as an anti-inflammatory for the inside of the body. Rose water has natural antibacterial properties, meaning it’s brilliant for keeping the body free from germs and bacteria, the smell of roses is also known to a powerful mood enhancer and can rapidly calm the nervous system.
Hemp = I’ve spoken about the benefits of hemp so many times, mostly because of how amazed I am by what it can do for us! Consuming hemp can help to lower levels of inflammation, strengthen muscles, and provides essential healthy omega 3 fats. Hemp is well known to be a powerful mood enhancer, but the uses span way beyond food; including hemp paper, clothes, soap and moisturiser.
Purple Corn = Foods that are naturally vibrant and colourful are usually very high in antioxidants, and dark, deeply coloured foods are some of the highest sources of antioxidants we can consume. Purple corn is a Peruvian superfood and can help to lower blood pressure, and can protect from three of the world’s biggest problems; cancer, obesity and inflammation.
Eggs = Those who follow a vegan diet obviously wouldn’t include eggs in this recipe, but those who do choose to eat eggs can benefit from the inexpensive yet high quality protein they provide. Eggs contain high levels of B vitamins and selenium, and help to raise the HDL ‘good’ levels of cholesterol.
Ingredients (serves 2)
- ¼ cup buckwheat flour
- 2 tbsp purple corn flour
- 1 tbsp dried acai powder
- ½ tsp rose water
- 2 eggs (for a vegan alternative, make 2 flax eggs by mixing 3 and a half tbsp. flax with just under 8 tbsp water)
- ¼ cup hemp milk
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp coconut oil for frying
- Mixed berries or gogi berries
- Edible dried rose petals
- Raw honey, agave nectar or maple syrup
- Add the flours, acai powder, baking powder, bicarb and hemp milk to a large bowl and mix well
- Crack in the 2 eggs or vegan alternative and whisk well to form a smooth batter
- Add rose water and give it one more whisk
- Heat a tsp coconut oil in a medium pan over a medium heat and wait for it to melt completely
- Once melted and hot, add a ladle-full of pancake batter and cook until you start to see small bubbles forming on the top – when the bubbles pop and small holes start forming, flip the pancake immediately and cook on the other side for about a minute max.
- Repeat this until all of your batter has turned into delicious pancakes
- Serve topped with gogi berries or fresh mixed berries, edible dried rose petals and honey, agave or maple syrup
- Love yourself from the inside-out