Nature’s Colorful Antioxidants

by admin on May 23, 2014

Springtime brings a glorious explosion of color, and naturally we are drawn to these colors. And no wonder, since these pigments are loaded with antioxidants.  It’s not only just fruits and veggies that carry these antioxidants.  Plants, flowers (and some animals) naturally produce these colorful antioxidants to protect themselves from radiation. When we eat these same antioxidants, they help to protect us in the same way. For example, flamingos use a pink coloration (astaxanthin) to protect themselves from the sun. When we ingest this same antioxidant in sufficient quantities, it can actually also provide us a protective natural “sunscreen” to some degree as well. There are many others: lycopene (red), anthocyanins (red, purple), carotenoids (orange, yellow), lutein, resveratrol, betacarotine (orange), cryptoxanthin, among others.

So, springtime is the time to collect these precious pigments to use now and later. For example, we have a crimson peony plant that is in full bloom right now. This is a great opportunity to collect the petals, which are a great sourcePeony of anthacyanins and lycopene. My process is this: wait until midday to clip the flowers. This timing is important because during this time of day, at this point, the maximum amount of its antioxidant pigments is expressed in the plant. Clip the flowers, and carefully pull off the petals. Then, immediately dehydrate to preserve the nutrients and antioxidants within. These petals can be used throughout the year in recipes, teas, or directly on salads and the like. For our peony petals, we have made peony ice cream and peony jello. Other flower petals can be used, such as marigolds and roses for example.

Interestingly, blue pigment is rarely found organically in nature. But when it does occur, it is something special indeed.  Blue-green algae, blueberries, mushrooms, even robin’s eggs all contain a very special blue pigment.  The blue pigment of a robin’s egg is biliverdin, the same turquoise-hued compound found in our bile and bruises, and an important antioxidant.  Perhaps the pigment gives some protection from solar radiation?  There has actually been a scientific study looking into the matter – one conclusion is that the male will be more diligent when caring for the young if the eggs are a brighter shade of blue.

So this spring and summer, keep your eyes peeled for those antioxidants!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Harish February 18, 2015 at 8:47 am

I am looking for a good mmlutiviiatin and minerals for my family which includes 2 little kids and a teenage son I don’t know what is what here so if you could inform me. I had been looking into Juice plus for the kids at least. thank you for your help. We had been taking synthetic and have stopped so we are in need of good vitamins.

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