What do you really know about antioxidants? They’re good for us? They prevent disease?

Sure, but how about really getting to know more about it. There is a huge amount of scientific data available on the subject, so I have tried to find a handful of well-written articles on the subject, and specifically how it relates to Michelle’s Cleanse that Cures.

The Cleanse That Cures  ::  Antioxidant Smoothie

A good place to begin your understanding of Antioxidants is with Free Radicals. I have found a particularly easy to understand, peer-reviewed article which offers a great introduction to the topic. If this topic is of interest to you, there are lots of great further reading suggestions at the bottom of this blog.

“It is a paradox that oxygen, which is considered as essential for life, is also reported to be toxic. Its toxicity is because of the process that unleashes the free radicals. The term free radical seems to appear a lot lately in everything, from vitamin brochures to cosmetic advertisements. Free radicals are unstable highly reactive and energized molecules having unpaired electrons.

Generally free radicals attack the nearest stable molecules, ‘stealing’ its electrons. When the molecule that has been attacked and loses its electron it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can cascade, initiating lipid peroxidation which results in destabilization and disintegration of the cell membranes or oxidation of other cellular components like proteins and DNA, finally resulting in the disruption of cells. Oxidation caused by free radicals sets reduced capabilities to combat ageing and serious illness, including cancer, kidney damage, atheroscelrosis and heart diseases.

Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism. Sometimes the body’s immune system’s cells purposefully create them to neutralize viruses and bacteria. However environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also generate free radicals. Thus free radicals on one hand can produce beneficial effects but can also induce harmful oxidation and cause serious cellular damages, if generated in excess.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the electron-stealing reaction. The antioxidants do not themselves become free radicals by donating electrons because they are stable in either form. These act as scavengers and play the housekeeper’s role by mopping up free radicals before they get a chance to create havoc in a body. Thus they may well be defined as the substances that are capable of quenching or stabilizing free radicals. Antioxidants have also been suggested to have a well defined role as preservatives. These have been defined by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as substances used to preserve food by retarding deterioration, rancidity or discoloration caused by oxidation.”

From Charanjit Kaur and Harish C. Kapoor. Antioxidants in Fruits and Vegetables – The Millennium’s Health. International Journal of Food Science and Technology. July 7, 2008.

For further information and reading, check out some of these articles:

Cold Kicker & Radiation Drink :: When you feel your body fighting something

These are two different drink recipes that I have been using for MANY years. I make a big pot of Cold Kicker whenever I feel a cold coming on, and I use Radiation Drink during flu season to keep my immune system running at peak performance.

Cold Kicker is my version of a healthy, home-made neo-citron. When I feel myself fighting a bug I make myself a huge pot of this drink, have as hot a bath as I can handle with Epsom salts, crank up the heat in our bedroom and spend the day in bed. Lots of liquids, including Cold Kicker, herbal tea, and water, and no food for 24 hours.


juice of 4 – 5 lemons including zest

lots of grated ginger ( it’s easiest to grate frozen ginger with a micro plane, so I always keep some in the freezer)

1 tsp. turmeric

1 clove finely chopped garlic (if you don’t like how this tastes in the drink, cut some chunks and swallow them like tablets with water)

dash of cayenne pepper (go easy)

honey to taste


Bring ingredients to a boil with water in a large soup pot

simmer for 10 – 15 minutes

Top Tip

If the acidity of the lemon bothers your teeth, rinse your mouth with milk to neutralize the acid. NEVER brush your teeth immediately after eating acidic foods… Brushing + Acid will destroy your teeth’s natural enamel.


Radiation Drink has been my go to concoction during flu season since the late 1990’s. At the first sign of any flu symptoms I use this recipe to fire up my immune system.


milk or milk substitute (I use almond milk)

lots of grated ginger

1 tsp. turmeric (this drink is a vivid yellow colour)

Honey to taste


heat milk, but not to a boil.

add ginger, turmeric and honey

let steep, but not boil.

occasionally I add a black tea bag, cardamom and a dash of cinnamon for a chai effect

Here’s to your health, and a boost in your immunity!