What are antioxidants?
I keep reading that we should be increasing our intake of antioxidants to help prevent getting colds. What are antioxidants and which foods do I need to eat to get them into my diet?
Dave Evans, Cambridge
There are millions of processes taking place in our bodies at all times and these processes require oxygen. Unfortunately this oxygen can also produce molecules called free radicals that can cause damage. Antioxidants can reduce the damaging effect of these free radicals, so it is important to include these in your daily diet. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals zinc and selenium. Eating a diet rich in colourful fruit and vegetables should ensure you are getting all you need – green leafy vegetables, blueberries, raspberries, red peppers and carrots are all rich in antioxidants.
What do I do with Quinoa?
It seems that quinoa is now the latest food to try, but I have no idea what to do with it, please can you help?
Vanessa Craven, Peterborough
Quinoa can be used in the same way as rice or couscous, and is great used in stuffings, pilaffs or salads. It is actually a seed and is richer in protein than couscous and can also be eaten by those who may be unable to tolerate wheat-based foods.
To cook quinoa measure out one part quinoa to two parts water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until it is tender to the bite. Drain and serve.
I like to use it instead of couscous in tabbouleh, as it has far more flavour.