Antioxidants and Health

by Leanne Ward

When I think about true health, I think about the things we can add into our diet rather than the things we can restrict.

The definition of health doesn’t talk about calories, keto, intermittent fasting or fat blaster pills. In fact, the true definition of health as defined by the World Health Organisation states that:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity

True health to me encompasses mind, body and spirit and as a dietitian and a total foodie, nutrition is a huge part of true health. When we look at a nourishing diet, the foundations are:

  • plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables;
  • wholegrains;
  • legumes;
  • lean proteins;
  • healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, salmon; and
  • (of course) a small amount of our favourite things which I call soul foods (e.g. red wine, chocolate or ice-cream).

We can’t hope to build a truly healthy body without the foundations of good nutrition. I want you to think about these foundations as the batter for our cake. In 2021, we want more; more than just the foundations or the cake batter; we want the icing too. So, to optimise our health, what else can we add in? What is the perfect icing for our cake?

Welcome to the party Antioxidants! The icing to our cake.

By definition, antioxidants are substances that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals have been shown in research to potentially contribute to diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and other ageing related diseases.1

Antioxidants are an important part of a healthy diet and lifestyle and many people already consume naturally occurring antioxidants in foods such as vitamin A (carrots and rockmelon), vitamin C (oranges and yellow capsicum) and vitamin E (almonds and sunflower seeds), beta-carotene (sweet potato and pumpkin) and lycopene (tomatoes and watermelon). If you’re not doing so already, aiming for a diversity of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and legumes will give you plenty of naturally occurring antioxidants and, as a bonus, will improve your gut health!

4 Ingredient Queen Garnet Antioxidant Pancakes

I hear you mention sprinkles, because what cake is complete without sprinkles!? When it comes to sprinkles, look no further than Queen Garnets. The Queen Garnet is a Queensland-owned variety of Japanese plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.) that is naturally high in a particular type of antioxidant known as anthocyanin. Cyanidin 3-glucoside is generally found to be the most prominent anthocyanin present in the Queen Garnet.

Queen Garnets boast antioxidant levels 3 to 20 times that of other plum varieties2 thanks to their high concentration of anthocyanin. This is a natural antioxidant that gives some plants their rich, vibrant red, blue and deep purple colouring. So, not only do Queen Garnets look great, they have exciting research and health benefits to back them too!

Queen Garnets have been subject to research studies throughout Australia. The studies provide evidence that Queen Garnets are capable of reversing cardiovascular, liver and metabolic signs of metabolic syndrome4, lowering blood pressure and improving metabolic and inflammatory parameters in mildly hypertensive obese or overweight subjects4, reducing blood pressure at 2 hours after consumption5, improving stool consistency and bleeding, as well as reducing ileum and colon inflammation in rats with inflammatory bowel syndrome6 and finally, improving biomarkers for thrombotic risk.

If you’re keen to add some icing and sprinkles to your diet, click here to visit the Queen Garnet shop page or look out for them in your local Woolworths.

Just so you know, I am the 2021 nutrition ambassador for Queen Garnet and this post was written in collaboration with Queen Garnet.


  1. Valko M, Leibfritz D, Moncol J, et al. Free radicals and antioxidants in normal physiological functions and human disease.  International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology 2007; 39(1):44-84.
  2. Netzel, M., Fanning, K., Netzel, G., Zabaras, D., Karagianis, G., & Treloar, T. et al. (2011). Urinary excretion of antioxidants in healthy humans following queen garnet plum juice ingestion: a new plum variety rich in antioxidant compounds. Journal of Food Biochemistry, 36(2), 159-170
  3. Bhaswant, M., Fanning, K., Netzel, M., Mathai, M., Panchal, S., & Brown, L. (2015). Cyanidin 3-glucoside improves diet-induced metabolic syndrome in rats. Pharmacological Research, 102, 208-217.
  4. Bhaswant, M., Brown, L., & Mathai, M. (2019). Queen Garnet plum juice and raspberry cordial in mildly hypertensive obese or overweight subjects: A randomized, double-blind study. Journal Of Functional Foods, 56, 119-126.5.
  5. Igwe, E., Charlton, K., Roodenrys, S., Kent, K., Fanning, K., & Netzel, M. (2017). Anthocyanin-rich plum juice reduces ambulatory blood pressure but not acute cognitive function in younger and older adults: a pilot crossover dose-timing study. Nutrition Research, 47, 28-43.
  6. Bhaswant, M., Brown, L., & Mathai, M. (2019). Queen Garnet plum juice and raspberry cordial in mildly hypertensive obese or overweight subjects: A randomized, double-blind study. Journal Of Functional Foods, 56, 119-126.
  7. Santhakumar, A., Kundur, A., Fanning, K., Netzel, M., Stanley, R., & Singh, I. (2015). Consumption of anthocyanin-rich Queen Garnet plum juice reduces platelet activation related thrombogenesis in healthy volunteers. Journal Of Functional Foods, 12, 11-22.

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