Antioxidants, nature’s anti-rust agents

A scoop o’ colorful puréed veggie soup helps the antioxidants go down.

Antioxidants unmasked

Among scientists she goes by the name of  antioxidant. But Vinny’s friends know her as Auntie Oxidant. By either name, she is a kid’s best friend. She is a powerful protector from degenerative disease. This fighter disarms invaders called free radicals, bent on destroying our cells.

”The amount of antioxidants in your body is directly proportional to how long you will live.”
– Dr. Richard Cutler, former Director of the National Institute of Aging, Washington

Auntie Oxidant lurks in fruits and veggies. You probably know some of her gang already. Meet:

  • Vitamin A – hiding in ORANGE fruits and veggies, like carrots and sweet potatoes
  • Lycopene – swimming in cooked tomato dishes, like ketchup
  • Vitamin E  – holding hands with vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds
  • Anthocyanin – showing off  in RED or BLUE foods, like beets and red carrots

Get shopping, preferably at a farmers’ market

How Auntie Oxidant operates

Free radicals are trouble-makers, which turn up when oxygen molecules are ripped apart.

Oxygen comes into our bodies in the air we breath. It arrives in pairs of oxygen atoms, with each pair bound tightly into a molecule. We can’t live without the oxygen twins for more than a few seconds.

But the twins have some powerful enemies. Smoking, alcohol, air pollution, infection, sunlight, radiation… all these things tear at the oxygen molecules, breaking the twins apart.

The separated oxygen atoms are freed at a price – they each lose one electron. The deprived oxygen atoms go on a rampage… stealing electrons from other molecules and damaging cells. Cancer, stroke, sunburn and even aging itself are triggered this way.

Auntie Oxidant rides to the rescue. She uses her own electrons to rope those crazy radicals in and tie them up before they can do harm. Without Auntie O, we sort of rust away, from the inside out… or in the case of sunburn, from the outside in!

The Bottom Line

Scientists agree that eating lots of fruits and vegetables lowers your risk of heart disease and certain cancers. A diet rich in veggies and fruit keeps you healthy, through and through.

If your kids won’t eat their veggies in chunks, try a delicious pureed soup.

Pretty squash from Zagreb market

Squash makes a nice soup, especially when paired with tomatoes.

Puréed squash and tomato soup
Makes 14 cups

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red (or orange) carrots,* cut into cubes (about 1 pound or 450 grams)
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and de-seeded, and cut into cubes (about 1 1/2 pounds or 680 grams)
  • 1 red onion, cut and diced (about 10 ounces or 300 grams)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (about 1 pound or 450 grams)
  • 4 cups (1 liter) chicken or vegetable stock
  • a little salt and paprika to taste
  • 2 tablespoons (20 milliliters) balsamic vinegar or to taste, depending on acid in tomatoes
  • pumpkin seeds and basil to garnish (optional)

  1. Wash, peel, chop and measure the veggies. Tip: Slice the squash into one-inch rounds, then slice off the hard skin and take out the seeds. Now cut it into cubes.


  1. In a soup pot on medium heat, stir fry the carrots for 10-15 minutes in the oil. My red carrots turned the soup a beautiful burgundy!
  2. Add the butternut squash, together with the onions and the garlic, and stir fry for 10 minutes longer
  3. Add the tomatoes, and cook 2 minutes more
  4. Add the chicken stock – bring to a boil
  5. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the veggies are squishy
  6. Switch off the stove – let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes


  1. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor, or use a hand blender right in the pot on the stove top (the easiest way)
  2. Serve warm, topped with basil and pumpkin seeds, if you like

Stayin’ alive with a scoop of pureed veggie soup.


Red carrots have been grown in Turkey for centuries. Their color remains stable and adds a lovely burgundy glow to your soup. You can find them at farmers markets or veggie stores, sold as heritage carrots. They are even healthier than orange carrots because of the special antioxidant they contain,  anthocyanin. If you can’t find any red carrots, orange ones work too.

Other great antioxidant-rich veggie soups

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anita Mac
    Dec 09, 2012 @ 12:51:02

    Love soups loaded with Auntie O, er umm… I mean veggies! Looking forwa dto many more!


  2. Fitness Wayne | Health, Weight Lifting and Paleo Recipe Blog
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 20:59:48

    Sounds really good, I just wish I had someone to prepare it for me. I eat most of my vegetables by themselves raw or steamed. I rarely have time to prepare something so involved.


    • Vinny Grette
      Sep 18, 2012 @ 21:33:41

      It’s not that hard once you get the veggies peeled and chopped. I do this when i first buy them, so they’re ready to go. Patience is the key. Use the time to relax, deep breath, dream. Enjoy the result – all those bowls filled with beautiful veggies. Cooking the veggies takes very little effort. You can eat the soup chunky if you like – still good. Buy a hand blender to puree soups on the stove top – takes only a few minutes and you get a completely different dish. You can even do that with your steamed veggies! Let me know if you ever try :). Dare you!


  3. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
    Sep 16, 2012 @ 22:21:40

    This looks perfectly yummy.. a perfect and healthy dish for fall! Awesome!


  4. nfoste2245
    Sep 15, 2012 @ 10:53:14

    OMG that looks good. And I am obsessed with orange food so this is right up my alley.

    The Kidless Kronicles


  5. rosewithoutthorns
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 09:54:36

    Hi Vinny! I’m glad you liked my Cream of Carrot recipe enough to try it (varied version or not)! Love the fact that you used tomatoes and butternutsquash! 🙂 Your antioxidant soup looks packed with healthy power!



    • Vinny Grette
      Sep 12, 2012 @ 12:06:29

      It was delicious, thanks for the idea! And I didn’t even need to add the milk, as it was tasty as it was. The balsamic vinegar was great in it, perhaps because my tomatoes weren’t as acidic as they could have been. I’m trying more soups, one coming up next week that was to die for. I love cooking!


    • Vinny Grette
      Sep 12, 2012 @ 12:11:29

      PS – If you can find red carrots, snap them up. The red color is intense and beautiful – otherwise they taste about the same as the orange ones and are just as healthy, with the additional power of anthocyanin – a real find! Apparently they’ve been growing them in Turkey and parts east for centuries.


      • rosewithoutthorns
        Sep 12, 2012 @ 12:41:32

        I’ve never seen red carrots before!! But if I do see them I will buy them just to try them out!

        And can’t wait to see what other soup you are gonna make next week! 😉


        • Vinny Grette
          Sep 12, 2012 @ 12:45:19

          The red carrots are marketed as heritage veggies. I got mine at the farmers market but have seen them at Farm Boy this time of year (fruit and veggie specialty store), too.


  6. foodashion
    Sep 12, 2012 @ 06:36:14

    Looks amazing I can’t wait to try it & your kitchen looks very sharp, nice counters & tile !


  7. wartica
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 19:51:40

    Thanks for all the great “auntie” -oxidant based soups; can’t wait to give them a whirl:)


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