For years I've been reading about hormesis, and for MORE years we've all been encouraged to eat foods which are rich in antioxidants. Of course, "we" know the connection, but those who get their nutrition education through advertisements, or magazine/newspaper articles which are hardly more than that, only know the A-word as a magical, superfood-related concept.
Short story: antioxidant foods tend to be micro-stressors which act positively by making our immune systems rev up to counteract them. The revved systems also take on other threats, which by themselves ... weren't potent enough to provoke the same response ...?
I still find the "hormetic hypothesis" a little iffy. It's related to a concept handed down to us (originally from Greek philosophy) by Nietzsche, who expressed a huge number of highly questionable notions: "What does not destroy me makes me stronger" -- how does that follow? I might be more inclined to end that sentence, "...weakens me, and may shorten my life."
I was reminded of the almost-universal canonization of antioxidants by YET ANOTHER paean to the anthocyanins of blueberries, in the popular press. More than red wine! Low in vitamins, but still a superfood! Sing HO for ....
Probably the chief hormetic aspect of anthocyanins (or anthocyanidins) is the CN -- cyanide -- part. The favorite quick-acting poison of mystery writers is NOT something to flirt with ... especially if you tend to be hypothyroid.
HUH? An enlightened hypothyroid individual knows that "cyanide"-containing substances like yucca/casava are goitrogens. Avoiding goitrogens should be the NUMBER-ONE STRATEGY FOR OPTIMIZING THYROID PERFORMANCE. Don't eat lots of raw or undercooked cruciferous vegetables; don't ingest brominated or fluoridated food-like products (including tap-water in some places); limit fermented cabbage (etc); look upon millet and teff as NOT-FOOD....
Of course, this isn't going to put me off blueberries -- they might have "high in antioxidants" written all over them, but that are still very low indeed in the questionable compounds that we actually need to be concerned about. Blueberries, red wine, other "antioxidant" foods, are a big YES -- concentrated supplements isolated from them, NO.