5 Things You Should Know About Taking Antioxidants
1. What are antioxidants?
The body produces substances called free radicals in different situations. Free radicals can be generated through chemical reactions that generally occur when processing food to obtain energy. Also, they can be incorporated directly from food, by breathing, or as result of the sunlight ultraviolet radiation exposition on the skin and eyes. These free radical molecules lack an electron in their structures and take it from structural body cells through a process called oxidation. This oxidation process may damage the genetic material in the cells, proteins, and cell membranes, resulting in poorly functional or dying cells. When there is as a disturbance in the balance between the production of free radicals and antioxidant defenses, a process, named oxidative stress occurs. Oxidative stress is thought to contribute to the development of a wide range of diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes complications, rheumatoid arthritis, neurodegeneration in motor neuron diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. The body has enzyme systems that have antioxidant activity. Beneficial substances with antioxidant activity are vitamins (such as vitamins A, C, and E), some minerals (such as selenium), polyphenols, and flavonoids (a subset of polyphenol antioxidants,) which are found in plants. (1)
2. What is ORAC?
ORAC is the acronym of Oxygen radical absorbance capacity. This is a measuring method of the antioxidant capacities in biological samples in vitro (laboratory samples). Using a substance named fluorescein, it provides a direct measure of the antioxidant capacity of the natural combination of antioxidants in a given food or a dietary supplement. (2)
3. Why do you need antioxidants?
You are exposed to free radicals through the result of standard processes that take place in your body such as food processing metabolic paths, or when the body breaks down certain medicines. Pollutants and UV sun exposition generate free radicals, too. These factors are why antioxidants are necessary to balance the oxidation process and reduce oxidative stress.
4. When do you need antioxidants?
You need antioxidants in your everyday life since the free radical formation occurs continuously in the body cells. Antioxidants have the potential to improve or prevent some chronic health issues related to the presence of free radicals.
The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. (6) You can also take antioxidant supplements. The primary source of vitamins, polyphenols, and flavonoids which are substances with antioxidant activity is dietary. On the list for antioxidant-rich foods and drinks are fruits, legumes, vegetables, grains, red wine, chocolate, black tea, white tea, green tea, olive oil.
Of particular importance because its potent antioxidant activity is Matcha green tea, which is a kind of powdered green tea produced by grinding with a stone mill. Green tea contains substances called polyphenols, which scientists think contribute to its immune system supporting benefits, and it also improves glucose and cholesterol metabolism. (3) The most important green tea antioxidant is known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). (4) The concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) available from drinking Matcha is 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG available from China Green Tips green tea, and at least three times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas. (5)
Thus, Matcha green tea constitutes a marvelous organic antioxidant that comes naturally as antioxidant powder and represents an incredible source of antioxidants available for men and women. There are also supplement capsules for the people who don´t like the taste of the tea or prefer a more leisurely way of consuming.