What’s the Tea on Antioxidants?
Antioxidants 101 – What are they and why do we need them?
Whether it be health and wellness professionals, food, and beverage companies, even the beauty industry, ANTIOXIDANTS are being talked about everywhere. Companies of all sorts are really taking hold of this and marketing antioxidants in any way they can, but what’s all the hype about? Is this just another trend or should we really be incorporating them into our daily lives?
Short Answer: YES, but there is more to it than that. I don’t want to get too “Sciency” on you, but it is important to understand how antioxidants really work and what is the most effective way to obtain them so that you can maximize on where you spend those hard earned $$.
Let’s start with the basics, what is an antioxidant?
Antioxidant by definition: A substance that protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
Ok, what is a free radical?
Free Radical by definition: An especially reactive atom or group of atoms that has one or more unpaired electrons.
Free radicals are produced in the body by natural biological processes or introduced from an outside source (such as tobacco smoke, toxins, or pollutants). Because of the world we live in today, these outside sources are major contributors to our free radical levels. Free radicals may play a part in cancer, heart disease, stroke, aging and other diseases.
Although free radicals are part of a natural process, as we age or as we accumulate to many, our body loses the ability to properly fight these free radicals. This can cause the body to go into a state of “Oxidative Stress”.
Oxidative Stress is the imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. This can lead to cell and tissue damage, increased signs of aging and has been proven to play a part in Cancer, Heart Disease, Stroke, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.
Activities and processes that can lead to oxidative stress include:
- Excessive exercise
- Tissue trauma, due to inflammation and injury
- Consumption of certain foods, especially refined and processed foods, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and certain dyes and additives
- Environmental pollution
- Exposure to chemicals, such as pesticides, household products, drugs, chemotherapy
What can you do to prevent Oxidative Stress?
This is where antioxidants come into play! Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving up some of their electrons, therefor disabling their harmful properties.
But Where do antioxidants come from?
Our bodies naturally produce some antioxidants like alpha lipoic acid and glutathione; however, we rely highly on our food to provide the majority of our antioxidants. The most beneficial antioxidants come from a well-rounded diet of whole foods and healthy drinks rather than those from a supplement source. This is because whole foods contain several different forms of antioxidants and they work best when introduced to the body cohesively.
Examples of antioxidants that come from outside the body include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Flavonoids, flavones, catechins, polyphenols, and phytoestrogens are all types of antioxidants and phytonutrients, and they are all found in plant-based foods.
Each antioxidant serves a different function and is not interchangeable with another. This is why it is important to have a varied diet. While animal-based products, such as eggs and dairy products, have antioxidants, plant-based foods are particularly high in them.
These plant-based sources may include:
Vegetables: Broccoli, bell peppers, spinach.
Fruits: Oranges, apples, berries.
Whole grains: Oats, quinoa, brown rice.
Beans: Kidney, pinto, red beans.
Nuts: Walnuts, pecans, almonds.
Drinks: Coffee and our personal favourite, TEA.
Antioxidants and Green Tea:
Tea has been around for thousands of years, and there’s good reason it is the most popular beverage on earth (after water of course). Long before it was a beverage, tea was considered medicine. Tea gets its superfood status for its ability to help heal the body’s cells – nourishing them and helping prevent and battle disease. The role antioxidants play in the prevention of disease has positioned loose leaf tea as the ideal health beverage.
Green tea is considered the most predominant source of catechins (a very powerful antioxidant) among all dietary sources. Research shows Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the polyphenol antioxidant with the broadest and most potent ability to protect your body’s cells from disease.
A University of Kansas study found EGCG to be 100x more effective than Vitamin C and 25x more effective than Vitamin E at strengthening our immune system and protecting cells from free radical damage and disease.
What Makes Millennia TEA so beneficial?
For centuries after its discovery, tea was enjoyed with leaves fresh from the plant. It was only when countries started exporting their tea oversees that they started drying and processing the leaves so they would survive the long journey overseas. By keeping tea leaves in their most natural state (i.e. flash-freezing within hours of harvest) no drying, no processing, we’re able to preserve the maximum amount of EGCG antioxidants and associated health benefits.
This means that one serving of Millennia Tea, contains 5x the amount of antioxidants than a serving of regular processed green tea, and because Millennia Tea is the first food grade tea leaves on the market, when you consume the actual leaves, you receive a whopping 15x the amount of antioxidants. That is the equivalent to drinking 15 cups of high-grade organic green tea, packed into one serving.
So, What’s the Tea?
In conclusion, do antioxidants really matter and are they worth incorporating into our daily routines? HECK YES. But it is equally as important to ensure that you are spending your hard-earned time and money sourcing out wholesome and beneficial sources of high-quality antioxidants.
Read your labels, eat your fruits & veggies, and drink your FRESH TEA!
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