Oxygen is one of the essential elements that are needed by all the members who belong to the animal kingdom. Oxygen is an element that is present in the air and is responsible for triggering the burning of fat and glucose in order to provide the body with its necessary supply of energy and heat. However essential it may be, oxygen unfortunately also has some effects that are negative.
During the oxidation process, free radicals, which are highly reactive byproducts, are produced. When other molecules interact with these free radicals they themselves get turned into free radicals and their normal functioning gets disrupted. Eventually this could lead to massive tissue damage and cell destruction. It could even lead to the incidence of degenerative diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, artherosclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease.
Fortunately for us the human body is naturally equipped with defenses that work to prevent the harmful effects of these free radical compounds. Antioxidants are chemical substances that are naturally present in vegetables as well as fruit. These antioxidants hunt down free radicals and act on them. This causes the free radicals to get neutralized and stops their rampage and the damage they do to the body’s healthy cells, thus preventing or decreasing the incidence of disease.
Antioxidant Effects of Plants
Camellia sinensis is one of many plants that are known to contain a high level of disease-fighting antioxidants. This plant is sometimes also called the tea plant. Chinese households have been serving tea as a healthy beverage for hundreds of years in order to promote general well being and good health. Green tea in particular is very popular because of the many remarkable health benefits it provides.
Green tea is very popular in Japan, India. Thailand and China where people have been drinking it for years. Green tea has been used as one of the ingredients in many traditional Indian as well as Chinese medicines. Green tea is used in medicine as a:
* Astringent- it helps wounds to heal and also controls bleeding
* Diuretic- promotes urine excretion
* Agent that improves health of the heart.
The benefits derived from green tea are believed to be largely due to the polycatechins that are present in it. These polycatechins have very powerful and highly effective antioxidant effects. Other than polycatechins there are many other ingredients present that contribute to the antioxidant properties of green tea.
The Antioxidant Properties of Green Tea
The antioxidant properties and effects of green tea are due to the presence of powerful polyphenolic antioxidants, also known as catechins. The other substances that give green tea its antioxidant properties include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and tannin. Green tea also has powerful neuro-protective, anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial and cardio-protective properties. Epigallocatechin gallate, which is an especially bioactive catechin, has been identified by many scientists as particularly important because its antioxidant effects have been linked to cancer prevention.