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Free Radicals


The unstable atoms or molecules known as free radicals are produced by the body as a consequence of its normal metabolism, and as part of its natural defence against disease. Sometimes, however, the body over-produces free radicals which may cause serious damage to delicate cellular structures, resulting in inflammation and also the oxidation of blood cholesterol which is then deposited on arterial walls. This situation can be worsened by smoking, a high intake of pesticides, smog, over-exposure to ultraviolet light and even intensive exercise.

Free radicals contain at least one unpaired electron (or negative charge), making them highly reactive. As soon as they are produced, they search for molecules with which they can react, this reaction is called oxidation. Free radicals can oxidise, and so damage DNA and cell membranes, opening the way for cancers and diseases to develop. They are linked to the appearance of brown patches on the skin of elderly people. But although free radicals have been associated with aging, cancer, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and immune deficiency, their role in the development of these conditions is still being researched.

However, it is generally believed that if free radicals reach and attack the DNA in the nucleus of a cell, the cell mutation which can result may cause cancer. It has also been observed that when cholesterol is oxidised by free radicals it is more damaging to the artery that ‘native’ cholesterol, so implicating free radicals in the development of heart disease.

The body has defence mechanisms against free radicals, antioxidant enzymes and nutrients in it cells serve to ‘mop up’ free radicals and render them harmless. Protective nutrients include, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium (which help to make up protective antioxidant enzymes) as well as vitamin A, C and E. Other plant substances also provide protection against free radical damage; these include beta carotene and bioflavonoids.


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Green Tea


Green tea is produced by steaming fresh leaves, which results in a higher content of polyphenols like EGCG, which is a flavonol. Green tea is known to provide 10-40mg of polyphenols. Green tea also has antioxidant activity greater than a serving of spinach, broccoli, carrots or strawberries. Studies show green tea contains antioxidants, polyphenols, theanine, as well as a wide variety of vitamins and mineral. Due to all these properties, green tea benefits your body greatly.

So what are the benefits of drinking green tea?

Green Tea Restricts Blood Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol, one is “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and the other is good cholesterol (HDL). A heavy accumulation of LDL in tissues can lead to atherosclerosis. HDL prevents accumulation of excessive “bad” cholesterol. It is suggested that catechin in green tea restricts the excessive build up of cholesterol.

Green Tea Controls High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure puts an enormous burden on the vascular system and is known to cause heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Green tea is known for lowering blood pressure.

Green Tea Lowers Blood Sugar

Green tea has the capability of lowering blood sugar levels. Green tea given to diabetes patients caused a decrease in blood glucose levels.

Green Tea Suppresses Ageing

Oxygen plays a key role in metabolism, but can also be an unhealthful agent. As a free radical, oxygen in the body can corrode cell membranes, which will damage the DNA and the fats. This then leads to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Lipid peroxide created by fats combined with oxygen tends to build up in the body and create ageing. Green tea is rich in vitamin E and C which promises longer life.

Green Tea Refreshes the Body

Green tea can stimulate the skeletal muscles and smooth the progress of muscular contractions. It also helps to clear the mind.

Green Tea Prevents Food Poisoning and Fights Viruses

Green tea is a powerful sterilising tool for all sorts of bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. The catechin and theaflavin found in green tea is believed to have a strong effect on the flu virus.

Green Tea Helps You Lose Weight

The EGCG found in green tea has the ability to increase the body’s heat production, which therefore increases metabolism.