If you are a health fanatic or an avid reader here at Teafloor, you know that the major health benefits of teas come from this powerful compound called antioxidant. Be it any health condition, from minor stress to cancer, it is said that the antioxidants in teas can help you treat any disease.
However, there is a question that drives people’s curiosity when reading such articles about health and teas. That question is – “What are antioxidants and what makes them powerful?”. This article is all about it and answers all such questions that come to your mind about the almighty antioxidants in teas.
What are Antioxidants?
During the process of metabolism in our body, when some molecules are broken down, the production of free radicals takes place. These free radicals are basically unstable molecules with a missing electron that they need. In order to satisfy this need, they steal electrons from neighbouring molecules, which causes cellular damage of lipids, proteins, DNA and other important molecules in the body.
Antioxidants are compounds that react with these free radicals and provide them the missing electron. Thus, preventing the accumulation of free radicals in the body.
How do Antioxidants Benefit your Body?
An abundance of free radicals in the body can cause oxidative stress. This is not good for the body. Oxidative stress leads to health conditions like Parkinson’s, arthritis, coronary heart disease, cancer, skin aging etc.
To heal such conditions, the body needs antioxidants that repair and prevent the damage caused by free radicals. Although, the body has its own mechanisms of producing antioxidants, but these are not enough. The body needs support from the antioxidants that we get via the stuff we consume.
Therefore, antioxidants help the body in prevention and healing of diseases pertaining to brain health, heart health, skin health and hair health. Antioxidants help the body fight and remove the free radicals, along with damaged cells that create toxicity in the body. Thus, detoxifying and cleansing the body from the inside.
What are Some Types of Antioxidants and Where to Find them?
Antioxidants are of varying types. The most famous ones are Beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Manganese and Polyphenols.
Which are the Major Antioxidants in Teas That Benefit us?
When talking about the antioxidants in tea, people use a lot of terms like flavonoids, catechins, polyphenols and EGCG. These terms are known to create some confusion among the novice tea fanatics who, while learning about tea’s health benefits encounter these terms.
It’s time to throw some light on these terms to understand the effects of antioxidants in tea.
Let’s start with Polyphenols. These are basically a class of antioxidants that can be further classified into categories like flavonoids, lignans, etc. Further, catechins is a class categorised under flavonoids and is available in different forms. In teas, it is mainly present in four types. These are epicatechin, epicatechin gallate, epigallocatechin and epigallocatechin gallate.
Out of the four major catechins, epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG is the most abundant of all antioxidants in tea, especially green tea. This catechin is known for aiding weight loss, reducing inflammation and helping prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart diseases.
Therefore, when people talk about the antioxidants in teas, or flavonoids or polyphenols, they are basically talking about the catechins present in teas.
Apart from catechins, other major antioxidants in teas are Vitamin C and Manganese.
Which teas are rich in antioxidants?
All of them.
Green tea is extensively rich in antioxidants because it is made out of mature leaves that are not oxidised or fermented. This helps it retain all the essential antioxidants, including the major catechin, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Being a powerful compound, EGCG plays a big role in the amazing health benefits that green tea has to offer. Also, these antioxidants in tea are more effective because of the lack of caffeine in this tea.
Due to oxidation, the catechins of the tea plant turn into tannins of the types theaflavins and thearubigins. However, these tannins still hold the anti-oxidising properties of catechins. Additionally, tannins remove harmful substances like fungi, virus and bacteria from the body while having anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic properties. These properties make black tea capable of helping in the prevention and cure of many diseases.
Being minimally oxidised, white tea is similar to green tea when it comes to its anti-oxidising properties. Hence, it proves to be a highly beneficial tea with health improving properties.
Being semi-oxidised, oolong tea includes an average number of catechins and tannins. This is because a part of catechins of the tea plant turn to tannins while another part does not. This provides us with the health benefits of both catechins like EGCG and tannins like theaflavins. Thus, making oolong tea another great tea to cherish and avail the benefits that its antioxidants have to offer.
That was a brief overview of what antioxidants are, how they benefit us and which major antioxidants in tea make it so healthy. Additionally, you get to know the major types of teas which are extensively rich in antioxidants and are extremely beneficial for health. And guess what, all these antioxidant rich teas are available at Teafloor in numerous varieties for you to try and get addicted to.
I write to fulfill your appetite for thought, to get only in return your smile.