Whether we consume processed foods regularly or deal with exposure to industrial pollution, ozone, cigarette smoke, or X-rays, our bodies can suffer from the effects of free radicals––tiny molecular entities that can damage our cells, leading to oxidative stress.
As a result, this can put us at greater risk for a host of illnesses and diseases, including respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s, and certain types of cancer.
Antioxidants––especially super antioxidants––can help your body fight the effects of free radicals and ultimately improve your health.
Although your body produces some antioxidants naturally, you can also consume them from antioxidant-rich food or drink, especially green tea and its super antioxidant sister, matcha.
Antioxidants and your health
What’s the science behind antioxidants?
Often referred to as “free-radical scavengers,” an antioxidant is an all-encompassing term for a compound that neutralises or counteracts the free radicals that can damage our cells and DNA.
These free radicals can lead to oxidative stress that can make us more susceptible to inflammation, premature ageing, coronary and cognitive diseases, and cancer.
According to Harvard Medical School, “Because free radicals lack a full complement of electrons, they steal electrons from other molecules and damage those molecules in the process. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by giving up some of their own electrons.”
In many ways, preventing free radicals entirely is unrealistic, since our body releases them as we process food and when we exercise. Furthermore, research shows that we’re also exposed to free radicals as a result of pollution, pesticides, chemicals, and radiation.
Since our exposure to free radicals is largely unavoidable, it’s even more important to protect ourselves by evaluating our diet and swapping as many processed or refined foods with whole, antioxidant-rich alternatives whenever possible.
Which foods contain antioxidants?
A broad spectrum of whole foods contains varying levels of antioxidants. Here are some common foods with the highest concentrations:
- Pinto beans
- Dark chocolate
- Goji berries
How are super antioxidants different?
As its name suggests, green tea, whole foods, and dietary supplements containing “super antioxidants,” are those with higher concentrations of antioxidants than normal alternatives.
In other words, a super antioxidant is a natural food or substance enriched with an even higher level of antioxidants that can help us neutralize even more free radicals throughout our body. As a result, super antioxidants could potentially uber-protect us from oxidative stress that can lead to serious illness down the road.
Whilst, at its core, green tea contains high levels of antioxidants–– catechins and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)––matcha may contain even higher levels because of the way it’s processed.
Farmers process the leaves quickly to avoid premature oxidation, so that they retain their vibrant colour, resulting in a potent, super antioxidant powder.
Can super antioxidants make me super healthy?
Protecting our health at the molecular level is critical for potentially decreasing the likelihood of developing acute or, worse yet, chronic or life-threatening diseases or cancer.
One of the many potent weapons in our natural arsenal is super antioxidants. Their free-radical neutralising properties allow them to eradicate even more free radicals in our bodies.
Medicinal properties of green tea
Where does green tea come from?
Cultivated from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant that grows in New Zealand, Taiwan, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, and in the Southeast U.S. and Hawaiian islands, green tea has been a staple in Ancient Chinese medicine for centuries.
Similarly, matcha is what results from pulverising green tea leaves into a fine powder. This delicate process gives us a purer, antioxidant-enriched version of green tea. It boasts a vibrant, lime-green colour and full-bodied, earthy, umami flavour, enjoyed hot or cold, across cultures and continents.
Why is green tea good for me?
Its full arsenal of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties can not only battle our free radicals but it can also:
- Heighten alertness
- Boost mental clarity
- Improve mood
What if I don’t like the taste?
Green tea has an earthy, sometimes bitter flavour that isn’t exactly a palette-pleaser on its own.
Aside from taking a green tea supplement, which you can find at most wellness shops or online, there are plenty of yummy ways to enjoy green tea or matcha:
- Try citrus or fruit-infused green tea, such as lemon, orange, ginger, or peach, especially with honey and poured over ice.
- Green tea or matcha ice cream
- Matcha latte
- Sprinkle the leaves onto a vegetable side dish, like creamed spinach or sauteed courgettes.
- Matcha pancakes, cupcakes, or energy bars
- Add a scoop of matcha into your morning oats or smoothie
Top antioxidant-rich supplements of 2021
Background: Found in the leaves of green tea, black tea, and a few varieties of mushrooms, L-Theanine (Boletus Badius), is a bioactive amino acid that your body doesn’t produce naturally.
How will it improve my health?
Not only is L-Theanine a nootropic (aka, a “cognitive enhancer”), but, more specifically, it can elevate our concentration and focus, help even out our mood, promote relaxation, better sleep quality, and aid us in maintaining a healthy weight.
According to research, L-Theanine can boost our serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels—hormones or neurotransmitters that play a significant role in our mood and overall happiness.
How much should I take?
If you decide to sip L-Theanine via a green tea or matcha drink, then stick to three to five cups per day for optimal benefits. Also, it’s important to be mindful of your caffeine intake, which, of course, can accompany green tea. So, according to the Mayo Clinic, avoid consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine daily.
Overview: Cultivated from the roots and/or leaves of a flowering evergreen plant that grows in India, the Middle East, and in northern African countries, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a “pillar” herb in ancient Ayurvedic medicine.
Traditionally, medical practitioners and healers have used Ashwagandha as a relaxing agent, sedative, or a Rasayana (full-body tonic). It can be especially potent when cultivated from the roots of the plant, as in KSM-66 Ashwagandha.
How will it improve my health?
This anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich adaptogen is a powerhouse for fighting stress, reducing anxiety levels, and can ultimately protect us from the cellular havoc caused by free radicals.
Used for centuries as a full-body tonic in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha can help keep oxidative stress at bay and help us feel calmer, achieve mental clarity, stronger memory, and improve our overall outlook and well-being.
How should I take it?
Not only can you take Ashwagandha as a capsule or a tablet, but you can also purchase it in powder, tincture, and liquid extract form, making this super antioxidant as versatile as it is powerful.
If you prefer to consume Ashwagandha by capsule, for example, then a typical dosage weighs in at 500 mg to 600 mg daily. But do note, there isn’t an official, recommended dosage.
Overview: You may have heard of Panax ginseng referred to as “Korean ginseng” or “Chinese ginseng.” This adaptogenic, stress-reducing plant grows throughout China, Korea, and Siberia.
How will it improve my health?
Not only does research indicate the positive, antioxidant effects of Panax ginseng, but it can also boost your energy storage and level your mood.
How should I take it? When taken by capsule or tablet, an average, daily dose of Panax ginseng can range from 200 mg to 3 grams for up to 12 weeks.
Need help choosing the best super antioxidants for your body?
Whether you choose to nourish your body with natural green tea, matcha, a supplement, or stick to eating super antioxidant-rich foods, the research is clear—taming the proliferation of free radicals in our body is essential to leading a healthy lifestyle.
Earths Secret’s Ultimate Complex combines three vegan-friendly, non-GMO, and preservative-free complexes––Sleep, Calm, and Thrive ––that are full of antioxidant-rich vitamins, minerals, and adaptogens, such as KSM-66 Ashwagandha, L-Theanine, and many more.
To avoid premature ageing or, even more importantly, a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, and a variety of cancers, fortifying your body with super antioxidants could be the cellular armour you deserve.