Green tea has been getting recent acclaim for its antioxidants and health benefits. The human body constantly produces unstable molecules called oxidants, also commonly referred to as free radical. To become stable, oxidants steal electrons from other molecules and, in the process, damage cell proteins and genetic material. This damage may leave the cell vulnerable to cancer. Antioxidants are substances that allow the human body to scavenge and seize oxidants. Like other antioxidants, the catechins found in tea selectively inhibit specific enzyme activities that lead to cancer. They may also target and repair DNA aberrations caused by oxidants The polyphenols found in green tea are remarkably rich sources of healthy antioxidants. The antioxidants are readily made available during the tea brewing process making them easily absorbed into the blood stream. It is believed that as few as three cups of green tea per day can provide some protection from free radical damage and possibly cancer.
Antioxidants are chemical compounds which prevent the oxidation of healthy cells. Antioxidants can be found in vitamins, minerals, or other phytocheminals. Each offering protection against the damaging effects of free radicals. The normal process of oxidation produces highly reactive free radicals. These free radicals readily react and damage other molecules and cell DNA. Antioxidants "mop up" these free radicals and eliminate them before they can damage healthy tissue. Damage to cell components can lead to tumor formation. As antioxidants inhibit free radical damage, they also may block tumor formation. Furthermore, oxidative damage by free radicals on low density lipoproteins (LDL) is believed to be a precursor in the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Oxidation to cell membranes and other cell components is also theorized to be part of the aging process. This oxidative cell damage may contribute to aging related diseases later in life. Antioxidants are mostly absorbed from the foods that we eat. Retinol, beta carotene(vitamin A), Ascorbic acid(vitamin C), Tocopherol(vitamin E), and Selenium are the most common sources. Food sources include fruits and green leafy vegetables.