What are antioxidants?
You may have heard of antioxidants and heard that they are supposed to be healthy. But what exactly are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are substances that can neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals. The free radicals are formed as a by-product of natural processes in the body, but can also arise as a result of exposure to harmful environmental factors such as tobacco smoke, UV radiation and pollution. When free radicals are present in the body in large amounts, they can cause a condition known as oxidative stress, which has been linked to a number of health problems and chronic diseases.
Free radicals are molecules that have lost an electron and are therefore unstable. They try to stabilize themselves by taking electrons from other molecules, which can damage the cells.
Antioxidants can neutralize the free radicals by donating an electron so that they are neutralized and can no longer harm the body. Antioxidants are found in a wide range of foods, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds - and especially in Matcha tea. Antioxidants are thus believed to have a number of potential health benefits, including reducing inflammation, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and slowing the aging process. However, further research is needed to understand the role of antioxidants in our health.
Matcha and antioxidants
Matcha tea contains antioxidants. According to ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), which is a laboratory test used to measure a food's antioxidant capacity, Matcha tea has 15 times as many antioxidants as blueberries and 13 times as many antioxidants as pomegranate seeds. Read more in the academic article from the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry here
Among these antioxidants, catechins are the kind that are most potent and beneficial, and a particular kind called EGCG makes up about 60% of the catechins in matcha. Matcha is also rich in fiber, chlorophyll and other vitamins such as vitamin C, selenium, chromium and zinc. But remember that no single food can make you healthy on its own - it's important to eat a variety of healthy foods to get the best health benefits!