We all have heard that certain botanicals, herbs, etc., are antioxidant in their actions, but what actually are antioxidants?
As the name implies, antioxidants are substances that are capable of counteracting the damaging, but normal, effects of the physiological process of oxidation in animal tissue. Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as enzymes (proteins in your body that assist in chemical reactions). They are believed to play a role in preventing the development of such chronic diseases as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, and cataracts. Oxidative stress occurs when the production of harmful molecules called free radicals is beyond the protective capability of the antioxidant defenses. Here is an article http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/facts/antioxidant1.htm that gives great detail on antioxidants and some suggestions for them but beyond these recommendations there are some botanicals in the news lately that may be extremely valuable, especially when combined to combat oxidative stress.
1.Green Tea Extract (Leaf)
Green tea has played a central role in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures for 4,000 years. Although a number of varieties of this tea have been created, it has only recently become popular in Western cultures. This much-studied extract, produced from Camellia sinensis leaves in China, is used as a source of antioxidants for the preservation of good health. Now, researchers find it can trim Blood Pressue levels, and do it so well that it might even be able to tame hypertension in borderline cases.
Researchers in Poland gave 56 obese patients with hypertension either 379 mg a day of green tea extract or a placebo. Three months later, the ones who got the extract shaved nearly 5 points each off both their systolic (“top number”) and diastolic (“bottom number”) readings.
Those on a placebo, on the other hand, saw drops of just 0.8 and 0.6 mmHg, respectively, or almost nothing at all.
In addition, the green tea drinkers had lower levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein, improvements in LDL and HDL cholesterol levels, and even better blood sugar control.
Green tea is also used as an aid to promote weight management.
But if you’re obese and battling high blood pressure, your first step shouldn’t be to reach for a cup of green tea or a green tea extract — it should be to lose the weight.
In many cases, weight loss alone will bring your BP levels down to where they should be however, green tea can help there, too. Studies have shown that green tea can help boost the body’s ability to burn off energy, which in turn could lead to weight loss.
Just don’t expect to sip some tea or take green tea extract and watch the pounds slip off by magic. You’ll need to improve your eating habits, too — and for that, I and many other nutritionists recommend the Mediterranean Diet.
The Mediterranean Diet can also help normalize blood pressure if it’s high or prevent high blood pressure in people who don’t have it yet. It’s also great for weight loss, and can help prevent any number of diseases.
Green tea isn’t from the Mediterranean, but feel free to drink some just the same, iced or hot. I mix my own brew of some black tea with my green. Try Green Earl Grey for example and Black Earl Gray, just use one one tea bag each in a two cup pot!
The milk thistle is a tall, flowering plant with spiny stems and toothed, thorny leaves. Native to the Mediterranean, this plant can now be found throughout the world. It has been used for hundreds of years as a liver protectant and to support liver function and relieve digestive disturbances. Studies have been conducted since the 1970s on the plant’s medicinal properties, and increasing research continues today on milk thistle’s physiological effects and therapeutic properties.
3. Bacopa Extract (Aerial Part)
Bacopa is native to the marshy areas of India and can now be found throughout the tropic and subtropic areas of the world. It can grow at elevations from sea level to 4,400 feet. Stems of this 4-inch-tall, 2-foot-wide plant are covered in tiny five-petal flowers. Recent research has focused on the plant’s effects on memory, learning and concentration. In addition, there is research on the plant’s ability to remedy anxiety, epilepsy, bronchitis and asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and gastric ulcers. Bacopa may also protect against free radical damage in cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
4. Ashwagandha (Root)
Ashwagandha grows in the drier regions of India, and though it has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine, it has gained popularity in the Western world. Traditionally, this herb was used as a tonic to raise energy levels and improve general health and longevity. More recently, ashwagandha has generated interest in the study of its anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress and antioxidant properties. Studies have also focused on its effects on the endocrine and nervous systems.
5. Turmeric Extract (Rhizome)
Cultivated abundantly in Asia, India and China, as well as in other tropical countries, turmeric has a long history of use in Chinese and Indian medicines. The rhizome of this 3- to 5-foot-high plant is boiled, cleaned and dried before its therapeutic use. Traditionally, is has been used to treat inflammation, flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, hemorrhage and colic. Research is also under way to examine its ability as an antioxidant and its use in cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal disorders.
Source your herbs carefully and purchase from reputable manufacturers and/or distributors or find an herbal product that combines these 5 herbs. My choice is Protandim by LifeVantage! Here on ABC Primetime you can see why I am so impressed!
Protandim comes in a 30 day supply jar as seen below!
Check out their beautiful face cream, (image below) True Science that contains these same 5 botanical’s and more!
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