Green tea is a polyphenol, an aromatic, organic compound that acts as a potent antioxidant in the body. Like others in this family, it prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, lowers cholesterol, raises “good” HDL levels, and lowers triglyceride levels. It also reduces blood coagulation and helps prevent the clumping of red blood cells, both good steps for the prevention of heart disease. Green tea extract is available in tablet form, without caffeine.
When a squirt of lemon juice helps food stay fresh, it is working as an antioxidant, protecting against the harmful effects of oxygen. Oxygen harmful? When an oxygen molecule loses an electron, it becomes an unstable molecule called a free radical, which tries to stabilize itself by grabbing another electron from a molecule of any body substance or tissue nearby, causing that molecule in turn to become unstable. Anti-oxidants are molecules that can donate an oxygen molecule to the free radical without becoming destabilized themselves.
This process of free radical creation is called oxidation, a normal and important part of your body’s metabolism. It’s when oxidation reactions overwhelm your body’s ability to stabilize them that they do damage. Oxidation does damage when we’re under a lot of stress, exposed to a heavy load of toxins, or don’t have enough anti-oxidants in our diet.
Out-of-control oxidation is a causative factor in illness, including heart disease and strokes. Today’s polluted world means our bodies have to cope with far higher levels of free radicals than ever before. Free radical culprits include smog, cigarette smoke, pesticides, and food additives. The average American doesn’t eat nearly enough antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables to counteract these environmental toxins. Our bodies are in double oxidant jeopardy, which makes taking antioxidant supplements an important part of preventing heart disease.
Antioxidants come in many forms, from teas and herbal tinctures to foods and vitamins. Their marvelous power gives a shielding, protective effect against heart disease. Some work better than others to protect against heart disease.
Prescription Alternatives: Hundreds of Free, Natural, Prescription-Free Remedies to Restore & Maintain Your Health, by Earl L. Mindell, R.Ph, Ph. D, & Virginia Hopkins, M.A. Published by McGraw-Hill.