Vitamins and minerals are needed for growth and good health. The vitamins and minerals you need are found in the food you eat. It’s important to eat a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Some food is enriched. This means that vitamins or minerals were added. For example, bread and milk are enriched. Some people also take vitamin pills.
Vitamins are chemical compounds and minerals are chemical elements. They are nutrients for the human body that are contained within food substances. Vitamins control the chemical reactions within the body to convert food into energy and living tissue. They help the body use the energy nutrients, maintain normal body tissue, act as a regulator, and are only needed in small amounts. Minerals are needed for several body functions including building strong bones, transmitting nerve signals, maintaining a normal heart beat, and are used to produce necessary hormones.
There are a total of thirteen needed vitamins, four that are produced in the body itself. Biotin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin K are made in the human intestine and usually in adequate amounts to meet the body’s needs. Sunlight on the skin surfaces can produce sufficient amounts of vitamin K. The remaining vitamins must be supplied in the daily diet.
Each vitamin and mineral substance meets specific body needs that one of the other compounds cannot substitute or act for instead. However the lack or deficiency of one of them can sometimes interfere with another vitamin or mineral’s function. If a vitamin or mineral deficiency continues, the person can incur a related disease such as beriberi, pellagra, rickets, and scurvy. Conversely, too much of some minerals and vitamins brings on a toxic condition.
The best and recommended way for a healthy person to obtain needed vitamins and minerals is to eat well-balanced meals. A daily diet of varied foods can provide needed vitamin and mineral nutrients for maintaining a healthy body.
An antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons from a substance to an oxidizing agent. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals, which start chain reactions that damage cells. Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by removing free radical intermediates, and inhibit other oxidation reactions by being oxidized themselves. As a result, antioxidants are often reducing agents such as thiols or polyphenols.
Although oxidation reactions are crucial for life, they can also be damaging; hence, plants and animals maintain complex systems of multiple types of antioxidants, such as glutathione, vitamin C, and vitamin E as well as enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and various peroxidases. Low levels of antioxidants, or inhibition of the antioxidant enzymes, causes oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells.
There are three main varieties of tea – green, black, and oolong. The difference between the teas is in their processing. Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals — damaging compounds in the body that alter cells, tamper with DNA (genetic material), and even cause cell death. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet rays from the sun, radiation, cigarette smoke, and air pollution) also give rise to these damaging particles. Scientists believe that free radicals contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems including cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants such as polyphenols in green tea can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Green tea has been consumed throughout the ages in India, China, Japan, and Thailand. In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, practitioners used green tea as a stimulant, diuretic (to promote the excretion of urine), astringent (to control bleeding and help heal wounds), and to improve heart health. Other traditional uses of green tea include treating flatulence (gas), regulating body temperature and blood sugar, promoting digestion, and improving mental processes.
Green tea has been extensively studied in people, animals, and laboratory experiments. Results from these studies suggest that green tea may be useful for many health conditions