How can antioxidants help you detox and stay healthy?
The key to this is simple: Eliminate oxidative stress. Over a dozen studies have concluded in their results that palo azul showed significant antioxidant activity, anti-glycation activity, inhibited oxidative stress and inhibited the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Antioxidants are compounds such as vitamins or phytochemicals (flavonoids) which inhibit oxidative stress. Many of the studies have actually attributed palo azul's antioxidative property to the fact that it's rich in flavonoids.
What are flavonoids?
Flavonoids are phytonutrients produced by plants to fight off infections, inflammation, stress, bacteria and diseases. They're commonly found in vegetables, fruits, plants, bark, flowers, wine and teas.
Thousands of studies have shown that flavonoids are anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-aging, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, anti-mutagenic, anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic. You can learn all about flavonoids in our article here.
A 2021 study even found several phytochemicals in palo azul such as “flavones, isoflavones, flavanones, phenolic compounds, chalcones and dihydrochalcones” which have been linked to its health benefits, highlighting “diuretic, antidiabetic, antiglycation, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial potential.”
Because of its flavonoid rich content, a 2021 study found that palo azul tea "can reduce the oxidative stress caused by the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) because of its free radical scavenging activity."
Inhibit oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals are atoms with a single valence electron that cause damage to the body associated with diabetes, cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and many other diseases.
This happens because electrons like to be in pairs... and for this reason, free radicals look for "free" electrons in the body. This causes damage to cells, proteins, DNA and these damaged molecules can mutate, grow tumors, and damage the DNA code. Eventually, this cellular damage causes new cells to grow with defects and it will lead to aging and degenerative diseases.
A 2022 study explains that oxidative stress "leads to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which facilitate further disease progression."
Fortunately for us palo azul tea lovers, a 2018 study found that palo azul "showed antidiabetic and anti-hyperlipidemic activities, an ability to reduce the formation of advanced glycation end products, and an antioxidant capacity."
What is glycation and AGEs?
Glycation is the covalent attachment of a sugar to a protein or lipid. This process is responsible for many complications in diabetes mellitus, some diseases and in aging.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are proteins or lipids that become glycated as a result of exposure to sugars.
A 2014 study which supports to previous study, found that "Eysenhardtia polystachya (palo azul) possesses considerable antioxidant activity with reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging activity and demonstrated an anti-AGEs and inhibits oxidative stress."
What are reactive oxygen species (ROS)?
Reactive oxygen species are a type of unstable molecule that contains oxygen and that easily reacts with other molecules in a cell. A build up of reactive oxygen species in cells may cause damage to DNA, RNA, and proteins, and may cause cell death. Reactive oxygen species are free radicals.
Another 2017 study mentions that there are "empirical studies exhibiting an association between AGEs and a variety of conditions such as decline in memory with age, cardiovascular complications, bone health, periodontitis, erectile dysfunction, peripheral artery disease, obstructive sleep apnea, cancer, elevated cellular oxidative and inflammatory state, Alzheimer’s disease, and risk for metabolic syndrome."
In other words...anti-glycative foods and teas protect against AGEs, which are harmful compounds that are considered to play an important role in the process of aging and in degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer's.
How can antioxidants help you?
A 2014 study which evaluated palo azul's antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties found that palo azul's extract "showed a significant decrease of body weight in diabetic rats and produced significant loss in body weight as compared to normal animals during the study." Moreover, they found that palo azul "reduced the blood glucose, body weight, glycogen, HDL, levels of triglyceride and cholesterol."
A 2016 study which supports this study ended with this interesting statement: "In conclusion, palo azul may increase muscle mass in the body and improve insulin resistance conditions.”
Moreover, a 2017 study analyzed 2754 twins and found that the group that consumed the most flavonoids:
- "Had less percentage of fat"
- "Burned more fat in the abdomen"
Specifically, the researchers found that the twins with the highest consumption of flavonoid-rich foods (onions, tea, apples, pears, and cocoa) “had a 3-9% lower FMR (fat mass ratio) than that of their co-twins.”
Moreover, the researchers found that the “women who ate a lot of flavonoid-rich foods had a lower percentage of body fat than women who ate less. The amount of abdominal fat also differed significantly between the two groups.”
The researchers of this study also point out that “It is important to note that abdominal fat is an important risk factor for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart problems.”
Another study looked at 124,000 people and found that "flavonoids increase energy expenditure, decrease fat absorption and function as anti-inflammatories." The researchers in this same study found that "increased consumption of most flavonoid subclasses was associated with reduced weight gain.”
They also mentioned that the participants that consumed more flavonoids maintained their weight better and even lost some weight and they concluded the following:
"Our results suggest that choosing fruits and vegetables that are high in flavonoids, such as apples, pears, berries and peppers, can help with weight control."
A 2014 study on palo azul, found that "palo azul reduced the blood glucose, increased serum insulin, body weight, marker enzymes of hepatic function, glycogen, levels of triglyceride, and cholesterol.
Another study found that “flavonoids in tea may lower blood cholesterol concentrations and blood pressure, thereby providing some protection against cardiovascular disease.” Moreover, the researchers found that the antioxidant property of flavonoids "inhibits LDL (cholesterol) oxidation.”
One study mentions that "epidemiological, clinical and animal studies reveal that “flavonoids may exert protective effects against various disease conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer.” The authors of this study also write that “flavonoid intake is inversely correlated with mortality from cardiovascular disease.”
Finally, they concluded the following: "Antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory, and hypolipidemic properties play a significant role in the lower cardiovascular mortality illustrated by increased flavonoid consumption.”
Several articles mention that palo azul tea has been used for hundreds of years to protect, boost and support liver function. A 2021 study on mice found that “diabetic mice treated with palo azul extracts showed significant recovery and revival of the central vein of the liver.”
Another 2021 study mentions that “palo azul is widely used in folk medicine as a diuretic and for the treatment of kidney diseases, urinary tract irritation, kidney pain, bone pain (analgesic) and as a blood purifier against liver diseases.”
A 2022 study done on mice concluded in their results that palo azul’s “extract significantly reduced oxidative damages in both the kidneys and the liver, and such effect has been related to the high antioxidant capacity.
Lastly, these findings were supported by a study published in 2014, whose “results suggest that EP prevents oxidative stress, acts as a suppressor of liver, kidney and pancreas cell damage.” This same study found that “palo azul showed anti-glycation, liver-protective and hypoglycemic (lower blood sugar levels) actions that could be potentially beneficial against type 2 diabetes."
Victoria Lewis, a doctor of dermatology mentions in an article that “antioxidants are often considered the fountain of youth by skin-care professionals and experts. Not only do they (antioxidants) scavenge free radicals—the number one skin-aging culprits—to promote a brighter, more even complexion, they’re also the superstars at nixing fine lines and keeping skin looking fresh.”
This is due to its ability to eliminate oxidative stress and free radicals, which are “the number one skin-aging culprits.”
Another dermatologist, Dr. Mack, writes that “antioxidants protect your skin from this (oxidative stress) and help reduce pigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles.” He goes on to mention that in his opinion, “an antioxidant serum is a must for your skin-care routine.”
According to the findings of two medical reviews (1) (2) that analyzed 327 studies conduected specifically on flavonoids (antioxidants), it is well established that oxidative stress can lead to cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and aging. Therefore, one of the reviews concluded that "diets rich in antioxidants diminish the cancer-promoting action of free radicals and oxidative stress."
One of these reviews also mentioned that "fruits and vegetables that have flavonoids have been reported as cancer chemopreventive agents and are inversely associated with cancer incidence."
*Here’s a very interesting fact for wine drinkers: "Moderate wine drinkers also seem to have a lower risk to develop cancer of the lung, endometrium, esophagus, stomach, and colon.”
Thank you flavonoids!
Moreover, a 2019 study that looked at 1522 breast cancer cases and 1547 frequency control subjects from June 2007 to July 2018 in Guangdong, China. The results of this study indicated that consumption of “flavonoids and most flavonoid subclasses intakes were inversely associated with breast cancer risk.”
Finally, the medical reviews concluded that “the critical relationship of fruit and vegetable intake and cancer prevention has been thoroughly documented. It has been suggested that major public health benefits could be achieved by substantially increasing consumption of these foods.”
Powerful antioxidants: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, olive oil, turmeric, cocoa and teas
In summary...palo azul tea can inhibit oxidative stress because it's a powerful antioxidant, anti-glycative, and it's rich in flavonoids. Because of these properties, palo azul can help to scavenge free radicals and inhibit, AGEs and ROS. Oxidative stress, free radicals and AGEs are associated with weight gain, cardiovascular disease, aging, and other degenerative diseases. Therefore we should consume lots of antioxidants in order to detox our body and maintain optimal health.
P.S...Don't forget to help your loved ones by sharing palo azul's magic with them!
Seems like palo azul and its flavonoids really are...
Key for health 😉
* Palo azul is commonly referred to by its scientific name: Eysenhardtia polystachya / E. polystachya / E.P - Cyclolepis genistoides / C. genistoides - kidney wood - palo dulce
(March 28, 2019) 3′-O-β-d-glucopyranosyl-α,4,2′,4′,6′-pentahydroxy-dihydrochalcone, from Bark of Eysenhardtia polystachya Prevents Diabetic Nephropathy via Inhibiting Protein Glycation in STZ-Nicotinamide Induced Diabetic Mice
(Summer, 2018) Silver nanoparticles synthesized with a fraction from the bark of Eysenhardtia polystachya with high chalcone and dihydrochalcone content effectively inhibit oxidative stress in the zebraﬁsh embryo model