Chaga has rapidly gained popularity worldwide as one of the most effective superfoods that you can buy. Used by generations of Alaskans and Siberians as a folk remedy, chaga has been proven to aid the immune system, improve digestion, and a number of other health benefits. Since chaga was opened up to the world at large, people have found countless uses for it, from creating tinctures to putting it in smoothies to using it to make face masks.
Wait, face masks? Yes: chaga has been proven to be one of the most effective superfoods you can use to combat aging. At the heart of chaga’s anti-aging power is its antioxidant content, which has been shown to fight free radicals. What are antioxidants and free radicals and how can using the former help you reduce aging and give your skin a healthy, youthful glow? Read on to find out.
Chaga and Aging
While aging is natural to a certain extent, it can be accelerated by free radicals. Free radicals are particles that are present in nature, including the human body. They are called “free” because they float freely through space, and when they collide with human cells, they cause damage, which is manifested as symptoms of aging. As such, lowering the amount of free radicals within your body can help slow the aging process.
To understand how free radicals form, you need to understand a bit about molecules and atoms. Atoms are the building blocks of all matter and consists of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons comprise the nucleus, the center of the atom, while electrons orbit the nucleus in a fashion similar to planets orbiting the sun or the moon orbiting Earth. Electron orbits are referred to as “shells,” and when one shell is full, excess electrons will form additional shells, usually in pairs for greater stability.
An atom that is able to fill its outermost shell will be very stable. Atoms that have an incomplete outer shell, however, will try to reach stability by either casting off or stealing electrons to fill the shell or by sharing electrons with other atoms. Electron sharing helps create bonds between atoms, enabling the creation of larger and larger forms of matter.
Bonds between atoms frequently break, but if the atoms are healthy, they typically retain a full outer shell of electrons. However, if the atoms are unhealthy, when their bonds break, they will be left with gaps in the outer shell. These atoms will actively seek out other atoms to steal electrons from, colliding with anything and everything that gets in its way. These unhealthy atoms are known as free radicals.
The real danger of free radicals is that any atom they successfully steal electrons from becomes a free radical itself. This means that a handful of free radicals can replicate themselves very quickly and cause massive damage to their surroundings. When it comes to the body, large amounts of free radicals don’t simply cause aging, but can cause organs to shut down and eventual death.
While there are many types of free radicals, oxygen atoms are the most common type. This is due to both the ubiquity of oxygen on Earth (as well as within the human body) as well as oxygen’s unique atomic structure. Oxygen atoms have two unpaired atoms in their outer shells, making them especially susceptible to becoming free radicals.
Antioxidants help eliminate free radicals because when they come into contact with them, they “donate” excess electrons to the free radicals, stabilizing them and keeping them from colliding with cells in their attempts to fill their outer shells. Antioxidants do not turn into free radicals themselves due to the fact that they possess a large number of extra electrons. Additionally, antioxidants act as a cleanup crew for the body, repairing damage that has been caused by free radicals.
Chaga is known for being exceptionally rich in antioxidants, which is part of why it is so effective as an anti-aging superfood. Chaga’s antioxidant content is measured through its Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC value. The ORAC scale measures how effective a given substance is at neutralizing free radicals. Depending on their purity, chaga mushrooms can possess an ORAC value of anywhere from 5,200 to 146,000 units per gram. In contrast, blueberries, a food famed for its antioxidant content, only has an ORAC value of 30 to 85.
To take advantage of the antioxidants in chaga, you can simply brew a tea using chaga chunks or powder. However, if you want to take things to the next step, you can make a face mask using chaga extract. Chaga face masks are popular among Russian women as a low-cost means of combating aging due to the fact that they concentrate chaga’s nutrients where they can do the most amount of good. Chaga face masks also re-moisturize the skin, making them an effective way to fight acne and other skin ailments.
Chaga has endured as a folk remedy for generations due to its countless restorative properties. Chaga can be used to ward off disease, improve digestion, and much more. For those who are concerned about aging, chaga gives you the ability to slow the aging process by eliminating one of its biggest causes: the free radicals that are floating in your body right now, causing damage to your cells and tissues. This also keeps your organs functioning at full capacity for longer.
While aging can’t be halted, using chaga can allow you to retain your youthful looks for longer. Whether consumed orally or used in a face mask, chaga has been proven to aid users in the elimination of wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. Combined with all its other benefits, there’s no reason not to try chaga today and see what it can do for you.