What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?

What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?

Did you know that green tea is more than just a green solution? Did you know that it has powerful health benefits?

It has grown in popularity in recent years and for good reason – it has very genuine health benefits and make a great variation on your usual cuppa!

So, what about Green Tea?

Green tea is a very largely consumed drink in the world after water. It is made from the plant called Camellia Sinensis. It is made by lightly steaming the leaves after they are harvested.

It belongs to an incredible class of compounds called the polyphenols.  Polyphenols are strong plant chemicals that work together with the human body to keep us healthy.

The polyphenols found in green tea are called catechins and flavonoids, they are responsible for various green tea benefits. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that flavonoids and catechins have a strong antioxidant activity.

Green tea is full of nutrients and antioxidants that have powerful effects on the body. So, what are the green tea benefits?

Here Are 5 Amazing Green Tea Benefits:

  1. Enhances Mood & Brain Function

Did you know that green tea contains caffeine but not as much as coffee? It contains enough to produce a response but without causing you to feel edgy or nervous, something associated with too much caffeine.

Caffeine has been studied extensively. Low to Moderate consumption has been associated with improvement in cognitive function.

A review of studies published in the Nutrition Bulletin found that low to moderate consumption of caffeine (38 to 400mg per day, equivalent to 1 to 8 cups of tea, or 0.3 to 4 cups of brewed coffee per day) maximized the benefits of caffeine and was associated with improvements in memory, mood and brain function. There was minimum risk of dehydration.

Green tea also contains a unique amino acid called theanine, responsible for a sense of relaxation. A study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutritionfound that theanine affects aspects of the brain function in humans. It was found to increase activity in the alpha frequency band of the brain indicating that it helps to relax the mind without causing drowsiness.

The studies found that the individuals reported they had constant energy and were more productive when they drank green tea, compared to coffee.

  1. Improves Oral Health

The dangerous bacteria associated with the formation of plaque, tooth decay and cavities in humans is called Streptococcus mutans. Catechins in green tea has been shown to stop the growth of Streptococcus mutans.

A study published in the Caries Research found that green tea effectively stops the attachment of the Streptococcus mutans strain to saliva in the mouth.

Another study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology also found that green tea was effective in reducing mouth odour because of its disinfectant and deodorant activities. Improving oral health was found to be one of green tea benefits.

  1. Enhances Cardiovascular Health

According to the World Health Organization, heart disease and stroke are one of the leading causes of death in humanity.

Improving cardiovascular health is one of the green tea benefits. Green tea has been shown to boost a variety of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. A study published in Atherosclerosis showed that green tea stopped induced LDL oxidation; LDL oxidation is a typical feature of coronary heart disease.

The study concluded that the consumption of green tea may lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Another study published in the Obesity Journal also found that the consumption of green tea decreased Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, thereby contributing to a decrease in cardiovascular disease risk.

  1. Reduces Body Fat

The body fat reducing effect is one of the green tea benefits. It also helps to improve your metabolic rate.

A study published in the Obesity Journal in which men and women with abdominal fat-type obesity over a 12-week period ingested green tea containing catechin. The study found that there was a decrease in body weight, body mass index, body fat mass, waist circumference and hip circumference suggesting that green tea contributes to a decrease in obesity.

  1. Maintains Healthy Blood Sugar Levels

Maintaining blood sugar levels is one of the green tea benefits. High blood sugar levels increases your risk of insulin resistance which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea consumption drastically reduced the fasting glucose and haemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) concentrations.

Green tea was also found to reduce fasting insulin concentration and improve insulin sensitivity.

Another study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the regular consumption of green tea was associated with a 33% reduced risk for diabetes.

The Bottom Line

To sum up, the green tea benefits are amazing. Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to your cup increases the benefits of green tea, the vitamin C in the fresh lemon juice boosts the amount of catechins available to be absorbed by your body.

It is important that you consume good quality green tea. Good quality green tea will be green, if it looks brown instead of green then it is not good quality, it is possibly oxidized, which destroys a lot of its important compounds.

References:

Serafini M, Ghiselli A, Ferro-Luzzi A (1996) In vivo antioxidant effect of green tea and black tea in man. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 50: 28-32.

Ruxton C H S (2008) The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks. Nutrition Bulletin, 33: 15-25.

Nobre A C, Rao A, Owen G N (2008) L-theanin, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 17: 167-168.

Otake S, Makimura M, Kuroki T, Nishihara Y, Hirasawa M (1991) Anticaries Effects of Polyphenolic Compounds from Japanese Green Tea. Caries Research25: 438-443.

Lodhia P, Yaegaki K, Khakbaznejad A, Imai T, Sato T, Tanaka T, Murata T, Kamoda T (2008) Effect of green tea on volatile sulfur compounds in mouth air.

Yang T T C, Koo M W L (2000) Inhibitory effect of Chinese green tea on endothelial cell-induced LDL oxidation.

World Health Organisation (2014) The top 10 causes of death http://who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/.

Nagao T, Hase T, Tokimitsu I (2007) A Green Tea Extract High in Catechins Reduces Body Fat and Cardiovascular Risks in Humans. Obesity, 15: 1473-1483.

Liu K, Zhou R, Wang B, Chen K, Shi L Y, Zhu J D, Mi M T (2013) Effect of green tea on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis o 17 randomized controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 98: 340-348.

Iso H, Date C, Wakai K, Fukui M, Tamakoshi A, JACC Study Group (2006) The relationship between green tea and total caffeine intake and risk for self-reported type 2 diabetes among Japanese adults. Annals of Internal Medicine,144: 554-562.

The 7 Essential Ingredients of a Healthy Balanced Diet

The 7 Essential Ingredients of a Healthy Balanced Diet

I am sure you may have heard of the phase: you are what you eat.  Eating a healthy balanced diet plays a vital role in maintaining good health. So, what are the essential ingredients of a healthy balanced diet? Let’s take a look…

Here are 7 essential ingredients of a healthy balanced diet

1) Water

Did you know that you can eat a large portion of a healthy balanced diet and still feel hungry? That is because you need a drink of water to fill you up.

Water is an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. It is important for optimal health. It is also essential for the functioning and cleansing of your body. You lose water daily from your body through urine and sweat and it needs to be replenished.  If you are not drinking enough water, you can become dehydrated.

Studies have shown that good hydration is essential for the prevention of chronic diseases (1). To gauge whether you are drinking enough water, the colour of your urine should be a light-yellow colour. Dark yellow urine is a sign that you need to drink more water.

If you are looking for ways to sustain good levels of hydration throughout the day, herbal and fruit tea is a good alternative to water. Herbal and fruit tea contain no caffeine and can have some therapeutic effect.

2) Herbs and Spices

Did you know that every time you use herbs or spices to add flavour to your food, you are literally making it tastier without adding a single calorie?

Herbs and spices are an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. They will not only add flavour to your food. They will add colour and health benefits to your food; your meals will come alive.

Herbs and spices are some of the most powerful antioxidants. They are nutrient dense; rich in minerals and multivitamins and they have medicinal properties.

Here are some of the herbs and spices that you can incorporate into your diet:

Turmeric, Rosemary, Cinnamon, Cayenne chili pepper, Black pepper, Cumin, Sage, Coriander, Basil, Garlic, Thyme, Oregano, and Ginger etc.

3) Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables and fruits are good carbohydrates. Eating plenty of fresh, high quality vegetables and some fruit is an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. It will provide you with all the nutrients your body needs for optimal health.

A research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that people who eat seven or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day have a 42% lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat less than one portion. They also found that they enjoy a 31% lower risk of heart disease and a 25% lower risk of cancer (2)

The study brought to light that vegetables had a larger protective effect than fruits. Your focus should be on consuming more vegetables and small amount of fruit.

Aim to fill half of your plate with vegetables such as broccoli, kale, lettuce, cucumber, cauliflower, bell pepper, cabbage, watercress, etc

4) Other Good Carbohydrates

Other good carbohydrates are starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, yam, squash, parsnips and pumpkin which are essential ingredients of a healthy balanced diet. They are digested slowly so will not raise your blood sugar or spike insulin. They can be eaten in moderation.

Don’t eat carbohydrate alone. Always combine it with some fibre, protein or healthy fats to help with blood sugar balance.

5) Good Quality Protein

Good quality protein is an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. It is important for the building and repair of your body tissues such as your skin and it is also a main component of your immune system and hormones.

Including good quality protein in your diet is important for blood sugar and insulin balance. It will also help you control your hunger.

Here are good quality protein you can incorporate into your diet:

– Free range eggs (preferably organic)
– Organic, grass-fed poultry (preferably organic)
– Fish, shrimps (wild and not farmed)
– Nuts and seeds
– Beans or legumes
– Small portions of lean clean meat, wild game (preferably organic)

6) Good Quality Fat

Did you know that FAT does not make you fat or cause heart disease? A research published in the British Medical Journal shattered the myth that fat causes heart disease and obesity; they found no link between eating saturated fat, heart disease and obesity (3)

The type of fat you eat matters, not the amount. Good quality fat is an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet. By adding good fat to your diet, the digestion and absorption of your food is slower, and the reaction of insulin is less extreme. So, don’t cut out fat, enjoy it.

Here are good quality fats that you can incorporate into your diet:

– Fatty fish including wild salmon, sardines and mackerel
– Avocados
– Nuts and seeds
– Olive oil, extra virgin olive oil
– Extra virgin coconut oil
– Grass-fed animal products – butter, eggs

 7) No processed food

Processed food refers to food that has been chemically processed and prepared from refined ingredients and artificial additives. All the real nutrition has been processed right out of it. It is not an essential ingredient of a healthy balanced diet.

Did you know that you can become addicted to processed food? When food is processed, essential components of the food like fibre, water and other nutrients are removed and the way the food is digested and absorbed by your body changes. Dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter is stimulated, making you feel good and you crave more.

Processed foods are high in sugar, unhealthy fat and processed salt which have all been linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and cancer.

The key to a healthy balanced diet is eating a range of healthy food in the right amount.

References

1)     Manz F, Wentz A (2005) The importance of good hydration for the prevention of chronic diseases. Nutr Rev63:S2–5
2)     Oyebode O, Gordon-Dseagu V, Walker A, Mindell J S (2014) Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, doi: 10.1136/jech-2013-203500. [Epub ahead of print
3)     Aseem M (2013) Saturated fat is not the major issue. British Medical Journal, 347:f6340 (link: http://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f6340)

Delicious Salad Diet Plan

Delicious Salad Diet Plan

Did you know that adding a salad every day to your diet has plenty of health benefits? Did you also know that it is one of the easiest ways to include servings of vegetables and fruits?

Perhaps too often salad is seen as a bit bland, just something for picnics and summer days, or ‘diet food’ courtesy of sheer lack of calories. But there is so much more to it than that and you will do yourself a great benefit by adopting a salad diet plan.

Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, antioxidants and other nutrients that can help to protect you from sickness and disease.

A research published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that people who eat seven or more portions of vegetables and fruit a day have a 42% lower risk of dying from any cause, compared to those who eat less than one portion.

It also found that they enjoy a 31% lower risk of heart disease and a 25% lower risk of cancer.

Fascinatingly the study also brought to light that vegetables had a larger protective effect than fruits. That might surprise quite a few people. So, your focus should be on consuming more vegetables and a smaller amount of fruit.

A salad is a great idea for meals at any time but it is particularly convenient for lunch, won’t be heavy in your stomach and won’t trigger any mid-afternoon energy crashes.

So here is a delicious salad diet plan for you to tuck into and benefit from.

Start with a green base: choose Romaine lettuce (not iceberg lettuce) or any mixed salad leaves. Next add any 4 or 5 of these vegetables: red or white cabbage, red onions, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, celery, peas, beetroot or radish (choose fresh organic vegetables).

Next add any of these protein: sardines, salmon, turkey, mackerel, chicken, beans, chickpeas or eggs.

Now add one of these healthy fats: olives, avocado, shredded coconut, raw nuts, seeds or egg yolks.

Next add any of these fresh herbs: parsley, coriander, thyme, mint, rosemary or basil.

And now add your dressing. Prepare your own dressing, mix a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir till well blended and pour over the salad and enjoy the delicious salad!

The Bottom Line – A delicious salad is easy to prepare and enjoyable to eat. It is a good way to add more raw organic food with lots of colour and flavour to your diet. There is so much variety and, crucially, salad is packed with nutritional benefits.

Keep yourself strong and healthy by including a delicious salad diet plan into your everyday diet.

Avoid the Easter binge

Avoid the Easter binge

Easter is going to turn up, whether you like it or not. Chocolate and hot cross buns are all around; in every shop and TV commercial. It’s enough to melt away your good intentions and, with this much pressure, binging feels almost inevitable.

Of course, chocolate is available all year round. The trouble seems to come when there’s too much chocolate, as is the case at this time of year, which leads to too much temptation, eating too much in one go, then feeling miserable because you over indulged. The worst parts of a binge are the feelings of guilt and failure that you feel afterwards. So let’s fix that.

Let’s accept that Easter will mean chocolate indulgence on one level or another. Here’s how to make the best of it.

  • Try to discourage family and friends from buying chocolate for you. This puts you back in control of how much you have.
  • Ideally, you’ll want to choose the darker chocolate eggs or chocolate selection. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less room there is for sugar. Aim for over 70%.
  • Quality is important. Darker eggs from higher quality suppliers, like Green & Black’s, have less sugar, so won’t throw out your blood sugar as much.
  • Don’t to eat too much in one go with the intention of getting ‘rid’ of the chocolate sooner. Eating a whole egg will lead to an energy crash later on, not to mention, for many, feelings of disappointment in yourself that you ’gave in’ or ‘failed’ with your diet.
  • It’s healthier all round, both for your body and mindset so have a small amount of chocolate more regularly and try to cancel out the sugar rush by eating a small handful of nuts at the same time (protein slows the speed at which sugar enters the bloodstream).
  • Save Easter eggs for pudding. Eating chocolate on an empty stomach spikes blood sugar levels. Have yours after a protein and veg-based meal.

Plan so you can make the right choices. Don’t give yourself the excuse that there was nothing else to eat. Ensure you have plenty of your usual healthy foods to hand.

Make sure your decision to eat chocolate is a conscious one. “Some chocolate would be nice, but I choose not to have one right now”. Don’t take orders from an Easter egg! Choosing puts you back in control. Remember, the responsibility is yours. You are the one who puts food in your mouth, even if it sometimes feels as though it is out of your control, it never is.

If the Easter egg (and everything that goes with it) genuinely plays a big part in your family’s tradition, consider doing something a bit different this year.  Here are some great alternatives to the traditional Easter egg hunt https://www.parenthub.com.au/education/easter-egg-hunt-alternatives/.

Consider that even the healthiest people over indulge – but they don’t beat themselves up about it. They just go back to eating normally.

Even after an Easter indulgence, you can still rescue the situation and stop it turning into a binge, sabotaging all your good work. Say: “It’s done, it’s in the past and I choose to move on”.  Easter is ONE DAY, that’s all. Don’t be on the rollercoaster for the rest of the month.

But most of all, enjoy the chocolate you do have and you know that the only way you can feel good in body and soul about it is to eat consciously. Don’t forget that small amounts of the best quality, dark chocolate has the following benefits: anti ageing, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, is packed with antioxidants and important minerals like iron, potassium, zinc and selenium. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine; the same chemical your brain creates when you’re falling in love …

PS If you are the kind of person who KNOWS you will have a problem with the Easter binge because this kind of bingeing and self sabotage is what you do or you need some help to get healthy

3 Important Tips to Stay Full for Longer

3 Important Tips to Stay Full for Longer

Do you experience ongoing hunger even if you have eaten so much? Did you know that what you actually eat controls how full you feel?  Let’s take a look…

A study published in the Nutrition Research Review 2013 found that there are certain foods that you can eat that will fill you up, avoid the hunger and make you eat less.

Here are three tips to stay full for longer.

1. Eat Protein With Every Meal

Eating foods high in protein with every meal is one of the tips to stay full for longer. Protein is one of three main macro-nutrients required by the human body.

It is broken down into amino acids which your body needs for building muscles, balancing your hormones, neurological and mood support, digestion and many more. Protein helps to keep your body going.

It is the macro-nutrient that fills you up the most.

Your body needs twenty amino acids. It can create 11 of them but you need to get the other nine, which are called essential amino acids, from your food.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008 found that protein increases fullness to a greater extent than carbohydrate or fat and makes it easier for you to eat less.

Food sources high in protein include:

– Wild fish – salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.
– Free-range eggs
– Lentils
– Beans
– Free-range/organic chicken or turkey
– Whey protein/pea protein
– Yogurt – Raw milk[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2708″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][vc_column_text]

2. Eat foods high in dietary fiber

Eating foods high in dietary fiber are one of the tips to stay full for longer. Dietary fiber is a complex carbohydrate which your body cannot digest; it passes through your digestive system and helps to keep it healthy.

There are two types of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble.

The two types of dietary fibre in your diet provide bulk; they take longer to move through your digestive system so it will keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition 2000 found that dietary fiber has unique physical and chemical properties that provide early and prolonged signals of fullness and satisfaction.

It is very essential to make sure you are drinking enough water when you are including fiber in your diet. Fiber absorbs water so if you are not drinking enough water you can get constipated.

Food sources high in dietary fiber include:

– Vegetables: broccoli, lettuce, carrot, peas, cucumber, kale etc.
– Fruits: Berries, apple, avocado, etc.
– Legumes: beans, lentils, etc.
– Oats[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2709″ img_size=”full”][vc_column_text]

3. Eat Foods With A High Water Content

Eating foods with a high water content are one of the tips to stay full for longer. Nearly all foods contain some water but some foods such as whole, unprocessed foods contain more water for example vegetables and fruits are made up of about 80-98% of water.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999 examined the effects of water combined with food such as soups on fullness. It found out that eating food that has high water content effectively increased fullness and reduced the need for more food.

Healthy homemade soups made with lots of vegetables and good quality protein is an excellent food that is high in water.

 

The Bottom Line

Foods that are not processed are generally more filling than foods that are processed. Always include protein and dietary fiber with all your meals to help you stay full for longer.

References

Hetherington M M, Cunningham K, Dye L, Gibson E L, Gregersen N T, Halford J C, Lawton C L, Lluch A, Mela D J, Van Trip H C (2013) Potential benefits of satiety to the consumer: scientific considerations. Nutrition Research Review, 26: 22-38.

Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes R D, Wolfe R R, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M (2008) Protein, weight management, and satiety. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87: 1558S-1561S.

Burton-Freeman B (2000) Dietary fiber and energy regulation. Journal of Nutrition, 130: 272S-275S.

Rolls B J, Bell E, Thorwart M L (1999) Water incorporated into a food but not served with a food decreases energy intake in lean women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 70: 448-455

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