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Benefits of Green Tea

Green Tea is originated from China and is extensively cultivated in Asia and certain Central African countries. The tea has since become so popular in the western countries and is nearly classified as a super food. Why? Well it possesses a natural compound known as Catechins, found in high concentrations in several plant products

Catechins found in Green Tea are responsible for many of its incredible benefits

• Green tea contributes to oral hygiene in several ways. It contributes to a reduction in dental plaque and helps protect the teeth and gums with its content of fluoride and tannins.

• The consumption of green tea helps to support the body’s natural defences against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Catechins have been found to help protect the health of female breasts and of our reproductive organs (ovaries, prostate).

• Catechins contribute to normalising cholesterol levels and help to maintain healthy heart function. This can help when consumed as part of healthy balanced lifestyle and varied diet.

• Green tea’s relationship with weight management has been cropping up in the news lately and there is a greater interest in its potential use! Of course, we cannot solely rely on this when attempting to lose weight. A change in lifestyle, nutrition and diet are also important. Catechins properties include fat metabolism (break down of fat cells) and a rise in metabolic rate (helping us to convert food consumed to energy at a higher rate instead of being accumulated in fat cells)

• Contribute to the healthy ageing of the skin. This is because Catechins help maintain intact cell DNA when exposed to UV sunlight. Green tea also showed other positive results on the skin. A randomised, twelve week study done on 60 participants, compared the daily consumption of a litre of Green Tea to placebo. In those who consumed the Green Tea, they found a decrease in volume, roughness and scaling of the skin but also an increase in skin hydration and skin density. Applying sun protection cream is still required though !

• Catechins in Green Tea are involved with the metabolism of glucose in the body. It is important for our blood glucose levels to remain stable for several health reasons. When they are too high, we can be at risk of suffering from diabetes or raised inflammation levels in the body. High inflammation levels can lead to changes in blood pressure and kidney health to name a few.

• Help protect the eyes from oxidative stress, caused by harmful radicals. Research shows that the components of the eye (retina, cornea, lens and other eye tissues) absorb the protective effects from Green Tea. Another study showed that Catechins protected against UV light, This suggests its important role besides other factors, in maintaining healthy eyes and vision.

You may benefit from the properties of Green Tea, through the consumption of the tea itself, but also through its extracts used in supplements.

References
Heinrich U et al. Green tea Polyphenols Provide Photoprotection, Increase Microcirculation, and Modulate Skin Properties of Women. J Nutr 2011; 141: 1202-8. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.136465

Health concerns as we age

Ageing is an extremely complex, multifactorial process and there are many theories of its pathophysiology. It is a natural and gradual decline of our functional organ reserves to maintain the right balance, especially under conditions of stress (diet, lifestyle, medical history, family history, trauma, injuries, income, environment, and so on). It is believed that this loss of function can start as early as 30-40 years old, and decline at an annual rate of 1 %.

Particular concerns as we age and how to age gracefully while we support our health and wellbeing

  • Immune system: Natural decrease in our ability to fight disease .The immune system is directly linked to levels of inflammation in the body and as we age, our ability to turn off the natural inflammatory process is lost. When the body is subjected to poor lifestyle choices amongst other factors, the result is chronic inflammation. Over time this puts us at risk of developing atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes or alzheimer’s disease.
  • Endocrine system : Decline in thyroid function ,metabolism, energy levels, sex hormones and glucose tolerance. There is also a reduction in DHEA, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands from cholesterol. It stimulates and strengthens the immune system, aids dietary protein synthesis, helping the mood, optimum wellness and reducing food intolerances.DHEA also helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • Cardiovascular system : Thickening of arterial walls, decrease in  heart rate response to stress, and maximum heart rate. Our lifestyle, nutrition and weight as we age can further impact on the cardiovascular system.
  • Gastrointestinal system: Decrease in digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid levels which support the breakdown of proteins, Vit B12, decrease in our liver’s ability to clear toxins and metabolise drugs as easily. The health of the gut also impacts on the immune system.
  • Nervous system: Cognitive decline made worst with chronic stress and low mood.
  • Musculoskeletal system: The body increases its bone mass until the mid 30’s after which a gradual loss begins. Genes decide on the bone shape and size, but mechanical stress by muscle, body weight, and physical activity influence the bone shape and density , and health throughout life. Other factors which contribute to osteoporosis include smoking, medication such as HRT, inadequate intakes of calcium, magnesium, boron, activity of weight bearing exercises.

Research shows that our relationship with food also changes as we age. Changes in appetite, loss of interest in preparing meals, social aspect of eating, gastrointestinal disturbances and therefore avoiding certain crucial nutrients or reducing the absorption of particular nutrients; chewing difficulties or changes in financial stability leading to less focus on healthy eating.

 

Principles associated with longevity

  • Regular balanced meals to avoid fluctuations in blood glucose levels and the stress hormone, cortisol. Be gentle on your digestion by eating 5 small meals daily
  • Moderate intake of stimulants (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco smoke, stress, sugar )which impact on cortisol levels, oxidative stress on the body and affect our balance of nutrients
  • Anti-inflammatory diet which includes herbs such as curcumin, ginger, boswellia, and omega 3 essential fatty acids from safe cold-water fish (3-5 servings/ week) , nuts (other than peanuts)  and  their respective milks, seeds, butters and oils, avocadoes etc.. Cook with fats (coconut oil, small amounts of organic butter or even small amounts of animal fat seldomly) which are resistant to heat and are not prone to oxidation ( destructive to our cells).Reduce your use of vegetable oils including canola, safflower, sunflower and corn oils, because they are heavily processed and oxidise upon heat.

Healthy fats also increase your levels of DHEA, our youth hormone !

  • Eat a rainbow of colours and maximise on vegetables, for their content of fibre, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals packed with antioxidants. The latter are naturally occurring compounds with disease prevention properties .

 

  • Your fibre intake should be 30-40g daily which would support healthy gastrointestinal health

 

  • Phytochemicals : Green tea , Blueberries, Bilberries, Dark Chocolate, Resvetrol found in grapes , protect the health of our cells from oxidation, retards the ageing process of the skin and protects against sunlight .These fight off inflammation as well.

 

  • Protein (focus on fish and vegetarian sources of protein), and less processed food. Be always wary of the label content. Protein requirements increase slightly with age to 1.0 to 1.25kg/kg. Protein helps to boost collagen production and will help you to keep a youthful appearance

 

  • Remain hydrated, with an approximate consumption of 2L of water daily (including herbal teas or coconut water). Electrolyte imbalance and dehydration is more common as we age as well as our thirst perception

 

  • Antioxidants– help protect the ageing body from the harmful effects of so-called free radicals – a type of highly reactive molecule which can destroy cell walls and lead to diseases such as cancer.
    • Glutathione : a naturally occurring protein that protects every cell, tissue, organ from toxic free radicals and disease. Made primarily in the liver, It is one of the most important antioxidants in the body. Older cells contain 20 to 30 % less glutathione than young cells !
    • Boost your levels with milk thistle; sulphur amino acids (from proteins found in eggs, meat, legumes ) and the amino acid glutamate (ripe tomatoes, walnuts, fish, turkey, rabbit, oats, barley)
    • Vitamin C , Selenium
    • Lutein (healthy vision) (kale, spinach broccoli) and lycopene (tomatoes)
    • Carotenoids (yellow and orange fruit and vegetables)

 

  • Take regular exercise which suits your ability, age and interest. Thus increasing the production of the hormone DHEA, glutathione levels, endorphins .Weight bearing exercise also enables you to lay down as much bone as possible during growth and keep as much as you can later on, preventing conditions like osteoporosis

 

  • Intakes of calcium (cruciferous vegetables, sesame seeds, dairy products )and adequate vitamin D levels should be kept in check regularly.

 

  • Stress reduction measures on a daily basis may include meditation, breath work, bio-energetic exercises (qi gong or tai chi), yoga, pilates, spiritual practises, adequate amounts of sleep, (8-10hours daily

 

  • Strong family and community ties

 

  • Last but not least : Be happy!

Irresistible Avocadoes

I’d like to share with you my love for avocadoes. If you are not an avocado lover yet, you may now be. Full of oleic acid, fibre, vitamin E, and packed with anti-oxidants. It has a rejuvenating effect on your body. It gives you beautiful complexion (besides being anti-ageing) and keeps your hair luscious which men just love! With the right type of fat it contains, it will keep your hearts healthy for donkey years. It is an incredible fruit; containing over 20 vitamins and minerals.
Food for thought: Ayurvedic vaidyars consider avocadoes to be anti vata and anti kapha; therefore if occasionally you suffer from dry skin or joint aches, avocado is the remedy for you. It moisturises dry hair and moistens dry lungs. It is a builder of ‘ojas’, hence it is wonderful as baby food! With its high content of electrolytes as well as containing calcium and magnesium, it is crucial for muscle functioning and balance, making it ideal for you to re-fuel after your TRX or HITT sessions or bodypump classes!You name it !

Have your avocadoes on toast, in smoothies, in salads, as a side guacamole or in a chocolate mousse below !
Nutrient breakdown per half avocado:
• Protein } 1/2 avocado contains 2g protein
• Fibre } 1/2 avocado contains 7g fiber
• Healthy fats } 1/2 avocado contains 15g fat
• Vitamins :Vitamin C } 17% DV; Vitamin E } 10% DV ;Vitamin K } 26% DV ; Folate } 20% DV ;B6 } 13% DV ; B5 } 14% DV
• Minerals : Magnesium } 7% DV ;Potassium } 14% DV; Copper } 9% DV ;Manganese } 7% DV

Dark Chocolate and Avocado Mousse for you and your guests

Ingredients:

2 very ripe avocados, 3 tbsps cocoa powder, squeeze of lime juice or more, 3-5 tbsps of organic runny honey (or agave syrup).
For the honeyed strawberries: 200g of strawberries, halved and thickly sliced,1 tbsp of organic runny honey, a good squeeze of lime/lemon juice.

Method :
Combine the strawberries, honey and lemon/lime juice. Cover and leave for 20-30 minutes then, once the juices start to seep out of the berries, stir again an set aside until ready to serve.  Meanwhile, make the mousse, halve the avocadoes, remove the stones, peel , and put the flesh in a food processor. Add the cocoa powder, a good squeeze of lime juice, and 3 tablespoons of honey. Process to a velvety, thick puree, then taste and add more honey or lime juice as you like.
Scoop the mousse into small serving dishes, cover and chill for an hour or so. Serve the honeyed strawberries and their juices spooned on top.