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

Ultimate facts about Omegas

essentialfatsOmega 3 Fats are essential fatty acids required for health and are required by the body to make anti-inflammatory hormones, known as the prostaglandin series 3. There are 2 ways to obtain Omega 3 in your diet. Plant sources of Omega-3, come from Alpha-Linoleic acid (ALA) which the body then converts to DHA and EPA, before use. It is important to note that we need a consume a considerable amount of dietary sources of ALA, as about 90% of us are poor at converting ALA into the required EPA and DHA. The benefit to consuming animal derived sources of Omega 3, is that the body can then immediately utilise the forms of EPA and DHA.

Omega 3 is valuable to health and should be consumed every day. Examples of food sources include oily fish such as mackerel (1422mg DHA/EPA per 100g) and salmon (2018mg DHA/EPA per 100g). For vegetarians and vegans: plant algae like Spirulina contain fair amounts of ALA, depending on the source and brand, herbs (Oregano-4180mg ALA per 100g); nuts (Walnuts -2006 mg ALA per 100g); seeds (Chia Seeds -17552mg ALA per 100g). Don’t forget your nut and seed derived products to top up your intakes (milks, butters, oils). In order for you to obtain most health benefits, the quality and dietary sources are very important and not always easy to adhere to: due to costs, geographical location, and environmental pollutants amongst others. Hence a supplement may be useful!But to choose the best one for you , always get in touch with an expert.

Omega 3 benefits are numerous, but here are my top 5

  • A contribution to normal blood cholesterol levels (ALA), EPA and DHA contribute to the normal function of the heart, and normal blood pressure. EPA and DHA have shown to contribute to normal blood triglyceride levels, when having an intake of over 2 g of EPA/DHA. Triglycerides are fats which are associated with heart disease when present in high levels.
  • Omega 3 is particularly vital for the health of mothers and children. DHA when consumed by the mother contributes to the normal brain and eye development of the foetus and breastfed infants. Essential fatty acids are needed for normal growth and development of children.
  • DHA is needed for normal brain function and vision. Research shows that DHA is important for the formation of the cellular membranes of nerve cells . Ongoing and exciting research is being done on DHA’s involvement in neurodegenerative disorders, so keep up with my blog for updates! DHA is found in the highest concentrations in the retina of the eye. The National Eye Institute is currently looking into whether Omega 3 supplements along with others can help with particular eye conditions.
  • Omega 3 fats are needed to absorb important nutrients such as the fat soluble vitamins, A, D E and K. These vitamins also provide health benefits as part of a varied diet.
  • Omega 3 fats are needed for the production of ‘eicosanoids’, which are signalling molecules involved with healing and repair processes in the body. Several studies have shown the benefits of omega 3 in reducing the effects of the mediators involved in inflammation. Dry eye syndrome has been found to have an inflammatory component, and could possibly benefit from omega 3 supplements.

 

References:

Gerster H. (1998) Can adults adequately convert alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)? Int J Vitam Nutr Res; 68:159-73.

Lui,A. and Ji, J. (2014). Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids Therapy for Dry Eye Syndrome: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Studies. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4165511/ [Accessed on 18.12.2015]

Lee, YH. Bae, SC. And Song, GG. (2012) Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22835600 [Accessed on 18.12.2015]

AREDS2 Research Group (2013).Lutein/Zeaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Age-Related Macular Degeneration. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial. Available from: https://nei.nih.gov/ [Accessed on 18.12.2015]

 

Beat the bloat for a flatter stomach.

Comments written for Byrdie Magazine on the following foods and their impact on a flatter stomach?

There is so much literature out there on how we can have a flatter stomach. Is it through solely exercise, water intake, a nutritious diet , hormonal changes, or are there certain foods that we eat that make us feel incredibly uncomfortable. Us, women often experience a lot of bloating and  the factors that can influence it are wide ranging. I was asked to write a few comments for an online magazine, Byrdie about whether these foods could have an impact on our stomachs and its distension. Can we beat the bloat for a flatter stomach with those ?This is the first part of 2 blogs i will be uploading.

Oats
Loving porridge oats? Well you should definitely keep up with it, if achieving a flat stomach is one of your health goals. Oats are packed with a form of soluble dietary fibre; ‘beta glucans’ which support healthy digestion and regular bowel movements with the excretion of dietary waste and toxins. These help prevent the bloat. Beta -glucans supports a reduction in the rise in blood glucose levels that occurs after meals. By keeping blood glucose levels stable, we feel fuller for longer and experience fewer of those nagging sweet cravings. This effect can help us lose our belly as part of a nutritious diet and active lifestyle. Jazz up your oats with goji berries, cinnamon, almond milk, and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

Garlic

Garlic is a world-renowned cure-all highly espoused as a home remedy in practically every culture. Studies conducted on animals so far, show that garlic may help in lowering blood glucose levels and lipid profiles in type 2 diabetics, which could help to better manage your weight. However, further research in the field must be carried out on its effect on weight in humans. Garlic’s active compound, ‘allium sativum’ has carminative properties; providing relief for excess flatulence and abdominal distension. A healthy body also relies on a healthy gut, which garlic can help support, being anti-microbial in nature. The latter properties may help to achieve a flatter stomach.

Fennel

We ought to use fennel in our goal in achieving a flatter stomach. This Mediterranean root vegetable has a pleasing licorice and aniseedy aroma with wide- ranging health benefits. Fennel seeds in particular are well known for their essential oils which support the body in absorbing nutrients present in food .They do so by stimulating the secretion of both digestive and gastric juices. Fennel’s carminative properties come from the active ingredient, ‘fenchone’ found in its seeds. Fenchone acts by relaxing the digestive’s tract smooth muscle lining and has long been known to provide relief from bloating, flatulence and indigestion. Its cleansing property is perfect to help flush out excess toxins. Latest research confirms the benefits of consuming fennel tea to help keep hunger at bay .Chew your fennel seeds after meals, use its leaves in your quinoa salads and don’t forget to sip on Heath and Heather’s fennel tea!

Chilli

Chillies don’t only add flavour and spice to our food but support the body’s metabolism through thermogenesis; our ability to produce heat to burn off fat and therefore excess calories. Chillies’ active components ‘capsicum annum’ and ‘capsaicin’, should be your ingredient of choice to help shift that stubborn layer of fat around the middle. Some studies show that chilli peppers cause an immediate increase in metabolic rate to 20% within thirty minutes of consuming a spicy chilli containing meal. Packed with Vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect our cells from free radical damage and support the normal production of collagen so is perfect in maintaining our youthful skins !

Asparagus

A luxury vegetable packed with fibre which supports healthy digestion and is particularly low in calories making it a great snack. It has natural diuretic properties so alleviating water retention and minimising the bloat. Asparagus are packed with ‘diosgenin’, a type of saponin (natural plant chemical), shown to support blood sugar level management and better control of the levels of fat .In addition, asparagus also contain ‘inulin’, supporting healthy gut bacteria. All these factors can help to achieve a flatter stomach.

References :

Ahuja, K. et al. (2006). Effects of chilli consumption on postprandial glucose, insulin, and energy metabolism. American Clinical Journal of Nutrition [Pub Med] online .Accessed at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/1/63.long

Bae, J. et al.(2015) .Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) Tea Drinking Suppresses Subjective Short-term Appetite in Overweight Women. Clinical Nutrition Research [PubMed] online. Accessed at :http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525133/

Clegg, M. E ; Golsorkhi, M. and Henry, C.J. (2013) .Combined medium-chain triglyceride and chilli feeding increases diet-induced thermogenesis in normal-weight humans. European Journal of Nutrition [online] .Accessed on: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-012-0463-9#page-1

El Khoury, D.et. al ( 2012) . Beta Glucan: Health Benefits in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. [Pub Med] online . Accessed on: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3236515/

Padiya, R. et al. (2011) Garlic improves insulin sensitivity and associated metabolic syndromes in fructose fed rats. Nutrition and Metabolism . [PubMed] online .Accessed on http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168415/

Tierra, M. (1998).The Way of Herbs. Published by Pocket Books, New York.

New Year 2016 : Health and Wellbeing -small steps towards a bigger goal

It’s a New Year, and we’re now into the third week of January 2016 !
So why not focus on your Health and Wellbeing? But where do we start? This is my first of a series of posts that will intend to potentially share useful information with you!

It is true that we often ‘try’ to start afresh on the 1st week of January every year. Our well-intended resolutions commonly include: exercise more, eat less sugar and junk, cut down on alcohol and caffeine, stop smoking and finally try that quinoa or matcha tea! Do we always succeed? Some do, in the short term but a lot of us cannot sustain these changes. How about changing your approach?” “ Instead of setting a date as a springboard and let the calendar do the rest”, set yourself SMART goals (specific measurable achievable realistic and time-bound). (Rose, J.)

Busy schedules often mean we have no time to pack lunches or healthy nibbles. Healthy snacks on the go that you could try !!: Kale crisps by Inspiral, Squirrel Sisters Bars, Ape Coconut Curls, Tamari Roasted Pumpkin Seeds by ClearSpring, GoMarcro by Macrobar.

What about exercise ? The gym and the same routine gets boring in the long run. These are a few locations in London that you can think of.

Exercise venues to try: Bouldering at the Urban Ascent (Parsons green), Boxfit at Frame (several locations), Dance classes at the Dance Attic (Fulham), Spinning at Psycle (Mortimer street/Canary Wharf), but also locally Ride Republic (Fulham).Ever heard of TruBe ? It’s a fitness app which brings the fitness session and the trainer to you.

Eateries to try ? These are not necessarily new, but offer you healthy options in London

Healthy eats to try: Ethos (Central London), The Good Life Eatery (Chelsea), Clifton Nurseries Café (Maida Vale), The Putney Canteen (Putney), Sticks and Sushi (Wimbledon or Central London),

Anything else?
Focus on your core, to support your back, improve your posture and the strength of your abdominals. Kibar, S. et al (2015)
.Examples include : Plank with an arm lift, Lateral Pillar Bridge and a Glute Bridge. Learnt some of those from Charlotte, an excellent pilates teacher now based in southfields!(Pilates by PT , find her on facebook!)

Book in for an appointment with me, to help you set your goals and make sustainable changes geared to your health and work/life balance.

Further information & inspiration on www.nutriaffairs.com.
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Ps:I am sorry to have been rather absent in writing new posts, but with a new role as a technical nutritionist, a holiday away, Christmas celebrations, and seeing clients, I found it tricky to keep up.

References
Rose, James (2015) therapist and performance coach. .www.cognitivedirection.com
Kibar , S. et al . (2015) :Is pilates exercise program effective on balance, flexibility and muscle endurance? Randomized, controlled study. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26473443.