I'm drinking more tea since I learnt this
Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world after water and is a major source of dietary flavonoids. Yet surprisingly, the way in which tea supports our health is still unknown (June, 2019).
If you don't yet drink enough tea (I don't) then perhaps it is time to take up the habit. Here's why.
For centuries, tea has been anecdotally linked to digestive health, and research studies have convincingly associated consumption of black tea with reduced cardiovascular risk. This benefit is attributed to substances called polyphenols, such as catechins.
Breakdown of black tea improves our gut biome
Polyphenols are also in other (non-black) teas and in orange skin, for example. What's different about the black tea polyphenols (BTP) is that they are heavier molecules and can resist breakdown in our stomach. In other words, BTPs are too large for direct bioavailability for our metabolism - like some fibres which are not readily digestible in our stomach.
It takes the power of our colon break down these big boys, and when that happens, other magic happens associated with our gut biome.
The microflora in the colon bioconvert the BTP to make the polyphenols available to other parts of our metabolism, and concurrently this breakdown improves gut microbial diversity.
Hence, BTPs give us direct benefits associated with polyphenols from their anti-inflammatory and blood pressure-lowering properties. They also give us indirect benefits from the byproducts of breaking down in the gut, such as improvements in platelet and endothelial functions (which may be why black tea benefits diabetics).
The interaction between the gut biome and the rest of our body is still far from understood. Humans are superorganisms, and the gut is part of our super-complicated system of how we stay healthy. Some studies suggest that the BTPs are even more effective when they are digested in conjunction with fibre and especially prebiotic fibres as in bananas.
Nine reasons to drink tea plus one more for the brain
Tea's benefits are all great news for tea drinkers because black tea offers such an impressive array of benefits - including:
Also, evidence continues to emerge that tea may act to improve cognitive function. For example, a study showed that green tea increases brain activation in a key area that improves immediate language processing and short-term recall. Other research suggests that tea polyphenols may be useful for the prevention or treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases.
For smokers, however, it has been found that black tea does not confer many of these benefits. If you smoke, this is one more important reason to quit.
How many cups should we drink daily?
What we need to know is what "dose" is effective? Some studies have not found beneficial effects, and this has been put down to too low a dose of black tea.
We need to know the "physiologically relevant dosage". We are looking for long-term persistent results, not just directly after drinking tea.
In a study of dose, two healthy volunteers drank 4 cups of Lipton green tea every day for four days. Tests recorded levels of BTP, and its byproducts which were sufficient to activate the associated benefits.
You want to get the most benefits without overdoing the caffeine. Therefore, consider drinking between 3 and 6 cups of tea per day. No sugar of course! Added sugar will do more damage than the benefits of the tea.
I mix green and back in the one pot and drink 4 to 5 cups a day. I also cheat a little by emptying a teabag into my oats each night, which I then heat and cool to make them prebiotic. That way I get the fibre as well as the tea BTPs.
Good luck. I'm off to have a cup of my mixed tea with lunch.
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Here’s why, and how to fix it
Vitamin D is free - from sunshine, yet amazingly vitamin D deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide (2019).
This deficiency is terrible for our health, and neglectful, considering how easy it is to get the optimum dose.
Including helping maintain healthy blood pressure
High blood pressure is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease in developed countries. Yet some countries, such as Italy and Japan, have low rates of high blood pressure and lower mortality rates due to CVD.
That's not because they all go to the gym 5 times a week or due CrossFit. The reason is far less complicated and available to everyone.
They eat more fruit and vegetables, and in particular more nitrate-rich vegetables.
50-percent of the health benefits are from the skin
In the Western world, citrus peels are mostly just byproducts of juicing and treated as waste. That's a pity, as they contain many phenolic compounds which are proven to be beneficial to our Western lifestyle and diet-induced diseases.
By consuming the whole citrus fruit, we gain far more health benefits than by just eating the flesh. There are more health benefits from compounds in the skin and membranes than from just those in the flesh.
The compounds in the non-flesh parts of oranges are so powerful that in some parts of the world they are used as traditional medicine to cure fungal and bacterial infections, human colon and breast cancer by alternative therapists.
Swap snacks for these nuts and watch your weight benefit
Pistachio nuts are often regarded simply as a salty snack - calorie-heavy and salted to tempt you to drink more. That's unfortunate, as there is a lot more to pistachios than just being a great beer snack.
They are one of healthiest nuts that you can eat, along with almonds and walnuts and Brazil nuts. And they can help you better manage your weight.
How slow is slow, and is the fat-burning zone even true?
We've all heard about the "fat-burning zone" and that we should exercise aerobically at low intensity to burn the most fat. I've always been sceptical about this advice, so I dug into the science.
Does the science support this advice, and what is low intensity anyway?
But if you don’t do these three things you're unlikely to keep it off
If you're looking to lose weight and to keep it off, you've no doubt been told to avoid crash dieting. Often The Biggest Loser is cited as the worst example to follow. We all know that the contestants mostly put all their weight back on, and more, right?
What research shows works best is what you've been told not to do. A study just published (March, 2020) confirms yet again that a large rapid rate loss is the best predictor of the long term ability to maintain weight loss.
Headline: to maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure, people must limit their coffees
Drinking too many cups of coffee a day is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), e.g. heart disease and stroke, new research from the University of South Australia reveals.
The world enjoys about three billion cups of coffee every day. We'd hope that we're not poisoning ourselves! If you've ever felt jittery or irritable after one cup too many, then you are edging on the dangers found by the researchers.
I don’t feel jittery or irritable but I do drink more than the recommended number of cups daily. All things considered, I probably won’t cut back.
These superfoods are easy to include in your diet
You've heard a lot about superfoods. Often it is an exotic list of foods that you might try once, but are unlikely to add to your regular diet e.g. ginseng, pomegranate, quinoa.
Here is a list of "everyday" common foods that contain some superfood qualities that are great for your body. These are among the healthiest foods that you'll see on your everyday supermarket shelves.
Be kind to yourself
What we eat affects how we feel, but, unfortunately, how we feel affects what we eat! If we feel stressed, we make poorer food choices, which sets up a circle of feeling bad.
Right now, the number one rule is to be kind to yourself. If you're making poor food choices, then that's a natural outcome of the circumstances. It's not going to kill you. Rest assured you're not alone.
If you'd like to try to break the pattern, I have some suggestions for you.
Since I was diagnosed at 50 with Type 2 diabetes I've been learning how to do bone-building fitness training which lowers my age. You can too. It's your choice. Walter