By Natural Advocate | July 20, 2013 - 8:23 pm - Posted in Antioxidants, Detoxify

I know, very well, that green tea is all the health craze. It started about a decade ago when green tea was promoted as one of the so called “superfoods” that would help your body to prevent cancer, heal itself better and stay younger longer. Green tea was the bomb, and all the other teas were pretty much left in the dust. Plus, America was still having its love affair with coffee, the other hot caffeinated drink, so it took a few years for tea drinking to really catch on.

The problem I always had with green tea was its flavor. It was just too earthy tasting for me, and a bit on the bitter side. Something about this earthy flavor didn’t agree with me no matter how much lemon and sugar I added to it before drinking. I felt the same way about another antioxidant-packed hot drink yerba mate, and still feel that way today.

I’m a coffee drinker at heart, and will always love the smell of coffee in the morning and will also always love my creamer and sugar just a certain way. There’s nothing like holding that hot mug in your hands on your way into work in the morning and taking leisurely sips of the delectable concoction before you head into your hectic and stressful day.

Plus, it makes me feel more awake in the morning which I love. If I don’t get my coffee in the morning somehow my day feels incomplete. That creamy, sweet flavor is such a treat that I look forward to every morning! Sometimes I even have a cup mid-day if I’m running low on energy, although not very often. Tea usually has a lower amount of caffeine per cup, but not by too much.

So the green tea thing never quite worked out for me. Plus, the fact that you pretty much have to have several cups of green tea a day to reap the crazy-great benefits it supposedly offers for your health ensured that I would never be able to get the benefits I wanted out of drinking something that just didn’t agree with my taste buds.

Enter white tea! I tried this on a whim one time. It was on sale at the health food store I go to, so I threw a box of it in my cart and thought it might be an interesting thing to try. Plus, I do like to have various kinds of tea laying around for when I have tea drinkers at the house.

Well, it turns out that white tea is smoother tasting and less earthy and bitter than green tea. The interesting thing is, when I read about the differences between teas, the only difference is how they are processed. They all come from the same tea plants, but they are all just processed in a slightly different way.

In addition to this finding, I read a few interesting articles that actually argue that white tea is in fact the more healthy tea to drink. It supposedly has been found to have even more of the active compound that makes green tea so healthy, EGCG, which is a powerful antioxidant compound that can protect your body and organs from degeneration, protect your from cancer and even protect you from heart disease (and give you prettier skin and keep you more youthful looking if you believe some articles!)

That’s quite a list of impressive benefits, so it’s no wonder people drink so much tea (although it still lags behind coffee as the most popular hot drink). White tea is definitely my preference when it comes to green tea and white tea. It’s about the same price, sometimes a little more expensive if you buy the organic kind or if it’s a fancy brand, so you’re paying about the same amount.

I enjoy the “infused” teas that have fun flavors mixed in. Perhaps they have some lemon peel in their or orange peel or some other organic spice to add a little different flavor. It keeps it interesting, plus it feels more like you’re drinking something fun rather than healthy, which can be boring as we all know ?

 

By Natural Advocate | March 10, 2013 - 9:03 pm - Posted in Antioxidants, Foods

I’ve never been a huge orange eater. I was more of a lesser-commitment clementine eater. I liked that it was just a small palm sized fruit that peeled super easily and rarely got the juices on your hands. It is a neat and quick snack in other words. And when clementines are good, they are so good. They’re really sweet!

However, lately I’ve gotten into eating full sized oranges of the navel variety. They are absolutely delicious lately. They’re juicy and super sweet, which makes them an excellent snack for in between meals. They also contain lots of fleshy fiber, which helps to fill you up and are positively loaded with vitamin C.

In addition, the white stuff that most people peel off their oranges is really nutritional for you. So don’t peel it all off, actually eat some of it with your slices. Oranges are not only packed with vitamin C, which is a necessary antioxidant and a precursor to collagen production, but they are also low in calories.

They usually have about 70 calories for a mid-sized orange. That’s perfect for a snack, and since one fills you up nicely for in between meals, it’s a tiny calorie expenditure for a big bang.

The one problem that I do have with navel oranges is that they are a little less convenient to eat than other fruits like a banana or an apple. The peel is often so thick that you can’t pierce it with a fingernail like you can do with the thinner skinned clementine.

Oranges are also very hit or miss for quality. I’ve bought oranges before that are dried out and not very juicy or that are more on the bitter side than the sweet side, so it is a risk every time you buy them. Lately they’ve been on sale in 8 pound bags so I’ve been buying them up and have had zero issues with quality this winter.

Also, they tend to spray orange juice allover you as you open them and inevitably pierce the orange itself trying to get the peel off to get to the fruit. So they can be kind of messy.

They can make your hands sticky. But that’s nothing compared the nutritional boost they give you. Just carry a wettened napkin around, or run to the bathroom after you eat one to wash up. And hey, worse comes to worse, smelling like an orange is not a bad thing!

 

By Natural Advocate | December 10, 2012 - 4:46 pm - Posted in Antioxidants

I was making my holiday green beans (not the casserole, but a savory dish using carmelized onions, green beans, sage and other seasonings along with toasted almonds), and I started to think about what the health benefits of the spice sage might be. After all, it’s got that dark green color and has the sort of earthy taste that you’d definitely correlate with health and well being.

It just “tastes healthy” if you know what I mean, so I decided to google it and see what the actual benefits were of this spice that I use a lot in cooking to flavor my food. But who knows, I could also be adding unknown copious amounts of health and vitamins to my food as well, and that’s just a really great thing to know?!

Sage actually contains several very potent antioxidants as it turns out. They contain way more antioxidants, ounce for ounce than most fruits and veggies actually, but this is common for herbs because they are so potent and often retain a lot of their nutrients even once they are dried and powdered because they are in such a pure form.

Sage contains several antioxidant enzymes for example.  It also contains many flavonoids, which are a potent class of antioxidants, and phenolic acids all of which are very active and powerful antioxidants that help scrub the body for cell-damaging free radicals.

Sage is a member of the rosemary family, and contains an acid called rosemarinic acid.  This acid is actually a very good anti-inflammatory, which means it is incredibly useful in helping to battle any type of inflammatory pain in the body. It is a great addition to the “anti inflammatory diet”.

Sage also retains a lot of its nutrients through cooking and higher temperatures which makes it a really great spice for cooking.

By Natural Advocate | November 15, 2012 - 4:28 pm - Posted in Antioxidants, Foods

We’ve seen enough conflicting news reports, studies and conjectures about wine and whether it is healthy for us (particularly red wine which is the one that is usually discussed when it comes to health benefits) or whether it will be our undoing.

I will start off by saying I am a huge fan of red wine. I’m a much bigger fan of red wine than I am of white wine, and I like my wine on the sweeter, less acidic side. I know this is probably not as healthy as a lower sugar red wine, but hey that’s my taste and what can I do about that?

Interestingly, sugar in wine is one of the reasons that it may be a little less healthy for you than thought. As you probably already know, sugar is related to a host of health problems because of how it is metabolized by the body and because of the destructive effect it has on the blood sugar which is related to a bunch of other organ and system functiond of the body.

Also, because sugar is metabolized before fat in the body, you tend to be heavier if you eat a lot of sugar since the body goes for the sugar first and ends up storing the fat.  Since being overweight or obese is a health risk, this sugar factor is something to consider in itself.

However, I thnk in comparison to all the other options out there when it comes to alcoholic beverages, wine is definitely the  most preferable.  Compare wine with its plethora of antioxidant to something like beer or a stiff drink of hard liquor mixed with something sweet.  It’s a lot better comparatively than that.

Cholesterol benefits

Some red wines actually have the ability to help lower your bad cholesterol levels.  The findings on this are quite significant and nothing to shake your head at.  The grapes that are used in these beneficial red wines are often very high in fiber and antioxidants.

The exact mechanism by which they lower the cholesterol in the body are unknow, but there’s no counting out the possibility that people who drink these red wines also happen to have certain dietary or exercise habits that facilitate a healthy level of cholesterol. 

Cancer prevention

Red wine contains the well-publicized compound called resveratrol which is one of the most potent antioxidants discovered over the last decade.  There are currently pharmaceutical and supplement companies working on ways to bottle this valuable nutrient, which is hard to get into concentrations large enough to do real benefit in a pill.

The best way to get this nutrient is to drink red wine whenever you do choose to imbibe and enjoy an alcoholic beverage.  This antioxidant has some potent anti-cancer properties which helps to keep the cells of the body healthy and prevent them from growing cancerous.

It may help keep you thin

Counterintuitively from my previous point about red wine having sugar in it (at least certain kinds have higher sugar counts), red wine also may help keep you thin.  This is also due to the resveratrol content in the wine, which has shown great promise in being a weaspon against obesity. 

I must say that when I enjoy a glass of wine with my dinner, I notice that I automatically eat less. Perhaps it’s the warm, pleasant feeling the red wine gives my belly that fillds some void that the food would have filled otherwise, but I’ve remarked to my husband that I do feel that red wine is somehow an eating deterrent/appetite suppressant for me. Guess there really was something to that!

Prostate cancer and breast cancer are two of the most well-publicized cancers today. Why would that be? Well, they are extremely common first of all, and one of them affects men a lot and the other affects women a lot. Hence all the public attention on these two types of cancer.

Just to demonstrate their commonness, I know someone personally who has been affected by each of these cancers. Both of them also happened to sadly succumb to these cancers, so I have intimate knowledge of how they can insert themselves into the lives of your family and friends. Chances are you who are reading this also may know someone who has had one of these types of cancers.

Green tea is something else that has received a lot of media coverage. But it is for its awesome health benefits and very high and effective antioxidant counts that it receives so much attention.  Green tea may not be the tastiest of teas (that’s just my opinion) but heck, add  a little sweetener and compliment it with some fruit leaves or some other kind of designer tea and you’ve got a nice hot treat.

Green tea also happens to be an effective cancer-fighting agent which has been studied extensively.  The reason for this is that it has several compounds and natural chemicals which have shown to be very efficient at helping kill cancer cells as well as to prevent cell mutation.

Since it is an incredibly popular drink already in Asia, and Asians happen to have a lower rate of many types of cancers, this is where the interest really came in for studying it further.  Many studies have concluded that it can be a great help in your quest to remain cancer free, but you really do need to drink it pretty much every day to get the maximum benefits.

To some people that is easy, to others it would feel like a chore. The most recent study showed that green tea seemed to have the greatest anti-cancer benefit when it came to the two types of cancer we discussed above, which are prostate and breast cancer which means that it can greatly benefit both women and men this way.

So go on out and get yourself some really great (preferably infused) organic green tea. Organic is really the only way to go with tea since it eliminates the toxins that are typically sprayed on tea leaves like insecticides, fungicides and other chemicals.


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