For centuries, many cultures have been drinking tea for its health benefits. It is often spoken about as a wonder food for weight-loss and for its potent anti-oxidant powers. Over the last several decades, researchers have examined the extent of its long-purported health benefits, often noting positive results but offering no definitive answers.
While the mechanisms for green tea and appetite suppression or weight-loss still remain largely illusive, the results are always the same; Green tea is healthy and helps reduce fat!
A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that both Green Tea with caffeine and a high protein diet may independently improve weight management through thermogenesis (our bodies ability to burn calories through emitting body heat) and fat oxidation (our bodies ability to burn fat as energy), while sparing lean muscle and increasing satiety.
The benefits of Green Tea are thought to be largely due to a substance found within known as epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. EGCG is held to be one of the most potent naturally occurring antioxidants. Increasing evidence also suggests that EGCG can be beneficial in treating multiple cancers by hijacking the cells that keep cancer alive. One University of California study on the cancer-preventative qualities of green tea concluded that you could probably attain a healthy level of EGCG by drinking merely two cups per day.
So will this ancient appetite suppressant make you loose that excess weight you’ve been trying to shed? Well, the answer is…it can help. There is however no quick fix when diet and exercise are considered. It is important to focus on the big picture. This means a consistently healthy diet and work-out schedule. While Green Tea is not a miracle drug, it can certainly help with weight loss when taken in collaboration with a healthy diet. It should be thought of a another tool in your weight-loss arsenal.
It’s particularly important not to overbrew green tea to reap its total health benefits:
- Use one tea bag, or 2-4 grams of tea per cup.
- Fill a kettle with cold water and bring to a boil.
- After unplugging the kettle, allow it to stand for up to 3 minutes.
- Pour the heated water over the tea bag or tea, and allow it to steep for up to 3minutes. If using a tea bag, remove the bag.
- Allow the tea to cool for three more minutes.
Green tea can also be incorporated into food dishes, such as Shrimp with green tea leaves or other stir-fry or Thai inspired meals. Try making a marinade in a small bowl, mixing together soy sauce, brewed tea with tea leaves, chicken broth, sesame oil, sugar and black or white pepper.
If you’re more in the mood for a light refreshing beverage, try mixing up a green tea latte for a healthy summer treat that’s great with breakfast or for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. All you’ll need for this iced-blended Green Tea Latte recipe is:
• 1 cup cold, unsweetened soymilk
• 1 cup ice
• 1 Tbsp warm water
• 1 Tbsp Tupelo honey (or other mild honey)
• 1 tsp food-grade matcha (powdered green tea)
Throughout history blueberries have been a natural part of the human diet. Over the last several decades, scientists have acknowledged their possible health benefits. Current research suggests blueberries may serve to aid weight-loss and help to reduce the occurrence of both cardiovascular disease and cancer in the human body. Numerous nutritional studies have demonstrated that blueberries exert a powerful cardio-protective effect due to the fiber they contain. Furthermore, research suggests that these tasty berries supply our diet with plant polyphenols and anthocyanins that serve as potent anti-oxidants, which may help to alleviate specific conditions of aging. One study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry suggests that ‘moderate-term’ blueberry supplementation can confer neurocognitive benefits for individuals with declining cognitive function and symptoms of depression. So are blueberries a miracle cure for poor health? Well, no. However, when eaten as part of a balanced diet, you can ensure to reap the most benefit.
Fiber & Cardiovascular Health
It is recommended to include four to eight ounces of fresh blueberries daily to your diet or take an organic blueberry concentrate supplement to naturally improve health and prevent fat cell development. Since blueberries are loaded with soluble fiber, they help to reduce cholesterol absorption and elevate fat metabolism. The recommended intake for dietary fiber is between 20 to 35 grams per day for adults, or approximately 10 to 13 grams for every 1,000 calories in the diet. Since fiber-rich foods take longer to digest, they result in an increased feeling of fullness and satiety. In addition, the more gradual absorption caused by increased fiber intake slows the entrance of glucose into the blood stream, helping to prevent high blood glucose levels and insulin spikes.
Forget the little blue pill and try the little blueberry! Men’s Health magazine recently stated “Forget Viagra. Mother Nature’s original blue potency capsule may do even more for you.” Blueberries are also packed with phytochemicals, beneficial plant compounds, that help relax your blood vessels and improve blood circulation. Due to the benefits of lower cholesterol and better blood-flow, blueberries have been recommended as an aid for improving blood flow to the genitals.
Try eating these tart and tasty berries by themselves or on salads, desserts or drinks to boost your antioxidant intake. For a fancy smoothie or frozen after-meal treat try blending: Frozen unsweetened blueberries, frozen acai pulp, light agave nectar, mango, ice, limes, wheat germ, pineapple cubes, coconut water, flaked unsweetened coconut for a 288 calorie treat!
If you’re into more of a savory mood, try mixing up a Chicken-Blueberry Salad. This light, refreshing salad uses the sweet accents of blueberries to compliment the savoryness of chicken. Just mix together olive oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, chicken breasts, celery, sweet onion, red bell pepper, carrots, salad greens, blueberries for a 200 calorie meal
For a breakfast on the go, try baking these delicious healthy versions of blueberry muffins, with only 196 calories, 5 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. What you need: 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, 3/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup oat bran, 1/4 cup quick cooking oats, 1/4 cup wheat germ, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1 banana- mashed, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract,
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper muffin cups.
-In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, oat bran, quick-cooking oats, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed banana, buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until blended. Spoon into muffin cups, filling all the way to the top.
-Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched.
Scottsdale, AZ based celebrity personal trainer dish out all the health benefits of eating blueberries.