Say hello to the new poster boy for winos everywhere.
Are you a coffee or a tea person? I’m both. Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon. And while I love coffee a little bit more, I have to admit that tea is much better for me, or anyone.
Not all teas are the same, of course – some have more health benefits than others, but it seems as if there is a tea for every problem you may have. Here is a little tea guide:
Green Tea: This common and popular tea can lower cholesterol and help to burn fat. It can even prevent the clogging of arteries!
Lemon Ginger Tea: Lemon combined with ginger are said to be natural immune-boosters and can even help to fight bacteria. This tea can therefore support your body during cold and flu season. Ginger is also recommended when feeling nauseous.
Peppermint Tea: This tea is not only very refreshing (especially when cold), but it also helps you when you feel bloated as it relieves muscles.
Chamomile Tea: The flowers of the chamomile plant have a calming effect, which is why chamomile tea is recommended before going to bed or if you are struggling with insomnia.
Rooibos Tea: Listen up, ladies! This tea will make your skin glow as it is full of antioxidants. Moreover, it contains Vitamin C; the perfect health-kick-tea!
Dandelion Tea: This one’s not as common, but you might want to look out for it during your next visit to a health store as dandelion tea has detoxifying qualities and supports a healthy liver function.
White Tea: White tea contains the least amount of caffeine and can boost your metabolism.
The bottom line is that your body will benefit from any kind of tea, but knowing the effects of different teas will make it easier to make a smart choice when it’s tea time.
Inflammation is an important part of our body as it assists in the healing process, but too much inflammation can wreak havoc with our insides and lead to all sorts of problems such as acne, autoimmune disease, arthritis and even cancer, according to various studies.
Nutrition is an alternative way to combat this issue, so what are some the easiest anti-inflammatory foods to incorporate into your diet?
This yellow spice is a commonly used ingredient in Indian curries, but it’s also renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies suggest that Turmeric contains compounds that combat swelling and inflammation and contains curcumin, which has been reported to positively assist with arthritis symptoms.
With a relatively versatile flavour, turmeric can be incorporated into most dishes and can even be sprinkled over roast vegetables. It can also be included into a morning smoothie or enjoyed with milk.
A popular spice used in baked goods, cinnamon is said to be the go-to for relieving sugar cravings as it reduces the rise of blood sugar-levels when eating. What’s more, according to various studies, it also contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help to ease swelling.
So next time you order a latte or coffee, opt for a sprinkling of cinnamon on top. Alternatively you can add a dash to your morning muesli or cereal, or sprinkle it over baked sweet potato for an extra burst of flavour.
Not only are sweet potatoes high in antioxidants and lower in calories than regular potatoes, according to Live Science, due to the colour-pigmented vitamins, they’re high in anti-inflammatory benefits. One sweet potato is reported to contain roughly half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Opt for sweet potato next time your making mash, roasting vegetables, or making homemade fries – you can also incorporate it into your soups.
Ginger is available all year round and is regularly used in Asian dishes to a add flavour. The zesty spice contains a very potent anti-inflammatory compound called gingerols, which scientist claim reduces inflammation and pain levels of people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis who frequently consume the spice.
While ginger is best enjoyed in stir-fry’s, you can also add it to a green juice or smoothie for an extra kick.
Packed full of omega-3, walnuts boast various health benefits. Research also indicates that foods high in omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and can help to lower the risk of heart disease and arthritis.
According to the Heart Foundation, foods such as oily fish, dark leafy green vegetables, flaxseeds and eggs are among some of the other foods high in omega-3.
Image via Shutterstock
Aussies love wine, and we’re not bad at making it either. Not only is Australia consistently ranked among the world’s top wine-producing regions, our wine is now sold in over 100 countries around the world. Australian wines have taken home prizes from nearly every international wine competition, and we hold the record for the sale price of a single bottle (predictably, it was an early Grange vintage that sold for $50,000 at auction in 2004).
Health and wine: Where did it all start?
Wine has long been associated with a wide range of remedial benefits, and is the world’s earliest documented man-made medicine. Significantly, it has a credible history of use as a primitive form of medication “being recommended variously as a safe alternative to drinking water, an antiseptic for treating wounds, a digestive aid and as a cure for a wide range of aliments, including lethargy and diarrhoea.”
Resveratrol – A magic ingredient?
Of the many chemicals contained in red wine, resveratrol is a phenolic antioxidant that was discovered in 1939, and since has been subject to extensive clinical study and investigation. In addition to grape skins, the chemical is also found in peanuts, blueberries and cranberries.
“Resveratrol is a stilbenoidphenolic compound found in wine, produced in the grape skins and in the leaves of grape vines. It has received a lot of attention in both the media and medical research community for its potential health benefits.”
Findings from animal tests have been favourable for resveratrol to date; it was seen to lower blood sugar levels in mice, and improve cardiovascular function, while extending the longevity of fish.
Furthermore, the compound “has been shown to be a potent biological agent that may offer protection against cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.”
Although red wine and white vine grape varieties produce similar amounts of resveratrol on the vine, red wine ultimately contains more than white, since red wines are produced by maceration (soaking the grape skins in the must).
Thus, red wine is widely recognized to have more health benefits than white wine. The length of time that grapes are left to ferment determines the amount of the chemical that the finished wine contains.
FACT: Red wine has more antioxidants than açaí juice
But it doesn’t end with resveratrol, red wine is full of polyphenols including proanthocyanidin; a powerful antioxidant. In fact, some red wines have more antioxidants than commercial grape juice, raw blueberries and even miracle fruits like açaí. In the fruit juice category, a full-bodied red wine will even beat pomegranate juice.
Wines with highest quantities of antioxidants are generally the darkest red in colour. Since antioxidants come from the pips and skins of a grape, as well as from contact with oak, full-bodied red wines that have been aged in oak will have the highest antioxidant properties.
But what is the value of consuming food or drink that are high in antioxidants? Doctor Philip Norrie explains: “An anti-oxidant is a thing that stops oxidation. Oxidation is basically rusting, so when we’re ageing we’re oxidising or degenerating or rusting, so if you can block that process, then you get all these health benefits because vascular disease, dementia, diabetes, all these cancers are forms of degeneration or oxidation.”
Everything in moderation
All the medical and scientific studies define drinking in moderation as drinking approximately two standard drinks on any one day for an average man, and one to two drinks for an average woman, so that any potential harm to the human body is minimized, and any potential benefit is maximised.
Image via fitsugar.com
‘Superfood’ is a term to describe a type of food that is supposed to have exemplary health benefits and these days we seem to be hearing this term more frequently. Goji, acai and blueberries have all been labelled with the term ‘superfood’ and they definitely pack a lot of punch when it comes to beneficial properties. Here’s why:
Goji berries are native to the Himalayas but can also be found growing wild in Mongolia – a testament to how well they grow in harsh climates. Most of the commercially produced berries are now grown in China and are sometimes referred to as ‘red diamonds’. For centuries they have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes because of their impressive makeup with all of the essential amino acids, numerous vitamins and fifteen times the amount of iron found in spinach. Although there hasn’t yet been extensive testing carried out on these berries it is thought that they have a range of health benefits.
- The beta-carotene helps to promote healthy skin
- The high levels of vitamin C can help to boost your immune system
- The amino acids help to build muscle and produce energy
- The antioxidants in Goji berries can help to repair cell damage
- In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries are thought to help with dizziness and eyesight
Acai berries are most commonly found in the Amazon rainforests and for centuries have been known for their healing and energy-boosting properties. The berries grow near the top of the acai palm tree in huge clusters and are highly perishable which means that harvesting them can be extremely laborious because they need to ensure that the fruit is not damaged when picked. Each berry only contains 10% fruit and they have a large seed, but despite this they are packed full of antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fibre. Here is what Acai berries can do for your health:
- The fibre can help to aid digestion
- The antioxidants in acai berries can help to maintain a healthy heart
- The amino acids in acai berries can help with endurance, strength and energy production
- The impressive number and high levels of vitamins can help to boost your immune system
- The antioxidants can help to combat premature aging
Blueberries have been around for centuries and date back to when Native Americans collected them from forests in North America and used them for medicinal purposes. They can now be found worldwide and they belong to the Ericaceae family of woody shrubs that love acidic soil. Other members of the family are the bilberry, cranberry and ligonberry. Blueberries are jam-packed full of antioxidants and are extremely beneficial for our health. Here’s what they are famous for:
- The antioxidants can help to improve cognitive function including memory
- The antioxidants found in blueberries can help to prevent cancer
- They have anti-inflammatory effects
- Blueberries can help to prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder, urethra and gut
- The anthocyanin in blueberries helps to protect the retina in our eyes from sunlight
- Blueberries can help with the regulation of our blood sugar levels
So why not consider throwing some of these berries into your diet? For me, the benefits are too good to refuse.
Image via puregoodness.net
Yoga and Pilates
Yoga – a peaceful way to start the dayWhat they?re all about
Yoga was originally established 5000 years ago as a style of meditation. Meaning union in
Sanskrit, yoga focuses on aligning one’s physical, mental and emotional sides. The main form of yoga is called Ashtanga, and is focused on a precisely designed sequence of postures linked with breath and movement. By doing a series of stretches and breathing exercises, the aim is for the body, mind and spirit to align and ultimately benefit. The stretches increase flexibility and strength and free energy blocks. The series of breathing techniques and imagery helps the mind forget all outside disturbances therefore concentrate on their inner harmony.
Pilates has a little more movementPilates is loosely described as yoga with movement. It was developed by Joseph H. Pilates almost a century ago, who claimed that “In ten sessions, you will feel the difference. In twenty, you will see the difference, and in thirty, you’ll have a whole new body.” Pilates is focused on deep breathing and keeping the mind focused on the moment. It also features movement, therefore the muscles get stretched and strengthened at the same time. Pilates is very much focused on the torso and the often forgotten abdominal muscles. Exercises on the lower back, legs, hips and buttocks are generated from this area thus resulting in strengthened stomach muscles and ultimately a better posture.
Even the Smurphs are getting into yogaWhat they?ll do for you
Although there is more movement in pilates, the health benefits from the two are reasonably similar. Both boast weight loss, strengthened back muscles resulting in less back aches, improved arthritis, decrease of stress levels and increase of effective relaxation which leads to lower blood pressure.
One extra benefit for pilates is the change in body shape, due to strengthening of previously underused muscles. Many pilates enthusiasts speak of a longer, leaner body with stronger abs and buttocks.
Christy Turlington’s yoga rangeFamous Fans
Stars such as Meg Ryan believe yoga has changed their lives by making them calmer and helping them connect mind, body and soul. Yoga has also been popular with Jerry Seinfeld, Raquel Welch, Bianca Jagger, Nick Cage, Gwenyeth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz. Christy Turlington has even forged a new career from yoga with a range of yoga inspired fashions and accessories.
Madonna is a fan of both yoga and pilatesPilates has gained recent popularity in Hollywood circles. Madonna, formerly known for her love of yoga, has experimented with pilates and sings its praises as well. Other celebrities such as Marisa Tomei, Patrick Swayze, Vanessa Williams and Jamie Lee Curtis all swear by it.