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Go Green! - as in Green Tea!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

An ancient Chinese proverb states, "Better be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one." Now, I don't know that I would go that far, but I do know that I'm "a green tea granny nanny".

No one thing is a magic pill for all that ails us, but if there was one, green tea could be it - the Chinese have been using green tea as a medicine for over 4,000 years. There's been lots of info in the news about the benefits of drinking teas - and of all the teas, green, black & white, it appears that green tea is the superstar of them all.

Now most teas come from the leaves of the same bush - camellia sinensis - but the benefits of each kind of tea depend upon when and where the leaves are harvested and how their properties are brewed or extracted. To make green tea, the young leaves of the camellia sinensis are harvested, then steamed, dried and rolled.

All tea from the camellia sinensis family contain catechins - antioxidants that protect cells in the body from oxidative damage that may lead to cancers. Because green tea goes through less processing than other tea types, it contains a higher amount of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) - a specific kind of catechin.

And it is this EGCG that is at the heart of many of the studies researching green tea's potential health benefits - a few being:

- helping maintain a healthy weight (helps burn calories more effectively & decreases body fat)
- slowing the growth of some cancers and lower the risks of others
- reducing inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease & ulcerative colitis
- reducing the risks /effects of cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol levels, high blood pressure & slow build up of plaque

It's unlikely that most people drink enough of green tea to get the same results as the amounts used in studies, but it was found that people who drank 5 cups/day (one cup of green tea provides 20-35 mg of EGCG) that their risks of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer were lowered. However, it is thought that even drinking 1 or 2 cups/day may give some benefits.

I average 2 - 3 cups/day. Spreading drinking the cups of tea over the day is suggested to get the best benefits.

It's recommended that when choosing which green tea to buy - your nose knows. If it smells delicious it will usually taste that way when brewed. I prefer the flavoured varieties: Earl Grey, jasmine, ginger, pomegranate, blueberry & goji to name a few.

To brew:

-Use 1 bag (or 2 - 4 grams) per cup
-After boiling cold water, let is stand for 3 mins.
-Pour hot water over the tea & let it steep for at least 3 min. & then enjoy.

I actually add a bit of skim milk to mine, but I've read many conflicting studies about whether this inhibits the benefits of the antioxidants or not - some say yeh and some say nay. I just prefer the flavour with a bit of milk because that's ultimately why I drink it. I like the taste, it gets more water into my system, makes my tummy feel more full and I just find it comforting to enjoy a "cuppa"! Cheers!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PONSELLE 10/18/2008 8:59PM

    I love tea, any tea, fixed about anyway it can be fixed. Hot, cold , sweet or unsweet, with or without milk. I believe I've had tea everyday of my life- nearly anyway.I keep a box of green tea in my locker at work and have a cup with my lunch everyday. I hope this doesn't fall in the "too much of a good thing" catagory!! emoticon

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VANILLA_KIWI 10/2/2008 11:20PM

  Green tea is great! So good in the morning because it wakes me up. I also read that white tea is amazing for you too. It has less caffeine and more antioxidants... I drink both and avoid coffee and black/regular tea.

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KIMUSH23 10/2/2008 9:57PM

    I really wish that I could get excited about green tea like that...I will try several teas over the next few months as it will be colder and I always think that I should drink something warm at this time of the year...

Let Your Inner Spark Twinkle Brightly emoticon

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Put On Your Dancing Shoes

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That's what I did last Saturday night at a wedding. I danced my heart out and I'm still sore from it LOL!

I've always loved to dance & feel so carefree and light when I'm doing it so why don't I do it more often? One of my favourite mantras is "Moving More ... Eating Less" and dancing would definitely help me live up to it.

Dancing is so good for us for many reasons. Yup, I know it's a great form of exercise & because it's weightbearing it helps strengthen bones, which, of course, becomes more important as we age.

The Mayo Clinic reports that dancing helps
- Reduce stress
- Increase energy
- Improve strength
- Increase muscle tone and coordination


The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) says that dancing can:

- Lower your risk of coronary heart disease
- Decrease blood pressure
- Help you manage your weight
- Strengthen the bones of your legs and hips

All great reasons to dance more, but I didn't know that it improves blood flow to the brain (now I could definitely use more of that!) In fact, a 21 year study completed in 2003 at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that dancing helps prevent dementia - Alzheimer's & vascular dementia (the #2 form of dementia after Alzheimer's).

Dr. Verghese of the college stated that "dancing may be a triple benefit for the brain. Not only does the physical aspect of dancing increase blood flow to the brain, but also the social aspect of the activity leads to less stress, depression and loneliness. Further, dancing requires memorizing steps and working with a partner, both of which provide mental challenges that are crucial for brain health."

Sounds like I definitely should crank up the tunes and start "moving & grooving" more often - for lots of reasons!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRAYJAY23 9/25/2008 8:39AM

    Our whole Weight Watchers meeting last night was about the benefits of dancing.

Close the curtains people and crank up the tunes!

Have a great day!

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KIMUSH23 9/25/2008 12:26AM

    Well Val,

Out tripping the light fantastic and shaking your groove thing...that is really one of the best things for you...and if you sing while you dance it increases blood flow to your brain and vital organs and is supposed to make the dancing more effective...

Thanks for the nice blog...back at you! I think that you are just ... well what would tigger say "sparkeriffic"!

Have a SPARKERIFFIC day emoticon

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"Rest" Day

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm not an exercise fanatic by any means, but I find it difficult to take a break from it. It's not that I love to exercise, it's just that I feel so darn good about myself afterwards, that I've done something really good for "me" similar to eating a very nutritious meal. So for me today is a hard day to take - a "rest" day from exercise - no cardio, no strengthening exercises, nada, I didn't even do any "light" activities.

My body feels fine - yes, I have arthritic aches and pains, but nothing from doing too much or overtraining. Nevertheless, most exercise experts recommend taking an occasional day off from all activity - some suggest 1 - 2 days per week. They advise that exercise causes microtrauma to muscles and that it's during rest that they not only repair themselves, but they become stronger as well. Apparently, if proper rest & recovery time is not taken that they become weaker, more prone to injury and over time become less efficient in doing the work we want and need them to do.

Experts advise that we shouldn't wait until we feel sore from exercising and that skipping rest days is the most common cause of overtraining injuries. It is true that after I've taken a day or two off that I do feel refreshed and re-energized and my workouts do seem more effective. So I guess I just have to remember that "more isn't necessarily best" and that I'm being kind to myself by taking my "rest" day. Now I just wish SparkPeople would award SparkPoints for taking a day off LOL!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NASFKAB 6/15/2014 12:51AM

  all the best

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KIMUSH23 9/14/2008 11:56PM

    Hey There...

Congrats on your 1st blog...

And you are so correct...we have been socially indoctrinated so that when we (women) rest, relax, or take a break we feel guilty. You have earned and deserve a rest --- so kick up your feet and just "breathe"...

Have A Great Night emoticon Kim

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 9/14/2008 11:06PM

    I hope you enjoyed your rest day. Your blog is so true. I also find it very hard to take a day "off". Someone always finds something hard for me to do if they know I'm not doing anything as far as exercising goes. Today it was cleaning and moving refrigerators...very hard work!!!
I hope you used your day to relax.
God bless you.

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SKYFYRE 9/14/2008 10:59PM

    Heehee I love the last part! Good for you for taking a rest day it is very important! I hope you enjoyed it a little!

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