Tag Archives: Tea

Enjoy A Polyphenol-Packed Refresher

vine vera banner presents Enjoy A Polyphenol Packer Refresher matcha tea

It seems that most people believe there is no crisis that cannot be handled with a coffee. Indeed, judging from the human dependency on coffee, it would appear that most humans don’t believe themselves capable of addressing most of the daily challenges of life without some kind of caffeinated beverage on hand to lessen pain, speed thinking, and quicken reaction time. While the growing news about the health benefits of coffee seems to make it more and more attractive, coffee does have its downsides: namely the tendency to produce jitters, difficulty sleeping and the lows that result as a reaction to the caffeine-generated energy boost. What if you discovered that there has recently emerged a beverage that provides all the positive effects of coffee, with little of the negatives? Matcha tea, anyone?

What Is Matcha Tea?
Matcha tea is the age old newest thing to hit the market. It originated more than 1,000 years ago in Japan when Japanese monks discovered its ability to make them feel “calm, yet alert” during endless hours of meditation.

The reason that the tea is so strong is that the leaves are not steeped in bags, but dissolved in water, leaving all the antioxidant powers of the leaf intact. As a result, you get antioxidant levels 6.2 times that of goji berries, 17 times that of blueberries, 7 times that of dark chocolate, anti-carcinogenic and 60.5 times that of spinach.

Cancer Prevention
Green tea contains catechins, which are antioxidants which knock out free radicals in the body. The most potent catechin in green tea is EGCG, which is anti-carcinogenic properties. A 2003 study done at the University of Colorado found that one cup of matcha has 137 times the EGCG or regular green tea.

vine vera banner presents Enjoy A Polyphenol Packer Refresher matcha tea

Anti-Aging
Some of the oldest living people in the world live in Okinawa, Japan. The longevity of these people has been partially attributed to matcha green tea consumption. Although the tea is most popular in Japan, it is becoming widely recognized throughout the world for its ability to fight inflammation, aging, and oxidation.

Lowers Bad Cholesterol
According to a 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition green tea beverages can significantly lower serum total and LDL cholesterol concentration.

Weight Loss
A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conducted in 1999 revealed that catechins found in green tea extract have thermogenic properties capable of promoting fat oxidation beyond that explained by tea’s caffeine content. The study showed that consuming green tea increases the body’s thermogenesis, or rate of calorie burn, by 8-10% to 35-43% of energy expenditure daily. Yet another study showed that exercise done immediately after consuming matcha green tea resulted in a fat burning increase of 25%.

Mood Booster
Matcha tea can contain up to 5 times more L-theanine than most tea. L-theanine is an amino acid with psychoactive abilities which induce alpha wave activity in the brain. Stress is associated with the brain’s beta wave activity. Alpha wave activity combats this, relieving stress, promoting relaxation, and lowering blood pressure, counterbalancing the jittery effects of caffeine. Thus, matcha tea promotes clarity of the mind without the nervous energy related to coffee.

What do you think? Are you ready to trade in your daily java for some matcha? Let us know!

The Best Plant Extracts For Skin

Usually, when we think of the plights of ancient civilization, acne does not top our list. However, that does not mean skincare was not a problem for our forebears. After all, if there was a sun, was there not sun damage and, if there were pregnancies, were there not stretch marks? While we can pretty much assume our forefathers and mothers all battled with skin issues, there is a noticeable absence of the mention of benzoyl peroxide and hyaluronic acid in the history books. So what did our ancestors use to ensure skin health before the advent of “science-based skincare?” Plant extracts. And if they worked back then, shouldn’t they work now?

Let’s take a moment to investigate the best plant-based extracts for your skin that are still available.

Aloe vera

Aloe Vera
This extract has been around since time immemorial. Best known as a remedy for irritation and minor burns, this desert plant is known for its ability to fight bacteria, protect skin cells from damage, soften skin, and rebuild new tissue. Aloe is an ideal ingredient for mature skin and improves collagen levels when ingested or applied topically.

Tea Tree Oil
Ideal for moisturizing and cleansing, tea tree oils reduces sebum production in the sebaceous glands and reduces the amount of bacteria that cause blemishes to form. Its antiseptic properties make it an effective healer, it is known for its ability to safely remove dead cells from the skin and decrease the appearance of wrinkles.

Shea
Shea butter evens skin tone and protects and moisturizes the skin and scalp without clogging pores. Extracted from the nut of the West African karate tree, shea butter is naturally rich in vitamins A and E and helps restore elasticity to the skin and soothe irritation.

Shea butter

Olive Oil
Hailed as a skin care remedy by the ancient Egyptians, olive oil is still regarded as one of the most effective natural oils for skin care. It has been associated with everything from aiding in digestion to acne prevention and anti-aging. The words “Extra virgin” or “cold pressed” on the label should indicate that the olive oil contained within is the purest of all extract and have more nutritional components to improve skin appearance, but beware falsely labelled products!

Avocado
One of the finest extracts found in nature, the oil from the avocado is an extract long found in face masks, bath oils, and cleansing cream. Avocados are rich in vitamin A, which is effective at removing dead skin cells and contain amino acids which protect skin against environmental damage.

Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is known for the ability to reduce scars and is often recommended by surgeons to patients to reduce evidence of surgery incisions. It is credited with boosting collagen in the skin and reducing stretch marks and the appearance of wrinkles and frown lines. Cocoa butter is an active ingredient in most moisturizers and is useful in combatting rough skin where dryness is common.
Cocoa butter

Coconut Oil
Great for both hair and skin care, coconut oil is an effective moisturizer for dry skin and scalp. It can also delay the appearance of wrinkles and has been proven to be effective in the treatments of psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. The antioxidant properties of the coconut prevent premature aging and degenerative disease and it is available in a variety of skin care products, such as lotions, soaps, and creams.

Do you know of any plant extracts we haven’t mentioned that do wonders for your skin? Let us know your favorites. We’re all ears!

Become A Tea Aficionado

There are many reasons for becoming a tea aficionado. You might have some English friends that you want to impress with your newly learned extensive knowledge. You might be thinking of becoming a natural healer and want to include herbal teas in your repertoire. Maybe you think that every body needs to be an expert on something, so why not tea? Or, maybe you just want all your friends to know to buy you fancy tea sets on your birthday.

All kidding aside, tea has been associated with about every health benefit under the sun, from lowering risk of heart disease to cancer prevention and, if that isn’t a good enough reason to become a tea connoisseur, what is? Let’s take a look at how you can increase your experteas.

Woman with tea
Know Your Tea
There four main types of tea are white, green, black and oolong, here’s a little bit of information about each one.

White Tea
The least oxidized and processed of all the teas, white tea also contains the least caffeine and most antioxidants.

Green Tea
Green tea is steamed after it is harvested; this gives it its distinctive flavor and slightly more caffeine than white tea.

Black Tea
The most processed of the teas, black tea has the highest caffeine content, strong flavor and fewer antioxidants.

Woman with green tea
Oolong
With a caffeine content somewhere between that of green and black tea, oolong tea is a favorite among connoisseurs and features rolled or twisted leaves for a distinct appearance.

Tasting Tea
Lalith Lenadora is the East India Company’s chief taster. He says, to properly taste tea, “Take a small sip and let it cover the tip of your tongue. Then take a second sip and taste it with the back of your tongue. Now your taste buds are all awake as you take a third sip.” He also recommends that you slurp your tea to mix in air, however, you may want to avoid this at parties and social gatherings.

Appreciating Quality
While many big brand teas use machines to pick their tea leaves, others pick by hand to ensure the crop consists only of the bud and top two leaves of the tea bushes, which is as it should be. If you are going to become a tea aficionado, pay attention to where the tea comes from, how it is produced and whether or not the grower is getting a fair price.

Appreciating Variety
The flavor of tea is affected by the climate, soil and weather conditions in the region and year in which the crop is grown and the time of year in which it is harvested. The harvesting and blending will also have an impact on the taste. As Lenadora says, “You could probably try a different type of tea every day for the rest of your life and never run out of options.

Of course, after all this, you must find “your tea”. Let us know how you “found your tea” or maybe how you plan to. We want to hear all of your tea encounters! Let us know!

Herbal Teas That Soothe Your Stomach

Woman with tea
Dyspepsia. It’s the scientific term for the stomach ache and it would seem that no one is immune. When Justin Bieber tossed his cookies on the Arizona stop of his Believe Tour, captivated Beliebers would blog about it for days. Lady Gaga could not maintain her “Poker Face” when she threw up a whopping four times while on stage in Barcelona in 2009 all over her meat dress. Harry Styles managed to dodge public humiliation by hiding his regurgitational moment behind a stack of speakers, as did Rhianna, who briefly rushed off stage to blow chunks and came back to the mike without missing a note. What could they have all been drinking? It certainly wasn’t herbal tea.

To be fair, the demon alcohol is not always to blame for the stomach upset. it is quite possible that the Biebs was just having an unusual attack of nerves, and Gaga had eaten too much raw meat, but whatever the reason, herbal teas are a proven remedy for stomach upset and knowing what is causing the pain is crucial in choosing the right kind of tea to remedy it.

Peppermint tea Peppermint Tea
Just in time for the holidays, peppermint can heal an upset stomach and help with the bloating , flatulence, and indigestion associated with gas buildup. According to a study by the University of Maryland, peppermint works so well to soothe an upset stomach because it contains oils that stimulate gallbladder function and causes the body to release fat digesting bile. It can also soothe the liver and help relieve the symptoms of IBS.

Green tea Green Tea
It’s not easy being green, but green tea has managed to pull it off with aplomb. Known as one of the healthiest teas, green tea has been proven to improve memory, prevent diabetes and kill cancer cells, reduce blood pressure, and increase weight loss. Dr. Ritika Samaddar advises, “Try not to go for the popular brands because it hasn’t been proven that they work or are authentic. Instead, opt for the Chinese or Vietnamese variety.”

Bush Tea Bush Tea
Perhaps a bit lesser-known, but no less intriguing, bush tea is a deep red colored tea from Africa know as a better alternative to green tea. It is completely free of caffeine and is great for severe abdominal pain and stomach ache, as well as heartburn ulcers and constipation. Plus, it also has calcium for bone health.

Fennel Tea Fennel Tea
You may have heard of this plant being eaten in salad or as an accompaniment to fish. Fennel seeds, whether used for cooking or to make tea, can be used for “treating many digestive problems like heartburn, bloating, loss of appetite and colic in infants,” according to experts.

Ginger tea Ginger Tea
Ginger has long been hailed for its ability to cut bloating, so it follows that its offshoot, ginger tea is extremely effective for curing stomach aches. You can also add the ability to fight off motion sickness and headaches to its impressive resume.

Tell us all about the times you threw up! And let us know which teas worked for you. We await your comments!

Key Summer Smoothie Ingredients

Woman making a smoothie

Oh the smoothie!  How we love them in the summer.  So packed with health that you can practically feel the energy returning to your body as you pour it down your throat after an intense workout.!  And, they actually taste and look good too.  In fact, smoothies may have become the new fashion accessory.  People actually look healthier and more hip just holding them in their hands!

Somewhere between a milkshake and a juice cocktail, smoothies got their name from an adolescent named Steven Kuhau,  Steven had grown tired of seeing all his friends drink the wonderful concoction called the milkshake,  You see, Steven was lactose intolerant and he was unable to drink milk products like all the other boys and girls; so he decided to create his own version made with fresh fruit, ice and juice and he called it a smoothie.  Steven found out that not only was his smoothie delicious, but it also helped control his allergies and blood sugar levels.  Steven opened a health food store called, “Smoothie King” and now he is super rich!

Smoothies have come a really long way from the “Smoothie King”  days.  Nowadays we incorporate everything from veggies to nuts into our smoothies as we become more aware of how important it is to get adequate amounts of vitamins each day.  Here are some more out of the box ingredients that you may want to try in your next recipe.

Spinach smoothie

Spinach
We have all seen the cartoon Popeye and have observed the sailor’s muscles bulge as the spinach travels through his body.  Well, this image may be closer to reality than you think!  Spinach contains iron and zinc and has a real impact on athletic performance.  It helps to ease muscle fatigue and contains folate which produces new RNA and DNA cells.  Especially good for the pregnant ladies!

Tart Cherry Juice
Did you know that in a test, athletes who drank 12 oz. of tart cherry juice two times a day actually reported lesser aches and pains than those who were given a placebo?  Sold me!  It also prevents cancer and oxidative damage and serves as an anti-inflammatory.

Greek Yogurt
Is there anything that doesn’t mix with Greek Yogurt?  This is the thicker version of it’s not so Greek cousin has 3X the amount of calcium and 2X as much protein and is also great for GI and immune health.

Citrus smoothie

Citrus Fruits
We have been putting them in smoothies ever since Orange Julius, but there is a reason for that.  Filled with Vitamin C, citrus fruits are some of our bodies best friends.  They contain folate which produces body cells, are rich in fiber and great got our GI system and muscles repair.  Lemons, grapefruit, and orange are all stellar examples.

Tea
Tea, especially the green kind, is full of antioxidant and flavonoids to fight oxidative damage. Also reduces the risk of heart disease.

Some other things you may want to think about: Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, protein powder and kale, blueberries and apricots. Oh, and experts say only mix green veggies with green and yellow fruits and veggies and red veggies with red and yellow fruits and veggies unless you don’t mind your smoothies brown.