If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to the usual shamrock-shaded green beer to show your St. Patrick’s Day spirit, try matcha. Matcha (pronounced “MA-cha”) is a finely ground green tea powder that dates back to a 1,000-year-old Japanese tea ceremony. Preparing and serving matcha is a formal art in Japan and the health benefits of this green elixir have been striking.
The Magic of Matcha
Researchers consider green tea the healthiest beverage you can drink. Its health benefits have been studied since the 1990s due to their strong correlation between long life and health in many Asian cultures. Extensive studies on green tea revealed that it provides significant protection against:
- Cardiovascular disease heart disease (atherosclerosis)
- Low density lipoproteins (LDLs – the “bad” cholesterol)
- High blood pressure
- Congestive heart failure
Healthy, plaque-free blood vessels are good for your heart and what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain. An active, working brain requires sufficient blood flow.
What makes matcha so beneficial? Something called polyphenols. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants and green tea contains polyphenols classified as “catechins” (pronounced KAT’-eh-kins).
Catechin polyphenols are found in the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant that fight and may even prevent cell damage. Catechins are also found in red wine, chocolate, berries, and apples, but in smaller amounts compared to tea leaves.
Four types of tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant:
Green tea undergoes much less processing than the other teas, so it contains more antioxidants as well as less caffeine. Specifically, these hand-picked green tea leaves are high in catechin polyphenols called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is the most active and most studied of the polyphenols.
How to Drink It
Matcha is made from high quality leaves and is jewel green in color. When drinking matcha, in contrast to drinking steeped green tea, you are drinking the whole leaf and not just the brewed water from the leaves. Therefore, when drinking matcha, you’re consuming 10 times the antioxidants, i.e., the health benefits in one cup of matcha is equivalent to 10 cups of green tea. Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Anti-cancer, Antioxidants, Cardiovascular Health, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Organic
Tagged atherosclerosis, Camellia sinesis, cardiovascular disease, catechin polyphenols, catechins, chasen, green tea, heart disease, matcha
Tea is the healthiest beverage you can drink. It’s rich in phytonutrients (healthy plant compounds) and like water, it’s calorie-free. But there has been a belief that caffeinated drinks, such as tea, are diuretics.
Diuretics cause you to lose more water from your body. That is, they increase the production of urine, so you’re sprinting more often to the John. But if you’re trying to stay hydrated, you may have been told to avoid drinking tea. A study that led to the belief that caffeinated drinks are diuretics used high-dose caffeine pills. However, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition tested the effects of black tea which is a more complex substance than pills. Here’s what they found…
The Tea Test
After a 10-hour fast and 24 hours of avoiding all caffeine, alcohol and vigorous exercise, twenty-one healthy resting men consumed 10 cups of caffeinated black tea at regular intervals providing roughly 170 to 250 mg of caffeine. The tea was prepared using tea bags and mixed with 20 ml of low-fat milk.
All food was controlled and they had nothing else to drink during the trial. Every drop of tea going in and every drop going out was measured and examined for color and electrolyte-water balance over a 24-hour period. Blood was sampled at the start of the trial and again at 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12 hours.
The test was repeated with boiled water. And guess what they found? There was absolutely NO significant difference between drinking tea and water on blood and urine values. Black tea had the same hydrating effects as water.
Fit Tip: Enjoy your cup of tea and don’t worry about your pee! 😀
Black tea is not significantly different from water in the maintenance of normal hydration in human subjects: results from a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition. August 2011.
Concerned about aging and looking older than you really are? Then don’t eat white sugar. Why? Because processed sugar binds to and eventually weakens the collagen in your skin. Save your money if you’re buying expensive skin creams, but eating processed sugar — the number-one ingredient to avoid if you want firm, resilient and radiant skin.
The skin is the largest organ of the body and one of the most revealing places where aging occurs. Over time, your skin may lose its original ‘snug fit’ and begin to wrinkle and sag due in part to your collagen cells breaking down. Collagen is the main structural protein in connective tissue that provides strength to the skin. It’s abundant in blood vessels, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and bone as well.
The sugar-collagen reaction can lead to premature wrinkles and sagging. Sweet Tooth = Wrinkles. All those sugary donuts, Danishes and cookies may be hard to resist despite knowing they could end up settling on your hips and waistline, but perhaps thinking about them showing up as wrinkles on your face and neck or as ‘crepey’, loose skin may help strengthen your will to resist them.
Remember… sugar speeds up the aging process. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits every day to get the essential components for healthy skin – AND a strong heart! Eat 8-10 total servings daily of fruits and vegetables. That is, 5 or more vegetable servings + 3 fruit servings. Get Real Food! Coming soon… why your heart needs collagen too!
VIDEOS: Watch Karen’s videos on what to eat for healthy skin. Get science-based info on skin nutrition in less than 3 minutes.
Top Anti-Aging Foods: Part 1 | Best Diet for Your Skin (02:53)
The skin needs essential vitamins to function and look its best.
Discover which ones you need and where to get them. Karen Owoc, The
Health Reporter, provides an overview of the foods to eat to get the key
vitamins necessary for healthy, youthful and glowing skin.
Top Anti-Aging Foods: Part 2 | Best Diet for Your Skin (02:36)
Healthy skin needs essential minerals and fats to do its job and to look its best. Find out which ones you need and where to get them. Karen Owoc, The Health Reporter, identifies the essential fatty acids and minerals that keep your skin smooth and radiant.
Posted in Anti-Aging, Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Get Real Food!™, Longevity, Nutrients, Skin Care
Tagged anti-aging foods, antioxidants, beauty foods, collagen, elastin, Skin Care, sugar, wrinkles, youthful skin
Chia seeds? If you’re having sudden flashbacks of your old Chia Pet® from the 1980’s and you’re impulsively singing “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” right now, you’re probably not alone. Believe it or not, we’re talking about the same ‘chia’ but… instead of watching the seeds sprout into “animal fur”, we’re eating them!
Chia seeds, like flax seeds, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (2.3 grams ALA per two tablespoons). These omega-3’s increase the production of anti-inflammatory substances that help prevent “cell adhesion molecules” from causing plaque buildup in your arteries.
These little seeds also pack in a good amount of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. They’re small (little ovals) and typically black in color. To receive the benefits of the fatty acids, they need to be hydrated before eating them. These seeds can soak up to 12 times their weight in liquid and when soaked, they form a gelatinous texture which make them an excellent binding agent in baking.
These nutritious seeds now come finely ground to a powder which make them easy to blend in your yogurt, cereal, smoothies, salads, and soups. And like ground flaxseeds, they’re great in baked goods too. Spectrum® Ground Chia Seeds have been cold milled. Since Omega-3 fats are sensitive to heat, the cold milling process is a plus. On that note, be sure to store your seeds in the freezer or refrigerator to extend their shelf life because these seeds are also sensitive to oxygen (air) and light. Oxidation will affect the nutritional value of the healthy fats as well as cause them to go rancid.
*I especially like the Spectrum brand for chia and flaxseeds. They are packed in a light protective pouch and sealed airtight which is probably why they contain more omega-3’s than other brands. NEVER buy your seeds from self-serve bins or barrels in the grocery store!
Fit Tip: You can substitute ground chia seeds (or ground flaxseeds) for eggs in recipes if you’re a vegan — or like me, sometimes you’re just out of eggs! Simply mix 3 tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of ground chia seeds (3:1 ratio) for every large egg. After stirring together, let the mixture sit for five minutes, then add it to your recipe.
Posted in Anti-Aging, Antioxidants, Fit Finds, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Nutrients
Tagged chia seeds, egg substitute, flaxseeds, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-3's
I love this infographic created by the Cleveland Clinic! Colorful guide on how to build a salad with lots of healthy layers…
Posted in Anti-cancer, Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Nutrients, Pescetarian
Tagged anti-inflammatory diet, antioxidants, Cleveland Clinic, greens, HealthStyle TV, healthy living, healthy salads, heart healthy food
After investing in my super high-performance Vitamix® blender last year, I realized I haven’t been putting it to good use lately. So… it’s ‘Soup and Smoothie Week’ in my house. Please send me your favorite recipes!
Smoothies are an excellent (sneaky) way to get my teen to swallow his dark leafy greens and flaxseeds. 😀 Here’s one of my simple, teen-tested, smoothies that makes an ideal breakfast, morning boost or power snack. (If the thought of drinking blended spinach makes you say, “Ewww…”, believe me, you won’t even taste it in this recipe. ) Continue reading
Posted in Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Real Food Recipes, Recipes | Beverages
Tagged anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, flaxseed, Get Real Food!™, healthy living, leafy greens, smoothie, soup, Vitamix
Take a tip from your vet. Dogs are eating this wonder food every day, why not you? Wouldn’t you also like a soft, glossy coat and healthy skin? This superseed is known for its immune system benefits and anti-inflammatory properties. What is it? It’s ground flaxseed.
Per a study published in the American Journal of Physiology¹, flaxseed is actually considered a ‘functional food’. That is, it:
- Has physiological benefits and/or
- Reduces the risk of chronic disease
- Has basic nutritional effects
Dietary flaxseed is a rich source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) and lignans which may help:
Be sure the flaxseed is ground (not whole) to receive the health benefits.
1. Decrease inflammation by blocking the release of some pro-inflammatory agents. Studies show atherosclerotic plaque regression can occur when inflammation is inhibited. Once plaque regression occurs, your arterial walls can heal and are better able to open and relax (necessary for healthy heart function). See “Inflammation | Foods that Heal and Harm“.
2. Decrease total cholesterol by 7% and LDL levels or “bad” cholesterol by 10%. (Per a study of menopausal women² that consumed 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day for three months.)
3. Reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%. Arteries harden when plaque is deposited in the arteries (atherosclerosis). Some studies suggest that flaxseed omega-3’s keep white blood cells from sticking to the inner lining of the blood vessels. Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Nutrition
Tagged ALA, atherosclerosis, clogged arteries, flaxseed, functional food, heart health, lignans, Longevity, omega-3 fatty acids, plaque
DID YOU KNOW…. clams top the list as a source of vitamin B12? In fact, just one serving of clams (three ounces) has 14 times more vitamin B12 than a fortified breakfast cereal with 100% DV!
100% DV (Daily Value) of a nutrient is based on a 2,000-calorie diet and means a serving of the food contains 100% of your daily needs. This water-soluble vitamin plays a key role in cell metabolism, the formation of blood, and the normal functioning of your brain and nervous system. (See ♥ Daily Dose | Vit. B12 Deficiency)
Clams are also an excellent source of heme iron. Believe it or not, they’re right up there with beef liver. Heme iron is found in animal foods and derived from hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen). The body absorbs the most iron from heme sources of iron. Iron is essential due to its oxygen-carrying capacity.
An iron deficiency can impair muscle function, normal function of the nervous and immune systems, and can limit your work capacity during exercise. So, if you have a cardiac condition, it’s important to get enough iron each day. Patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) are prone to develop iron deficiency and iron supplementation improves functional status and quality of life. Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Nutrition, Pescetarian, Real Food Recipes, Recipes | Soups
Tagged antioxidants, ♥ DAILY DOSE, cardiac rehab, clams, Get Real Food!™, Karen Owoc, lycopene, soup, tomatoes, vitamin B12
According to a large 30-year study, eating a handful of nuts every day could lower your risk of dying by 20 percent. Nuts are full of inflammation-fighting monounsaturated fat. They’re also a good source of protein and healthy fiber too. NOTE: If you thought nuts were off-limits when trying to lose weight, think again. The fiber will help fill up you and the healthy fat will help keep you satisfied longer.
Researchers report a decreased risk for most major causes of death like heart disease and cancer. Nuts are rich in healthful unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients*. Here’s how you can benefit and enjoy them.
- Eat nuts seven or more times per week. Eating nuts just once a week lowered the risk of dying by 11 percent.
- Eat one ounce of nuts per day — approximately 1/4 cup or one “handful”.
- Beware of canned and packaged nuts (e.g., in Trail Mixes) that have been processed with oil and salt. It’s healthier to buy them raw and roast them at home without the additives.
- Limit your intake of Brazil nuts to one per day or only occasionally due to their unusually high levels of selenium (an essential mineral). One Brazil nut contains 200 mcg of this mineral and the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults is 80-200 mcg. Continue reading
Posted in ♥ DAILY DOSE, Anti-cancer, Antioxidants, FOOD ED| NUTRITION, Heart Health | Cardiac Rehab, Heart Healthy, Longevity, Nutrition
Tagged ♥ DAILY DOSE, cardiac rehab, heart healthy, Karen Owoc, nut phytonutrients, nuts, omega-3's, walnuts