Recently I was lucky enough to spend 10 days in Japan. It was cherry blossom season—and a trip that’s been on my bucket list for a while. I only learned two new Japanese words—”konichiwa” is “hello” and “arigato” is “thank you”—but I figured out at least a few explanations for why Japan continues to rate high in rankings of the world’s healthiest countries. Here are a few tricks that are helping our neighbors to the west—who boast the greatest proportion of citizens over 100—live long and healthy lives:
Fish comes first: Eaten raw, cooked, or somewhere in between, not a day went by that I didn’t have fish during my trip. All of this seafood was good for my body and brain: the blend of lean protein and healthy fats makes fish a staple in many diet and healthy eating programs. I’ve always liked sushi, but this visit gave me a new appreciation for sashimi—basically raw fish any rice: You get all of the benefits of the fish without the calories or sugar of the rice!
It is easy being green! At least it is today. St. Patrick’s Day is here again, and with it comes the desire to wear, eat, and drink all things green.
Though traditional Irish fare can be a little heavy, we think you can still celebrate the spirit of the holiday with green foods worked into some of our favorite healthy, and delicious, recipes.
Smoothies are the ultimate power breakfast, in my opinion. In one easy and portable drink, you get multiple servings of fruit and vegetables plus protein so it always lasts you till lunch. And no matter what the ingredients are it always ends up tasting delicious, which makes me think my blender has magical powers.
Once I discovered you could add spinach to smoothies without altering the taste, my morning breakfast was forever changed. In this smoothie, we add spinach and green tea powder, or “matcha,” which contains more antioxidants than brewed green tea, raspberries and blueberries combined!
In other words, this is one of the healthiest smoothies on the block! (more…)
Of my recent travels, London stands out as one of my favorites. After all, what’s not to love about a place that makes an event out of tea in the afternoon? Tea is a passion of mine, one that fits very well into my fitness journey. My tea love affair started many years ago when I used a cup in the morning to help me break my diet Coke habit. As I explored different varieties of tea I came to appreciate its taste and the other benefits to my overall well being. If your only experience with tea is of the sweet variety or a bag of Lipton let me give you some tips on how to add tea for wellness to your fitness journey.
There are basically two types of tea: those derived from the Camellia sinensis plant (black, green, white, oolong or pu-erh) and herbal teas (herbal infusions). Unless otherwise indicated, all of the Camellia sinesis plant derived teas have caffeine. Herbal teas generally do not (yerba mate is an exception to this rule). Whole leaf teas are better quality than cut leaf. You’ll find cut leaf in most tea bags so I recommend purchasing a tea strainer and go with whole leaf where possible.
The best part about this weekend is the fact that Labor Day is Monday and many Americans will enjoy their day off observing the holiday. But before the weekend can officially commence, it’s time to wrap up the week with some healthy news. This week’s HealthBuzz includes several stories, including why you should consider ditching soda, how exercising for 30 minutes is better for weight loss than one hour, and breakfast recipes for a healthy four-day weekend.
30 Minutes of Exercise May Yield More Weight Loss Than 1 Hour
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen followed 60 overweight Danish men for 13 weeks. One-third of the group performed 30 minutes of intense aerobic exercise, another one-third of the group exercised for 60 minutes, and the last group was ordered to remain inactive. The study found that 30 minutes of physical activity helps produce more weight loss than one hour.
How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? New Research Points to a Magic Number
It seems people are never getting enough sleep in today’s fast pace society. According to a new study, eight hours of sleep isn’t the magic number for sleep anymore. Find out what the new magic number is!
Celebrity Trainer Tracy Anderson Attacked in Media
Tracy Anderson is known for providing her fitness and diet expertise to stars like Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow. This week, she came under fire for some statement she made in DuJour Magazine regarding woman and their post-baby bodies. Tracy appeared on Good Morning America to defend her comments. What was her controversial quote? (more…)
By now, most people are well aware of the health benefits green tea provides. From cancer-fighting antioxidants to helping with weight management and even fighting fat, it seems there’s nothing this mighty green drink can’t do.
A lesser known variation of classic loose leaf or bagged green tea, however, is green tea powder – a finely ground version that provides even more health benefits than non-powdered varieties. This is because it’s concentrated and can be directly ingested instead of being steeped and watered down. Think of it as being hooked up to a green tea IV – direct benefits without the filter.
Needless to say, we’re big fans of green tea. So when we discovered EatGreenTea.com, which sells 100 percent organic powdered green tea, we jumped at the chance to try it. Our shipment came quick and the package even boasted the health benefits inside our mighty green powder.
According to their website, there is 10,000 percent more EGCG – the powerful antioxidant found in green tea – in edible green tea than there is in brewed varieties. This means you could drink 30 cups of brewed tea to get the same benefits found in 1 teaspoon of edible green tea powder! Consider us convinced. (more…)
By Rachel Berman, RD – Director of Nutrition, CalorieCount.com
Spring time is here and your spring cleaning may already be well under way. This year, in addition to tackling your closet and cleaning underneath the couch, focus on ‘detox’-ing to spring clean your health. No, I’m not talking about expensive drinks and celebrity cleanses which can be harmful to our bodies with short-lived results. These are marketing gimmicks to get you to shell out money for something you will have to do time and time again. By making changes to your diet, you can naturally ‘detox’ with healthy foods. Add these foods on a regular basis to optimize your health and feel your best inside and out.
Leafy Greens such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale contain cancer fighting compounds called glucosinolates. They are also a great source of calcium which is important for muscle contraction and therefore, can improve the ‘spring in your step.’ Frozen veggies can often be even more nutritious than fresh since they are frozen at the peak of ripeness. Try always keeping a bag in your freezer for quick and easy addition to meals.
Citrus Fruits are loaded with soluble fiber. This type of fiber increases the amount of healthy bacteria in your colon to help flush out toxins from your system. They are also loaded with immune boosting nutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin C, which can improve the health of your skin. Choose the whole fruits, not juices, to get the maximum fiber benefit and improve satiation. (more…)
If your goal this new year is to give up soda or sugary drinks, you may be interested in switching to tea. From green tea to black, tea is a great beverage option to consider when plain old water just won’t cut it.
Tea has been around for thousands of years and has been associated with various health benefits for just as long. Depending on what tea you choose, some scientists believe that drinking this type of beverage can result in weight loss, stroke prevention, improved memory, reduction in cancer risk, improved cardiovascular health, better blood glucose control, osteoporosis prevention, less tooth decay, improved immune function, and decreased risk of certain neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Not all teas are created equally though and it’s important to know which teas are the most beneficial. Additionally, some of the health claims associated with tea still remain to be proven. As continued research develops, hopefully the exact benefits of all tea can be clearly identified. In the meantime, lets go with what we’ve got. Even if some of the health claims fall short as research progresses, most teas are low in calories, are hydrating, and are rich in antioxidants. This makes them a wonderful replacement for higher calorie beverages consumed throughout the day.
When it comes to antibacterial agents, natural medicine really shines. While there are hundreds of natural antibiotics of varying degrees of strength, here are some of my faves:
Garlic—A natural antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral agent, garlic is a great addition to your diet, particularly at this time of year. While garlic contains potassium and germanium, two minerals that are critical to good health, it is best known for its sulphur compounds, particularly allicin. These are the main phytochemicals that boost immunity and act as natural antibiotics. So, ladies and gentlemen, start chopping—garlic that is. It’s time to throw some fresh garlic into your favorite soup, stew, chilli, stirfry, meat or veggie dish. Forget garlic powder. Most of its health benefits are long gone.
Oregano Oil—The King of natural antibiotics, study after study proves the effectiveness of oregano oil. Of course, like anything, product strength can vary drastically. Some products are actually marjoram and not oregano at all. So, choose a reputable brand backed by research. I like North American Herb and Spice Company’s blend called P-73, which includes wild, high potency oregano harvested in harsh conditions. That might not sound like a big deal but harsh conditions usually spell stronger active ingredients in the plant, since the health-building phytochemicals frequently comprise the plant’s immune system.
By Michelle Schoffro Cook for Care2.com
Have you been wondering “what’s all the fuss about green tea?” Now you can stop wondering and start drinking…green tea, that is. This flavorful beverage offers many health benefits to anyone who drinks it regularly. Green tea contains a potent plant nutrient known as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, for short. But don’t fret, you don’t have to keep track of its chemical name to reap the health benefits. Here are 9 reasons to start drinking green tea or continue drinking it if you’re already hooked.
1. Green tea is a superb fat fighter. Its active ingredient, EGCG, increases the rate at which fat is burned in your body.
2. It targets belly fat. Research at Tufts University indicates that EGCG in green tea, like other catechins, activate fat-burning genes in the abdomen to speed weight loss by 77 percent.
3. It keeps energy stable by balancing blood sugar levels. EGCG improves insulin use in the body to prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes that can result in fatigue, irritability, and cravings for unhealthy foods.