Top Health Benefits of Tea

Prior to the health benefits of tea being well understood, the history of tea began in 2737 B.C. when camellia leaves fell into a vat of boiling water. The alluring fragrance enticed the inquisitive Chinese Emperor Shennong to sample the brew. He pronounced that the elixir was medicinal and imparted vigor to the body.

Tea began its worldwide conquest in teahouses throughout China, Korea and Japan. In the 16th Century, tea stormed the shores of Western civilization, frequented the inner sanctum of Europe’s aristocracy and lit the fuse that ignited the American Revolution. Today, tea is second only to water which refuses to relinquish its title as the world’s most consumed beverage.

Global Tea Production
Tea is a mountainous crop grown in 36 countries. The predominant tea-producing regions are China, Japan, Russia, Ceylon, Formosa, India and East Africa.

There are thousands of distinct varieties of tea that fall into four principal categories. They are black tea, green tea, white tea and oolong tea. Every variety of tea originates from one plant, the Camellia Sinensis. The soil, climate, altitude and manufacturing process imparts the unique characteristics and flavors of tea with the length of oxidization during processing giving rise to several different types of tea.

Nutritional Facts
Tea’s meager nutritional facts conceal it status as one of the top superfoods that has caught the eye of many researchers who are investigating the health benefits of tea. One 237 gram serving provides 2 calories and 0% of your daily requirements for minerals, vitamins, protein, carbohydrates, sodium, cholesterol and fat.

The caffeine level of tea is influenced by several factors, such as brewing time, temperature, grade and variety. It is estimated that tea releases large quantities of its caffeine within half a minute of brewing. If you wish to reduce your intake of caffeine, you can quickly pour out this brew and add fresh water.

How to Use Tea
The most popular way to enjoy tea is as a beverage. You can steep it in hot water as either a teabag or as loose leaf tea, use an instant powder or buy a prepared drink in a can or bottle. It is also available as wine, hard candy, jelly and a pastry.

Health Benefits of Teas
As Emperor Shennong surmised nearly 5,000 years ago, tea is a health tonic. The Camellia plant is a rich source of polyphenol and flavonoid antioxidants. These are naturally occurring substances that prevent and reverse the DNA and cellular membrane damage inflicted by free radicals.These molecules are linked to a wide range of diseases, such as cancers, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and premature aging. Tea has 800 to 1000% more polyphenols than vegetables and fruits.

One cup of white tea has the equivalent amount of antioxidants as 80 ounces of apple juice. The longer fermentation period of black tea reduces its level of antioxidants. Green tea has a higher level of antioxidants than black tea. Research indicates that brewing tea for 1 to 5 minutes is the best way to obtain its health benefits.

Heart Disease
The antioxidants in tea are believed to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke by lowering cholesterol levels, oxidative stress and improving blood vessel dilation. Tea also significantly reduces atherosclerosis and triglycerides.

People who consistently drink three to four cups of black tea have lower rates of stroke and heart disease. A statistical analysis of multiple studies demonstrated that drinking three cups of tea a day decreased the risk of heart attack by 11%.

A 5-year study of 805 men showed an inverse relationship between the dose of tea and the incidence of death from stroke and lethal and non-lethal first heart attack.

Cancer
Tea reduces the incidence of cancer by fighting free radical damage, reducing abnormal cell growth and aiding normal cell death. Regular tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk for lung, ovarian, oral, skin and digestive cancer.

A study of smokers who consumed 4 cups of decaffeinated green tea a day had a 31% reduction in oxidative DNA damage when compared to a control group that drank 4 cups of water.

Drinking black tea dramatically lowers the risk of a form of skin cancer. A population-based study revealed an inverse relationship between tea consumption rectal, colon and pancreatic cancers.

A 1998 Stage I and II breast cancer study demonstrated that Japanese women who drank more than 5 cups of green tea per day were less likely to have disease recurrence and were disease-free longer.

Oral Health
The health benefits of tea extend to its role in oral health. The polyphenols in tea reduces plaque and the growth of bacteria that causes bad breath. They also inhibit the germs that cause strep infections and cavities. Tea collects fluoride in its leaves. Some believe that this is beneficial for building resilient tooth enamel. For people concerned with teeth staining, white tea is a better option than its black or green counterparts. It has more polyphenols and is less likely to stain teeth.

Liver and Kidney Health
People with hemochromatosis are unable to properly metabolize iron. This results in iron overload and damage to major organs. According to a German study, one daily cup of tea contains enough antioxidants to block iron absorption and prevent the lethal accumulation of iron.

Daily tea consumption reduces the risk for developing kidney stones. A study of 81,093 women lowered their risk by 8% for each 8 ounce cup of tea consumed each day. The results were replicated in an earlier study of 46,289 men who reduced their risk by 14% for each daily cup of tea.

Obesity and Fat Metabolism
Initial research indicates that tea increases the metabolism, breaks fat into smaller components for use by the body and reduces your appetite. Tea also increases the body’s ability to use insulin, glucose and produces more heat. The cumulative effect of these physiological changes is enhanced weight loss and increased exercise tolerance.

Osteoporosis
Tea appears to play a crucial role in bone health. A study of older female tea drinkers had higher bone mineral density (BMD) results than women who didn’t drink tea.

Drinking tea also helps younger adults. In a study of habitual tea drinkers, adults 30 years and older experienced a significant improvement in their BMD. The benefit was especially noticeable in people who drank tea for more than six years.

Caffeine Alert
People who are pregnant, breastfeeding or have anxiety disorders, stomach ulcers or kidney disorders should not consume caffeine. It can also interact with antibiotics, Echinacea and theophylline, a bronchial dilator.

Summary
Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world after water and the health benefits of tea come from it being a rich source of antioxidants that can contribute to optimal health in a wide variety of ways.

Top Health Benefits of Walnuts

Walnuts trace their origins in many places, though it is common knowledge that the earliest were Persian where the health benefits of walnuts were thought to be well known. Walnuts are believed to have been cultivated as far back as 7000 B.C. in the humid regions surrounding the Caspian Sea. Today, California walnuts are some of the highest quality nuts around; in fact, almost 90 percent of the United States’ walnut production grows right in California. Currently, the U.S. ranks as second-highest walnut producer in the world, only to China.

Walnut Types: Take Your Pick
You have probably encountered at least one of three types of walnuts: the English walnut, the black walnut, and the white walnut, or the butternut. These white walnuts are more difficult to find in traditional grocery stores, but feature a sweet taste and oily texture. The English, or Persian, walnut is the most common to find in marketplaces and bears the traditional shell that can be broken with a nutcracker. Black walnuts are native to America, grown specifically in the southern U.S., and possess a rich, smoky flavor.

If you are interested in the health benefits of walnuts and how you can introduce them into your diet, you might have noticed that some recipes call for either black or English walnuts while your cupboard only has one or the other. Not to worry; structurally, both walnuts are quite similar. Recipes that call for black walnuts usually do so to take advantage of their smoky, wine flavor. However, if you merely want to add some crunch to your salad or a baking recipe, you can use either walnut without fear of disaster.

Health Benefits of Walnuts
Some people hold the notion that all nuts are the same. This is especially untrue for walnuts; these unique nuts are made up of mostly polyunsaturated fatty acids-both omega-3 and omega-6-while nearly every other nut is composed predominantly of monounsaturated fats. Moreover, walnuts are the only nut with a significant quantity of ALA, a seed oil that must be acquired through diet. Raw walnuts also have a remarkably high level of antioxidants.

Aside from being a tasty treat, walnuts are notoriously beneficial to your heart and circulatory system. Walnuts assist in lowering cholesterol, which improves blood quality, and they help decrease the risks of excessive clotting and inflammation in blood vessels. As a reliable source of omega-3, walnuts repeatedly assist in the improvement of many cardiovascular functions, even countering high blood pressure.

Studies suggest that raw walnuts can increase fat oxidation and reduce carbohydrate oxidation, leading to a healthier use of body fat in adults. In 2006, a report published by ScienceDaily stated that eating a handful of raw walnuts with meals high in saturated fat appeared to limit short-term damage to the arteries. Of course, eating walnuts will not absolve all health risks that come with eating unhealthy food, but they are a worthy addition to any diet.

Walnuts Join Pursuit Of The Cancer Cure
Along with their cardiovascular benefits, walnuts are now receiving attention from researchers with respect to their role in reducing the risks of prostate and breast cancer. In 2009, the American Association for Cancer Research was presented with a U.S. study that demonstrated decreased tumor sizes in mice that consumed the human equivalent of two ounces of walnuts per day. Although the study was conducted on mice, the walnut’s ability to reduce endothelin levels and decrease the inflammation of blood vessels will surely prove beneficial to cancer patients whose endothelin levels are higher than normal.

Selecting And Storing Your Walnuts
Picking walnuts is a fairly straightforward process. For whole walnuts, choose walnuts that feel heavier for their size, ensure that the shell is intact, without any piercing or cracks, and discard any that appear stained, as this can be a sign of molding nutmeat. Shelled walnuts are often ready to buy in packs or containers. With these, simply have a look over how fresh the walnuts appear. Steer clear of shriveled or rubbery walnuts and, if you can, take a quick sniff just to make sure your walnuts have not spoiled before you have bought them.

They are perishable but, if stored properly, the health benefits of walnuts and their nutrients will keep as long as six months to a year. The best way to maintain your walnuts’ flavor is to keep them cold. If you plan on using your walnuts within a month, you can store them in the refrigerator. For longer storage, the freezer is your best option. Walnuts are capable of absorbing flavors from other foods; so make sure to store them in airtight containers away from foods that have strong odors.

As a tip for your health and your taste buds, save chopping or shelling your walnuts until you would like to use them. Not only do they lose flavor, but the polyunsaturated fats found in walnuts oxidize quickly when exposed to heat or air. Keep your walnuts healthy and fresh from the minute you buy them by storing them properly.

Enjoying Walnuts Is a Piece Of Cake
There are more than a handful of walnut-praising recipes available, but often the easiest way to include this healthy nut into your food routine is just to throw it over your favorite dish! English walnuts and maple syrup make a delectable a topping drizzled over yoghurts. Try your favorite vegetables sauted with some chopped black walnuts for a tasty new experience. Walnuts also make a delightful addition to any traditional stuffing recipe. Here are a few helpful measures for estimating walnut weights in recipes.

A single walnut half = Two grams
One ounce of walnuts = 14 halves
One cup of walnuts, chopped or pieced = 120 grams
One cup of shelled walnuts = 100 grams, or 50 halves

Treat yourself to a banana-nut muffin for breakfast, or get creative by incorporating ground walnuts into a variety of sauces at dinnertime. Parsely-walnut sauce, walnut-lemon vinaigrette, and cranberry-walnut marmalade are just a few fantastic starts for your walnut-infused diet.

Walnut Allergies
If you suffer from tree nut allergies, it is likely to be healthier for you to stay away from walnuts. Despite their health benefits, allergic reactions to proteins found in walnuts and other tree nuts can include hives, rashes, itching, swelling, breathing difficulties, severe drops in blood pressure, as well as other life-threatening symptoms. If you are concerned about whether you are allergic to tree nuts, consult a doctor before adding walnuts to your diet.

Summary
They are called the heart healthy nut and are packed full of anti-oxidants and nutrients but the health benefits of walnuts are complementary to their delicious taste whether you prefer them in cakes, brownies or topping salads.

There are many common foods that are beneficial for health. For more on the health benefits of black peppe