White Tea With Pomegranate – Health Benefits

White tea with Pomegranate is a great combination and provides unique and powerful antioxidants for better health and wellness. White tea has a more delicate and has a milder taste than green tea. And with the natural sweetness and tangy flavor of pomegranate, this combination is a delightful drink if you’re looking for something different.

The first time I had tasted this tea was in a hotel in Oxford. It might’ve been the first time I had ever tasted pomegranate actually, and I’m glad that I tried it out! Before trying out this tea, I had always had my green tea infused with lemon, strawberry or ginger.

White tea isn’t nearly as popular as black and green tea, but pomegranate is a popular fruit here and most people have probably come across them before.

But for those who’ve never heard of white tea and pomegranate, let’s see what they’re all about.

What is White Tea?

White tea actually comes from the same plant as green and black tea (Camellia sinensis). It’s grown in some of the same areas of the world, mainly in China, Thailand, and other Asian countries.

The main difference with white tea is that it undergoes very little processing, and the leaves are harvested at the tip when they are very young. This is the reason why it has such a mild and delicate flavor.

For this reason, white tea is suitable medium to add other flavors from fruits and herbs. The flavor of the tea is not overpowering any other ingredient and blends in very well.

For people who find green tea too bitter and strong, white tea is a great alternative and provides a lot of the same benefits as green tea because of its high polyphenol content.

Health benefits

White tea has not been studied as much as green tea, but since they share many of the same compounds, it’s expected that they share similar health benefits. In fact, some research suggests that white tea may have unique and more powerful benefits over green tea.

#1 Protects against cavities

Gum disease and tooth decay is a serious health problem and not just a cosmetic one. Gum disease is thought to be linked with heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, and possibly even cancer. The reasons are thought to be because of bacterial toxins and inflammation caused by the disease.

So then, how can white tea help prevent cavities and gum disease?

in a study published in 2016, researchers used a white tea mouthrinse to see if it has an effect on plaque development.

White tea was shown to be effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria which cause plaque build-up and tooth decay. However, the result was not as strong as a chlorhexidine mouthwash. Nevertheless, white tea could be a useful preventative alongside normal dental hygiene [1].

White tea and its antioxidants may also help prevent inflammatory and the destructive process of periodontal disease by blocking MMP enzymes and inhibiting bacterial growth.

#2 Protect against sun damage and skin wrinkling

white tea may stop skin aging
Source Anti-collagenase, anti-elastase and anti-oxidant activities of extracts from 21 plants. (cc license.2.0

The high level of polyphenols in tea known as catechins have been shown in studies to protect against the damaging effects of UV rays by inhibiting various enzymes which cause the breakdown of collagen in the skin.

With their powerful free radical scavenging effects and ability to dampen the immune system response to prevent inflammation and tissue destruction, as well as up-regulate DNA repair, white tea may help prevent the development of skin aging.

Studies have also been conducted showing that topical extracts of white tea (2%) is effective in treating photoaging and preventing wrinkle formation in the skin [2]. In humans, tea polyphenols have been linked to improved elastic content in skin[3]

And finally, in a study published in 2009, researchers looked at the effect of 21 plants on their anti-elastase and antioxidant activities. They found that white tea out of the 21 plants had the highest level of phenolic content and had significant anti-elastase and anti-collagenase activities.

Applied topically, white tea may also help treat hyperpigmentation due to it being a potent tyrosinase inhibitor.

#3 Reduces fat and boosts metabolism

People who are struggling to lose fat might benefit from drinking white tea due to its high concentration of polyphenols which is able to promote the breakdown of fat cells by increasing lipolysis-activity. And not only that, it also may help prevent the formation of new fat cells!

White tea might, therefore, be a great way to boost metabolism and further help weight loss if you’re finding yourself stuck at your current weight and are still looking to shed a few more pounds of fat. [4]

#4 Protects against cancer

White tea also contains compounds which may cause cancer cells to self-destruct and die. The only good cancer cell is a dead cancer cell.

Although the study using white tea extract was done in a test tube, we know from multiple studies with green tea (a more popular beverage) that it has protective effects against cancer in humans.

The study showed that white tea was able to effectively prevent the colon cancer cells from spreading and at the same time it was able to protect healthy cells.

Tip: consider adding some fresh citrus fruit with your tea. Vitamin C can increase absorption and catechin levels in the gut.

#5 Protects against toxicity

White tea has been found to protect against various types of toxicity. In a recent study, to be published in June 2018, white tea was able to protect against benzo(a)pyrene-induced toxicity and liver dysfunction.

Studies have also shown that the compounds in white tea may protect against neurotoxicity.

#6 Improves cognition

Due to the polyphenols found in white tea, as well as l-theanine, white tea may be able to improve cognitive function and reducing the progression of cognitive progression in the elderly according to a pilot study.

Although the study used green tea, the same compounds are found (sometimes in higher amounts) in white tea than green tea, and therefore similar results should be observed with white tea. [5]

What is Pomegranate?

Pomegranates are considered berries and the fruit are tiny, measuring just 2-5 inches. It is certainly one type of fruit that is overlooked often and not as popular as it should be, especially given its numerous health benefits.

It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants such as punicalagins, punicic acid, tannins, and anthocyanins. Together, these make the fruit what could be considered a superfood and one which has strong health-promoting effects if consumed regularly.

Some teas may contain more pomegranate than others, and therefore the concentration of these compounds will vary. However, you can also create your own and add as much as you like. 🙂

Health benefits

These are just a few of the known health benefits of pomegranates according to the latest research.

#1 Reduces inflammation

Inflammation is destructive when out of control, but pomegranate might be able to help. Research has shown that various parts of the fruit such as the peels, flowers, seeds and the juice have significant anti-inflammatory effects in the gut. [6]

In a study published in 2010 in the American Society of Nephrology, researchers found that pomegranate juice was able to significantly reduce inflammation, tissue destruction and complications such as infection in kidney disease patients.

The combination of pomegranate and white tea may be a powerful combination in preventing inflammation in the body.

#2 Improves heart health

Heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the world, but something which can often be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Well, add pomegranate to the list of beneficial fruits for heart-health.

Studies have shown that just a small amount of pomegranate a day can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and decrease plaque build-up in your arteries.

#3 Skin benefits

Pomegranate has shown to improve the ability of the skin to heal and wounds to close up faster by improving the organization of collagen and reducing overproduction of inflammatory cells. Pomegranate juice has also been found to block UV-B damage and therefore reduce skin aging caused by the sun.

#4 Improves oral health

The combination of white tea and pomegranate could boost the oral health of those who consume it. Pomegranate has been shown to strongly inhibit C. albicans and also bacterial growth which is responsible for plaque buildup in and tooth decay.

How to consume

White tea with pomegranate should be consumed on a regular basis to enjoy its health benefits.

Brew the tea without the addition of milk, because milk can bind to some of the beneficial compounds and reduce the health-promoting effects of the tea. And the tea without anything else added tastes much better.

Brew for about 2-3 minutes for the perfect tea!

Brands you should try out:

  • Buckingham Palace white tea, Rose, and pomegranate tea bags
  • Twinings Tea tea with Pomegranate
  • Lipton White tea with blueberry and Pomegranate

Best Way to Take Garlic for High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure testing
High blood pressure is a silent killer. Get tested!

Garlic has some amazing health benefits, one of them being its ability to significantly decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks. They call high blood pressure a ‘silent killer’ because the symptoms aren’t obvious. So how can you protect yourself using garlic and what is the best way to take it?

Garlic is an ingredient used a lot in different types of food. The problem is that the garlic is often cooked at high temperatures and the allicin, which is one of the main sulfur compounds in garlic, is significantly reduced to non-existent in the end product.

Garlic contains around 33 sulfur compounds in total, many of them have been identified as having positive effects on the human body. Allicin is really the star though, but it breaks down into various other compounds quite rapidly once ingested.

So the first rule of getting the most out of garlic is to simply eat it raw, and consume within about 10-15 minutes of it being crushed.

But now you run into another problem: if you eat a lot of garlic to really get the amazing benefits garlic has to offer, you will end up smelling like garlic. So garlic supplements are one ideal way you can take garlic for high blood pressure without the smell.

I personally consume two garlic cloves per day as well as taking 2-4 garlic capsules containing allicin.

How does garlic help blood pressure?

garlic in the diet may reduce blood pressure

Garlic has been extensively studied for its cardiovascular health benefits for a long time. Even as far back as the 1940s, researchers were investigating garlic’s health benefits.

Garlic, including Aged garlic extracts which contain S-alllylcysteine, have been shown to lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure in humans. One of the ways that garlic is thought to work is by stimulating vascular hydrogen sulfide production and enhancing endothelial nitric oxide, which helps the blood vessels relax.

Even small decreases in blood pressure of just 10-20 mmHg can have massive effects on reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes, especially in those with a systolic blood pressure of >140 mmHg and a diastolic of >90 mmHg.

It a meta-analysis of 61 prospective studies and over 1 million patients, it’s estimated that reducing blood pressure by that amount would reduce the number of deaths by 50%! [1]

Taking garlic either in the raw form of capsules may help reverse high blood pressure by restoring redox balances for eNOS-dependent pathways to promote vascular relaxation and lower blood pressure.

Garlic can promote vascular health in several ways

  • Garlic may act as a natural ACE-inhibitor, similar to medications that are used to treat high blood pressure
  • Garlic may help reduce inflammation and oxidative damage to the vascular wall
  •  Aged Garlic Extract has potent antiglycation effects, thereby helping reduce crosslinking and stiffening of the arteries with age
  • Garlic is a potent antimicrobial and may prevent and manage inflammatory conditions which raise levels of inflammatory cytokines and proteins which cause dysfunction to the vascular system

What is the evidence?

Garlic powder Supplements

According to research, garlic appears to be especially useful for people who are hypertensive. A meta-analysis was published in 2008 which looked at studies published between 1955 and 2007 showed that by examining 25 studies, they were able to show that garlic was able to reduce blood pressure significantly.

  • They showed that there was a mean decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 4.6 +/- 2.8 mmHg for the group consuming garlic compared to the placebo
  • They showed that there was a mean decrease in the hypertensive subgroup of 8.4 +/- 2.8 mmHg for SBP
  • They also showed that garlic was able to reduce diastolic blood pressure by 7.3 +/- 1.5 mmHg compared to the placebo

Read more on the meta-analysis here.

Another more recent meta-analysis was also performed and published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that Garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive individuals and lowers cholesterol.

The looked at 20 clinical trials with 970 patients and showed in the hypertensive subgroups there was a systolic blood pressure decrease of 8.7 +/0 2.2 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure decrease of 6.1 +/- 1.3 mmHg.

Cholesterol was also looked at and they saw a decrease of 10% if the garlic supplement was taken for at least 2 months and baseline cholesterol was over 200 mg/dL.

Aged Garlic

In another study published in 2013, researchers used Aged Garlic Extract in a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial for 12 weeks.

There were 79 patients in the study who had uncontrolled systolic hypertension.

Three groups took different doses of garlic: 240 mg, 480 mg, and 960 mg.

The 4th group took the placebo.

The group who took 480 mg of Aged Garlic Extract per day over the 12 weeks appeared to benefit most from the garlic.

In the group taking 480 mg of garlic, systolic blood pressure was reduced by 11.8 +/- 5.4 mmHg compared to the placebo. The group taking just one garlic capsule a day did not show any significant benefit in lowering blood pressure. [3].

Kwai Garlic

Kwai garlic in these meta-analyses did not show any improvement in blood pressure. This is a popular garlic tablet that many people take for heart health, but it appears that it is not effective for reducing hypertension in humans.

Fresh Garlic

Fresh garlic intake has been linked to lower blood pressure but the evidence is weak. People who tend to include garlic in their diet also have healthier diets in general.

To match the doses of garlic used in these studies to treat high blood pressure, one would have to consume between 1-3 fresh cloves of garlic per day or more.

This is quite easy to do, and 2 cloves of garlic a day shouldn’t be a problem. If you start increasing your garlic consumption to 3-4 per day or more, you might begin to smell of garlic. 🙂

Flaws in some garlic studies

Some of the studies performed on garlic are quite old and did not utilize more effective garlic supplements with stabilized allicin.

The amount of garlic one gets from certain garlic tablets can vary dramatically depending on the conditions of the stomach and how the powder is encapsulated.

Nevertheless, garlic has many wonderful health properties and should be consumed on a regular basis! Research suggests that overall, fresh garlic is healthy for you and that taking garlic supplement may be a convenient and easy way (without the smell) of getting those beneficial compounds.

Conclusion

Garlic appears to be effective for blood pressure, especially when taken as a supplement. However, if you are fine with consuming a few cloves of garlic each day, then you may be able to replicate these effects as seen in the studies on blood pressure by consuming up to 3 cloves per day.

I like to consume both fresh garlic and take garlic supplements and get the benefits of both.

And finally, for people who have a sensitive stomach, I would recommend taking a garlic supplement instead of eating raw garlic every day. Raw garlic can cause burning and stomach upset, especially if consumed with little food.

More tips for lowering blood pressure with diet by Dr. Michael Gregor

References

  1. Age-specific relevance of usual blood pressure to vascular mortality: a meta-analysis of individual data for one million adults in 61 prospective studies. Lewington S, Clarke R, Qizilbash N, Peto R, Collins R, Prospective Studies Collaboration. Lancet. 2002 Dec 14; 360(9349):1903
  2. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2008; 8: 13. Published online 2008 Jun 16:  10.1186/1471-2261-8-13
  3. Aged garlic extract reduces blood pressure in hypertensives: a dose-response trial Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jan; 67(1): 64–70. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3561616/

Best Milk Substitute for Vegans to Use in Cereal and Other Foods

Milk is a staple of many people’s diets, but us vegans have to look for substitutes that we can use in our diet. Fortunately, we are spoiled for choice for non-dairy milk, and you can be sure that you won’t feel that you miss dairy at all.

These vegan milk substitutes are often fortified with Vitamin D and Calcium to make up for what you’re not getting any more from regular dairy milk.

And because there are so many choices, different types of milk can be used for different things. They are perfect for cereal, tea, hot chocolate, baking, smoothies or even protein drinks.

In this article, I will go over the best substitutes to milk on a vegan diet! 🙂

Why Vegan Milk is a healthier choice

Drinking non-dairy milk can have many benefits and even for non-vegans. If I had known about these milk-substitutes before I was vegan, I would have swapped out dairy in a heartbeat. Not just because they taste so good, but because of the negative health effects of dairy.

  1. Regular milk produces a large spike in insulin and IGF-1, this can increase the risk of cancer and has been shown to worsen acne.
  2. Many people have lactose intolerance. This means they lack the enzyme lactase which is required to break down lactose present in the milk. This can lead to chronic stomach issues like flatulence, diarrhea, upset stomach, cramps and pain.
  3. Studies have shown that hormones present in milk might be implicated in the development of chronic disease in humans and even cancer.
  4. Antibiotic usage is high in animals. They can be used prophylactically to prevent disease where animals are in close proximity to each other. This may be a reason for increasing antibiotic resistance that we’re seeing.
  5. Some vegan milk alternatives contain beneficial compounds which may improve and be protective against certain diseases.

Best healthy vegan milk alternatives

Below are some of my favorite types of non-dairy milk substitutes which I include in my diet. I will typically rotate them over a period of weeks.

#1 Oat Milk

Oat milk is created from oats which are soaked in water, blended and strained. It’s delicious, nutritious and creamy. It’s great to use in smoothies and in cereals. You can also easily make your own oat milk and it’s quite inexpensive!

Oat milk is one of my favorite non-dairy substitutes that I keep going back to

Below are a few reasons why you should include oat milk in your diet.

  • Contains a significant amount of calcium which is great for bone health
  • Low in saturated fat which is known to raise LDL cholesterol
  • Great vegan substitute for people who have a nut allergy or allergic to soy
  • Contains beta-glucan which helps boost your immune system!
  • Great replacement for milk in cereals

If you’ve eaten oatmeal before then you’re probably going to like oat milk. Although it doesn’t taste exactly the same, it is pretty tasty and can be added to many types of foods and recipes.

#2 Almond Milk

Almond milk is probably on par with oat milk for being my favorite non-dairy, milk-substitute. After having consumed other types of vegan milk for years, almond milk was the very last one that I tried.

And it’s not like I didn’t like almonds (I love them!), but I just wasn’t curious enough to try it out until late 2016.

So now when I make my morning oatmeal, I will usually use almond milk with it.

Almond milk also has many potential health benefits. Below are a few of the reasons why you should try it.

  • If you have gluten intolerance, it’s a great substitute for both dairy and oat milk and has a similar texture
  • Often you’ll find that almond milk is fortified with vitamins and minerals to increase its nutritional content
  • It’s very low in calories
  • It’s very low in sugar and doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes
  • Tastes very nice with cereals like oatmeal

Almond milk is suitable to use in your tea, cereal, smoothies and you can even bake with it.

When choosing an almond milk, make sure it is unsweetened.

#3 Soy Milk

Soy milk can take a bit more getting used to for a lot of people. When I first tried plain soy milk I didn’t really like it at all, so I decided to add it to hot chocolate instead. Now soy milk comes in many different flavors, making it more popular with vegans as a milk substitute.

My main interest in adding soy milk to my diet at the time was due to the health benefits associated with soy that were being reported.

It was one of the first types of milk that I tried after going vegan when I was looking something which could replace the cow’s milk I was using in my diet.

Soy milk also has a great nutritional profile by providing minerals like calcium, potassium, zinc, and iron. Many soy milk brands also contain B12, B6, and Vitamin D.

A few of the health benefits which have been shown to be linked with increased soy consumption include the following:

  • Great for women who are postmenopausal due to its high phytoestrogen content
  • May decrease the risk of osteoporosis, especially in women due to isoflavones in soy milk
  • Soy milk might decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol
  • Soy milk may decrease the risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men

Soy milk isn’t my favorite tasting milk, but it’s perfect for the hot chocolate that I occasionally enjoy.

If you’ve never tried soy milk before, the taste might surprise you, but you can get used to it. Or you can simply pick up a flavored version.

#4 Coconut Milk

The first time I ever tried coconut milk was in a Thai soup called Tom Kha when I went to California. It usually has chicken, but I substituted that for mushrooms. And I fell in love with the taste of coconut milk from that point. I

love warm coconut milk in soups to this day but I only have it every now and then due to its high amount of saturated fat.

That being said, some studies have shown that coconut milk may actually raise HDL cholesterol and lower LDL in the general population. [1] However, a vegan or person on a CR diet may experience the opposite and have their cholesterol raised.

Coconut milk is also high in calories but contains many different vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and selenium.

Here are some of the benefits of coconut milk

  • Coconut milk may help reduce inflammation in the body
  • Lauric acid found in coconuts may help reduce bacterial and viral infections
  • Coconut milk may help boost metabolism and help with weight loss according to research

Coconut milk can also be added to tea, smoothies, and perfect to cook with due to its low amount of polyunsaturated fat and high saturated fat content.

I would go easy on the coconut milk and have it as a treat. For me, the taste is a bit too addicting!

How to Go Vegan Without Losing Weight

weighing scales

A vegan diet is a fantastic way to lose weight and become healthier, but not everyone wishes to lose weight on the diet. In fact, some people struggle to maintain their weight, and this can be a problem for those who are already quite lean. So here’s how you can go vegan without losing weight.

See, the problem with a plant-based (healthy) vegan diet is that people are used to eating certain sized portions and a certain volume of food. And when you start eating healthily, you may not adjust the portion sizes accordingly to maintain your body weight.

Fruits and vegetables have a lot of water content and are generally low in calories. When I see family or friends try to diet, they’ll make these tiny little salads which are very energy-deficient. It’s no wonder why so many people fail on diets.

With a vegan diet, you can successfully lose weight, maintain it, or even become a bodybuilder if you want to.

It’s simply about choosing the right foods to eat.

How to maintain your weight

Studies have shown that when a person starts a vegan diet, they’ll dramatically decrease their calorie intake. Even when compared to vegetarians, vegans are often found to be leaner and healthier on average.

Unless you’re being intentional about trying to really go for calorie-dense foods and drinking lots of fruit smoothies which are loaded with sugar, you’ll most likely lose weight without even trying.

That’s awesome for someone who is a bit on the heavier side, but for people who already have a low BMI, it can lead to concern from family and friends.

If you’re new to a vegan diet, then it might be a bit confusing trying to figure out which foods you should eat that are both healthy and calorie-dense. So let’s take a look at some of the healthiest calorie-dense foods on a vegan diet to help you maintain your weight! 🙂

After you finish this article, also check out my guide on how to start a vegan diet for some more tips!

Vegan foods that are high in calories

potato

  1. Beans – I eat a variety of beans in my diet. They provide a lot of calories and are a great source of protein and fiber, as well as being one of the foods which are associated with longevity!
  2. Avocado – Every morning I start my day with an avocado! It is super healthy with its healthy fat profile and can be added to so many different foods. You can simply spread it on some bread, add to your plate of steamed vegetables. What I do is have wholemeal bread, avocado, Mexican bean burger and a small number of raisins. Quick, tasty, and easy!
  3. Nuts – Nuts are packed with nutrition and calories. Eat a variety of nuts like walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts. I like adding them to my oatmeal.
  4. Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and calorie-dense. They are a very healthy food, so include them often in your main meals and drizzle them with a bit of olive oil to help add extra calories and absorb the beta-carotene.
  5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil – High in monounsaturated fat and oleic acid which are anti-inflammatory and healthy. Just one tablespoon (13.5 g) of olive oil has 119 Calories.
  6. Vegan protein drinks – Drinking protein shakes with meals and after workouts is a great way to maintain muscle and healthy body composition.
  7. Healthy treats – Vegan organic chocolate can be eaten sparingly to help maintain a higher weight.
  8. Smoothies –  Smoothies can be a great way to get a lot of calories fast and easy. Green smoothies also rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. To boost up calories, try adding avocado and seeds to your smoothies.

As you can see, iceberg lettuce doesn’t make it on the list! In order to maintain weight, you’re going to have to think differently about portion sizes and perhaps even track your calorie intake to see how many calories you’re getting. You might be seriously underestimated your calorie intake on this diet.

It’s very common for people to undereat significantly on a vegan diet and feel weak and dizzy. I think this is why so many people quit the diet. They make simple mistakes which could be easily avoided.

Get enough calories

To determine whether or not you’re getting enough calories, you can use different calculators online which will estimate how many calories need to maintain your bodyweight.

It’s a pretty simple concept: eat enough!

But I know from first-hand experience that eating enough calories on a plant-based, vegan diet, can be quite difficult because most of the foods are very low in calories.

When I first started a CR diet, I would have these huge bowls of vegetables which would take me literally an hour to finish. Seriously!

My stomach would be so full after the meal, but yet I was still losing a significant amount of weight each week. It never felt like I was restricting my calories at all. It felt like I was eating more food than ever before.

And sure, I was eating a far bigger volume of food than I was used to eating, but even then the total calorie intake for a typical day was barely 1500k/cal per day.

Now think about what I said earlier with people new to eating this way… They will normally have the same sized dishes, with a few chopped up lettuce leaves, tomatoes, a small potato and a carrot stick. This is simply not enough food.

On a vegan diet, you have so many options. Be open-minded and explore new things!

Exercising

woman doing yoga

How much are you exercising every day and what type of exercise?

If you like running, martial arts, or any other energy-intensive activity, these can take up a lot of calories, so you need to make sure you’re compensating by adding in extra calories.

You can also simply find a better balance. Maybe if you run a lot, but not competitively, cut back a bit and focus on other types of exercise like yoga, weight training to build muscle.

Going on a vegan diet, eating healthily, and training your body can get you an awesome physique in no time!

It will also help stimulate your appetite! 🙂

Other ideas to maintain weight

So now you have a better idea of the types of food you should include your diet to maintain your weight, let’s take a look at how you can adjust your daily habits as well.

  • Eat your meals at set times, and don’t miss them
  • Include healthy snacks in between your meals
  • Studies have shown that eating with other people increases food intake by up to 18%
  • One known trick is to use larger plates when serving food
  • Use herbs in your diet like peppermint, ginger, cinnamon, chamomile, lemon balm and others, which can prevent nausea and stimulate appetite. Adjusting to larger  food portion sizes can be difficult, but these should help
  • Don’t drink large amounts of water before meal time (fruits and veggie have a lot already!)
  • Make sure you don’t become deficient in vitamins and minerals which may reduce appetite. Zinc deficiency is one well-known cause of loss of appetite and vegan may be at risk.

Getting used to the larger portion sizes can be a difficult part. As I said earlier, I would eat so much food my stomach would be bloated and yet there was barely 500 k/cal in the meal.

Your stomach can adjust over time, so gradually increase your meal sizes if you have to.

How not to do it

choice between healthy and unhealthy vegan (meat) substitutes
Choose healthy vegan foods instead of vegan processed meat-alternatives

It might be tempting to go for the junk food to get those extra calories, but don’t do it. Be conscious about what you’re putting into your body.

Occasionally, it is fine to eat these foods, but the majority of your diet should be healthy. If you do this, you will maintain a healthy body weight, look great, and drastically reduce the risk of disease.

You may also even live a lot longer than average.

There are plenty of vegans out there who only eat junk food and are putting their health at risk. Junk food is junk food no matter if it’s vegan or not.

Be the best example to others by taking care of yourself in a healthy way.

Conclusion

A vegan diet can be an extremely healthy way of living and fit almost any type of lifestyle if done correctly. There are however many pitfalls which can be easy to fall into.

For a person to be successful on a vegan diet, it can take a bit of time adjusting and learning some of the basics.

With the right information, you can successfully maintain your weight on the diet and be in control of your health.

Health Benefits of Eating Colorful Fruits and Vegetables

Why should you eat different color fruits and vegetables?

You have probably heard of ‘five-a-day’ somewhere before. It’s the number of fruits and vegetables that you are encouraged to eat every day for good health. But where does it come from and is there any good evidence that just eating 5 fruits and vegetables per day is enough for optimal health? You have heard this before, but it’s also important to eat a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables.

Even with this advice, many people are not eating that many fruits and vegetables every day. A survey conducted in 2014 showed that 70% of UK adults are eating less than five portions of fruits and veg, and so there is still a lot of work to do to change people’s eating habits.

Education from a young age is going to be one of the most effective ways to deal with this problem. If nothing is done, then it will become a much bigger issue. Diabetes, for example, is one of the fastest growing chronic conditions in the world and is primarily caused by diet. It can also be effectively reversed by diet if the diet is changed within a few years of being diagnosed.

Eating five servings of fruit and vegetables per day is not enough

Five portions of fruit and vegetables only add up to 400 grams! The British Dietetic Association labeled the ‘5-a-day’ campaign a massive success. I’d call it a massive failure. First of all, I think that 400 grams of fruit and vegetables a day is way too little to make a meaningful difference. And secondly, only 30% of adults in the UK even manage to eat 5 a day. And one of those five a day probably includes the tomato on pizza!

Another issue with eating so little fruits and vegetables is that the rest of the diet is usually overwhelmingly bad. To get the best health and cut the risk of disease, you really have to start removing a lot of the processed and refined foods and add even more healthy foods.

At a minimum, people should be eating at least 10 portions of fruits and vegetables a day. Imperial College published an article earlier this year showing that 800 grams of fruits and vegetables per day could prevent millions of premature deaths.

You number you need to aim for at minimum is ten portions of fruits and vegetables per day. It’s common for people who are eating a raw food diet or calorie restricted diet to consume way more than this number. You want to tip the balance where the vast majority of the food you eat is healthy, and then just treat yourself every now and then to something small if you feel the need to.

Aim for variety in your diet: Eat different colored fruits and vegetables

There are many different types of fruits and vegetables which provide different health benefits. This is one of the reasons why I think 5 a day was is not enough. To get the benefits of these foods, you must be consuming them on a regular basis and also have variety.

What I do is have a staple of about 5 – 7 different fruits and vegetables, then rotate other foods so I’m not always eating the same thing every day. It’s not uncommon for me to have 10-15 different fruits and vegetables each day.

The staples in my diet include:

  • 1 whole Avocado
  • 1 large Banana
  • 1 Red Apple
  • Spinach (150 g)
  • Blueberries (200 g)
  • Broccoli (100 g)
  • 1 Kiwi

Once you create a foundation of staple foods, then you can build from that and experiment by including other foods in your diet. You could also include things like nuts, olive oil, a limited amount of whole grains, and legumes into your diet. If you eat the same staple foods every day, then no matter how the rest of your day goes, at least you’ll have had better nutrition than most people probably get in a week! You should always aim to eat the highest quality foods, but sometimes that isn’t always possible.

Below are some ideas of what color foods you should be eating and some of the benefits they might provide.

GREEN FOODS

Photo of different vegetables

Chlorophyll is what gives certain foods their green color like spinach and kale. These leafy green vegetables highly nutritious and low calorie and should be a staple of your diet. They are typically high antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They are also usually high in vitamin C, Folate, and Vitamin K.

Benefits: Great for your eyesight and your skin. Beta-carotene help provides some vitamin A and improves immune function.

Kale is also a great source of sulforaphane, which improves detoxification in the body and may prevent various types of cancers. According to some research, foods like spinach might also help improve muscle energy and function because of its high levels of nitrates.

RED, PURPLE, AND BLUE FOODS

Anthocyanins and in some cases Lycopene are responsible for the color of these foods. Foods high in these are blueberries, cranberries, red cabbage, and tomatoes.

Benefits: These antioxidants may help improve eyesight, improve brain function, protect against cancer and infections (UTI). Lycopene has also been found to slightly reduce sun damage when exposed to UV rays.

YELLOW AND ORANGE FOODS

Beta Carotene is mainly responsible for the color of these foods. Foods high in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, yellow bell peppers, papaya, butternut squash. 

Benefits: Improve skin protection against free radical damage and possibly improve attractiveness according to some research. Beta-carotene can also be converted to Vitamin A by the body (some people convert better than others). Natural beta-carotene found in fruits and vegetables may also prevent certain types of cancer and improve the immune system.

WHITE FOODS

Anthoxanthin is (partly) responsible for the color of foods such as cauliflower, onions, and garlic. 

Benefits: These foods may lower the risk of heart disease and cancer. Onions contain quercetin which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and helps prevent infections and improves the immune system. Allicin is a good antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and there is some evidence it may prevent certain types of cancer-related the stomach.

Green smoothies are good for getting lots of good Nutrition 

For people who don’t have much time to be preparing and eating all of these foods, you can easily pack a lot of good foods into a delicious green smoothie. Green smoothies retain the fiber, and blending the fruits and vegetables can enhance bioavailability of certain nutrients.

When first experimenting with green smoothies, it’s best to start off simple and then add more things later.

I would usually suggest starting off with around 60-70% fruits and 30-40% leafy greens vegetables like baby spinach. After you get used to it, you can then lower the amount of fruit and have a more even ratio.

If you’re concerned about the rise of blood sugar when you consume green smoothies, then make sure you add blueberries! Berries can blunt the risk of a rapid increase in blood sugar when drinking smoothies.

See the video below for more information on Green Smoothies.

 

Top Anti Inflammatory Foods, Herbs and Spices in 2018

The best anti inflammatory foods, herbs and species for inflammation and pain relief

Inflammation in the body has a good and bad side to it. On the one hand inflammation is necessary to help us fight infection, heal wounds; but if there is excessive inflammation it can also do the opposite and prevent healing. Inflammation can be triggered by viruses, bacteria, yeast infections, and even something as harmless as grass pollen. Dysregulation of the immune system is a common problem and can be caused by genetics and diet.

Many people live with low level chronic inflammation that puts them at risk of a heart attack and stroke. Poor dental health is one example where ongoing long term inflammation or gum diseases can significantly raise the risk of a heart attack. It is believed that the bacteria cause the body to produce chemicals that raises inflammation which then cause damage to the arteries.

Our body has the ability to quell inflammation and calorie restriction itself is one way to dramatically reduce the level of chronic inflammation in humans. In the study conducted at WUSTL researchers found that people who had been doing long term calorie restriction had almost undetectable levels of inflammation as measured by C-Reactive Protein – which is a protein that is produced by our liver in the presence of inflammation in the body. CR is powerful, but the diet is a big component of the diets effects.

Nature Provides Effective and Natural Anti Inflammatory Compounds

Take Aspirin for example: it is derived from from willow bark and is an effective anti inflammatory that millions of people take for their aches and pains when they get a cold or the flu. It also acts as an anti-pyretic so it reduces body temperature when you have a fever.

There has been some research that suggests taking low dose aspirin might even protect against cancer and possibly extend health-span.

And then we could look at NSAIDs like Ibuprofen: these are selective COX-2 inhibitors and helps reduce inflammation. However, long term use of these have been questioned because it may raise the risk of heart disease.

In my opinion, it is fine to use these type of medications when we really need them, but we should not completely rely on them. We should look at some of the natural remedies for inflammation that can help balance out the immune system.

Top anti inflammatory foods to fight inflammation

There are many different foods that you can eat which have a powerful effect in the body at reducing inflammation and preventing disease. I have chosen these specific foods not because they are some of my favourite, but because they have some good scientific evidence to back them up. I hope this gives you a good idea of the foods to include in your diet if you want to help reduce inflammation

Below are 8 different foods and drinks that will help fight inflammation in the body:

 

PINEAPPLE

Pineapple fight inflammation in the body

Pineapple’s are one of my favourite fruits and are great to have in smoothies. Pineapple’s help fight inflammation, reduce swelling, and speed up healing time because it has an enzyme called Bromelain. Multiple studies have shown that Bromelain speed up wound healing and improves recovery time from exercise. If you don’t like Pineapple’s, you can take the enzyme Bromelain in supplement form. Taking it together with Quercetin (powerful antioxidant) has a stronger anti-inflammatory effect.

CHOCOLATE

dark chocolate reduces inflammation in the body

Did you know the oldest women to ever live ate chocolate every day? Her name was Jean Calment and she was 122 years old when she died. She claimed that she ate roughly 2.2 lbs of chocolate per week! So why is chocolate good for you? Well, dark chocolate is flavonal-rich and these compounds help reduce inflammation, relax the blood vessels and for some provide stress relief. Dark chocolate increases the expression of anti-inflammatory cytokines and blunting inflammatory mediators such as NF-kB IL-1B and IL-6. The higher the epicatetchin in the chocolate, the larger the effect. Dark chocolate also contains small amounts of Resveratrol which is thought to partially mimic some of the effects of calorie restriction. When choosing dark chocolate make sure you choose at least 70% of higher.

GREEN TEA

What Are The Best Anti Inflammatory Foods To Eat?

Wake up to a cup of Green Tea. This drink is very popular in Asia, but less so in the West. If there is one thing you should add to your life every day, it’s green tea. It contains many beneficial compounds like polyphenols, catechins, flavonoids. Green Tea also provides L-theanine which is relaxing. Drinking up to 10 cups of green tea a day has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer by over 40% and reduce the risk of death overall. If you drink green tea, make sure you don’t add any milk. Casein can bind to the polyphenols and reduce the bioavailability of these beneficial compounds.

TURMERIC

Turmeric is a powerful anti inflammatory food

Turmeric has been studied largely because it contains a powerful compound called Curcumin. Turmeric is very useful for chronic inflammatory conditions and helps reduce the need for anti inflammatory pain medication. Think about drinking a cup of Turmeric tea before bed. You could add it to green tea, put in some honey and lemon to make it taste better. You can also add turmeric to foods of course. Read the lessons learned from clinical trials using Curcumin.

OLIVE OIL

Foods that help reduce inflammation in the body

Olive oil is a staple of the traditional Mediterranean diet. It can be used with so many foods and dishes and as long as you bought a decent quality extra virgin olive oil, you’ll get the health benefits from it. Olive Oil contains a compound called Oleic Acid and has similar anti inflammatory and pain reduces properties as Ibuprofen, but to a lesser degree. A BBC article reported that 50 grams of Extra Virgin Olive Oil was equivalent to 1/10th the dose of ibuprofen. Jean Calment, the lady who lived to 122, also used to consume lots of Olive Oil.

WALNUTS 

Walnuts are high in anti inflammatory omega 3 fats

Walnuts can be a great snack by itself or combined with other things. Walnuts contain a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids and that helps fight inflammation in the body. Walnuts also contain something called Melatonin, which is a potent antioxidant that is produced by humans naturally and helps us sleep. It also has many other functions in the body related to neural and immune function.

RED APPLES

Red apples are high in anti inflammatory compounds like quercetin

Red Apples generally have the highest amount of Quercetin, but it depends on the variety. Quercetin is a powerful anti inflammatory. Quercetin has been found to be beneficial in preventing the flu, colds and bacterial infections. Quercetin is also quite effective in reducing allergies. Apples also contain a fibre called Pectin in the skin, and this also has many other benefits.

BERRIES

Berries help reduce inflammation in the body

Eat berries. Eat lots of berries! Berries have a smaller effect on blood sugar compared to other fruits, so you can eat more liberally. In fact, adding blueberries to smoothies and other high sugar foods can blunt the rise in blood sugar. High blood sugar is one of the things which can cause inflammation and lead to increased risk of infections. Berries contain many polyphenols and anthocyanins which help reduce inflammation in the body and promote health.

Inflammation Has A Role in Aging

Inflammation in the body can slowly cause the body to fail. It starts small, and the effects over time become larger when it reaches a critical threshold. The role of inflammation in ageing is significant. Obesity, junk food, smoking, pollution, chronic infections, stress and so many other things all increase the level of inflammation in our body. The inflammation doesn’t have to be obvious either. It can be chronic low grade inflammation that you would not feel or know about, but it’s there and can be slowly damaging your body and mind.

The best foods to fight inflammation are fruits and vegetables with dark pigments – deep purples, reds, and orange. Natural and healthy foods are full of vibrant colours, these are from some of the beneficial compounds found within them. In contrast, processed food often looks dull and not so vibrant.

To give you an idea of what foods to avoid that contribute to inflammation, here’s a list.

Foods and Ingredients That Cause Inflammation That You Should Limit

  • Vegetable oils – trans fats, sunflower oil, safflower oil and palm oil.
  • Fried foods – Advanced glycation end products (AGE’s) are a major factor in inflammation and aging.
  • Refined Sugar – Sugar increases the body’s inflammation and suppresses our immune system making us more likely to get sick. Stick to natural plant-based foods and avoid sugary drinks.
  • White Flour – Choose whole grains over white flour based products. Spikes in insulin and blood sugar contribute to inflammation and aging
  • Saturated Fats – Although not all saturated fats are equally as harmful, you are best limiting intake of saturated fats as they have been shown to increase systemic inflammation in the body
  • Processed Meats – Meats that are cooked at high temperatures create AGE’s. Processed meat has also been linked to common bowel cancers.

If you follow some of these steps, you will be able to reduce the damage inflammation is doing in your body. Try to make some of the foods that I mentioned a staple of your diet. Rotate the foods you eat so you’re not eating the same thing every day. Experiment with different combinations of foods and see what works best for you.

Remember it’s always best to prevent disease than wait until you have it. Small but consistent changes can change your life. Be mindful of what you eat, and be well!

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