Why green tea?

I have recently gotten into the habit of drinking green tea in the afternoon and thoroughly enjoy it! As we all know, green tea is a very healthy beverage to drink. Green tea has been consumed for approximately 5,000 years, first in China. Last year, I purchased the book, The Kaufmann Protocol: Why We Age and How to Stop it, which has a section on EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), the main component in green tea. What differentiates green tea from black tea and oolong tea is that green tea is not fermented. The plant’s (Camellia sinensis) leaves and buds are simply brewed. Dr. Sandra Kaufmann states: “Let’s answer the big question first. Can EGCG actually help you live longer? The answer is a resounding yes….”

Green tea’s health benefits

The above book mentions green tea’s known health benefits. Among others, it has: 

  • Antioxidant qualities
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Anti-tumorigenic effects
  • Weight loss effects (over time)

Also, green tea may help strengthen bones: “EGCG has an osteo-inductive effect on stem cells, meaning the cells are steered into making bone cells versus any other cell.”

And when it comes to the brain, consuming green tea helps with “learning and other brain activities…EGCG exerts protective effects against seemingly eventual age-related cognitive declines and neurodegenerative diseases.”

In summary


This is a precious beverage indeed! With all these health benefits no wonder people have been drinking green tea for centuries! A cup of tea has between 70 and 90 mg of EGCG. Right now, I consume an organic sencha green tea, but there are numerous other organic options. Matcha, a green tea in powder form, is one of them. And to get more of the benefits green tea has to offer, I also take one capsule of Thorne Green Tea Phytosome each day. (Of course, you want to check with your physician first if you decide to do the same). Maybe it’s a cup of green tea a day that keeps the doctor away. Who knows?

Reference

Kaufmann, Sandra, et al. The Kaufmann Protocol : Why We Age and How to Stop It. Kaufmann Anti-Aging Institute, 2018, p. 249-57.

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Why olive oil?

How about a big colorful salad of mixed lettuces and greens with a diced avocado and a few other in-season picks? Then add a couple of sliced hard-boiled eggs, a can of fish, a few pieces of cut-up roasted chicken, or any other protein for that matter. And for the homemade vinaigrette, use extra-virgin olive oil only. Did you know “that we cannot absorb some of the most important nutrients in salad greens unless the dressing or the meal it’s eaten with contains some type of fat”? To this statement, Jo Robinson, author of Eating on the Wild Side, adds that according to a 2012 study, olive oil turns out to be the best oil to use in order to get those nutrients.

The composition of olive oil

We usually consider olive oil to be a monounsaturated fat because it contains 77% monounsaturated fatty acids, but it also has 13.5% saturated fatty acids, and 8.4% polyunsaturated fatty acids. The book Superfuel emphasizes that “[o]live oil, particularly high-quality extra virgin olive oil, contains oleic acid and polyphenol, which can dramatically reduce the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation and promote healthy lipid content.” So the higher the polyphenol content, the better. And a recent Ben Greenfield podcast highlights the fact that oleic acid, as well as DHA found in fish/fish oil, are the two fats most beneficial to the brain. Furthermore, Fat for Fuel, by Dr. Joseph Mercola, lists the following health benefits regarding olive oil:

  • Antioxidant powerhouse
  • Heart protection
  • Anticancer activity
  • Anti-aging benefits
  • Bone health

How to shop for olive oil

Shopping for olive oil requires a bit of vigilance as “[e]ven ‘extra-virgin’ olive oil is often diluted with other less expensive oils, including hazelnut, soybean, corn, sunflower, palm, sesame, grape seed and/or walnut. These added oils will not be listed on the label, so most people will not be able to discern that their olive oil is not 100 percent pure,” state Dr. James DiNicolantonio and Dr. Joseph Mercola in Superfuel. The “use by” or “sell by” date for olive oil is not the best indicator of freshness. It’s the “harvest” date” or “pressed on” date that is to look for on a bottle, and it should be under six months old. In the same way, you want to consume olive oil within six months. Also, it is best to only buy “extra-virgin” olive oil because when the label mentions “pure” or “light” oil, “olive oil” or “olive pomace oil,” this means that the oil has gone through “chemical processing.” I like to use the unfiltered Bragg organic extra virgin olive oil.

How to use olive oil

As olive oil is sensitive to air, light, and heat, you want to keep your bottle(s) in a cool area away from light and right away put the cap back on the bottle after each use to minimize oxidation of the oil. If you have a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil with a high polyphenol content, it can be used for cooking at moderate temperatures. Otherwise, it is best to use olive oil for dressings and to drizzle over your food, as mentioned in my article about The Primal Blueprint Food Pyramid. If the olive oil tastes rancid, has a fusty, moldy, wine, or vinegar flavor, you should discard it. These are the basics to know about olive oil. As a final note, I would highly recommend the above podcast which goes further into details about What Olive Oil Should Taste Like, The Scary Truth About Olive Oil, Can You Cook With Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Much More! To your daily dose of olive oil!

References

Dinicolantonio, James, and Joseph Mercola. Superfuel : Ketogenic Keys to Unlock the Secrets of Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Great Health. Carlsbad, California, Hay House Inc, 2018, pp. 88-93.

“Extra Virgin Olive Oil: What It Should Taste Like & What To Look Out For.” Ben Greenfield Fitness – Diet, Fat Loss and Performance Advice, 8 Feb. 2020, bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/nutrition-podcasts/extra-virgin-olive-oil/. Accessed 15 Feb. 2020.

Mercola, Joseph. Fat for Fuel : A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy. Carlsbad, California, Hay House, Inc, 2017, pp. 90–92.

Robinson, Jo, and Andie Styner. Eating on the Wild Side the Missing Link to Optimum Health. New York Little, Brown, 2013, pp. 37-38.

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How we can help our immune system

As we are in the midst of the cold and flu season, making sure that we consume a sufficient amount of foods beneficial to our immune system is a top priority! Last week, I mentioned bone broth, which is one of those foods that can help us boost our immune system. And there are many more: fermented foods, bee products, and whole foods like dark leafy green vegetables, garlic, mushrooms, fatty fish, and grass-fed/grass-finished meats. Since I have been on a paleo type of diet (for almost 6 years now) I very rarely get a cold. While before, for sure I had a cold/flu about twice each winter. Foods we eat can matter that much!

The main beneficial foods

In a recent article by Amen Clinics regarding “What to do about the coronavirus,” it is recommended to consume foods like these:

  • Garlic, onions
  • Mushrooms (shiitake, white button, portabella)
  • Vitamin-C rich foods (oranges, berries, peppers, dark leafy green vegetables)
  • Vitamin-D rich foods (fatty fish, eggs, tuna)
  • Zinc-rich foods (oysters, beef, lamb, spinach, asparagus, sesame and pumpkin seeds)
  • Selenium-rich foods (Brazil nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats)

In Boundless, by Ben Greenfield, mushrooms are also mentioned: shiitake, maitake, turkey tail, tremella, and chaga (“king of medicinal mushrooms”). Bee products such as bee pollen, royal jelly, and propolis are highlighted as being very helpful too to boost the immune system. As a matter of fact, I always have a propolis spray in my bag, just in case. Also mentioned in this book, among other things, are fermented foods, oregano oil, colostrum, and echinacea. All these are beneficial to the immune system.

In summary

As we can see, there is a plethora of foods we can consume on a daily basis that can help us boost our immune system. I think it is wonderful to be able to better our health and wellness with simple whole foods. And I am all for prevention! Even if some of these foods may be slightly expensive, not getting sick is worth it and it ends up saving quite a bit of money down the road. So pick the foods that you like best!

Reference

Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, pp. 356–370.

“What to Do About the Coronavirus.” Amen Clinics, 4 Feb. 2020, http://www.amenclinics.com/blog/what-to-do-about-the-coronavirus/ Accessed 8 Feb. 2020.

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Bone broth: its many uses

I love having a cup of bone broth at the end of the day, especially when it is cold outside. Nothing better to warm you up and energize you at the same time! Bone broth has been used for thousands of years as a healing beverage by traditional cultures. A South American saying declares that “bone broth raises the dead.” Dr. Catherine Shanahan “consider[s] bone broth a missing food group.” You can directly drink the broth just like I do or/and use it whenever you want to make stews, soups, or sauces instead of using plain water. 

What bone broth offers

In Your Personal Paleo Code, Chris Kresser emphasizes the fact that “[t]he nutrients in bone broth are particularly helpful for restoring the integrity of the gut barrier when it’s damaged.”

In Food Rules, Dr. Catherine Shanahan states that the “broth infuses your blood with molecules of collagen and glycosaminoglycan that affect your body in amazing ways…. This gives bone broths an ability to rejuvenate all your worn-out bones, joints, connective tissues, and the structural supports for skin.”

In Boundless, Ben Greenfield explains in great detail what bone broth offers. Here are some of the nutrients he mentions with their benefits:

  • Arginine (which is critical for immune system and liver function)
  • Glutamine (which assists with cellular metabolism)
  • Glycine (which aids in glutathione production and improves sleep quality)
  • Alkylglycerols (lipids from the marrow in bone both that are crucial for the production of white blood cells)

How to make a basic bone broth

All you have to do when making bone broth is add the bones (joint bones with the cartilage and marrow bones) of a well-sourced cow, chicken, pig, lamb, fish, etc. to a pot of water and letting that simmer for several hours up to 24 or even 48 hours. You can add some vegetables too, of course. I usually add some onion, garlic, carrots, various herbs, salt, and pepper. And that’s it! Your broth is ready to enjoy day after day. To your health and wellness!

References

Greenfield, Ben. Boundless : Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body & Defy Aging. Las Vegas, Victory Belt Publishing Inc, 2020, pp. 360–1.

Kresser, Chris. Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life. 1st ed., New York, NY, Little, Brown and Company, Dec. 2013, pp. 174–5.

Shanahan, Catherine. Food Rules : A Doctor’s Guide to Healthy Eating. Bedford, Nh, Big Box Books, 2010, p. 67-68.

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Meaning of “Eating the rainbow”

To eat the rainbow refers to making sure we eat a variety of vegetables and fruits of different colors on a daily basis. Those various colors are the product of chemicals which are held within each fruit or vegetable. They give us an array of nutrients with high antioxidant values. So each day, we want to provide our bodies with a “rainbow” of micronutrients!

Red, blue, and purple vegetables and fruits

In How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables, Dr. Thomas Cowan explains that “Red, blue and purple plants contain in abundance chemicals called anthocyanins, which have been shown to decrease heart disease, prevent strokes, prevent macular degeneration and improve memory. Preliminary work also suggests they help regulate cell division in mammalian cells and thus may be effective as a cancer medicine or in prevention.” So it is important, each day, to consume a few blueberries, tomatoes, pomegranates, peppers, eggplants, or tree collards, for instance. I regularly enjoy putting a cup of mixed berries in my smoothies, blended with almond milk, a scoop of collagen protein, and a few other healthy powders.

Green vegetables

In the book mentioned above, Dr. Thomas Cowan further explains that when it comes to the chlorophyll in green vegetables, the “[i]ngested chlorophyll has many roles in mammals; it serves as a primary detoxifier of our tissues, it prevents cancer, improves vision and is usually found in plants with abundant vitamin C and folate, both crucial for cellular health and overall disease prevention.” We can easily find a great number of green vegetables. So benefiting daily from what chlorophyll offers in abundance (the greener the plant) is a sure way to sustain our health and wellness goals. I eat salads almost every day. And I Iove using some of Dr. Cowan’s Garden powders in order to have a greater variety of plants in my diet. These powders are very helpful, especially in winter. Do not forget to add herbs to your daily dishes too! And consuming algae (like chlorella and spirulina) when you can is a plus!

Orange and yellow vegetables and fruits

Still according to Dr. Thomas Cowan, “Orange and yellow colors mean that the various carotenoids are present…. Carotenoids participate in the health of the immune system, are needed for vision maintenance, decrease heart disease and help in cancer.” So eating carrots, beets, winter squash or pumpkins, for instance, is one way to tap into this category of nutrients. I also like to regularly consume sweet potatoes.

White plants

When it comes to white plants, Dr. Thomas Cowan states that they “contain chemicals called polyphenols, including a chemical called anthoxanthin. Anthoxanthin was found to decrease blood pressure, decrease cancer risk and prevent strokes. White plants usually have abundant levels of potassium, vitamin C, folate and other B vitamins.” Incorporating white plants to your dishes can easily be done by simply opting for onions and garlic. Onions and garlic are alliums, along with shallots, all great for cooking. If you want to read more about garlic, you can check my blog post, Why Herbs and Spices are a Must. Also in the white plant category, zucchinis and white asparagus are great picks!

In summary

As we can see, “eating the rainbow” is, indeed, important. Even with a busy schedule, eating the rainbow is fairly easy to do on a daily basis. We can plan ahead for the week, of course. Or we can simply make sure that vegetables of each category are on-hand at all times. I say vegetables because, as mentioned by Dr. Catherine Shanahan in Food Rules, “Your vegetable-to-fruit purchase ratio should be five to one.”  A lot of fruits contain quite a bit of sugar and should be considered as occasional treats only. But then again, we are all different individuals. By checking your blood sugar regularly, as suggested in my blog post Which Healthy Sugar Substitutes Can We Buy, you will be able to tell which foods work for you. And the produce you get should be mostly organic, as explained in What to Buy Organic. Red, blue, purple, green, orange, yellow, and white plants, when picked wisely, have some amazing powers to help us feel our best!

References

Calton, PhD, Jayson, and Mira Calton, CN. The Micronutrient Miracle. New York, Rodale, 2015, p. 207.

Cowan, M.D., Thomas. How (& Why) to Eat More Vegetables. Library of Congress No. 2016934925, 2016, pp. 24–26.

Shanahan, MD, Catherine. Food Rules : A Doctor’s Guide to Healthy Eating. Bedford, Nh, Big Box Books, 2010, p. 32.

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