Fruit Tea: A Useful Health food?

Tea is the most drunk beverage in the world after water. Tea really refers to the decoction made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea can be black or green depending on how it is fermented. Tea is a healthy drink because evidence shows that it is able to protect the consumer for a number of lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Fruit tea is not made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, but instead is a decoction from various dried fruits. Fruit tea may also have health effects similar to those of regular tea, and this may relate to the high amounts of antioxidants it contains. Fruits are particularly high in flavonoids, and these flavonoids are transferred into the water when tea is made from the fruit. Drinking fruit tea therefore provides a high number of antioxidant flavonoids that may be protective of disease, but with none of the sugar associated with eating fruit. As fruit tea contains no caffeine, it can be drunk freely, including before bed when caffeine may have negative effects. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself

RdB

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Yoghurt or Milk?

A large percentage of the World’s population are intolerant to cow’s milk. This is because they cannot digest the lactose sugar in the milk. The lactose therefore becomes fermented in the gut by bacteria, and a side effect of this is the production of hydrogen and other gases. This gas is the cause of the symptoms of lactose intolerance because it causes bloating, which can induce pain and discomfort. Yoghurt is made from cow’s milk through a fermentation process that removes some of the lactose and at the same time increases the lactic acid content. This means that yoghurt is more tolerable to lactose intolerant individuals compared to unfermented cow’s milk. Studies have assessed the ability of lactose intolerant individuals to digest yogurt, and generally they have shown that side effects are not present when cow’s milk is consumed as fermented yoghurt. Interestingly, co-consumption of yoghurt, along with unfermented cow’s milk, reduces the symptoms normally experienced when consuming cow’s milk alone.  

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RdB

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Antioxidants: Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Antioxidants have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects. In general antioxidants appear to be protective of major lifestyle diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer. Since evidence shows that antioxidants are beneficial to health, it could be assumed that taking large amounts of antioxidants would be more beneficial compared to taking smaller quantities of them. However, more is not always better with antioxidants. Generally antioxidants are beneficial, however in high concentrations certain antioxidants may act as pro-oxidants. This means that instead of protecting tissues from free radicals, they may actually generate the production of free radicals and thus cause tissue damage. It is thought for example that vitamin E may act in this way if taken in very high concentrations. One solution to this problem is to take smaller amounts of many different antioxidants. This is how antioxidants are present in food naturally, and taking them in this way prevents them becoming pro-oxidants. 

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RdB

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Convolvulus Plants: Contain Mood Elevating Flavonoids

Convolvulus are a large group of plants that have been shown to have medicinal properties. In particular, Convolvulus plants may have mood elevating properties. It is not clear how these plants are able to elevate mood, but evidence suggests that this may be due to the presence of alkaloids and flavonoids within the plant tissues. In the case of flavonoids, studies have consistently shown that they are able to elevate depressed mood and relieve anxiety. Convolvulus plants have been shown to contain a range of flavonoids including quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, myricetin, rhamnetin, rutin, apigenin, chrysin, luteolin, vitexin, genistein, hesperidin and naringenin. The exact flavonoid content of the plants depends on the species and variety, and differences in flavonoid content between the flowers, stems, leaves and roots have been observed. The mood elevating effects of Convolvulus plants may therefore stem in part from the high concentrations of antioxidant flavonoids in the plant tissues. 

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RdB

Donia, A. M., Alqasoumi, S. I., Awaad, A. S. and Cracker, L. 2011. Antioxidant activity of Convolvulus hystrix Vahl and its chemical constituents. Pakistan journal of pharmaceutical sciences. 24: 143-147
Bahrami, B., Noori, M., Mousavi, A., Khalighi, A. and Jafari, A. 2015. Leaf flavonoids of Convolvulus L. species in Markazi Province, Iran. Journal of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences (JBES). 6(6): 89-96
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Salvia verticillata for Mood

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Salvia reuterana: Anxiolytic Herb

The Salvia are a large group of over 900 plant species that grow throughout the world in temperate regions. These plants are more commonly referred to as sage. Salvia reuterana is a sage plant that grows in mountainous regions of central Iran. Evidence suggests that Salvia reuterana may have medicinal effects and in this regard may be useful against the development of mood disorders. For example, in one study, the effects of an extract of Salvia reuterana were investigated using an animal model of anxiety. Mice were administered extracts of the plant and then exposed to experimental stress. The results of the study showed that the plant extract was significantly beneficial at reducing the anxious symptoms experienced by the animals. In addition, the researchers observed that the Salvia reuterana extract also had a sedative effect that was similar to that of the control drug diazepam. This study supports the traditional; use of Salvia reuterana as a medicine that is useful in the treatment of anxiety. 

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RdB

Rabbani, M., Sajjadi, S. E., Jafarian, A. and Vaseghi, G. 2005. Anxiolytic effects of Salvia reuterana Boiss. on the elevated plus-maze model of anxiety in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 101(1-3): 100-103
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Polyphenols: Antimicrobials

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What Can You Expect From Better Nutrition?

Only a small number of people go through the experience of better health from improved nutrition. The vast majority of individuals in the Western world continue to consume the Western diet throughout their lives, and these people experience a slow degeneration of their metabolic systems until they succumb to a Western lifestyle disease. The benefits of changing to a high quality diet have been well documented in the scientific literature. General improvements in health can include an increased resistance to stress and illness and a reduction in fatigue. In those that exercise, a decrease in recovery time following exercise is also a real possibility. A reduction in the risk of a number of Western lifestyle diseases will also occur when switching to a high quality diet, and these diseases include cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Lastly, a high quality diet can cause significant fat loss in those who normally consume the typical Western diet. 

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RdB

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Convolvulus Seeds: Lysergic Acid Alkaloids

Convolvulus is a large group of flowering plants that includes the morning glory plants (of which there are over 1000). Medicinally, convolvulus has been shown to have significant beneficial effects on mood. Extracts of both flowers and leaves show particular antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. However, the seeds of morning glory, and other convolvulus plants may contain lysergic acid alkaloids, including ergine, isoergine, ergometrine, ergometrine, elymoclavine, penniclavine, and chanoclavine. In addition, it has been found that variations in the content of these alkaloids are found between plants, with some plants being devoid of these alkaloids altogether. Interestingly, while it is the seeds of the convolvulus plants that are thought to contain the lysergic acid alkaloids, some plants do contain these alkaloids in the leaves and stems. Convolvulus therefore appear to metabolise compounds that result in the production of a number of lysergic alkaloids, but the medical significance of this is not fully understood. 

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RdB

Taber, W. A., Vining, L. C. and Heacock, R. A. 1963. Clavine and lysergic acid alkaloids in varieties of morning glory. Phytochemistry. 2(1): 65-70
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Red Meat: Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Red meat undoubtedly has some health benefits associated with consumption. In particular, red meat provides all the essential amino acids necessary for human growth and metabolism and is therefore considered a complete protein. In addition, red meat is an excellent source of iron, and as iron is the most common nutritional deficiency, red meat can be an excellent way to maintain health. However, although red meat has some excellent health effects, it is important to understand that consuming high amounts of red meat may have some adverse health effects. Firstly, red meat from conventionally farmed animals may contain pesticide or drug residues. However, by eating organic meat this risk can be minimised. Also consumption of high amounts of red meat may lead to an increase in transit time through the gut, and this may have negative effects on gut health. However, these effects may be minimised by eating meat with high quantities of vegetables, the fibre from which can reduce gut transit times considerably.  

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RdB

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