Super Food of the Week: Green Tea

The benefits of green tea for hair are widely talked about. We know that can stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss with its powerful antioxidants. We also know that it can sooth dandruff and psoriasis by soothing the skin and reducing inflammation. We know that it strengthens and conditions as well as makes a great mix for henna treatments, thanks to our very own CurlyNikki. So what other beneficial properties makes green tea such a hot commodity?

Green tea is particularly rich in health-promoting flavonoids. The most abundant of these flavanoids founding green tea is thought to play a pivotal role in green tea’s anticancer and antioxidant effects. People who regularly consume green tea appear to have lower risk for a wide range of diseases, from simple bacterial or viral infections to chronic degenerative conditions including cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, periodontal disease, and osteoporosis. Some athletes even contend that green tea. Studies also suggest that green tea helps promote fat loss and increases exercise endurance. It is important to note that most of the studies on green tea comes from Asian countries where over 80% of the population are regular tea drinkers. Very few, if any, studies have been conducted among U.S populations. However, the findings of the studies are still relevant and compelling.

In a 2006 European study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that tea is a healthier choice than almost any beverage, sometimes including water, because tea not only rehydrates as well as water, but also provides a rich supply of polyenols that are protective against heart disease. In a study conducted at the Tohoku University School of Public Policy in Sendai, Japan researchers found that compared with study participants who consumed less than 1 cup of green tea per day, those drinking 5 ore more cups a day had a significantly lower risk of death from all causes and, specifically, risk of death from cardiovascular disease, with women receiving stronger protection than men.

In other Japanese studies, the consumption of green tea has been found to be an independent predictor for risk of coronary artery disease. In fact, the relationship was so significant researchers actually concluded, “The more green tea patients consume the less likely the are to have coronary artery disease.” Research shows that green tea catechins (a type of antioxidant) inhibit the enzymes involved in the production of free radical in the lining of arteries. By protecting the artery lining from free radical damage, green tea helps prevent the development of cardiovascular disease.

Another significant benefit of green tea is that it’s been shown to effectively lower risk of atherosclerosis by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, triglycerides, and fibrinogen (a protein in the blood involved in the formulation of blood clots) while improving the ration of LDL (bad) and to HDL (good) cholesterol. Green tea also helps to lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension.

One final interesting highlight in the benefits of green tea appears in the improvement of the efficacy (the capacity to produce an effect) of cancer drugs while decreasing the negative side effects. In an study published in the October 2004 issue of Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, green tea polyphenols (another type of antioxidant) caused drug-resistant cancer cells, which were able to push out, or resist, the cancer drug, to retain said drug which could then destroy the cancer cells. In a similar study, a compound found in green tea, the amino acid theanine, reduced the negative side effects of cancer drugs by increasing the level of one of the body’s most important produced antioxidant in normal functioning tissues.

This is just mere fraction of all the wonderful benefits seen to be associated with drinking green tea. There are much much more. However, as a side note, I feel that it is important to point out that green tea consumption may decrease the absorption and thus the activity of certain drugs and may interact with other drugs heightening their effects to dangerous levels. If you’re on any kind of prescription drug or supplement, check with your physician or pharmacists to ensure it is safe to consume green tea while taking your prescribed drug or supplement. Also if you are pregnant, or could be pregnant, check with your physician as well for more specific guidelines on the consumption of green tea.

Fit Tip of the Week: Why Women Should Lift Weights (Part II)

Last week we began a two part series highlighting the reasons why women should lift weights. This week we conclude the part two of the series in an effort go provide food for thought for your health and fitness routine. Remember ladies; muscle is nothing to be afraid of, so lets delve deeper into the benefits of lifting weights.

Reason 6: By lifting weights you will reduce your risk of heart disease. Weight training can improve your cardiovascular health by lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and by lowering blood pressure. When coupled with cardiovascular exercise, these benefits are maximized.

Reason 7: Lifting weights will help reduce your risk of diabetes. Weight training may also improve the way the body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. We all know that adult-onset of diabetes is a major growing problem for women and men. Research does indicate that regular weight training (2-3 times per week) can increase glucose utilization in the body by 23 percent in just four months.

Reason 8: Regular weight training can improve your athletic performance. Countless studies have concluded that strength training does lead to improved athletic ability. Golfers can increase their driving power; gymnasts and dancers increase their ability to throw themselves around while staying balanced; and Lance Armstrong can cycle longer periods of time though mountains with less fatigue. Whatever sport you play, strength training is an important component for improving over all performance as well as a decreased risk of injury.

Reason 9:
Strength training will improve your attitude and fight depression. A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of regular strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms more successfully than standard counseling alone did. Women who participated in strength training regularly reported feeling more confident and capable as a result in their program, all of which are important factors in fighting depression. Also remember that exercise does release endorphins, which produce a feeling of well-being.

Reason 10
: It is NEVER too late to benefit. As a personal trainer I’ve witnessed this fact to be true firsthand many times over. I’ve seen women in their 70’s and 80’s build up significant strength, including improvements in bone health, though regular weight training. They’ve reduced their chances of injury from falling by reducing their chance of falling altogether just by simply developing proper strength and balance. Studies have shown that strength improvements are possible at any age. However, active older adults should always be supervised by strength training professional during strength training sessions.

Well, there you have it ladies! These are some of my favorite reasons why women should lift weights, or weight/strength train. Now that we’ve looked at why it’s important for women to strength train, next week we’ll have a “course” in what I like to call “Weight Lifting and Strength Training 101”. As always, if you have any questions you can find me over on the CN.com forum.

Until next week, stay happy and healthy!

KinkySheaPT

You can find KinkyShea on the CurlFriends section of the forum.