Category Archives: Nutrition

Hunger Pains? It’s more likely Thirst or a Food Sensitivity

-I’m hungry!
-Well, how do you know?
-I can feel it in my stomach.
-How can you be sure it’s hunger, and not pain from thirst or a food sensitivity?
-Say, what?

Certain types of signals are very closely related in how they feel  and it is very hard for us to tell the difference. Who has time to really figure out what the body is trying to tell us anyway, right? We would much rather just take an aspirin or ibuprofen and get on with it. Pain from hunger, thirst and food sensitivities all have very different meanings for the body, yet we are not tuned in enough to tell the difference.

From the movie Remember the Titans
“Pain is only bread in french”

If your body is telling you that you need more water, but you think that you are “hungry” and need more food, you are setting yourself up for failure. Why? The body needs about 10 liters of water in order to have proper digestion. Some of it will come from the food we just ingested but most of it will come from recycled sources of water from other areas of our body. If we were already a bit dehydrated from the beginning, we will be even more dehydrated after we have eaten. Now other areas of your body will have even less water for its functions, because its all needed in digestion. This is a very costly operation for your body, and it doesn’t like it. Did you know that as little as a 2% dehydration can give you these symptoms:

Fatigue, Anxiety, Irritability, Depression, Cravings, Cramps and Headaches.

So before you start snacking away, thinking that you are starving, ask yourself “does it seem reasonable that I should be this hungry at this time”? If not, have a big glass of water with a pinch of sea salt first and wait and see what happens to that “hunger” feeling. If it goes away it means your body is in need of more water.

A time to start suspecting that you may have some food intolerance or sensitivity is when it goes something like this: You have just had a plate of food, but your stomach “is telling you” that you are “still starving”, and you dig into another big plate. When you “feel hunger” midway through a meal it is possible that it is actually a pain signal from the gut. It is trying to tell you that it is sensitive to something in the food you are eating. For your gut it is like you are eating stinging jellyfish. Ouch!

Ask yourself, does it seem reasonable that I am feeling “this hungry” even though I already had a plate of food? Why not note down what you ate, and if it was at a restaurant, which one. With this information, see if you can compile a pattern of when you get “hunger pains” like this. It can give you some very valuable clues as to what could be irritating and hurting your gut. These are the most common offenders:

Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Corn, Soy, Nitrates, Peanuts, Sesame, Sulfites, Fish/Shellfish, Tree Nuts.

If it seems to you that you are “feeling hungry” too often, check out your hydration situation and make sure you have figured out your own Hydration Formula. If the hunger pains happens during a meal, be very suspect of food sensitivities and start your detective work to figure out what it can be.

Have a great weekend!
😉

 

For those of you in Luxembourg, I hope to see you on Tuesday evening at 19:00! We will continue to look at the different messages our body is sending us, and how to interpret them.

 


Cure Your Child With Food by Kelly Dorfman

Book

Your Body’s Many Cries For Water by F.Batmanghelidj

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/wellness/2002/06/25/the-hunger-a-food-allergy-mystery/3eaaf113-e22d-459d-a854-c0728e8a7079/?utm_term=.817bcda29ce9

The Symptoms Of A Potential Food Intolerance

Photo by Jordan Whitt, Jonathan Perez, Sam Burriss, rawpixel.com and Sam Burriss on Unsplash

The benefits of heat. Get in the Sauna! – Part 2.

Very recently I wrote about the benefits to the Nervous System of using the Sauna. I just came across this podcast with more reasons of why getting into the Sauna is really beneficial for you.

How about improving cardiovascular disease, or positively impacting depression for up to 6 weeks with just one sauna session? Read about that study here.

Dr. Rhonda Patrick Ph.D. who is an expert on nutritional health, brain, cancer and aging has done a podcast on the theme, and I find the information in it very interesting.  You can download it and listen to it here or watch it below.

Enjoy your weekend and hopefully a session in the Sauna 😉


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27172277
https://www.foundmyfitness.com/

Are you chewing your Omega-3 capsules?

Has anybody ever asked you this question before? They should have, because it is a question that is very important. If you are not chewing your Omega-3 capsules you had better start right away. But first, let’s back up a little. Why do we need omega-3 in the first place?

Essential Fatty Acids or EFA’s, are fats that are essential to our body, and that we are not able to make ourselves from other nutrients. That means that we have to eat them.  One of the most important functions of EFA’s in the body is to make sure that the cell-membranes are strong and can correctly do its job. We need fatty acids all the time since we are constantly building new cells, especially when we are still growing. When the cell-membrane is weak all sorts of things will go wrong, because the cells are the building blocks for everything. Depending on what type of cell has been weakened, for instance a nerve cell or immune cell, it will show up in different ways.

Musculoskeletal issues
Endocrine issues
Cardiovascular issues
Immune issues
Allergies, Skin problems
Depression

Because we are typically eating too many processed “bad fats” and not enough of the good ones (olive oil, coconut oil, butter, seed oil), we are currently in a state of deficiency. Even though we have so much food in the the western societies “Healthy Fatty Acid deficiency is an epidemic”. [1]

Linoleic Acid, known as Omega-6, and Alpha-Linoleic Acid, known as Omega-3 are essential to us. Typically we will have higher levels of Omega-6 in our bodies as they are more common in our diet, but we tend to be low on the Omega-3, hence the supplementation. For a whole food source of Omega-3, you can use Flaxseed, Flaxseed oil, Hemp seed and Walnuts.

A sign that you have very low levels of Fatty Acid’s in your body, is a permanent dry, scaly and bumpy skin, like chicken skin, usually starting on the back of your upper arms.[2]

Now, if you swallow a capsule whole, chances are very big that the capsule will not open in the stomach where it needs to open. Instead, it will continue into the small intestine and open up there. This is a problem, because the small intestine does not have the tools to take care of large fat molecules. The acid in the stomach is supposed to start that process. So, now we have large fat molecules hanging out in the small intestine. This irritates the lining of the intestine and can lead to leaky gut. And because the fat isn’t broken down properly in the right place, we will miss out on all the nutrients we are trying to add.

So, it is possible that you could have been supplementing with fatty acids for a really long time, but still not seeing any results. Talk about throwing your money in the gutter!

The solution is simple. If you are taking capsules, make sure you chew them open before swallowing. That way the stomach acid can do its job and break down the fat into tiny molecules. The taste isn’t always amazing…I suggest taking a sip of water and then just eat a bite of food right away. That way it should be no big deal.

 

Give digestion a chance to do its thing – chew your Omega-3 capsules!
😉

 

 


[1] NTA, NTC, Education Module 6, Fatty Acids
[2] Cure Your Child With Food, Kelly Dorfman, Chapter 6, A Case of Chicken Skin.
Photo by Alex Guillaume and Mira Bozhko on Unsplash

28 Nov in Luxembourg -Save the Date!

I have been asked to hold a presentation by “Friskis and Svettis” here in Luxembourg, and the good news is that it is open to everyone! So save the date and come on over! What is it all about? Check out below and look here for more information.

“The Walk of Health”
Are you frustrated because you are doing everything right from training to diet, but you don’t get the results that you want, and/or you are still in pain?
There is a huge orange zone between being healthy and being diagnosed with disease.
Join Nathalie in this active talk where we will go through “the walk of health” to find out how improper digestion impacts every aspect of your health, from fatty acid deficiency to shoulder pain.
Simply put, you cannot out-train a shitty diet or a poor digestion. Learn to recognize the clues that tells us when something is wrong, and what to do about it.

 

Day: Tuesday the 28th of November
Time: 19.00
Where: in Limpertsberg
Language: English
Address:  École Français (EF), 188 av de la Faîencerie, L-1511 Luxembourg
Cost: €10.- which also includes the Flex class starting at 20.00.

Hope to see you there! 🙂


Help M-O keep it clean

The question just recently came up from one of my new clients. “Why do I feel so tired after a sports massage?” It was her first session of a sports/deep tissue massage in a very long time, and she was in bed by 9pm that night. If it’s your first time in a while since a sports massage this might often be the case. It will get better after a few sessions, as the body starts cleaning out the gunk that has been stored in it for so long. Gunk, what gunk?

Stored gunk
We store heavy metals, pesticides, pollutants and other toxins in the fatty tissue in our bodies. When there is an overexposure of these toxins, or the liver is under too much stress for other reasons, it cannot clear out all the toxins right away. As a protective mechanism the body then stores these toxins in the fatty tissue. This may be a good short term strategy, but with all the toxins that we are faced with everyday, we just keep accumulating toxins in our fatty tissues. The liver is under constant pressure to catch up with all the cleaning. This is on top of all the usual waste products that the liver has to clean up as well, like for instance lactic acid.

A thorough deep cleaning
As you are getting a sports massage, it’s in a way like a deep spring cleaning of your house. You will find dirt you didn’t know about and it will take some effort to get the house cleaned. Going deep into the tissues will help liberate stored toxins and waste products and get it out of storage and into the bloodstream. From there it gets transported to the liver, who can safely disassemble them and make sure the garbage leaves our body through the urine and poop.

It gets worse before it gets better
I had a client who used to smoke a lot and had recently quit, and the first couple of times she felt really nauseous after the massage. This was due to the built up of toxins from years of smoking that now were released out of the fatty tissues and into the bloodstream. As the toxins enters the bloodstream, it can make you feel worse at first, before the liver can take care of it. For the body it is like you just ingested all those toxins again.

Another client works as a painter and is constantly in contact with toxic fumes. Changing his line of work is not an option, even though from a body-toxicity exposure that would be better. Instead he has created a preventative strategy that works very well for him.  On a regular basis he goes to the sauna, gets deep tissue massage, runs a couple of times a week, stays well hydrated and takes herbal supplements to support his liver. Twice a year he does a week of detoxification as well.

“It is unrealistic to think that we can all change our work or where we live based on the amount of toxicity that we are exposed too. But, we can certainly have an influence on how well the body is prepared to deal with it all.” [2]

Being M-O
It takes a lot of work and energy for the liver to deal with all the extra cleaning that comes from the toxins that just entered the bloodstream. By getting a deeper treatment you are helping the body to start the process of self-healing through detoxification and an increased blood circulation. Therefore it is very common to feel extra tired due to the energy expended.
From my experience, the better shape your body is in all around, the less tired you will be. Feeling relaxed after a massage, which you should be, is different from being tired.
The life of your liver is very much like being M-O, and you are the one that keeps bringing in the dirt. So, take very good care of M-O. Help him out by bringing in as little dirt as possible, as he is doing his very best continuously taking care of you!

Extra tension
It is common to feel extra tension for 1-2 days in some areas of the body that felt very tight during the massage. After the very  first couple of sessions you may even feel it for a few more days, but that should subside as your body gets used to the treatment. You should not have any bruises after a sports or deep tissue massage. If that happens let your massage therapist know so that they can adjust their work with you accordingly.

Best preparation
Make sure you are hydrated before the treatment and hydrate well after. It is the quickest way to make sure that the body has enough fluids to easily transport and disassemble all of the gunk that is coming out of storage. You will help the body to recover quickly and you are making it easy for M-O (the liver) to do his job. If you are, or know that you have been exposed to a lot of toxins, it might also be a good idea to support your liver with some herbal supplements.

Take good care of M-O and have a great weekend! 😉

 


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569688/
[2]quote from Nathalie Visser

Photo by Jeremy Bishop, Hernan Sanchez, Pan Xiaozhen, Tim Mossholder and Matt Hoffman  on Unsplash

Adding Salt to the Hydration Formula

Last week we took a deeper dive into the importance of water in the body, and how to figure out your very own Hydration Formula. Today we will look at the importance of salt in hydration. As a large percentage of our bodies consists of water, the role that salt plays in it becomes very important.

“Not only is blood mostly water, but the watery portion of blood, the plasma, has a concentration of salt and other ions that is remarkably similar to sea water.”[1]

Salt in the human body is involved in many different functions such as regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction, sending nerve impulses, and regulating the fine balance in the sodium-potassium pump. You can think of the sodium-potassium pump as a doorway in the surrounding cell wall (cell-membrane). It is critical for good cell function that this door is able to open and close whenever it needs to. When there is a dis-balance between sodium and potassium in the body the cell cannot get the nutrients or messages that it needs, and it is also becomes difficult to send anything out of the cell.

But, isn’t salt bad for you?
Yes and no. The salt that is bad for you is the type of salt that you will find in processed foods and your typical crisp white table salt. These salts have been highly refined and stripped of their beneficial minerals. They are often bleached to become extra white, and have added chemicals in them to keep them from clumping. These things are definitely not good for your health, and are something to stay away from. However, sea-salt such as pink Himalayan sea-salt acts very different to these processed salts.

Sea-salt is great for your body and we need it!
Did you know that…

SALT
-is a natural antihistamine
-is vital for the kidneys to clear excess acidity
-is essential for preserving the serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain
-is a vital element for diabetics through blood sugar regulation
-clears the lungs of mucus particularly in asthma [2]

We have become so scared of real sea-salt because we have been told for so long that salt (meaning processed salt) is bad for us. This has created a problem where people who care about what they eat are eating so “clean” that they more or less omit to eating salt. This is a very bad idea as it creates an imbalance in the body on a cellular level which can take on all sorts of expression. PhD Stacy Sims, who is a specialist in hydration says a common mistake she sees athletes make is drinking lots of water, but without the salt. It just makes you run to the bathroom all the time, because without the salt the body cannot absorb it, and even though your pee is clear you may be under-hydrated. [3]

The Salt Formula
Ok, so how much salt do I need then? According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, an expert on hydration, as a general rule you need at least 1.5g of sea-salt  for every quart of water (950ml) that you drink.[4] So, if we go back to our example of Ben from last week, who should drink 2.3 Liters of water on an average day. He should then add at least 3.6g of sea-salt to that amount of water. To give you an indication visually, 3g of sea-salt is roughly half a teaspoon of salt. Another thing worth mentioning is that if you are using a reverse Osmosis water filter you need to add even more, as the filter system is so good that it also clears out most of the minerals. Read more about that here.

The Salt Formula
 1.5g of sea-salt  *  your daily amount of water in Liter/quart (calculated from last week) = total amount of salt to add to your water

Maintaining the fine balance
Great, so now that you will start adding some good quality sea-salt to your water and food, it is also important to keep in mind the sodium-potassium balance. When you start adding salt you should also make sure that you are getting enough potassium, to keep that healthy balance. This is easy, and one of the best ways to do that is to eat plenty of veggies and fruits, such as avocado, spinach, beets, black beans, sweet potato and watermelon.

“Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.”
-Nelson Mandela

Enjoy a salted, well hydrated weekend! 😉

 

P.S Check out this video if you want to nerd out some more on hydration, salt, VO2 output, blood volume and fatigue in athletes. FYI, sound quality is unfortunately not awesome .

Current Concepts and Thinking in Hydrating Athletes w/ Dr. Stacy Simms | Community MWod Video

 


[1]http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/21/science/21angi.html?mcubz=0

[2,4] F. Batmanghelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, Salt, pg 154-160.

[3] Dr. Kelly Starrett, Ready to Run, Hydration, pg 162.

Photo credit to Izzy Gerosa, Mira Bozhko, André Robillard, Roman Mager on Unsplash

The Hydration Formula – What’s Your Number?

Last week we started talking about water and dehydration. Let’s dig a bit deeper.
Why is it so important for us to stay well hydrated?
Water is involved in nearly every function of the body, and it is crucial to our survival and well-being. It transports nutrients, improves oxygen uptake in cells, works as a shock absorber, lubricates our joints, and keeps cell communications up to speed. When we are dehydrated none of these important functions work optimally, and that is bad!

I like to think of it like this:
Imagine that you are driving on the highway. There are three lanes, not too much traffic, and everything is running very smooth. It feels very relaxed to drive this way, and without effort  everyone gets to where they need to on time. But, all of a sudden there is a roadblock up ahead, and the three lanes are now forced into one single lane. The cruising speed you had is long gone, and now it’s bumper to bumper traffic, moving at a snails pace. It’s getting hot sitting around in that car, the pressure is up, and you can see people getting very irritated all around you. Things are not working well, and on top of that you will be late to your destination. In essence this is what it’s like for your body trying to work while it is dehydrated.

Some common signs of dehydration include fatigue, headache, irritability, a “crawling or itching” feeling in the legs, and smelly body odor. Remember Stinky Dave? Check out this video on how it may feel to be dehydrated as an athlete. When we are often or chronically dehydrated we get problems that can spread into all of our different internal systems. Due to the lack of water the detoxification process that needs to happen continuously in our bodies, doesn’t work very well. When we cannot get rid of the waste, it piles up and causes problems.

“Dehydration results in an accumulation of harmful substances in the blood that act on cell membranes and have an adverse effect on the kidneys, nervous system, and immune system.” [1]

What can go wrong?
Dr. Batmanghelidj has written an excellent book, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, where he goes into detail about what can go wrong with each system when we are dehydrated. It is a highly recommended read if you are interested in your health and how to improve it!

For instance…”Higher blood cholesterol is a sign that the cells of the body have developed a defense mechanism against the osmotic force of the blood that keeps drawing water out through the cell membranes, or the concentrated blood cannot release sufficient water to go through the cell membrane and maintain normal cell functions…Cholesterol production in the cell membrane is a part of the cell survival system. It is a necessary substance. Its excess denotes dehydration.”[3]

Asthma and allergies are indicators that the body has resorted to an increase production of the neurotransmitter histamine, the sensor regulator of water metabolism and its distribution in the body… Since one of the sites for water loss through evaporation is in the lungs, the bronchial constriction produced by histamine means less water evaporation during the act of breathing – a simple, natural maneuver to preserve the body water.”[2]

your weight in kg * 33 = X ml of water to drink in a day

The Hydration Formula
So how much water should I drink then? For my metric readers the formula is as follows: your weight in kg x 33 = X amount of ml of water to drink in a day.  For my other readers the formula is your weight in lbs divided by 2 = X amount of ounces of water to drink in a day.

your weight in lbs divided by 2 = X ounces of water to drink in a day

Where most people go wrong is that they do not calculate for all the drinks that they will have in a day that will act as diuretics. So pay attention and don’t make this common mistake! If you add any of these drinks to your day like coffee, soda, diet-soda, fruit juice, tea, or alcohol [4] you need to add 1.5x the size of that drink to your day. If it is very hot outside or you are doing sports you need to add that to the total as well.

So, what may that look like?
Let’s say Ben weighs 70kg. 70kg x 33 = 2310ml = 2.31Liter. That is the daily total of water that Ben should drink. But then he had 2 coffees and 2 glasses of wine, which makes  a total of about 800ml. 800ml diuretics x 1.5= 1200ml = 1.2Liter. Ben should then drink 2.31+1.2= 3.5 Liter of water that day.
If he then added some sports to his day he would have to add even more water to his total. Don’t forget to add a pinch of good sea-salt to your water cup as well. Without adequate amount of good mineral salt, your body cannot absorb the water. You just end up running to the toilet all the time and will still be dehydrated. But, more on this next week.

How to get off to a great start?
Figure out
what your daily number is and then adjust depending on what other types of drinks you are having that day. Then why not start to drink a large cup of water with a pinch of sea-salt the very first thing you do in the morning.

And that’s a great start! 😉

 


[1] Bennett and Barrie, 7-Day Detox Miracle, pg 80.
[2] Dr F.Batmanghelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, Asthma and Allergies, pg 117.
[3] Dr F.Batmanghelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, Higher Blood Cholesterol, pg 87.
[4] Dr F.Batmanghelidj, Your Body’s Many Cries For Water, Renin-Angiotension System, pg 71.
Photo credit Aidan Meyer, Ethan Sykes, Pahala Basuki, Nabeel Syed on Unsplash

 

A few words on drinking, dehydration and travel

As I have spent some time in airports and in airplanes recently I noticed how little people are drinking! Say what? What I mean is, I noticed how little WATER people are drinking. I see people drinking lots and lots of coffee, but also fruit juice, tea, wine and beer. These drinks all contain dehydrating agents which makes them act like a diuretic. The person sitting next to me on the flight only had one glass of water during a 10 hr flight.To me this is crazy, knowing a bit about anatomy and the importance of hydration!

Other then the 1 glass of water she had a couple of glasses of orange juice, 2-3 glasses of wine with the food, and then a couple of cups of coffee. Just before we got off the flight she took an ibuprofen/aspirin to “help her with the headaches”. She said she always get them on these long flights. I was not surprised having noticed her “drinking” habits, as getting a headache is one of the common signs of dehydration along with feeling really tired.

Did you know that because of the pressure changes when flying and all the extra noise, our taste buds are overwhelmed and we cannot taste the food very well. That means that airplane food always has way more salt and sugar in it than normal, in order for us to taste it. In terms of hydration this is not good, because the excess salt and sugar will act on the body as a dehydrating agent.

We have probably all heard that it is important to stay hydrated, but what does that really mean, and how does that differ from person to person? What part does salt play in staying hydrated? It turns out it plays a very important part. “ But I heard that salt is bad for you, what’s up with that?” I will delve deeper into these topics for next weeks blog.

If this is your color…

But just for a quick tip right now, when you go to the toilet – pay attention. Your pee should be a very very light yellow, every time that you go to the toilet. Then you know that you have enough water in your system. The stronger the color gets and odor, it’s a sign that you are getting more and more dehydrated. You should easily drink above 2 Liters of WATER a day. And add some good quality salt to your food or drink as well. I will explain the correlation between salt and water further in the next blog.

In the ideal world, the best thing for your hydration during your next trip would be to bring your own food and drink nothing but water. If that is too much out of your comfort zone at the moment, at least limit drinks that acts as diuretics as much as possible, such as fruit juice, coffee, tea and alcohol.  From Wikipedia “A diuretic is any substance that promotes diuresis, that is, the increased production of urine.” Jet lag is also always harder to get over when your body is dehydrated, because it makes you more tired.

Here are a couple of more questions challenging the “what you think you know comfort zone“. Did you know that:
-in prolonged dehydration, the brain cells begin to shrink?
high blood cholesterol has a direct link to dehydration?
morning sickness in pregnancy has a direct correlation to your body’s hydration?

So, keep sipping that water and I will catch up with you next week! 🙂

 


http://www.menshealth.com.sg/weight-loss-nutrition/airplane-food-yes-there-really-more-salt-and-sugar

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vLJ9-k7Uhx8/TgsztUW94SI/AAAAAAAAAEM/iNf0JaIALKo/s1600/REC+Urine+Chart+2011.png

https://flavourjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2044-7248-3-2

Photo by Austin Neill and Ilya Yakover from Unsplash

 

As fresh as it gets from farm to table

I am currently in the US for a seminar on Nutrition. On Wednesday I had the great opportunity to visit the local farmers market in Boulder, Colorado. It was amazing to see all of the fresh organic produce, and the people behind it. I only wish I was staying longer and had a kitchen so I could use all of this amazing food. Unless you have your own vegetable garden it does not get fresher than this. Yumm!

The freshness of a vegetable or a fruit also directly translates into how much nutrition it contains. For every day it’s left on the shelf it looses nutrition through oxidation. That is why eating fresh, local and organic produce is the best way to go if you want to optimize the nutritional value of your food.

Very often I think that we get stuck in a routine and we buy the same stuff at the same store as we always do. Of course, it is convenient and saves us some time. But, I would like to remind you to try and think more local and farm fresh, rather than easy and pre packaged. Remember that every time that you buy something you vote with your money for that producer, whether you think about it or not. And that vote weighs heavier than you might think. The food industry has to follow quickly if we as buyers decide that we do not want to buy a certain product any more. And as many times as we eat in a day, week and year – that’s a lot of votes!

We are never going to “get rid of” the huge supermarkets and that is not the point. But, let’s not forget about our local heroes, trying to make a difference around the area where you live. It’s not easy for them to try and compete with the prices of the large corporations and the convenience of the huge supermarkets.

So I would like to ask you to try and support your local farming community in any way you can. Find out about where the different markets are and when you could visit one. Are there co-ops that delivers fresh produce? A lot of small local farmers also have chickens, maybe you can get your eggs from there? Why not buy a vegetable that’s in season that you haven’t tried before? Who knows maybe that recipe will become a new staple in your kitchen? Get out of your comfort zone a little and just try.

Remember that you have the ability to vote for fresh, local produce every time you buy food. So, vote wisely and support your local farmers and co-ops whenever you can. If for no other reason, it will simply taste better!

Enjoy your local Farmers Market 😉

 

 


http://www.chgeharvard.org/sites/default/files/resources/local_nutrition.pdf

Photo credit Nathalie Visser

Heal thyself by drinking tea! [part 3]

After having talked about the dangers of tea bags and natural flavors, let’s focus on the amazing powers of drinking tea.

Fresh tea leaves left out to dry, on the way to become tea.

Why is it that tea is healthy for us? and just to be very explicit when I say tea, I mean organic loose-leaf best quality you can get your hands on tea. So, unlike us animals that have the ability to run away from danger, a plant obviously cannot. Because it is stuck in one place it has to use other means in order to protect itself from things like UV-light, bugs and things that want to eat it. This protection comes from different kinds of polyphenols which are organic chemicals that have metabolic, toxic and therapeutic properties.

Harvesting tea leaves

Two of the most well known polyphenols in tea are called catechin and flavonoids. They are very powerful antioxidants, and have been used in many studies for cardiovascular disease and cancer prevention. So the plant, in this case tea, builds up a good defense mechanism for the environment where it lives so it can be strong and healthy. By drinking extracts from the tea plant (or drinking the entire leaves as in Matcha) we reap all of the benefits of the plants polyphenols. Pretty clever having the plants do all the work and we simply drink the benefits. We are for sure not the first ones to use this method to heal ourselves though, our animal friends in the wild already knows to eat certain types of plants to heal themselves from parasites or kill bacteria.

“If we can learn from animals that have used medicinal plants for millions of years, and then look at what they use it for, then we could learn interesting things,” de Roode says.[1]

Because each plant has a unique environment, it will build up a different combination of  beneficial polyphenols, from plant to plant. This is true for tea but also for all other plants. That is why, lets say an apple  that came from Sweden will taste different from an apple in Spain. They will also have a different polyphenol composition, even if it is the same type of apple. For this reason, it is very important to eat as many different types of vegetables and fruits as you can, to reap all of their different benefits and healing properties, and the same goes for drinking tea. Why limit yourself?

Checking out green tea in Japan.

Some of my favorite healing teas are Green Tea, Matcha, Pu’Erh, Oolong, and Yerba Mate. Here is a great overview of what’s what. Of course there are plenty of herbal teas as well that are excellent for health, such as mint, olive leaf, fennel, nettle, ginger, and chamomile  just to mention a few.

On a recent trip to Taiwan I had the opportunity to sample plenty of fantastic Oolong and Pu’Erh teas. The very best Oolong teas are all made in Taiwan and can only be bought in the country, as the locals are so fond of their oolong tea that they don’t want to export their top quality ones. I also had the chance to sample some really fancy old Pu’Erh teas from as far back as 1975! But, honestly I could not really tell a huge difference between the ages. What I did notice though was that the higher quality of the Pu’Erh, the sweeter and less earthy the taste.

 

I am carefully preparing green tea in a traditional outfit, on a trip in Japan.

We tend to be creatures of habit, so I would like to invite you to explore the amazing health benefits of drinking tea, and expand your tea horizon. Think of it as preventative and healing medicine that you can use daily. The next time you are out shopping, take the time to go into a proper tea shop and ask for help with finding a new tea. Just buy a small amount, and most important find out how you should brew your tea!

So many times I have friends who tell me that they don’t like drinking green tea, yet when they have it at my place they like it. That’s because a really high quality green tea should only be steeped in 70C for about 30s-1min. A lot of people leave it in a lot longer and/or use boiling water, and this makes the tea very bitter and quite nasty to drink. Don’t do that to yourself, or the tea!

Mixing teas has been known to be even more powerful – when the different organic chemicals interact their combined powers supersedes their individual ones. William Li mentions this is in his excellent TED talkCan we eat to starve Cancer?“. Tim Ferriss is also a fan of mixing teas and below is one of his morning versions.

Because many teas does contain caffeine (a diuretic), it is important to drink some water in between tea cups to stay well hydrated. I wish you a lot of fun in exploring the healing world of teas.

Wishing you all lots of creativitea and claritea! 😉

 

Tea Mind
Humilitea, Possibilitea, Qualitea, Solidaritea, Abilitea, Equalitea, Individualitea, Serenitea, Insanitea, Confidentialitea, Vitalitea, Creativitea, Sportea, Claritea, Realitea, Activitea, Longevitea, Impossibilitea, Familiaritea, Humanitea, Puritea, Levitea, Longevitea, Immunitea, Digestabilitea, Electricitea, Sensualitea, Femininitea, Festivitea…
~Letters to a Young Zentrepenur – The Republic of Tea

 

 

 


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16968850

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5492114/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28723689

[1]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4267359/

Photo by Danurwendho Adyakusuma, Paul-Vincent Roll,  蔡 嘉宇 on Unsplash