Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


Can Green Tea Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

Green tea is touted as an amazing superfood replete with many healing benefits, from its anti-cancer properties to its heart health boosting compounds. So it is no surprise that green tea has been linked with the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. But new research found that it may offer more protection than originally believed.

Green tea is high in antioxidants that fight off harmful free radicals. By some estimates the antioxidants found in green tea may be 20 times more potent than vitamin E, which is a proven brain health booster. But new research shows that green tea is even better than just its amazing antioxidants.

According to a new study by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society found that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has yet another health benefit—it stops beta amyloid plaques linked to Alzheimer’s from forming. Beta amyloid plaques have long been known as causal factors in Alzheimer’s but finding ways to stop the harmful plaques from forming has been the task of many researchers. Beta amyloid plaques disrupt communication between brain and nerve cells, creating the memory loss and dementia, which are the trademark signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

This new research found that EGCG in green tea effectively prevented plaques from being able to damage healthy cells. While the exact mechanism by which EGCG achieves this protection is not fully clear, the discovery is an exciting one into brain health and Alzheimer’s disease.

This ground-breaking research offers hope to the 50 million people worldwide who already suffer from Alzheimer’s disease since EGCG may slow the plaque’s progression and therefore the disease’s progression as well. It may also help anyone looking to prevent the disease, which is probably most people.

This research supports earlier research in the medical journal Brain Research that also found that green tea consumption can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Other research in the American Journal of Medicine found that regular tea consumption can cut the risk of cognitive decline in half, which is impressive by anyone’s standards.

While the research is still quite early so it is not clear exactly how much green tea or its protective compound EGCG is needed to reap the brain protective effects, most experts agree that a few cups of green tea daily should be helpful with brain health. Earlier research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who drank two or more cups of tea each day were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. The benefits were not linked to tea’s caffeine content which is lower than the caffeine found in coffee.

To make green tea: add one or two teaspoons of green tea leaves to a cup of boiled water, preferably in a tea strainer. Let steep for five minutes. Pour over ice if you prefer a cold beverage.  And don’t worry—it contains a lot less caffeine than coffee or black tea. Green tea contains about 55 mg of caffeine per cup while coffee typically contains between 125 and 200 mg per cup.

If you’re not a big fan of the taste of green tea, try it blended with other types of tea, such as ginger or lemongrass. You can also try icing it with some stevia to sweeten the beverage and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a delicious green tea lemonade.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds:  The 4-Week Plan for a Sharper Mind, Better Memory, and Healthier Brain.

By: Michelle Schoffro Cook          November 9, 2017
About Michelle    Follow Michelle at @mschoffrocook
source: www.care2.com

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4 Foods That Can Improve Your Metabolism

A magic bullet solution does not exist, but there are some things that can encourage your body to burn a few extra calories.

Don’t listen to the Internet. There’s no such thing as a miracle calorie-burning food that will allow you to vegetate on the couch while melting off the pounds. If there were, gyms would go out of business instantly. According to registered dietitian Ellie Krieger, however, there are a few things that can help one’s metabolism work more efficiently, though this should not be considered a replacement for hard sweaty work.

In an article for the Washington Post, Krieger sifted through the “overhyped, over-extrapolated half-truths” that dominate millions of articles and podcasts to identify those items that might actually have metabolic value. She ended up with four – green tea, cayenne pepper, protein, and whole grains – but benefiting from them isn’t as simple as chowing down.

Green tea gets a lot of well-deserved attention, for it contains polyphenols (specifically, one called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG) and caffeine that increase the calories and fat your body burns. Studies show that a minimum of 250 milligrams of EGCG must be consumed in order for it to work. This translates to three cups daily of the highest-quality green tea, which isn’t too difficult for tea-lovers. Just be sure to buy the good stuff.

Cayenne pepper is a tough one because studies recommend consuming 10 grams a day; this works out to nearly 2 tablespoons. As anyone who’s eaten cayenne pepper knows, it’s nearly impossible to ingest that much, even if it’s spread out over three meals. But a small amount can help a bit, too:

“A 2011 Purdue University study looked at more palatable quantities of cayenne and found that even about half a teaspoon in one meal worked to increase energy expenditure, but only by 10 calories, which, incidentally, is the number of calories in one peanut.”

Protein is notable for automatically burning 20 to 30 percent of its own calories through the process of digestion. Krieger compares this to fat (0 to 3 percent) and carbohydrates (5 to 10 percent), though these are still crucial components of a well-rounded diet and should not be neglected in favor of excess protein.

Whole grains are similar to protein in that their digestion burns more calories than when you eat refined carbohydrates. Plus, you get the added benefit of fiber, which is sadly lacking in the typical American diet and is desperately needed for healthy guts.

Katherine Martinko     @feistyredhair       Living / Health       May 24, 2017

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Can Green Tea Boost Your Brainpower and Treat Disease?

The images that come to mind when thinking of green tea are likely associated with calmness, purity and relaxation.

The ancient beverage has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a means to relieve people from various ailments, but more recently the tea – and its extracts – have caught the attention of scientists. Teams across the world have been trialling green tea extracts and specific compounds within them for their potential to lower the risk of various conditions: cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Evidence for these benefits is limited, however, and often inconclusive, but recent studies have found that one particular compound inside green tea, known as EGCG, could improve the functioning of one particular part of the body: the brain.

Boosting brain power

“Many people consume green tea extracts in some form, so we were interested in the effects [on the brain],” said Stefan Borgwadt, Professor of Neuropsychiatry at the University of Basel.

In 2014 study, Borgwadt’s team gave green tea extracts to 12 healthy volunteers and imaged their brains to see changes in connectivity inside certain brain regions. The volunteers were given beverages containing extracts equivalent to one or two cups of green tea. They consumed them nasally to ensure their tongues couldn’t taste whether the drink contained the extracts.

After four weekly doses of the drink, the team saw increased connectivity in regions of the brain associated with working memory.

“Drinking green tea improved memory in healthy people,” said Borgwadt who stresses the small scale of the study and the associated limitations of their findings, but the team saw promise in the results.
“As it is a more natural kind of medication, [people] are more likely to change it,” he said. “It could be helpful for diseases.”

Since this research, interest in the cognitive benefits of green tea has grown and focused on the potential to improve symptoms of certain neurological, or psychiatric, disorders.

“There can be plasticity changes in the brain,” said Mara Dierssen, Group Leader of the Systems Biology Group at the CRG-Center for Genomic Regulation in Spain. These changes can be used to target diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but Dierssen has long been searching for ways to treat one particular condition – Down syndrome.
“[People think] there is no hope and that people with Down syndrome cannot be treated due to its complexity,” said Dierssen.

But she has set out to prove them wrong.

Green Tea

Taking on Down syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by people having an extra copy of chromosome 21 and is estimated to occur in 3000 to 5000 children born globally each year.

The presence of the extra chromosome means people with the condition have more genes being expressed in their cells – and more proteins being produced – resulting in a range of physical and intellectual disabilities. These include decreased muscle tone, a flat face, slanted eyes and a range of potential learning disabilities.

“A number of genes are overexpressed and there is no way of tackling this overdose of genes,” said Dierssen. Her team set out to find out any genes that contribute more greatly to the disease itself and found one key player, called DYRK1A.
“This gene causes a lot of the neurological and [physical] symptoms of Down Syndrome,” she said.
By controlling the activity of this gene, and the proteins it expresses, the team could reduce some of the cognitive symptoms of the condition and the contender to have this control came in the form of the EGCG compound found commonly in green tea.

The tea potential

In a recent study, Dierssen’s team analyzed the potential for EGCG to improve symptoms of Down Syndrome in 87 people with the condition, with half receiving 12 months of pills containing the compound and the other half given a placebo. All participants received cognitive training as well.

Those given EGCG performed better in tests for visual memory, the ability to control responses and the ability to plan or make calculations. Brain scans revealed improvements in connectivity between nerve cells and improvements were also seen in areas of the brain relating to language.

“This shows we can really target Down syndrome pharmacologically,” said Dierrsen. For some patients, the effects lasted an additional six months after the study ended.
“This [study] confirms that you can give these extracts to have beneficial effects,” said Borgwadt. “We need to know if these affects are specific for Down syndrome or if it is a more general effect on brain diseases.”

Dierssen stresses this is not a cure for the condition as all of the neurological changes caused by the condition cannot be overcome. “What we see is that we can improve functionality,” she said.

Borgwadt added it would be far too optimistic to expect this to become a treatment for the disease as the size of the effect is unclear and patients with the condition experience a range of symptoms. “You see effects, but are they fully relevant to the patient?,” asked Borgwadt.

The team also saw a difference between genders, which they will provide greater insight into in their next paper, but for their discovery to have true effect, the team must next trial the green tea compound in greater numbers of people.

“Let’s hope that the promise of this early experimental study is confirmed in larger-scale trials,” said Professor David Nutt, Head of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London in a comment. “Others follow[ing] this approach as therapy targeting a number of the biochemical abnormalities that result from trisomy 21 might be the most effective way forward.”

Experts are also quick to highlight that simply drinking green tea will not help.

“We cannot recommend that people self-medicate with green tea because different varieties contain different levels of the key compound,” said Dr Marie-Claude Potier, Researcher on Down Syndrome and Neurodegenerative Diseases, Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle.” It’s also vital that we see the results of a toxicity study with these nutraceuticals before going further.”

They next plan to also test the compound in children where there could be greater effect as the brain is more adaptable at younger ages. “We hope there will be more improvement in children,” said Dierrsen.

The findings have also inspired experts like Borgwadt who are curious about any benefits against other neurological diseases.

“One could argue there is a more general affect of neuroprotection in the brain, so it could help other psychiatric diseases,” he said.

By Meera Senthilingam, for CNN     Mon June 20, 2016
source: www.cnn.com