Its origins date back to 2737 B.C. in the Far East when the Chinese Emperor Shennong mistakenly drank water with a dead tea leaf boiled inside. Fast forward to today and people all over the world enjoy green tea as part of their diet, benefiting from the list of potential health benefits in the process. Now, new research shows that green tea may also help reduce blood sugar and gut inflammation. According to the study, published in Current Developments in Nutrition, people who regularly consume green tea have lower fasting blood sugar levels than their peers who don't. Furthermore, green tea extract was also found to decrease gut inflammation, highlighted by a decrease in stool inflammatory proteins. Senior study co-author Richard Bruno, PhD, a professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University, said the study showed positive results after just one month. “What this tells us is that within one month we’re able to lower blood glucose in both people with metabolic syndrome and healthy people, and the lowering of blood glucose appears to be related to decreasing leaky gut and decreasing gut inflammation — regardless of health status,” he said in a statement. “This could be a simple yet powerful intervention for people with metabolic syndrome or those at risk for it. It could be a therapy to start while we continue to promote healthy lifestyle changes,” said Olivia Vaughn, a registered dietitian nutritionist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. *Image by Mirko Stödter from Pixabay
Eating ultra-processed foods could impair cognitive performance in older adults, new research suggests. According to the study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, older individuals who eat foods such as packaged snacks, breakfast cereals, choclates and pre-prepared pies, pizzas and pasta perform worse on standardized cognitive tests than their counterparts who do not consume such foods. The researchers from Australia that such food items contain little to no whole foods and typically include flavorings, colorings, emulsifiers, and other cosmetic additives. For the study, the researchers evaluated more than 2,700 participants who were 60 years old and above. The participants were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011 to 2014. Each participant was asked to recall what they ate in a 24-hour period on two non-consecutive days. The participants then underwent standardized, validated cognitive tests, including one that assesses Alzheimer’s disease. “Research indicates that diets that follow a Mediterranean Diet style, recognized by the high proportion of foods with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, are associated with a reduced risk of age-associated cognitive decline and dementia,” said Barbara Cardoso, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a senior lecturer in nutrition, dietetics, and food at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. *Image by Hannah Chen from Pixabay
Lycopene - a natural pigment that gives red fruits and vegetables their colour - is an antioxidant that protects against cell damage, and tomatoes contain plenty of it. In fact, it is estimated that tomatoes account for 80% of the lycopene in the US diet. Now, a new study suggests Lycopene may also help boost sperm quality. According to the research by a team at the University of Sheffield, healthy men who consumed the equivalent of two tablespoons of concentrated tomato puree each day were found to have better quality sperm. During the 12-week trial, 60 men were randomly selected to take 14mg of lactolycopene supplement each day. The reason a supplement was used is because the participants would have had to eat 2kg of tomatoes each day to obtain an equivalent dose of lycopene. The participants’ sperm was tested before, during and after the trial. While there was no difference in sperm concentration, the men who had been taking the lycopene had healthier and faster sperm. Encouraged by the results, the researchers now want to expand the trial to include more men and see if the findings are the same. Lycopene has also been previously linked to other health benefits, including a lowered risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
By adding just a handful of nuts to their daily diet, men could improve their sexual function, a study suggests. The 14-week trial, which involved 83 men split into two groups, found that adding 60 grams of almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts to a Western-style diet benefitted sexual function. Reporting their findings in the journal Nutrients, the authors of the study said the group of men who ate the extra nuts each day showed significant increases in two measures of erectile and sexual function: orgasmic function and sexual desire. A previous analysis of the trial data in 2018 yielded signs that eating more nuts also improves sperm quality. “Including nuts in a regular diet significantly improved auto-reported orgasmic function and sexual desire,” the Spanish researchers concluded. They are now calling for further, large-scale studies to determine the effect of eating nuts on sexual function – especially as separate research found that consuming pistachios helped improve erectile function. The theory is that pistachios, like many other nuts, contain antioxidants and arginine, a powerful compound that increases vasodilatation. So, if you are not easily able to follow a Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit, vegetables and nuts, you could still reap some of the sexual function rewards by adding just a handful of nuts to your daily diet.
Are you partial to a nice cup of tea? If you are, it could be a habit that serves you well in the future as scientists have discovered that drinking tea can potentially lower a person's risk of cognitive decline by as much as 50%. The study, the findings of which were published in The Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging, was led by Feng Lei from the Department of Psychological Medicine at National University of Singapore's (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. It involved 957 Chinese adults aged 55 and older, focussing on their tea consumption, including frequency, quantity and type. All of the study participants underwent standard assessments designed to gauge their cognitive function. The results showed that the individuals who drank tea regularly had a 50% lower risk of cognitive decline. Furthermore, adults with the APOE e4 gene - which is linked to a greater risk of Alzheimer's disease - and who also drank tea regularly, had an 86% lower risk of cognitive decline. In addition, the scientists say that the greatest cognitive benefits were witnessed with tea that was brewed from tea leaves, such as green tea, black tea and oolong tea. The source of the cognitive benefits is thought to lie in the bioactive compounds found in tea. "These compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential and other bioactive properties that may protect the brain from vascular damage and neurodegeneration," Lei explains. "Our understanding of the detailed biological mechanisms is still very limited so we do need more research to find out definitive answers." More studies are now planned to further investigate the link between tea and cognitive function.
Any type of surgery, whether minimally invasive or more drastic in nature, will leave your body needing a certain period of time to recover. And during this recovery period it is important that you take good care of your wounds by changing dressings where necessary and taking any medication prescribed as part of your post-surgery care. However, many people don’t realise that the foods you eat following surgery can also have a significant effect on your recovery. Here are 5 top foods that should definitely be part of your post-surgery diet: High fibre foods Foods that are high in fibre aren’t just healthy but they also help to prevent constipation. Eat whole grain cereals, bread, fruits and vegetables to aid your recovery. Lean protein Protein is the building block of muscles and it’s therefore important to get a decent supply following surgery. Choose turkey, pork and chicken if you’re a meat eater or tofu, soy and beans if you’re not. Fresh fruit and vegetables As well as being a great source of fibre, fruit and vegetables contain key vitamins and minerals, plus immune boosting antioxidants. Consume dark green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach. Low-fat dairy products Some people may advise against dairy products because of their tendency to sometimes cause constipation. This shouldn’t be an issue, however, if you’re eating lots of fibre too. The high levels of calcium and protein make dairy products great additions during your recovery period. Low-fat yogurts and cottage cheese are the order of the day. High-calorie foods That’s right, while the dieting world is telling us to consume less calories, the opposite is true following surgery. After all, your body is healing and needs all the energy it can get. A well-balanced diet is the key to a speedy recovery. And what better place to recover and eat yourself healthy than in a country famed for its cuisine like France. Photo Credit: Flickr
Many people follow strict eating regimes before any surgery, be it minor or major. However, few people realise that what you eat after surgery is just as important. This is because surgery is a major trauma on our bodies and as such, they have to significantly repair themselves following any surgical procedure. This is why it’s vital that you give your body everything it needs during this crucial healing stage. Many people think that because they will inevitably be inactive following surgery they should reduce their calorie intake. The opposite, however, is often true and post-surgery patients need additional essential calories and nutrients to facilitate the reparation process. Protein It’s important that you follow a balanced diet after surgery, but one of the key components of this has to be protein. Muscles are often damaged or disturbed during surgery and need protein in order to heal. That’s why it’s important to fill your diet with foods like poultry, meat, fish, eggs, yogurt, cheese, beans and nuts. Alternatively, you can use protein supplements to boost your intake and aid the muscle healing process. Vitamins Furthermore, there are a number of vitamins that are vital for the healing process. For example, vitamin C aids in soft tissue repair and vitamin E is important in antioxidant defence. Some individuals may be prescribed vitamin supplements by their medical professional, but the best source, of course, is from food. Almonds, wheat germ, peanuts, sunflower seeds and plant oils are all loaded with vitamin E, while strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and bell peppers contain high levels of vitamin C. Whatever your surgery, it’s important that you don’t shy away from food. The surgeons have done their bit and now it’s time for you to do yours. Photo credit: © NOBU - Fotolia.com