Category Archives: tea

Caffeine wakes up your memory!

For generations, coffee drinkers have attested to the idea that their favorite hot beverage helps “keep them sharp.” Tea drinkers have insisted that a hot steamy cup is more than just comforting, it’s a “pick me up,” too. A new study suggesting that caffeine might actually enhance memory could be a reasonable explanation for those claims.

There are many ways people consume caffeine, including in coffee, tea, soda and chocolate, says the study’s lead author Michael Yassa. It doesn’t matter what the source is, the effect of caffeine will likely be the same, he says.
Yassa and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University recruited 160 young, healthy participants, who did not regularly consume caffeinated products. The participants studied a series of images, then five minutes later, took either 200 milligrams of caffeine in tablet form, about the amount of caffeine in a strong cup of coffee, or a placebo.

The next day, participants were asked to identify images they had seen the day before. Some images were new, and some were similar but not exactly the same. For example, if they were shown a picture of a yellow rubber duck originally, the next day, it was a picture of a rubber duck that was shorter and thicker, says Yassa, who was at Johns Hopkins when the study was conducted but now is an assistant professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California-Irvine.

Findings published in the journal Nature Neuroscience: The people who consumed caffeine were more likely to correctly identify the similar items as slightly different from the original picture. The brain’s ability to recognize the difference between two similar but not identical items reflects a deep level of memory discrimination, Yassa says.

Another example of pattern separation is remembering where one’s car is parked today vs. yesterday, he says. “This type of discrimination is involved in every facet of memory,” Yassa says.

The researchers also had participants consume 100 milligrams and 300 milligrams of caffeine and found 100 milligrams was not effective at getting the memory boost, Yassa says. The 300-milligrams dose was no more effective than 200 milligrams, and at the higher amount, people started to report some side effects such as headaches and feeling jittery, he says. “The 200-milligram might be the most optimal dose to get this memory boost.”

One strong cup of coffee might contain 200 milligrams of caffeine, he says. A typical espresso has 80 milligrams, so a double-shot latte will have 160 milligrams, he says.

Other research has found that low doses of caffeine have beneficial effects on attention and focus, Yassa says. A few studies on caffeine’s effect on humans have found little or no effect on long-term memory retention, but numerous studies in animals have shown that caffeine has a beneficial effect, he says.

While this study is encouraging, he cautions that high doses of caffeine can have negative effects, such as anxiety, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and headaches. “I’m not going to stop drinking my coffee, but it’s important to be aware of the costs and benefits,” he says. “Drinking coffee late at night is not going to be helpful for most people.”

Everyone in the FoodFacts.com community is aware of the negative effects of overdoing caffeine. But we also know there are plenty of coffee and tea drinkers out there who will appreciate the findings of this study. It’s another good reason to enjoy their favorite morning brew, especially in these chilly winter months!

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/13/caffeine-boosts-memory/4457591/

Your morning coffee or tea might offer more perks than previously thought

Most of us here at FoodFacts.com really enjoy our hot morning cup or tea or coffee. It’s enjoyable, satisfying and does a great job of perking us up – moving us from that sleepy morning state to the wide awake, ready-to-take-on-the-day state. Today we discovered that there may be more to love about our “Morning Joe” than we thought.

An international team of researchers led by Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS) and the Duke University School of Medicine suggest that increased caffeine intake may reduce fatty liver in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Worldwide, 70 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes and obesity have NAFLD, the major cause of fatty liver not due to excessive alcohol consumption. It is estimated that 30 percent of adults in the United States have this condition, and its prevalence is rising in Singapore. There are no effective treatments for NAFLD except diet and exercise.

Using cell culture and mouse models, the study authors — led by Paul Yen, M.D., associate professor and research fellow, and Rohit Sinha, Ph.D of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Program in Singapore — observed that caffeine stimulates the metabolization of lipids stored in liver cells and decreased the fatty liver of mice that were fed a high-fat diet. These findings suggest that consuming the equivalent caffeine intake of four cups of coffee or tea a day may be beneficial in preventing and protecting against the progression of NAFLD in humans.

“This is the first detailed study of the mechanism for caffeine action on lipids in liver and the results are very interesting,” Yen said. “Coffee and tea are so commonly consumed and the notion that they may be therapeutic, especially since they have a reputation for being “bad” for health, is especially enlightening.”

FoodFacts.com finds this research especially fascinating, specifically because of the commonly held idea that caffeine is a “bad” thing. It is fascinating to see research reveal healthful properties of caffeine that were previously unknown. Coffee and tea can be the best part of the morning for many consumers. It’s something that people look forward to, but may have felt somewhat “quietly guilty” about. We’re happy to see findings like this, so that we can begin to replace that “quiet guilt” with the knowledge that we may actually be helping our bodies remain healthy. We look forward to more research into this important topic.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130816153019.htm

Reduce your Type 2 Diabetes risk, drink black tea!

FoodFacts.com came across this interesting information today regarding one of our favorite hot beverages – black tea!

A new study was reported on regarding an analysis done on data gathered from 50 different nations and its results linked higher black tea consumption with lower Type 2 Diabetes rates. This is an important finding because the International Diabetes Federation reports that over the last 25 years Type 2 diabetes has risen at an enormous pace. In fact, they are projecting that by 2030 almost twice as many people worldwide will have this disease than in 2010.

Many studies over the years have shown a connection between black tea consumption and various health benefits. One such study out of Scotland linked black tea with the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. The new analysis done took into consideration the results of that and other studies on black tea.

They gathered and analyzed data on black tea consumption in 50 different countries. In addition they analyzed data that focused on the levels of Respiratory Disease, Infectious Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer and Diabetes in those same countries.

Ireland appears to be the nation with the most tea drinkers, Great Britain was second, followed by Turkey. The countries with the lowest numbers of tea drinkers were Mexico, Morocco, China, Brazil and South Korea. Through further statistical analysis they were able to find out how black tea consumption impacted the diseases they chose to focus on country by country.

They found a definite link between high black tea consumption and lower rates of Type 2 diabetes in specific countries. The rates of the other diseases considered were not impacted by high rates of tea drinking.

There has always been great interest in the health benefits of green tea. It contains catechins which are simple flavonoids and believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. When green tea is fermented it becomes black tea and then contains a variety of complex flavonoids. These have also been linked to different health benefits.

In addition to the link discovered between black tea consumption and Type 2 Diabetes levels, black tea has also been connected to lowering blood pressure, lowering stress hormones, reducing the risk of stroke, helping with dental plaque and slowing down the growth of prostate cancer.

FoodFacts.com encourages our community to enjoy a cup of black tea more often. While further research needs to be conducted, the possibility of these health benefits from a nice warming cup of tea strike us as a great reason to include more in our diets!

Read more:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252568.php

4 Foods You Should Try!

Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

There have been a variety of studies that suggest different foods promote beneficial health effects. We know walnuts help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease; yogurts help promote proper digestion; carrots play a role in eye health; and so on. Well, there are a few other foods that can be both delicious and valuable to your health.
Purple Potato blog.foodfacts.com
Purple Potatoes:
A new study done by the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania suggests that purple potatoes, which contain polyphenols found in most purple fruits and veggies, can help to reduce blood pressure by approximately 5% a month. These potatoes are a little more difficult to find, but are commonly found in natural food stores and farmers markets. Also, we would like to note that a similar study done at Harvard also mentioned slight weight gain with frequent consumption of purple potatoes, which isn’t too surprising.
kohlrabi
Kohlrabi:
This German turnip is packed with nutrients, potassium, and free-radical fighting antioxidants. It has a similar flavor to a radish or apple, and is commonly consumed in Kashmir where it is referred to as monj. This root vegetable would be a great addition to seasonal salads or used in combination with other veggies in a stir-fry.
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Amaranth:
A popular grain originating during an era of pre-Columbian Aztecs, Amaranth is a bit more advanced than grain we’re used to these days. This grain has a great amount of protein in its seeds, 5 times more fiber than wheat, and contains phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron, and vitamins A & C. It is commonly used in diets for those recovering from illnesses because it is very digestable; and contains linoleic acid as a form of unsaturated fat.
yerba mate tea
Yerba Mate:

This tea has been found to promote cell revival faster and more effective than that of red wine and green tea. It contains natural forms of caffeine and alkaloids which help to promote muscle relaxation, and mood-enhancing properties.
Check out your local grocery stores and farmers markets to try new healthy foods!