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Green Tea Protects You From Colds And Flu, Study Finds

Green Tea Protects You From Colds And Flu, Study Finds

A natural way to prevent colds and flu

Do you seem to get every cold and flu virus that goes around? Do you dread the start of flu season, knowing that you will probably have to miss out on work and social engagements as you lie in bed with a host of unpleasant symptoms? Luckily, there’s a natural remedy proven by scientific research to offer some protection against cold and flu. Read on to discover what scientists have discovered about this delicious, natural drink, and how you can start incorporating these findings into your healthcare regimen. Small everyday changes can be enough to make all the difference between good health and recurrent illness.

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Green tea – research findings

Research published in the Journal of Nutrition by Japanese scientists shows that green tea consumption is associated with lower rates of influenza. Using questionnaires administered to children in an area of Japan in which green tea is grown, the researchers demonstrated that children who drink several cups of green tea per week are significantly less likely to contract the influenza virus during flu season. Therefore, green tea appears to be an easy, natural way to prevent such illnesses. These findings supported previous clinical studies showing that green tea has a similar protective effect for adults. Other research indicates that regularly consuming tea extracts boosts the immune system in healthy adults, resulting in a lower risk of infectious diseases such as colds and flu.

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How exactly does green tea work in preventing the influenza virus from taking hold? Researchers believe that the catechins contained in green tea work directly on viruses to impair their activity, which in turn means they are less likely to take hold and cause unpleasant illnesses. Specifically, these catechins bind to a key molecule within the virus cells and prevent them from reproducing at a normal rate. Therefore, drink green tea regularly and you won’t have to worry about wiping door handles or avoiding poorly family or friends – your natural immunity will give you a great chance at fending off the virus even if you come into contact with someone with the flu!

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In addition, green tea contains high levels of antioxidants. These chemicals rid your body of free radicals – the natural byproducts of toxin breakdowns. We take in toxins from the environment and the food we eat, and the free radicals can compromise your general bodily functioning, leaving you more vulnerable to illness. Keeping your antioxidant levels high is therefore essential for good health.

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Getting started with green tea

Most supermarkets stock green tea, available in teabag form for easy consumption. Simply place a bag in a cup or mug, pour on freshly-boiled water and leave to infuse for 2-3 minutes before drinking. Green tea can take on a bitter flavour if infused for too long, so remember to take the teabag out! If you dislike the taste of regular green tea, there are many flavoured varieties out there to try – green tea with lemon is a popular combination. Visit your local health food shop and you will be amazed at the sheer number of varieties on offer. Some also have added vitamins and minerals for health-boosting effects. Green tea is also available in powdered form, and you can add it into smoothies and soups. Research suggests that drinking 3-5 cups per day will have a significant protective effect. Normal consumption within these guidelines is highly unlikely to cause any unpleasant side-effects. However, if you are taking any medication or have a serious medical condition, always check with a qualified health professional before drinking large quantities of green tea.

Remember that green tea, whilst containing plenty of health benefits, does contain caffeine. Therefore, if you are especially caffeine-sensitive, you should be careful not to consume green tea in excessive quantities. If you notice that you feel irritable or are suffering headaches on a regular basis, reduce your intake.

Featured photo credit: 5 second Studio via shutterstock.com

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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