Teas and Their Health Benefits

In the city of Vancouver alone, the number of places where you can sit and have a cup of tea must be in the hundreds. Within a couple of blocks downtown, you will encounter more than one shop with its choice of teas, such as Starbucks, Blenz, and Waves, just to name a few. If you aren’t looking to hold a hot cup of tea in your hand, you can also visit a store, such as David’s Tea, to purchase looseleaf teas as a gift. With over 3,000 varieties of tea, it shouldn’t be too surprising that it is the most consumed beverage in the world second to water.

Tea can be divided into four basic categories: black, oolong, green, and white. These are classified according to processing, growing conditions, and geography. Some people drink tea for a caffeine kick, while others drink it for its calming effects and its multitude of health benefits. I like having all four types of tea, but the one I choose depends on the benefits and taste that I’m in the mood for.

Black Tea

Black tea, contrary to its name, isn’t black, but is stronger in flavour than the other teas and has the highest caffeine content. This tea is one of the most popular types in the world, particularly in Europe and North America. Boiling this type of tea at high temperatures will release polyphenols – antioxidants – and might help in the prevention of cancers such as prostate and ovarian cancer. There are studies that drinking black tea can reduce the risk of stroke, prevent type 2 diabetes, and help improve gut health. The tannins are beneficial for a healthy digestive tract. They also strengthen the immune system. Another ingredient in black tea, L-theanine,  has calming qualities that help you to relax and concentrate better. To maximize the benefit of antioxidants, it is recommended to avoid adding milk or sugar.pexels-photo-230477

Green Tea

Together with black tea, green tea is one of the most popular types of tea in the world, especially in Eastern Hemisphere countries such as China and Japan. This tea is loaded with antioxidants, which prevent free radicals from causing damage through aging and diseases. It has a history of medicinal uses in Asia because of its fermentation process, which allows it to retain much of its antioxidants. One type of antioxidant, EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), gives green tea its medicinal properties. It contains caffeine and L-theanine, which improve brain function and give a mild alertness buzz. By increasing metabolic rate, it also helps to  burn fat. Green tea can also help to reduce the risk of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. Green tea can also help protect against neurodegenerative diseases, lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The catechins in green tea can kill bacteria and reduce risk of infection. Further, there are studies that applying green tea leaves topically can reduce the effects of sun damage because of its anti-inflammatory qualities.

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Oolong Tea

Having the combined qualities of black and green tea, oolong tea offers the health benefits of both. The polyphenol compound in oolong tea may help with weight management by preventing enzymes from building fat. It also helps in the fight against free radicals, resulting in controlling diabetes, strengthening bones, and reducing cancer risk. It also promotes healthy skin, benefiting those with skin conditions such as eczema and atopic dermatitis by suppressing allergic reactions. The anti-oxidants slow the aging process and help with reducing hair loss if you make a tea rinse from the leaves.

White Tea

Like the other tea varieties, white tea contains antioxidants, but in comparison, it has several times as many antioxidants as green and black tea. The level of tannins and theaflavins (TFs) in comparison are lower in this type of tea. The TFs give the tea its sweeter flavour. White tea is less processed than the others, but provides similar benefits. It can reduce the risk of premature aging, as well as repair against skin damage from ultraviolet light. The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce skin conditions such as eczema, dandruff, psoriasis, and wounds. It may be helpful in preventing some types of cancer, such as lung cancer and prostate cancer. Flavonoids found in the tea help to decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also has antibacterial properties which make it a useful remedy for the flu and common cold.

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Health benefits and cautions

Tea can be served hot or cold, no matter what the season. You can enjoy a cup of hot tea by the fire during a winter night. Or sip a glass of ice tea on a sizzling summer afternoon. The many benefits of tea make it a strong beverage choice. However, there are also a few cautions to heed when having this drink.

Teas contain antioxidants, which are beneficial for your health, but the flavonoids can prevent you from absorbing the iron found in plant foods. For this reason, tea should be drunk between meals to reap its benefits and avoid some of the disadvantages.

Some people choose tea for the caffeine boost that is 50 percent less than that of coffee. Caffeine can give some people the jitters, which increases nervousness. One drink that I have instead of tea is Rev3 Energy because it has long-lasting energy, containing the caffeine from green and white tea, but low-glycemic. Tea is low in calories, unless you mix a lot of sugar in with your drink.

Studies are still being conducted to verify or dispute the many health benefits of tea. Overall, many experts agree that the antioxidative properties in tea are a boost to our health. For this reason, you will continue to find me and so many others sipping a cup of tea at different times of the year.

How to Find Your Soulmate

The weather has warmed up for summer, and you’re craving a partner for trips and outdoor activities. You could attend a spring singles mixer in the hopes of finding that special someone. I went to such an event, lured by the promise of hundreds of singles in a wide age range.

The place was crowded and the music was booming when I got there. I was handed a number, a paper with questions, and a matchbox that would lead me to my counterpart. As I caught up with my girlfriend, I saw glimpses of men, some strikingly good looking, others more forgettable. So the adventure began, with the goal of finding my special match by the end of the night.

Step 1: Leave Your Comfort Zone

To find my soulmate, I had to be willing to try out new places and activities. If I hadn’t found him yet, there was the possibility that he wasn’t where I normally frequented. Time to change my routine. This night was unusual for me. Having a number stuck on my arm, like I was an item at the auction house was atypical also.

When I walked into the room, I reminded myself to check off all the pointers on that mental list for making myself more noticeable. Look confident. Check. Meet guys with solid eye contact. Check. Smile. Appear as if searching a crowd of singles for right match was a totally normal activity. Check and check.

Step 2: Engage in Conversation

We were given a piece of paper with statements in a grid pattern, like a game of Bingo. The purpose was to approach guys and ask them questions from the paper. For example, I had to find someone who owned a truck. If the guy I spoke to owned a truck, then he would sign his name in that square. When I filled all the squares with names, I could enter my paper in a draw for a prize.

The benefit of this set up is that shyer folk would have a purpose for approaching a complete stranger and speaking with them. The questions could begin a conversation, or, if the conversation fell flat, you had a reason to move on and ask another guy another question from the paper.

The disadvantage of this set up is that more outgoing folk had to ask questions about things that weren’t relevant to my interests. In the spirit of completing the questionnaire, I had to find a guy who liked the colour pink, and another guy who used to wear braces.

I can hold my own in a conversation with a stranger, and I would have preferred the chance to just mingle and ask questions about what I really wanted to know, such as what brought him to this event. Or whether he was there as a wingman for a friend. And if there was one thing he could change about the world, what would it be. The writer in me wanted to feast on these insightful bits of information.

The most important tip for getting to know someone, though, is picking the right venue. The music was blasting into our ears, dampening the atmosphere for mingling. I spent the next few hours yelling at people, or screaming into their ears.

I would rather have gone on a coffee date in a quieter place. If the chemistry is right, no conversation is ever dull.

Step 3: Look for Common Goals and Interests

At the singles mixer, we were each given a match box. When I slid the box open, the word handwritten inside was WEALTH. A guy in the crowd supposedly had the matching word. Someone, maybe, who shared my dream of having a successful side business that would allow for early retirement.

I wondered what he looked like. I dreaded that he would turn out to be a much older man who would converse about politics until I drowned in the words. Or that he would turn out to be the younger man who was ambitiously drinking several bottles of beer at once. A few guys looked at my Wealth box, and said, I wish I had that, and showed me their box with the mismatched word. But all night long, my box’s mate never appeared.

At least I could still dream, and consider it a metaphor for my life – I was still searching for this soulmate who would say the magic words: We share the same dream.

Step 4: Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In

My girlfriend was disappointed in the mixer and returned to her previous belief that she’d met so many guys – none were The One. If he hadn’t appeared in her life by now, he wasn’t going to. There was someone in her life at the moment – they fought a lot – but she thought  he was okay and she was pushing him to discuss having a common-law relationship. I really hope that she won’t settle.

My soulmate wasn’t at the singles mixer. I laughed, thinking that maybe he’d gone to another event, hoping to meet me there. One of these days, we would cross paths if we continue to do the things that interest us. Just not that day. After I returned home, I placed the matchbox on my kitchen counter. It’s a beacon for The One.

Challenge Yourself

What is something you did today that scared you?

Did you quit your job so you could begin a career in something you are passionate about?

Did you take a deep breath and book your dream vacation?

We need to challenge ourselves and face our fears. If we don’t, we will never change or grow as a person. Think about what you are passionate about. That’s what will motivate you.

This poster has simple message: Do one thing a day that scares you. It’s not that hard to take that advice if you are determined. Life can be an exciting adventure if you are willing to turn the page and begin writing about your next challenge yourself.

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High Heels and Healthier Feet

I love a pair of tall, black, sexy leather boots.I bought a pair during the post Christmas sale. Boots add style to an outfit whether it’s a shirt and jeans, or a slinky evening dress.  I know a lot of gals that love them too because of the way these boots make us feel: confident, deserving, and bold.

And I want to feel just as great when I get home after a day of back to back meetings, or a night about town, and slide them off my feet. Because there’s nothing as unsexy as feet screaming from the pain of a day in heels.
The secret to foot care is a finding a dazzling pair of shoes.

Start with measuring the correct shoe size.

The best time to measure your shoe size is in the afternoon, because your feet swell during the day. Having the right shoe size can prevent foot problems such as blisters. Keep in mind that one foot may be slightly larger in size than the other, so it’s better to take the measurement of the larger foot. Also, your feet may change  shape over time, so it’s recommended to take a more recent sizing.
I like shoes that have high heels despite the health problems associated with them. Some say heels make the wearer appear taller and their legs more slender, giving them a feeling of empowerment overall. Interestingly, some say it was men in the 1600s European aristocracy who wore heels to show their status as a class that didn’t have to work, and thus could wear impractical footwear. Over time, women’s fashion evolved to copy men’s shoes, to be demonstrate masculine empowerment.

Wear heels no higher than three inches.

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Wear heels with care

Additional height puts more stress on the balls of your feet because of the displacement of your body weight. Heels these days can tower over five to six inches, resulting in more injuries from twisted ankles, stumbles, and falls. However, shoes that are closer to the ground can have problems also. Ballet flats and flip flops are two types of footwear that don’t offer enough arch support. Arch support is particularly critical for those who have flat feet. If you definitely want height in your shoe, three inches is the classic height, although they recommend two inches or less to have the least disruption to the natural biomechanics of walking.

Even after settling on the ideal height for your shoe, you still have so many options available to choose from… and these options are like the sugar candy of shoes and the bane of foot health advocates.

Choose chunkier heels and wider toe boxes.

Stilettos can turn the heads of admirers, but the wearer must be able to balance their body weight, which is being pushed forward, as well as focused on a tiny area of the heel. This design decreases the body’s ability to absorb shock, and can result in knee, hip, and back pain. A chunky heel is better able to distribute body weight.
Pointed toes are another popular shoe design. Unfortunately, a pointed toe can cause problems such as hammertoes and bunions over time, because of the pressure on the sides of your toes and ball of your foot when your weight is shifted forward. A wide toe box reduces the long term risk of problems such as bunions. Another solution is buying a shoe which starts to narrow at a point further from the tips of your toes.

Wear heels but take care of your feet.

If you are like me, and can’t resist sacrificing style over comfort, you can take care of your feet and still wear those boots with four inch heels.
  1. Invest in a pair of inserts  to cushion the sole and ball of your foot.
  2. Buy shoes with good shock absorption and arch support.
  3. Alternate between wearing heels and wearing flatter soled shoes.
  4. Incorporate heel lifts and drops into your exercise routine to strengthen your ankles.
For me, I want to have feet that look good underneath that pair of gorgeous new boots. Wouldn’t you?

 

Contact me for more information about living healthy.

Tips for Better Sleep

 

We all know about the importance of sleep; yet so many of us try to go without it in our busy lives, particularly during the holidays or when we have project deadlines. I’ve seen people become zombies, getting up to go work when it’s actually their day off, or putting the milk in the oven, or falling asleep during a theatre performance they bought tickets for a year in advance.

We all need that precious time to catch up on the rest we need because… we all deserve to live longer. Research says that sleep helps with decreased stress, improved memory, and improved attention. More attention means making fewer mistakes. Who wouldn’t want that?

Now that the holidays are almost over, and some of us are going back to our hectic work schedules, we want to make sure we’re getting enough rest. To sleep better, there are some tips you can follow.

Establish a set sleeping schedule.

Try to go to bed at the same time each night, whether it’s a weekday or weekend. Your body has an internal clock, so a regular schedule will help to keep that pattern. Before bedtime, dim the lights so your body can make melatonin to help you sleep. About 15 watts is recommended. And when you wake up, get your body into the daylight to tell it to wake up.

Establish a comfortable sleeping environment.

love-romantic-bath-candlelightThe ideal environment should be quiet, dark and cool. If you live in a place where there is noise from a barking dog or passing traffic, consider playing some white noise or wearing earplugs. Keep your mattress and linens clean to avoid allergies from dust mites and other allergy triggers. Your pillow should be at the height for the natural curve of your neck to avoid neck pain and injury. If you have lower back pain, a pillow between your legs, at your knees, can increase your comfort.

Avoid activities that prevent you from sleeping.

For some, exercising before bed keeps them awake because it creates too much extra energy. However, relaxing mind/body exercises can ease you into sleep. If you like to keep on top of the news, it’s too easy to keep yourself turned into media by watching recent events or checking social media posts on friends and work contacts. Learning that a new tax is about to be implemented, however, can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Avoiding these news updates would be one way to prepare yourself to relax before bedtime. Other sources of stress can be avoided by not checking work email or having a major argument with your spouse before bed.

Avoid foods that interfere with sleep.

pexels-photo-67514-coffeeAlcohol may make you drowsy, but it can interfere with sleep patterns and wake you up in middle of the night. On the other hand, caffeine can wake you up in the morning but having caffeine after noon can keep you awake at night. And be aware: some pain killers and weight loss pills contain caffeine. Instead of coffee, try chamomile tea at night to relax you.
It’s also a good idea to avoid heavy, large meals before bed because of the toll on your digestive system. Drinking too much liquid before bedtime can also be disruptive because you may wake up in the middle of the night.

Have a bedtime sleeping ritual.

Have a routine of relaxing bedtime activities, such as a warm shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. The routine will mentally prepare you for bed. For some, sleeping pills are the best way to get to sleep. The downside of these pills are the side effects. There are some who use Pure Rest, a supplement (not a sleeping pill) which contains melatonin to help you sleep, and is produced naturally by your body.

Some of these tips for a better sleep may seem like common sense, but there are too many who aren’t catching up on sleep because of family commitments or a demanding job. Getting enough sleep helps strengthen your memory, and promotes weight loss.

And most importantly, getting enough sleep helps you to live longer because of the health benefits.

Contact me for more information about living healthy.

Vegetables You Should Know About

It’s that moment – you’re at the vegetable aisle of your grocery store and you want to select the healthiest greens for your next meal. You’ve heard about eating vegetables raw for the most benefit and you’ve heard about eating spinach because of the strength it gives Popeye.

What you may not know is that a vegetable can have both benefits and drawbacks.

For example, spinach contains vitamins C, A, and K, which lowers cancer risk, and is good for your muscles and heart. You can add it to scrambled eggs, salads, and smoothies. However, spinach can contain a number of pesticides, so it is better to play it safe with organic.

Bell peppers are a great addition to salads and other meals because of their texture and variation in colour.  They contain vitamin B and C as well as beta carotene. They have antioxidant properties, but peppers can contribute to inflammation for some people.

One staple for almost any meal is the potato. Hash browns for breakfast. Fries for lunch. Mashed potatoes or potato salad for dinner. Potatoes are a great source of nutrition with vitamins B6 and C, and even potassium. They are great with soup, but not such a boost to your health if you add too much salt or butter.

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Broccoli can be eaten in a variety of ways. It is satisfying to crunch on when eaten raw. It can also be steamed, fried, and even over-cooked until it is brown. Some cooking methods are healthier for you than others. Broccoli has cholesterol-lowering benefits if you steam it. Other benefits of this vegetable include lowering the risk of cancer and improving our body’s detoxification system. However, one downside of this vegetable is it can cause bloating.

Peas are a great addition to soups or rice dishes. However, they are starchy and glycemic, which can lead to weight gain. They also start to lose nutritional value after three days. On the upside, the fiber keeps you full. Frozen peas have vitamins A and C as well as protein, and can keep for a longer period of time.

So what should you place in your shopping cart? It’s best to know the benefits of your powerhouse vegetables, as well as the possible drawbacks of vegetables that may not be good for you. Be food-wise when you’re deciding on what vegetables to place in your cart the next time you go shopping!

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Coffee Date Tips to Create a Good Impression

It’s your first date. You met this person online through a dating site or mutual friends set you up. Either way, you’ve agreed to meet for the first time at a coffee shop and you want to impress. To increase your chances of success, start with your preparation.

Check out the set up of the coffee shop

Choose a location that isn’t too crowded or noisy. Yelling at your date is far from romantic. A less busy place has a larger selection of seating areas and arrangements. You could sit across from each other at a table, or next to each other for more intimacy. If the place is somewhat busy, and there is a lineup, you could meet and get to know one another by talking about what you will order. If you find the place is too crowded, you could get your drinks to go and take a walk outside.

Show your date you’re interested

Be on time and dress appropriately to show that your date is important. Smile and have eye contact. In a sense, this meeting is like a job interview. Before the date, you’ve learned a few things about him or her to start a conversation about a favorite sport, recent trip, or pet. Ask questions to show your interest, but share something about yourself as well. An endless list of questions turns the date into an interview, and an endless speech about yourself makes you seem self centered. Be aware of your date’s body language. A lack of eye contact could mean a lack of interest. Touching your hand signals a desire to know you more and is a strong sign that a second date is likely.

End on a positive note

Meeting in the afternoon or early evening allows time for another activity. If coffee ends and chemistry is lacking, thank your date for the meeting. You could also suggest a second date on another day if you’re unsure how you feel about him or her. However, if the date is going well, it will be early enough in the day to suggest another activity, such as a walk or dinner.

No matter how the coffee date goes, have fun and think of the experience as an opportunity to meet another person and get to know each other. Continue reading Coffee Date Tips to Create a Good Impression

Healthy Mind and Body, Wealthy Life