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Archives for posts tagged ‘flavonoids’

Tea & Chocolate: Chemicals May Boost Cognitive Brain Performance

Can it be true? All that great Bigelow Tea AND your favorite chocolate treat might actually help you finally complete that New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle! These are the findings of a new study by the University of Oxford’s Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics. Working with colleagues in Norway, the researcher’s findings show a strong correlation between tea and chocolate and enhanced cognitive performance. The team of researchers examined the relation between cognitive performance and the intake of common foodstuffs that contain flavonoids — including chocolate and tea.

The study looked at 2,031 people, aged between 70 and 74; participants filled in information about their typical food habits, and underwent a battery of cognitive tests. Those who regularly consumed chocolate or tea had significantly better average scores and higher cognitive performance. The team’s results, originally published in the Journal of Nutrition, looked at the role played by beverages such as tea, as it is a major dietary source of polyphenols.

Although the team cautions that more research is needed, these exciting findings support earlier research about polyphenols, and reinforce that tea and chocolate are a great match. The results of the Oxford study also support the results from a previously published study in the Journal of Neuroscience that concluded it may be possible to boost memory and cognitive ability with a plant compound called epicatechin which is also found in food and drinks — including tea. Sounds like it’s time to put the pot on!

Green tea catechins linked to weight loss: Study

Still working on those New Year’s Resolutions? With the first quarter coming to an end, don’t give up just yet — help is on the way, and is right there in your tea cup. We know that catechins, the major component of green tea extract, has several positive physiologic effects on the body. A new study however, shows that these antioxidant compounds from green tea also help promote fat loss. Green tea is a rich source of catechins, (a sub-class of flavonoids), long known for their antioxidant activity. Antioxidant properties play a beneficial role in our health — but this new study from the American Society of Nutrition underscores that tea catechins may help actually promote weight loss.

Published in The Journal of Nutrition, it was found that consuming green tea catechins (625mg/d) may enhance the exercise-induced loss of abdominal fat, and improve your triglyceride levels. An exercise routine in your weight loss/maintenance program is important, and the properties of green tea play an important role. In another study from Federal University of Santa Catarina, resistance training and weight-lifting increased the production of free radicals — sometimes beyond the body’s antioxidant defense capacity — causing oxidative stress. Results from the study suggest that tea offered significant protection against this oxidative damage, providing benefits before and after exercise.

The affirmative health properties of tea continue to make news, and predictions are that the US market for tea will double over the next five years with the growing interest in wellness. There are many new green tea flavored products on the market too, (including green colored, green tea-flavored Kit Kat candy bars, recently launched in Japan). But THAT won’t help with weight management, so best to just enjoy your daily tea routine and let that work for you, and those 2009 resolutions!

Tea and Chocolate: A Winning Combination

Tea and chocolate are very much in vogue. Fancy chocolatiers are making chocolates and truffles infused with teas like Earl Grey, green or Irish breakfast. “It’s a trend that started in France,” according to Joan Coukos, owner of Chocolat Moderne in New York. Tea and chocolate are two strong flavors that go well together. Moreover, both are considered Superfoods, foods “power packed” with nutrients. In fact, Science Daily reported on a Penn State-led review of 66 published studies supporting the view that consuming flavonoid-rich tea and/or chocolate, in moderation, can be associated with reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.

Here are two of our recipes using this winning combination of tea and chocolate: Darjeeling and Dark Chocolate Pots and Jasmine Green Tea Truffles. Irresistible!

Think Pink…Tea Intake Linked to Increased Breast Cancer Survival

Over one million women worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.  In fact, the US and the Netherlands have among the highest incidences of breast cancer.  In the US,  the National Cancer Institute estimates that 13 percent of American women will develop breast cancer during their lives.  Yet, there is good news…

Now, a new study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, provides evidence that women with diets rich in flavonoids, a class of antioxidants found in tea, red wine, soybeans, fruit ant vegetables, lowered mortality among postmenopausal U.S. breast cancer patients.  Interest in flavonoids is growing as research continues to support their cancer-fighting potential.  Additional studies are underway to examine whether increased breast cancer survival associated with flavonoids applies to age groups.

Think pink and drink tea…