Need an excuse to break for afternoon tea at work? A new study found green or black tea, in a very concentrated form, can improve your overall health in many different ways.
As I wrote in my Washington Post article, tea has long been known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So researches decided to extract one of the most active compounds in tea to see what would happen. The extract, called "AssuriTEA," was given to subjects in different doses. They found all doses had benefits, but most of the benefits were experienced in the subjects with the largest dose. After taking the extract for 28 days, the subjects showed improved antioxidant levels (which protects you from almost all diseases), lower blood glucose levels, and increased energy. They also found lower systolic blood pressure at both dosages and lower diastolic blood pressure at the higher dosage.
Even though we don't have access to this extract; no matter; I recommend using "whole" tea leaves anyway: The whole food is always better! Studies use concentrated forms of foods so they can more easily measure results. This study, published recently in the journal "Functional Foods in Health and Disease," confirms the health benefits of tea are impressive – I know what I’m doing at 3 o’clock today! You?
What’s healthy for other people may not be healthy for you!
We all have friends who, no matter what they eat, stay skinny. But the opposite is more common: most of us are incredibly frustrated because, it seems, no matter how hard we try, we just cannot lose weight. Now we may understand at least one reason why.
A study published in the journal, Cell, in November, analyzed people’s glycemic (blood glucose) response, or blood sugar's rise and fall after a meal. Controlling blood sugar is important for preventing and controlling diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight, and general all-around health. What you eat affects your blood sugar, insulin, and health levels, so a healthy diet containing mostly low glycemic index foods has been thought to be one way to control your health.
Some of the study's results were typical and expected; glucose levels correlated with weight and age. The more overweight or older we are, the higher our blood sugar rises after meals - that is, we become more diabetic-like.
But the scientists also found important differences between individuals. First, and this was predictable: if the same person ate the same meal at different times, their blood sugar level responses remained relatively the same. But - and this was the unpredictable result of the study - different people eating the same meal at the same time produced highly variable results.
Researchers believe the differences might be explained by the quality of the gut microbiome, the understanding of which may revolutionize nutrition and health. It turns out that the bacterial organisms in the digestive tract — about 100 million of them (10 times the number of human cells), collectively called the microbiome — are akin to a fully functioning organ, and can have a positive or negative effect on human health. For instance, a healthy microbiome improves insulin sensitivity - reducing your chances of getting diabetes - and enhances your ability to lose body fat.
This - the quality of your microbiome, for instance - calls into question things like the glycemic index (GI), which assigns a food's value based on peoples' average glycemic response to a food. That's because, if each person’s blood sugar responds differently at different times with different foods, then the GI index would be incorrect for people with different-than-average blood sugar responses, even for foods generally believed to be healthy.
There is some good news, though! The researchers used the data to create an algorithm that predicted the glycemic response of the participants. When they used this data to tailor diets for people, they saw improved blood sugar responses. These findings could be used to develop personalized and individual diets that don’t rely on averages. This just may crack the case for those having difficulty getting fit.
This is why I find it so important to PERSONALIZE your diet. One size doesn't fit all!
There are a LOT of dietary supplements on the market. They all make lots of claims about what they can do for your body and health – many in particular tend to trumpet their ingredients, especially if they’re “all natural.”
Well, the Department of Justice thinks we can’t trust what the supplements tell us. DOJ brought civil and criminal actions against 117 – yes, you read that correctly, 117 – individuals and entities. Of those, 89 have so far been the subject of cases.
Some are accused of mislabeling because the product has ingredients not listed on the label. Others are charged with making claims about what the supplement can do without adequate supporting scientific evidence. An Assistant Attorney with DOJ said they brought these actions “so consumers know the serious health risks of untested products.”
One particularly bad case is USPlabs LLC, which made both workout and weight loss supplements. DOJ alleges that USPlabs used synthetic stimulants instead of natural plant extracts that they advertised. Further, USPlabs is charged with knowing that one supplement, OxyElite Pro, might cause liver toxicity and secretly selling OxyElite despite telling the FDA it would stop. Because of this, 6 employees have been arrested, and company assets have been seized.
You can read more information about UPSlabs and other companies in their press release. But use this as a warning, and be careful what supplements you buy! You should always do your research on supplements before you add them to your routine – talk to a health professional if you can! At the very least, though, be glad that someone is working toward your best interest.