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If green tea were a celebrity, it would already sit near the tippy top of the A-list. Its active ingredients have been linked to an array of health benefits, including weight loss, decreasing anxiety, and warding off the growth of cancer cells. And now new research adds “memory enhancer” to the list.

Researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland conducted a simple experiment in which they gave a group of participants a beverage containing 27.5 grams of green tea extract, or a whey protein drink designed to taste like green tea (the participants weren’t told which beverage they were drinking).

While they drank either beverage, the researchers examined their brains in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. Participants were also asked to complete tasks that tested their working memory.

The results: participants who drank the beverage containing green tea extract performed better on the memory tasks, and their brains showed a distinctly different activation pattern between their frontal and parietal lobes. Thefrontal lobe, home of our most advanced thinking abilities, sits (as the name suggests) at the front of the brain, while the parietal lobe sits just behind it toward the back of the brain. The parietal lobe plays a large role in how our brains process sensory information and language.

What this study suggests is that green tea intensifies the interplay between these brain areas, resulting in a heightened ability to recall information. In other words, it boosts the neural juice that fuels memory.

It’s important to underscore that the researchers used green tea extract, and you’d have to drink several cups of regular green tea to get the same amount of the active ingredient that’s most likely responsible for the effects: epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

This was a small study, and it would be nice to see the results replicated in a much larger one, but they are intriguing nevertheless. And combined with previous research on the cognitive benefits of drinking green tea, it’s yet more evidence that having a few cups of the centuries-old beverage each day is likely one of the healthiest things you can do for your brain.

The study was published in the journal, Psychopharmacology.


Ginger tea

Another great digestive aid, ginger can be used to curb nausea, vomiting or upset stomach due to motion sickness. Make fresh ginger tea by simmering a piece of ginger root on the stove for 10 to 15 minutes—add fresh lemon juice and honey when you have a cold for a powerful germ-fighting combination. Beacon also suggests making tea from powdered ginger to ward off a chill. 

A tea that’s good to make at the first feeling of scratchiness in your throat is a combination of fresh minced ginger, fresh lemon juice, and raw honey or rock sugar. If you are coughing add a few pieces of licorice root, and less ginger and lemon. 

Rock sugar is the purest form of sugar and, after it is dissolved in water, it can moisten a dry esophagus and aid in protecting against laryngitis. 

You can make this two different ways depending on what you have at home. 

Water is touted as nature’s beverage, but I like to think of winter melon tea as a sweet alternative.

Don’t let the name deceive you. Winter melon grows in the summer, is harvested in the fall, and is stored and eaten during the winter, hence its name. But winter melon tea can be enjoyed year round.

Do you ever wonder why we drink sugary beverages every morning to wake up? The next time you are at Tim Hortons or Starbucks, try some green herbal tea instead. Coffee has been the normal beverage of choice in the morning for almost a century in America and Canada. Herbal slimming tea is extremely popular in countries such as Japan, China, Nepal and India. Tea is the second most consumed beverage, after water.

Although tea drinking has been associated with health benefits for centuries, only in recent years have its medicinal properties been investigated scientifically. The October issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch recognizes the healthy power of tea while helping readers get the most out of their cups.


Benefit of Drinking Green Tea

Green tea is good for health.

Tea's health benefits are largely due to its high content of flavonoids — plant-derived compounds that are antioxidants. Green tea is the best food source of a group called catechins. In test tubes, catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties. Studies have found an association between consuming green tea and a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder. 

Additional benefits for regular consumers of green and black teas include a reduced risk for heart disease. The antioxidants in green, black, and oolong teas can help block the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, increase HDL (good) cholesterol and improve artery function. A Chinese study published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed a 46%-65% reduction in hypertension risk in regular consumers of oolong or green tea, compared to non-consumers of tea.

The October issue provides a few tips to get the most out of tea-drinking:

Drinking a cup of tea a few times a day to absorb antioxidants and other healthful plant compounds. In green-tea drinking cultures, the usual amount is three cups per day. Allow tea to steep for three to five minutes to bring out its catechins. The best way to get the catechins and other flavonoids in tea is to drink it freshly brewed. Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink tea preparations, and instant teas have less of these compounds. Tea can impede the absorption of iron from fruits and vegetables. Adding lemon or milk or drinking tea between meals will counteract this problem.

One of the best, tastiest and easiest juices to make is tropical passion fruit. It will take about 10 minutes for 2 - 3 litres of delicious, refreshing passion fruit drink.

Drinking Yoghurt

1. Place milk into mixing bowl and heat 15 min/90°C/speed 3. Remove mixing bowl lid and allow milk to cool to 37°C (about 1 hour).

2. Add natural yoghurt and warm 2 min/37°C/speed 1. Evenly distribute mix between six 200ml yoghurt bottles, allowing room for syrup (if desired) and seal.

Most people have no idea what Mixed Fruit Jelly is made from. All they know is it tastes good.

Now I hope you are ready to cook. You have picked exactly the combination you want first. While we are getting ready, why don’t you have the next pick ready. It really doesn’t take that much longer to make two batches.

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