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Posts Tagged ‘tea’

Can Hibiscus Oust Hypertension?

May 30, 2013 1 comment

TeaPut on the kettle! Yes, recent studies show that hibiscus tea can help to lower blood pressure. Published in the Journal of Nutrition (2010), one study showed that those who drank three cups of hibiscus tea had a 7.2 drop in systolic blood pressure. Experts think this might be due to the flavonoids, which can help dilate blood vessels. These results show that it could help to treat those with problems like hypertension.

“About one-third of the weight of a tea leaf is flavonoids, which is high, especially when  you consider that they are accompanied by virtually no calories,” Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory and chair of the Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health, explains.

To get the most flavonoids from tea, steep in hot water. Cold-brewed tea and powdered mixes generally don’t achieve the same flavonoid levels.

“Although the evidence toward these benefits is promising, more research is needed to determine what dose to take,” Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Cooper Clinic explains. “Medical professionals already know that hibiscus can react with certain drugs and that it isn’t good for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor prior to taking hibiscus.”

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67 million American adults (31 percent) have high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 American adults.

“If we were able to reduce blood pressure just slightly and shift the entire population to a lower blood pressure, that would have a significant impact in terms of reduced numbers of people with hypertension and its consequences for cardiovascular disease,” Blumberg says. “Small, modest, long-term benefits on blood pressure can be very important from the public-health point of view.”

This tasty Hibiscus leaf can often found in many floral tea blends such as Red Zinger. If you need more flavor, add lemon or citrus juice. For more health tips from dietitians at Cooper Clinic, visit our website.

Low Sugar Summer Sips

July 5, 2012 4 comments

With summer temps reaching over 100 degrees, there’s nothing more refreshing than a nice, cold drink by the pool. Pass up the high-calorie sodas, sweet teas, sugary sports drinks and lemonade in favor of low-sugar beverages that will quench your thirst and help keep you healthfully hydrated. Drink up!

  1. Infused water, a.k.a spa water: De-stress by the pool with this high-flavor beverage that looks pretty too! All you need is a pitcher of cold water and add some sliced fruit (pear, orange, berries), vegetables (cucumber) or herb leaves (mint, basil). Marinate for 2-8 hours to chill and let flavors infuse. You may invest in an infusion pitcher and all you do is add the cut-up ingredients to the infusion rod. Chill and serve.
  2. Iced cold flavorful tea: Black and green teas are packed with antioxidants and are calorie free. Some varieties taste sweet naturally so there’s no need to add sugar or sweetener. Check out some fruity herbal teas like mango and blueberry. Try sweet-spiced teas like cinnamon and vanilla (or mix them together for a delicious blend). One of my favorites is passion tea derived from the passion flower. If you add a teaspoon of sugar, honey or agave syrup, this will add about 15-20 calories.
  3. Fresh fruit slushy: This beverage far surpasses the sugary slushy drinks from your childhood. Using a blender, mix 1/3 cup of chopped melon or berries with ¾ cup sugar-free sparkling water and ½ cup ice. For less than 20 calories per 12 ounce serving, that’s a bargain!
  4. Juicy spritzer: Skip the store bought sparkling juices that are as sugar-packed as a soft drink. Make your own sparkling juice by mixing 1-2 ounces of your favorite 100% juice to 12 ounces of sparkling water. Squeeze a twist of citrus fruit or float some fresh herbs for extra flair and flavor.

What summer drinks do you enjoy?

Foods that Fight Pain

June 19, 2012 2 comments

How are you doing on your healthy-living journey? Mine has been a little painful the past couple of weeks, literally. The increased exercise, both cardio and weights, is giving my knees fits! So I’m going to focus on incorporating more foods that fight pain.

Meridan Zerner, my Cooper Clinic registered dietitian, gave me an article from the July issue of Environmental Nutrition called, “Soothe Pain with Foods, from Fish to Fruits.” It talks about how daily food choices can either reduce or increase levels of inflammation in the body… impacting levels of pain. Foods high in refined starches, sugar, saturated fats and trans fats can increase inflammation, while diets high in fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats plus fish and limiting processed foods and red meat are linked with lower inflammation. That makes sense to me and drives the point home that “bad” food can make you feel, well, bad.

Here are some of the top items Meridan and I discussed that can help my knees and entire body feel better:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish and fish oil, produce arthritic pain-reducing effects equivalent to ibuprofen,” the article says. And of course, glucosamine and chondroitin can help alleviate pain over time due to injuries or osteoarthritis. We have a ton of information on these supplements since we sell Omega-3 and Joint Health through Cooper Complete®. For more articles on this topic, check out this search from our Health Tips section.

    I love Tropical Green Organic Tea by Zhi Tea in Austin!

  • We’ve long known that green tea is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflamatory properties. I just bought a can of Tropical Green Tea from Zhi Tea in Austin while visiting my Dad for Father’s Day. It smells and tastes delicious! During the hot summer I prefer to ice my green tea. Meridan had a few other awesome tips: put the tea bag in soup and let it steep for a couple of minutes (shut the front door!); add a tea bag to boiling water for brown rice (brilliant!); or if you think green tea tastes bitter combine it with a cinnamon or other flavor to jazz it up (why didn’t I think of that!).
  • Fresh cherries or tart cherry juice are also linked with reducing muscle soreness after intense physical activity. Yum! Cherries are in season and I know this thanks to my Central Market mailer. Pomegranate and red grapes are also in the alleviate pain category.
  • I was surprised to see coffee on the list, which has been shown to reduce muscle pain during and after exercise. I can’t imagine heading to my Zumba class with a cup of coffee, but it’s good to know that the one cup I typically drink in the morning is helping me in more ways than simply wake up.
  • Spices are another area that are great for reducing pain and can certainly enhance the flavor of any dish. Try ginger, rosemary, chili and nutmeg. Add a dash of cayenne to spice things up and may help you eat a little less depending on how hot you make your dish. I’m a lightweight, so one dash is all I need.

These foods will help ensure I can stay physically active while I work on my health-living, and hopefully pain-free, journey. I can hear my iced green tea and your cup of tart cherry juice clinking as we speak! Cheers!

This was written by Amy George former VP of Marketing and Communications at Cooper Aerobics. Amy is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.