Vitamin D &
Remember when we were children and our parents told us to go outside and play? It turns out they were again right of course. Sunshine is the main source of Vitamin D3. This form of Vitamin D helps create and enhance the proper functioning of all healthy cells in the body. Vitamin D is particularly helpful in preventing breast, ovarian, prostate and colorectal cancer, and people living in the Northeast have been found to be especially deficient in this important vitamin.
In fact, as a breast cancer survivor, I take Vitamin D3 as a supplement each day. Some people metabolize D better than others, and the only way to know if you do is to have a simple blood test. If you choose to take a supplement, be sure to take D3 which is the naturally occurring form of D called cholecalciferol. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before taking any supplement. So back to my suggestion yesterday about walking…if the weather permits you to walk outside, consider it two points for prevention.
For another easy point, while you’re sunning yourself, sip a cup of tea. Although tea drinking has been associated with health benefits for centuries, only recently have its medicinal properties been investigated scientifically. Tea has a high content of flavonoids which are plant-derived compounds that are antioxidants.
Green tea is at the top of the list since it is the best food source of a group called catechins. This Superfood is more powerful than vitamins C and E at halting oxidative damage to cells and appears to have other disease-fighting properties. Studies have linked green tea with a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder.
Green tea has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, originating in China but widely used throughout Asia. Black tea is processed in a way that allows for fermentation whereas green tea’s processing avoids the fermentation process. As a result, green tea retains maximum amount of antioxidants and poly-phenols the substances that give green tea its many benefits. Green tea also adds another important benefit to fitness. It increases metabolism and can help with weight loss.
How much green tea has been found to help? Three cups seems to be the recommended amount per day. Green tea should steep for three to five minutes to bring out its catechins. Decaffeinated, bottled ready-to-drink tea preparations, and instant teas have less of these compounds. Often I hear the argument among tea drinkers that green tea is not as flavorful as black. A friend offered a solution…add a bag of green tea to your cup of black.
Additional benefits for regular consumers of green and black teas include a reduced risk of 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 (high blood pressure) risk in regular consumers of oolong or green tea, compared to non-consumers of tea. Green tea has also been found to help with weight reduction.
So my British friends have the right idea. Save time for tea. It’s not only relaxing but good for your health!