Antioxidants for Longevity & Optimal Health

Antioxidants are a vital part of our body’s defense system against cell damaging free radicals that increase our risk of disease and premature ageing. Including a variety of antioxidant rich foods in our diet is one of the best ways we can prevent cell damage and optimize our health and longevity.

To understand why antioxidants are so crucial for good health we first need look how free radicals affect our us.

 

CELL DAMAGING FREE RADICALS

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that travel around the body attaching and binding to other molecules. This starts a destructive chain reaction turning any molecule they come in contact with into an unstable free radical. Free radicals cause damage to proteins, DNA and other cells throughout the body.

When free radicals accumulate oxidative stress occurs which is associated with the development of many chronic diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis, heart disease, inflammatory conditions, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Free radicals building up in the body over time is also one of the major causes of ageing. Free radicals break down collagen and decreases the skin’s suppleness and elasticity, which leads to wrinkles and premature skin ageing.

 

WHAT CAUSES FREE RADICALS

Various environmental and dietary factors can increase the presence of destructive free radicals. These include over exposure to sunlight, environmental pollutants like exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, stress, and eating a typical Western diet rich in processed, sugary foods, and deep fried foods. Free radicals are also a natural by-product of chemical processes in the body such as metabolism.

You can help reduce your free radical load by choosing to buy organic produce and skin products, avoid using chemical household cleaning products, and look at ways to reduce and manage your stress through regular exercise, yoga and meditation. The best way however to fight free radicals is by eating a wholesome diet rich in colourful fresh fruits and vegetables that are abundant in a variety of protective antioxidant compounds.

 

HOW ANTIOXIDANTS OFFER PROTECTION

It’s the job of antioxidants to neutralise free radicals before they cause any damage to cells. Antioxidants prevent free radicals from reacting with other molecules, which breaks that destructive free radical chain reaction.

Antioxidants protect healthy cells while stoping the growth of malignant cells. They help strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, support liver detoxification and promote cardiovascular health. Antioxidants also help slow down the ageing process, helping to keep skin more youthful looking.

Our body makes a number of our important antioxidants such as glutathione, however we need larger amounts of antioxidants to keep free radicals under control. This is why we need a constant supply of antioxidants obtained through the diet from wholefoods such as berries, dark green leafy vegetables, avocadoes, tomatoes and green tea to keep free radicals in check. As we age our body’s natural production of antioxidants also start to decline, making an antioxidant rich diet even more vital for older people.

Some of our most potent antioxidant nutrients supplied through the diet include carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin), resveratrol, vitamin A, C and E, lycopene, selenium, flavanoids, querceitn, and astaxanthin. Other key antioxidants include alpha-lipoic acid, coQ10, and glutathione.

The more antioxidant rich foods we consume each day from high quality organic wholefoods the better our health will be and the lower our risk of disease. Here are some of the top antioxidant rich foods mother nature has to offer.

 

BROCCOLI SPROUTS:

Broccoli sprouts are little nutritional powerhouses, full of cell protective antioxidants including vitamins C and A. Broccoli sprouts also contain high levels of sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant compound that helps fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and supports healthy liver detoxification. Broccoli and broccoli sprouts are one of the best SOD (Superoxide dismutase) boosters, which is a super antioxidant and one of our most important anti-ageing compounds produced in the body. SOD helps fight damaging superoxide free radicals that lead to cell death and aging.

Adding raw broccoli sprouts to meals is an easy way to give your body an antioxidant boost. They can be easily and cheaply grown at home, or you can buy broccoli sprout powder to add to smoothies and fresh juices.

 

BERRIES:

Berries contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants of all fruits and vegetables, especially those with dark-coloured skins such as blueberries, black berries, black current, elderberries and super ‘purple berries’ maquai and acai. Their vibrant red, blue and purple colour signifies the presence of an important group of antioxidants called anthocyanins. Berries are also excellent sources of Vitamin C. Berries are best enjoyed with muesli, Bircher or porridge, mixed through yoghurt, smoothies, salads, and raw desserts.

 

WILD SALMON:

Astaxanthin is a type of super marine carotenoid that is found naturally in wild salmon. Astaxanthin is responsible for giving salmon their characteristic reddish-pink colour. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants around, said to have 54 times the antioxidant powers of beta-carotene and 65 times that of vitamin C, which are both some of our most potent free radical fighting nutrients. Astaxanthin can cross the blood brain barrier and has been found to help offer protection from cataracts, macular degeneration, and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

 

CACAO:

Chocolate, when in its raw cacao form, has many wonderful health benefits including promoting heart and cardiovascular health. Polyphenols, which are antioxidants found in cacao, can prevent bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol from clogging up arteries, and lower total cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. Good quality dark chocolate contains higher levels of these polyphenols compared to milk varieties. Raw cacao powder can be used to make delicious healthy chocolate raw desserts, cakes, protein balls, and chocolate smoothies.

 

AVOCADO:

Avocadoes are a super fruit loaded with important antioxidants nutrients needed for disease prevention. Avocadoes contains high levels of carotenoids including lutein and zeaxanthin which are required for healthy eyes and vision and for prevention of degenerative eye conditions such as macular degeneration. The dark green parts of the avocado nearest the skin contains the highest levels of carotenoids. Avocadoes are particularly rich in vitamin E. We need this beneficial nutrient to prevent heart disease and cancer and to boost immune function. Avocadoes are also one of the best natural sources of glutathione, considered the body’s master antioxidant, which plays a key role in liver detoxification and immune health. The majority of our glutathione is produced in the body from amino acids glutamine, glycine and cysteine, however it is also necessary that we increase our levels through dietary sources. Avocadoes are the perfect addition to salads, grainy toast, green smoothies, salad dressings, raw desserts, and to make nutritious dips like guacamole.

 

GREEN TEA:

Green tea is rich in polyphenols, namely catechins and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which are powerful antioxidants. Drinking green tea regularly is associated with a reduced risk of high cholesterol, stroke, and cancer. EGCG slows down collagen and elastin breakdown and can help regenerate aging surface skin cells. These are two important proteins in the skin that gives the skin strength, tone and elasticity. Aim to drink at least 3 cups of a good quality organic green tea to reap this beneficial teas full health benefits. Try Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA.

 

GRAPEFRUIT:

This popular citrus fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are powerful free radical scavengers that help promote a strong functioning immune system and radiant youthful looking skin. Vitamin C is needed for collagen production and helps reduce premature skin ageing and skin damage caused from UV sun exposure.

Grapefruits like other citrus fruits are high in flavonoids called limonoid which has been found to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Fresh pink or red grapefruits contain higher levels of antioxidants compared to other varieties. Pink and red grapefruits contains anthyocyanins and the antioxidant lycopene which is known for its ability to lower the risk of prostate cancer. Choose fully ripe grapefruit as they have the highest levels of antioxidants.

Some delicious ways to enjoy grapefruit is sliced and tossed through salads and fruit salads, and blended into veggie juices. The rind is abundant in antioxidants particularly flavonoids so use grapefruit zest to decorate cakes, desserts or salads for extra antioxidant goodness.

 

POMEGRANATE:

Pomegranates contain many powerful antioxidant nutrients. Including pomegranates in the diet regularly can boost collagen production and help support healthy eyes and vision due to their high vitamin C and A content. This beautiful red fruit is abundant in the polyphenols, anthyocycanins and ellagic acid, which are all potent antioxidants that help protect skin cells from free radical damage caused from sun exposure, which is a major skin age accelerator. Try tossing pomegranate through salads or muesli, or mix them through yoghurt for a healthy snack. Try our antioxidant rich Rose hip and Hibiscus, Pomegranate Iced Tea.

 

TOMATO:

Red tomatoes are the richest source of Lycopene around. Lycopene is a type of carotenoid found in red fruits that have powerful antioxidant and anti-cancerous properties. This extremely efficient antioxidant is effective for warding off heart disease and several types of cancers, in particular prostate cancer.

Fresh tomatoes are the best source, however cooked tomato products such as pastes, sauces, and soups are more concentrated. 1 cup of tomato soup contains 7 times more of the antioxidant lycopene than one fresh tomato.

 

BRAZIL NUTS:

Brazil nuts are different from other nuts as they have exceptionally high levels of selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential for good health but required only in small amounts. Selenium has strong antioxidant properties that can help prevent cellular damage from free radicals that contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Just one Brazil nut a day can supply you with more than the daily requirement of selenium, having around 95 mcg of selenium per nut. Eating Brazil nuts are also a good source of the antioxidant glutathione and vitamin E.

 

TURMERIC:

The super spice turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin which has been studied extensively for its powerful antioxidant properties. Turmeric has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Some delicious ways to enjoy turmeric is added to a mango smoothie or turmeric latte, as a tea with some ginger and lemon, or added to steamed rice, curries, lentil dahls, salad dressings or scrambled eggs. Try Bodhi Organic ZesTEA and CognitiviTEA.

 

KALE:

Kale is a brassica green leafy vegetable that is packed with phytochemicals that help combat free radicals and reduce the risk of cancers and other chronic diseases. Green leafy vegetables like kale provide two important carotenoid antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are beneficial for protecting the eyes from age related diseases like macular degeneration and vision loss. Kale and other brassica vegetables are also excellent sources of sulphur-compounds that the body needs to make glutathione. Kale is also abundant in vitamin C, beta-carotene and selenium.

The best way to enjoy kale is chopped and massaged with a little olive oil and lemon juice then tossed through a salad. Try adding kale to green juices, frittatas, soups, stews or stir-fries. Make pesto using half kale and half basil or try oven baked kale chips as a snack.

 

PURPLE AND RED GRAPES:

Purple and red grapes contain resveratrol which has been studied extensively for its health promoting and anti-ageing properties. Resveratrol, known as the ‘fountain of youth’ is a potent antioxidant that occurs naturally in several plants in response to stress, attack by bacteria or fungi, or ultraviolet radiation.

Scientists at Harvard University have found that resveratrol has the ability to turn on a particular gene (SIRT1) that has been proven to extend life, mimicking that of calorie restriction. Resveratrol can also help reduce the risk of cancer, improve heart health and lower inflammation. Red wine also contains high levels of resveratrol.

 

Written by Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea.

7 Top Ways To Boost Your Energy

boost energy

Feel like you are always running on empty? Need your morning coffee hit to get going in the morning? If this sounds like you, and don’t worry you are definitely not alone. Here are some top dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to help boost your energy levels.

 

Eat iron rich foods

Iron is an extremely important mineral needed for good energy levels and health. Iron is necessary for the production of energy from glucose, which is the main fuel for both the brain and the rest of the body. Iron deficiency is a common nutrient deficiency in women, without sufficient levels you can become tired and run down. Iron is also vital for the production of red blood cells, to transport oxygen around the body, and is needed for healthy immune function. Include plenty of iron-rich foods in the diet including red meat, chicken, fish and eggs, wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Iron supplementation is recommended for those who have an iron deficiency.

 

Boost your B vitamins

B vitamins play a crucial role in energy production, helping the body use carbohydrates, proteins and fats as fuel. Without adequate B vitamins you will lack energy. B vitamins are important for supporting healthy nervous system and adrenal function and thus are especially important for stressed and anxious people. The best vitamin B-rich foods include wholegrain cereals and bread, wheat germ, nuts, seeds, legumes, meat, poultry, salmon, eggs, milk and green leafy vegetables. You may also like to take a good quality activated B complex supplement daily, to get a nice balance of all your B vitamins and a boost in energy levels.

 

Up your magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that is vital for good health and vitality. Magnesium is needed for many cellular functions in the body, particularly for the production of energy. It is also an important mineral for supporting nervous system and adrenal health. Magnesium is considered the ‘anti-stress’ nutrient as it helps calm the nervous system and is therefore beneficial for people who are anxious, or have trouble sleeping. Magnesium occurs abundantly in natural, unprocessed foods. People who consume large amounts of processed refined foods will risk becoming deficient in this important mineral. Best dietary sources include tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Avoid overcooking to minimise loss of magnesium.

 

Choose complex carbs over refined carbs

Choosing complex carbohydrates over ‘white’ refined carbohydrate foods will help keep blood sugar levels and energy levels stable. Processed carbs which commonly contain lots of sugar, cause sharp spikes in blood sugar levels when eaten. This leaves you feeling tired, irritable, unable to concentrate, and craving more sugar. Regular consumption of these sugary foods will not only leave you lacking in energy but will increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, obesity and lowered immune function. Choose slow release complex carbs that provide a slow and steady supply of glucose for energy, without causing a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. Good choices include wholegrain breads and pasta, whole oats and muesli, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth and root vegetables such as beetroot, pumpkin and sweet potato.

 

Get a good night sleep

Eight hours sleep at night is considered optimal for good health and vitality. Sleep is essential for proper functioning of all systems in the body. It is during sleep that our body rests and revitalizes. This is when cells produce and release proteins essential for growth and tissue repair. If you are not getting enough sleep it could be impacting your health more than you think. Not only do we lack energy when we don’t get enough sleep but it can cause poor concentration and memory, mood swings, decreased production of growth hormones, and weaken immune function, leaving us more vulnerable to illness. If you have difficulty getting to sleep try a calming sleep-time tea made from soothing herbs like valerian, passionflower, lemon balm and chamomile before you hit the sack. These herbs are commonly prescribed by herbalists and naturopaths to treat people with insomnia. Try our Bodhi Organic TranquliTEA or SereniTEA.

 

Cut back on caffeine

Caffeine stimulates the production of stress hormones, namely cortisol, which gives you a temporary boost in energy levels. However this can also contribute to levels of anxiety, irritability, muscle tension, weakened immunity and insomnia. Consuming too much caffeine will also affect your blood sugar levels and in-turn energy levels. Caffeine causes a temporary surge in blood sugar levels, followed by an overproduction of insulin, which results in blood sugar levels dropping dramatically. The most common sources of caffeine to watch out for are coffee, black tea, chocolate, soft drink, and energy drinks. Why not try some caffeine-free alternatives like dandelion root coffee, carob instead of chocolate, and herbal teas like peppermint, ginger, lemongrass, liquorice and chamomile.

 

Adaptogenic herbs

Siberian ginseng, Ashwagandha, and Rhodiola are best known for their ability to improve energy levels and endurance. These adaptogenic herbs help support adrenal function and increase the body's resistance to stress. These vitality boosting botanicals are commonly used by herbalists and naturopaths to treat people with chronic fatigue. Try our Bodhi Organic VitaliTEA.

 

Written by Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea.

Natural Ways To Spice Up Your Sex Drive

increase sex drive

Having a healthy sex drive plays an important part of our health and wellbeing. Low libido is a common problem for both women and men. There are many reasons why people lose their sex drive. Tiredness, stress, depression, adrenal fatigue, certain medications (antidepressants and hypertensive drugs), excessive alcohol consumption, hormonal changes and low testosterone levels can all play a part in reducing libido. Having a newborn can also put the breaks on your sex drive for a while due, primarily, to lack of sleep and recovery after giving birth.

Did you know that what you eat can also affect your desire for sex. Eating a healthy diet rich in important nutrients like zinc, B vitamins and essential fatty acids that are required for sex hormone production and reproductive function are also vital for a healthy libido.

Here are some of the top foods and herbs that will help spice things up in the bedroom.

 

Fenugreek

According to a study out of the University of Queensland’s school of medicine, the spice fenugreek can apparently liven up a lot more than a curry. Researchers found that fenugreek can help increase arousal, sexual behavior, sexual drive and orgasm in both men and women. Fenugreek contains active compounds called saponins that help regulate hormones and increase testosterone levels. Testosterone levels commonly decrease in men with age. Low testosterone levels are also a cause of low libido in women. Fenugreek is an ingredient in curry powder, Asian sauces, chutneys and other condiments. Fenugreek seeds can also be sprouted and used on salads and sandwiches.

 

Withania

Withania (Ashwagandha) is an Ayurvedic herb with a long history as a natural aphrodisiac. One of the oldest books on sexuality, The Kama Sutra, lists withania as a powerful sexual stimulant. It helps improve sexual desire by increasing blood flow to the genitals which helps increase arousal and sensitivity. Withania is also a well-known adaptogenic herb that supports the adrenals. This supportive herb calms the nervous system and assists the body with coping with stress in a healthier way. Stress and poor adrenal function is a major cause of hormonal imbalance. The adrenal glands produce DHEA a hormone that is the precursor to several sex hormones including testosterone. A common symptom of adrenal fatigue is low libido. You will find this libido boosting herb in our Bodhi Organic VitaliTEA.

 

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a well-known aphrodisiac found in your supermarket isle. When you eat chocolate you actually get an increase in endorphins, the same chemicals you release when you are in love. Dark chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that boosts dopamine levels, which increases your feelings of desire. Dark chocolate, or even better cacao or ‘raw chocolate’, is rich in powerful antioxidants called phenols, which are good for your heart too.

 

Maca

Maca is a root vegetable native to Peru, which has been used for thousands of years as a nutritious food staple. This Perivan superfood is considered an ‘adaptogen’, as it works wonders for improving energy levels and helping you cope with the stressful demands of modern life. Maca also has a positive effect on our hormonal system, helping to correct hormone imbalances in the body. It is a good source of zinc needed for sex hormone production and B vitamins and magnesium to help support healthy energy levels. Maca is also called ‘Nature’s Viagra’, as it is best known for its aphrodisiac qualities and ability to improve libido and sexual performance. It is particularly beneficial for people with low libido when fatigue, stress and hormonal imbalances are issues. Maca powder has a light, nutty flavour that mixes well in smoothies, muffins, protein balls, or sprinkled over breakfast cereal.

 

Chilies

Adding chilies to meals is a great way to help spice things up in the bedroom. Chilies contain a compound called capsaicin that can help give your libido a boost by increasing your heart rate and blood flow, and stimulating the release of endorphins, your brains ‘feel-good’ hormone.

 

Celery

Celery is also a surprising libido boosting food. Eating celery can increase the pheromone androsterone, which is a natural aphrodisiac found in male perspiration, which can make men more sexually appealing to women. Celery also contains chemicals that can help dilate blood vessels and enhance climax.

 

Bananas

Including bananas in the diet can also help improve your sex drive. Bananas are an excellent source of B vitamins, needed to increase energy production and lower stress levels (which can dampen your libido). Bananas also contain an amino acid called tryptophan, needed to make serotonin, your ‘feel good’ hormone.

 

Libido-boosting Herbs

Libido boosting herbs that are commonly used by herbalists and naturopaths include Damiana (Turnera diffusa), Tribulus terrestris, Yohimbe, and horny goat weed (Epimedium). Ginkgo biloba is also recommended to help boost sex drive as it helps to enhance blood flow, including blood flow to the reproductive organs which can be useful for improving erectile dysfunction and enhancing orgasms in women. You will find Ginkgo biloba in our Bodhi Organic CognitiviTEA.

 

Sunflower and Pumpkin Seeds

Munching on these nutritious seeds can help improve your sex life. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc, which is one of the most important minerals when it comes to reproductive health and libido. Zinc is especially important for producing testosterone which is vital for a healthy sex drive in both men and women. Seeds also contain healthy fats that are essential for sexual health.

 

Oysters

Part of oyster’s aphrodisiac qualities are due to their texture and how they feel when you eat them, and partly due to their high levels of libido enhancing zinc.

 

Written by Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea.

Top Tips for a Healthy Christmas

Christmas

At Christmas time healthy eating often goes out the window. Rich fatty foods, too many sweets and excessive alcohol places a heavy burden on our liver and digestion, which leaves us feeling sluggish and bloated. Here are some tips for having a healthy delicious Christmas lunch that won't leave you feeling full and uncomfortable.

 

Give your liver a helping hand

Over the festive season our poor livers get overloaded. Other than the obvious, enjoying alcohol in moderation, you can give your liver a helping hand by consuming certain foods and herbs that help support healthy liver function. Have a good serving of sulfur-containing vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and onion and garlic with your Christmas meal. A delicious way to enjoy Brussel sprouts is pan-fry 5 shredded Brussel sprouts with a diced onion and a clove of garlic, in some olive oil with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, then toss through either quinoa or brown rice. Take the herb Milk thistle daily to protect your liver cells from alcohol-induced damage and to enhance your liver detoxification. Swapping your morning coffee with a detoxing Bodhi Organic PuriTEA.

 

Healthy protein sources

People always tend to overeat on Christmas day. Try to eat mindfully and enjoy your meal. Including some healthy protein with your meal along with some fibre-rich vegetables or salad is a great way to prevent you wanting seconds. Protein and fibre helps you feel full and satisfied, keep blood sugar levels balanced and sugar cravings at by. Roast turkey, chicken, lamb, pork and seafood are all healthy choices for Christmas lunch that are great sources of protein. If you like to have ham with your Christmas lunch buy sliced ham that is nitrate free. Grilled or BBQ seafood platters or whole large BBQ fish filled with fresh herbs and lemon make an excellent Christmas meal served with a variety of salads and healthy sauces. Avoid unhealthy deep fried seafood.

As a rule of thumb you should be having a portion of protein the size and thickness of your palm, then fill the rest of your plate with salad or veggies. Cut down on calories by cutting off some of the fat and skin, and hold off on pork crackling. Choose grass-fed organic meats, organic poultry, and wild sustainable fish were you can. Make your own healthy fresh cranberry sauce, bone broth gravy, chimichurri, or mango salsa to add extra flavour to your meats, poultry and seafood.

 

Salads and veggies

Steamed and oven baked veggies are the perfect way to make your Christmas feast a healthier one. Oven baked root veggies like pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots, and jacket potatoes are all healthy, fibre-rich choices to go with your Christmas meal. Keep the skins on as they contain flavonoids that are rich in antioxidants and extra fibre. Hold off on lots of butter and sour cream and instead opt for some olive oil and Greek yoghurt.

Try pan-fried or oven baked Brussels sprouts with some olive oil and spices, and lightly steamed green beans, asparagus, peas, corn cobs and broccoli. Add extra flavour to your steamed veggies by tossing them in a little olive oil and adding fresh herbs and spices, roast garlic, lemon juice, some almond flakes or a little crumbled feta.

Salads are ideal on a hot Christmas day. Toss some shredded kale through salads for extra goodness. Pomegranates or dried cranberries are tasty addition to Christmas day salads. Avoid salads with creaming dressings and mayonnaise and instead make your own healthy dressings using nutritious ingredients like Greek yoghurt, lemon, herbs, garlic, wholegrain mustard, avocado, tahini and apple cider vinegar. A simple tasty salad dressing is 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 4 tsp dijon mustard and 2 Tbsp lemon juice.

 

Nutritious Snacks

Instead of serving unhealthy snacks like chocolate nuts, chips and salted peanuts, go for healthy platter full of nutritious snacks like raw mixed nuts, healthy dips (hummus, beetroot or roast pumpkin hummus, guacamole, salsa and baba ganoush), cheeses, dried fruits, oven baked artichokes, olives, berries, mini bruschetta, fresh figs stuffed with feta, veggie sticks, and healthy wholegrain crackers, crusty bread slices or homemade pita chips. Fresh rice paper rolls, sushi, and mini frittatas also make great healthy Christmas snacks to serve your guests. Make a big fruit platter for the table for people to snack on. You can serve it with some yoghurt dips.

 

Iced Tea

Make a big pitcher of iced tea with sliced fresh fruit, plenty of ice and mint. It looks lovely on your Christmas table and it’s a healthy and delicious alternative to unhealthy soft drinks. Try our award winning Pomegranate & Lime iced tea made with Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA. Other delicious ice tea combinations include chilled green tea with apple juice, lime and mint (Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA); or chilled ginger & lemongrass tea with either pink grapefruit or some pineapple juice (Bodhi Organic ZesTEA). Iced teas also make perfect healthy cocktail mixers.

 

Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol is a sure fire way to put on weight over the Christmas period. Alcohol is not only very high in calories and it seems to go hand-in-hand with unhealthy eating. The higher the alcohol content, the higher the calories. Go for low carb, light beers, spritzers if you drink wine, and if you prefer spirits avoid soft drink mixers and opt for soda water and some fresh lemon or lime or iced tea mixers. Try to limit your drinks and don’t forget to have a glass of water in-between alcoholic drinks.

 

Wholesome desserts

For fruit cake lovers try our healthy sugar-free fruit cake recipe, served with some fresh cream. Healthy sorbet made from blended frozen fruits is a delicious dessert on a hot summers Christmas day. Healthy fruit ice blocks or chocolate dipped strawberries or bananas are also great Chrissy treats for the kids. Instead of mince tarts that are high in calories and contain unhealthy trans-fats or chocolate peanuts and other sugary sweets try some of these healthy chocolaty Christmas treats Gluten-free Cherry Ripe Balls, Chocolate Date & Brazil Bites, and Caramel Chocolate truffles. Your guests will love them!

 

Healthy Festive Fruit Cake

Ingredients:

375g mixed sun-dried fruit (date, apple, pear, apricot, sultanas)

425g can mangoes, diced (in natural juice) – keep the juice

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1¼ cups wholemeal flour

1 teaspoon allspice

2 organic eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup almond flakes

½ cup crushed walnuts

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180*C (350*F/Gas 4). Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In saucepan over medium heat, add mango with juice and dried fruit. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Place flour, baking powder, baking soda and all spice in a large bowl and combine well.
  4. Mix lightly beaten eggs through dry mixture, until well combined.
  5. Mix through fruit and almonds and walnuts.
  6. Pour mixture into loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes. Cover with foil if its becoming too brown. When your cake is cooked an inserted skewer should come out cleanly from the centre.

Serves 10.

TEA PAIRING: Our Bodhi Organic Black BeauTEA or HonesTEA pairs beautifully with this delicious Christmas cake.

Fruit cake

Anti-inflammatory Foods and Herbs for Greater Longevity

anti-inflammatory

Inflammation is the root of most chronic diseases. Chronic, systemic low-grade inflammation often goes undetected in the body for years, silently damaging tissues in the body until disease takes hold. It's often only when signs and symptoms of disease appear that we become aware of this chronic inflammation. Inflammation plays a major role in the development of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, asthma, obesity, inflammatory bowel conditions, auto-immune diseases, leaky gut and metabolic syndrome. What you eat can either trigger or dampen inflammation in the body. Eating a wholesome diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and herbs is of upmost importance for preventing inflammation in the body, to reduce the risk of chronic disease and to promote longevity. A recent study has shown how important inflammation levels are for predicting longevity. The study showed that low levels of inflammation in the body is a powerful predictor of longevity in people who live over 100 years old, even more so than telomere length (the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes).

 

Inflammation in a healthy person is a normal response when we injure ourselves to help accelerate healing. The immune system sends a flood of white blood cells to the injured area by increasing blood flow to the site which can cause swelling, heat, redness and pain. A problem occurs when inflammation continues and becomes chronic. This can happen when the immune system overreacts and starts attacking healthy tissue in the body (auto-immunity), or if there is an underlying infection the body is trying to fight, or a repetitive physical stress on joints or a particular part of the body.

 

Here are some of the top ways to keep inflammation at bay and promote optimal health.

 

KEEP INSULIN LEVELS LOW:

Keeping your insulin levels low is important for preventing chronic inflammation. Eating refined sugary foods regularly will elevate your glucose and insulin levels and will increase inflammation in the body. You can actually test for inflammation by testing your fasting blood insulin level. The higher your fasting insulin levels are the higher your levels of inflammation will be. Some of the best ways to maintain low insulin levels is to exercise regularly and limit refined junk foods. Exercise is one of the best ways to normalise insulin levels and to prevent insulin resistance. If you are insulin resistant your cells are unable to use insulin effectively to absorb glucose, which leads to glucose building up in the blood. Other important dietary ways to maintain healthy insulin levels is to avoid refined grains like white breads and crackers, along with steering clear of processed foods rich in refined sugars such as breakfast cereals, biscuits, cakes and muesli bars and soft drinks. Go for nutritious unprocessed foods that have a low GI. These foods are rich in fibre and good quality protein, and contain healthy fats e.g. legumes, wholegrains (brown rice, whole oats), raw nuts and seeds (quinoa), vegetables, and oily fish.

 

AVOID PROCESSED REFINED FOODS AND ENJOY NATURAL FOODS:

Processed foods contain highly inflammatory ingredients like refined oils (vegetable oils) and sugars (including high-fructose corn syrup) that will produce inflammatory cytokines in the body. Vegetable oils including corn, soy and peanut oils oxidise quickly when heated and form trans-fats and aldehydes which are highly inflammatory. One of the best ways to make the change to an anti-inflammatory diet is to stop eating processed, refined foods and instead enjoy a diet rich in wholesome, natural, unprocessed, preferably organic foods that are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals and nutrients that are anti-inflammatory. Stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, avocadoes, raw nuts and seeds (tahini and nut butters), quinoa, oily fish and healthy oils (olive, avocado, flaxseed, macadamia nut). Store your oils properly in a cool dark place. Olive oil is a great choice for cooking at moderate temperatures, and avocado, flax, olive and macadamia nut oils are all excellent oils to drizzle over salads and veggies.  Moderate amounts of fructose from whole fruits and vegetables is fine it's just when you get large amounts of refined fructose that it can lead to increased inflammation and an increased risk of diseases such as obesity, cancer, fatty liver, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes.

 

EXERCISE REGULARLY:

Regular exercise is an excellent way to lower chronic inflammation in the body. Unfortunately, the average person spends around 10 hours a day sitting at their desk. Sitting for long periods of time can have a detrimental impact on your health increasing your risk of insulin resistance. Research has shown that sitting for more than 8 hours a day can increase your risk of type-2 diabetes by a whooping 90%.

To help keep you moving throughout the day set a reminder every hour to get up and move about. Aim to do around 10,000 steps each day. Ways you can do this is by walking to work, to the grocery store or to pick up your kids. Working at a stand up desk can also help. Try doing some squats or leg raises while working. Schedule in some high intensity training or weight training during the week too. This will help stimulate your muscles to release myokines, which are anti-inflammatory chemical messengers that inhibit the release of inflammatory cytokines. Be mindful though that overtraining can increase inflammation.

 

EAT MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:

Fruits and vegetables are rich in anti-inflammatory flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C. Berries (blueberries, raspberries, acai, strawberries, black berries), dark green leafies (kale, Swiss chard, spinach), beetroot, cherries, pomegranates, oranges, tomatoes, lemons, carrots, pineapple, kiwi, papaya, broccoli and mangoes all have a strong anti-inflammatory action. If you find it difficult to get your daily dose of anti-inflammatory green leafies and vegetables try having a veggie juice or green smoothie to up your intake. Some good veggie juice combinations include carrot, beetroot, celery, apple, ginger and lemon; and pineapple, kale, cucumber, celery and mint. Or try our Kale Green Tea Super Smoothie. Pineapple contains bromelain which is an enzyme that has been found to help reduce inflammation and aids digestion. Guacamole makes a particularly nutritious anti-inflammatory snack with some veggie sticks or dehydrated veggie crackers.

 

TOP ANTI-INFLAMMATORY HERBAL TEAS:

Swap your morning coffee for a delicious cup of licorice (Bodhi TranquiliTEA), ginger and turmeric (Bodhi ZesTEA) or chamomile (Bodhi SereniTEA) tea. These fabulous herbs have been used by herbalists for centuries for their anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon is another wonderful anti-inflammatory spice that can be enjoyed in chai (Bodhi Masala Chai), or added to hot almond or coconut milk for a delicious anti-inflammatory latte. Studies have found that green tea is another good choice as it helps to dampen inflammation in the body. Rose hip tea has also been found to be an effective anti-inflammatory drink (Bodhi LongeviTEA)

 

NUTS AND SEEDS:

Turn your snacks, smoothies, breakfast cereals and salads into super anti-inflammatory meals by adding a handful of raw nuts and seeds eg. walnuts, Brazil, cashew, almonds, hazelnut, chia, hemp, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pepitas. Nuts and seeds provide unsaturated fats, including essential omega 3 fats (found in chia, flax, walnuts) and vitamin E and zinc which have anti-inflammatory actions. Nut butters and tahini (sesame seeds) are also delicious ways to enjoy these anti-inflammatory foods.

 

OPTIMISE YOUR GUT HEALTH:

Making sure your gut is healthy with a good balance of gut microbiome (bacteria) is important for supporting the immune system and warding off inflammation. Including fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented veggies with meals is a great way to boost your beneficial bacteria in your gut and reduce the risk of gut inflammation. Taking a good quality multi-strain probiotic supplement daily is also recommended to help maintain a healthy gut microbiome balance.

 

SPICE UP MEALS:

Spice up your meals by adding ginger, turmeric, garlic and chilli. These fantastic anti-inflammatory herbs will not only add flavour to your meals but will also help fight inflammation.

 

REDUCE RED MEAT:

Eating too much red meat will promote inflammation. Red meat and processed deli meats are pro-inflammatory foods. If you do eat some red meat make sure it is organic and grass-fed, as commercially grown meats are higher in inflammatory compounds.  Marinade your meat in olive oil and garlic as this will form a protective coating on the meat which will help reduce the formation of inflammatory compounds when its cooked. Cook your meat on low-medium temperature and don’t burn it.

 

INCLUDE OILY FISH:

Oily fish like salmon are great sources of omega-3 fats, so they're a wonderful anti-inflammatory food. Aim to have fish 3 x week. Alaskan wild salmon, trout, cod, mackerel and sardines are all good choices. Tuna, especially tinned tuna made from large tuna are notoriously high in heavy metals like mercury, so this should be an occasional food. If you do buy tinned tuna go for skipjack ‘Light’ tuna, not the ‘chunk’ variety as skipjack are smaller tuna. Salmon (fresh or tinned) is lower in heavy metals, so a great choice. Taking a good quality fish oil or krill oil supplement is also a great way to increase your anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.

 

BEST ANTI-INFLAMMATORY NUTRIENTS:

There are a number of important vitamins and minerals that help dampen inflammation. Vitamin A is an immune enhancer and anti-inflammatory nutrient which is found in cod liver oil, and as beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body, in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables and green leafy veggies. Zinc is another essential nutrient for healthy immune function and for its anti-inflammatory action found in fish, legumes, nuts and seeds. Quercetin is a flavonoid known for its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Good sources of quercetin include black grapes, raspberries, broccoli, kale, onions and apples. Beneficial anti-inflammatory unsaturated fats found in oily fish, avocado, raw nuts and seeds (including their oils, tahini and nut butters), and extra virgin olive oil are all anti-inflammatory foods that can help soothe inflammation. Vitamin E is another nutrient that has been found to have potent anti-inflammatory action. You will find vitamin E in foods such as avocado, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds.

 

Making positive changes now towards an anti-inflammatory diet and a more active lifestyle will be one of the best things you can do to live longer and prevent chronic disease. Make a couple of dietary changes each week. Start by clearing out your cupboards of any processed sugary foods and replace them with healthy unprocessed natural foods. Visit your local growers market and stock up on lots of lovely fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. Buy a new whole foods cook book and experiment with new anti-inflammatory vegetarian recipes. Your body and taste buds will love you for it!

 

Written by Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea.

10 Top Tips to Survive Spring for Hay Fever Sufferers

Springtime is here and with it brings the pollen season, which means bad news for hay fever sufferers. Hay fever or allergic rhinitis is one of the most common chronic respiratory conditions in Australia. Seasonal hay fever is an allergic reaction usually to pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds. The immune system thinks these pollens are harmful invaders and triggers the production of the antibody immunoglobulin E (IgE). This stimulates the release of histamine causing inflammation and swelling of the nasal passages, along with excessive mucus production and other common hay fever symptoms.

If you are one of the 3 million Australians who suffer from hay fever, you will be all too familiar with its symptoms. Sneezing, itching nose and throat, watery eyes and a clear runny nose, can make day-to-day life extremely uncomfortable for sufferers. Before you reach for anti-histamine medications this Spring, however, there are a number of foods, nutrients and herbs that are extremely beneficial for alleviating hay fever symptoms.

 

Kiwi fruit

Including kiwi fruit in your daily diet can help keep hay fever symptoms at bay. Kiwi fruit are exceptionally rich in vitamin C, especially the yellow variety. Kiwi’s contain even more vitamin C, gram for gram, than oranges. This important vitamin acts as an effective natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory, as well as supporting healthy immune function and offering protection from secondary respiratory conditions.

Bioflavanoids are also powerful antioxidants that are found in kiwi fruit (and in many other fruits and vegetables that are good sources of vitamin C). They complement vitamin C’s effect in the body. Bioflavanoids are beneficial for providing relief from allergies and are commonly used to treat hay fever. Bioflavanoids have been found to have potent anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory properties.

Other good sources of vitamin C and bioflavanoids include strawberries, citrus fruits, red capsicums, broccoli, papaya, guava and mango.

Taking a vitamin C supplement with bioflavanoids is also recommended, at a dosage of around 2g of vitamin C and 1000 mg of bioflavanoids, a day.

 

Turmeric

Turmeric, commonly used in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine, has many wonderful health benefits that make it an ideal spice to add into the diets of hay fever sufferers. Turmeric contains curcumin, a phytochemical that has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, comparable to steroidal and nonsteroidal drugs. Curcumin has been found to have anti-allergy properties, which inhibits the release of histamine in the body. Turmeric is the main ingredient in curries and is commonly used as a dried spice, however you should give fresh turmeric a go. It looks similar to a small ginger root. Just peel a section and grate. Make sure you wear gloves while preparing though as turmeric stains easily. Add around 2 tsp to rice dishes, stir-fries or soups. Turmeric teas are another delicious way to enjoy turmeric’s health benefits. Try Bodhi Organic ZesTEA.

 

Onion

Having an onion a day can help keep your hay fever at bay. Onions are packed with the flavanoid quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and natural anti-histamine. Eat red onions raw tossed through salads, or on sandwiches or added to cooked dishes. Quercetin is also found in other foods such as apples, kale red grapes, berries, cherries and parsley.

 

Licorice and Nettle herbal teas

Drinking nettle tea is an effective way to help manage allergic rhinitis. Studies have shown that it can help relieve inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and ease nasal congestion, sneezing and itching. Drinking licorice tea can also be beneficial for alleviating hay fever symptoms. Licorice root has been traditionally used to treat allergies, as it has a soothing effect, helping to reduce irritation and inflammation of the respiratory system. Try Bodhi Organic TranquiliTEA.

 

Orange and green fruits and vegies

The vibrant orange colour of fruits and vegies such as carrots, pumpkin, apricots, mango and papaya, indicates high levels of beta-carotene, an important vitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Green leafy vegetables are also an excellent source beta-carotene, although their orange colour is masked by their green chlorophyll content. Making sure you are getting a good supply of vitamin A and beta-carotene is essential for good health and particularly important for anyone with hay fever. Vitamin A is needed for healthy mucous membranes throughout the respiratory tract. It also helps promote healthy immune function and prevention of secondary respiratory infections, as well as helping to reduce inflammation.

 

Pineapple

Eating pineapple is a delicious way to help alleviate your suffering this Spring. Pineapple is a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme with strong systemic anti-inflammatory effects, which helps decrease mucosal inflammation and nasal congestion associated with allergic rhinitis.

 

Horseradish and garlic

Horseradish is related to mustard, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables. This pungent root vegetable acts as a decongestant, helping to clear the nasal passages. Grated fresh horseradish root adds a delightful kick to roast meats and vegetables.

Adding garlic to your daily diet is an excellent way to help alleviate hay fever symptoms. Garlic helps clear nasal congestion and it’s potent antibiotic properties help prevent secondary respiratory infections in chronic suffers. Garlic is also a good source of quercetin, a natural anti-histamine.

 

Probiotics

Taking a daily dose of probiotics can help hay fever sufferers restore a more balanced immune response to pollens. Probiotics contain beneficial bacteria that help promote the growth of good bacteria in our intestinal tract. Without a healthy balance of good bacteria in our gut, our immunity will be compromised and leave you more susceptible to developing allergies. Taking a probiotic supplement daily is recommended along with consuming fermented foods such as saukraut, pickled sprouts and vegetables, and miso.

 

Ginger

Make yourself a fresh vegie juice with a good slice of fresh ginger. Ginger is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory, which helps reduce nasal swelling and associated hay fever symptoms. A good juice combo is carrot, celery, beetroot, apple and ginger. You can also add in some green ‘leafies’ such as parsley, mint, kale or baby spinach for good measure. Grated fresh ginger can also be added to salads, curries and stir-fries, or delicious made as a hot or iced tea served with fresh lemon. Try Bodhi Organic ZesTEA.

 

Avoid mucus-forming foods

Hay fever sufferers are best to limit or avoid cow’s milk and other dairy products. These foods are considered mucus-forming foods, meaning they can increase the production of mucus in the respiratory tract, which can exacerbate hay fever nasal congestion. There are a wide variety of dairy-free options available including rice, almond, hazelnut, quinoa and coconut milks you can try.

 

By Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea.

Go Organic for a healthier you and happier planet

To celebrate Australian Organic Awareness Month we're talking all things organic and why choosing to buy certified organic tea and produce is not only much better for your health but that of the planet too.

 

What it means to be Certified Organic: 

When you buy a certified organic product you can have peace of mind that it has been grown or manufactured without the use of damaging synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides or herbicides, hormones or antibiotics. Certified organic products will not contain any nasty food additives and must be GMO-free. Certified organic livestock must be pasture-fed and allowed to roam freely. Animals must be treated humanly and given a quality of life that allows them to perform all of their natural functions. This means no caged chickens or pigs kept in sow stalls.  Certified organic cattle are to be bread using natural methods, and weaned in a natural stress free way that allows for the needs of mother and their young. Live export is also prohibited.

Choosing to buy certified organic food means that you can feel rest assured that your not going to end up with any hidden nasties on your dinner plate that could be potentially harmful to your health and that of your family.

 

Certified organic V's Organic:

Unfortunately the term 'organic' is not currently regulated under Australian law which means that any company or product can claim to be organic. This is why it is so important to always look for the 'certified organic' logo (eg. the ACO bud logo) on products to ensure the organic integrity of your product.

When people choose to buy products with a certified organic logo like the Australian Certified Organic (ACO) bud logo they are protected by consumer laws. ACO is the most respected, strictest and most thorough food regulatory program here in Australia and internationally and Bodhi Organic Tea conforms to their rigorous standards and policies.

ACO routinely and randomly audit and test companies and products that use the bud logo. All ingredients whether they are sourced locally or imported must comply with the strict requirements of the Australian Certified Organic Standard.

Why you should always buy certified organic tea:

A recent 2014 Greenpeace report reveled the presence of a variety of pesticides found in non-organic teas grown and sold in India. (1) These teas are also exported around the world by major tea companies. WHO (World Health Organization) has classified a large percentage of these pesticides as moderately or highly hazardous, and some levels being above the recommended safe limits.

This is very concerning considering India supplies over 11% of the worlds tea exports, to countries including US, UK, Germany and Russia. Of all the tea samples taken, 34 different pesticides were found, with 23 of them being unregistered for use in tea cultivation in India. Nearly all samples contained at least one pesticide, and more than half contained more than 10 different pesticides. Alarmingly the long banned DDT was also detected in some samples.

These findings were similar to Greenpeace investigations in 2012 on high levels of pesticides found in non-organic Chinese tea. China is the largest producer of tea in the world and the biggest user of pesticides.  Of all of the 18 samples taken from 9 popular Chinese tea brands, 29 different pesticides were detected. All of them were found to have at least 3 different types of pesticides, 12 of them had traces of banned pesticides – that have been associated with infertility, and birth defects, and six of the samples contained more than 10 different kinds of pesticides. (2)

Excessive pesticide use greatly damages the tea plantation environment with a large percentage of these toxic pesticides ending-up polluting the air, soil and water. The health of the tea workers is also put at risk as they are coming in contact with these dangerous chemicals on a regular basis. Then not to mention tea consumers who unknowingly are ingesting traces of these damaging chemicals in their daily cup of tea.

Choosing certified organic tea is much better for your health, for the safety of tea plantation workers, and for the environment. Organic farmers work in harmony with nature, using environmentally friendly, chemical-free techniques to grow and process their teas. Instead of using harmful chemicals, organic farmers use natural and traditional methods of weed and pest control, which help preserve the quality of the soil and nearby waterways, and surrounding ecosystem, to produce clean, healthy, chemical-free tea.

 

If more people choose to buy organic tea and produce more farmers will be encouraged to grow it, which means less toxic chemicals on and in our tea and food and less harm to the earth. It's a win win for everyone!

 

References:

(1) GreenPeace. Trouble brewing, pesticide residues in tea samples from India. 2014.

(2) GreenPeace. Pesticides: Hidden Ingredients in Chinese Tea. 2012.

 

Super Pregnancy Teas and Foods for a Healthy Mother & Baby

pregnancy teas and super foods

 

At no other time in your life is your diet more important than when you’re pregnant. Eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet which includes super nutritious pregnancy foods and herbal teas will provide you and your baby with all the right nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy and for baby’s optimal growth and development.  Eating this way will also be beneficial for reducing the likelihood of a number of common pregnancy complaints including constipation, anemia, and fatigue. Your diet and health habits while pregnant, and later when breastfeeding, have a direct impact on you and your baby’s health, now and later in life.

Here are some of the top pregnancy teas and super foods women can include in their diets for a healthy pregnancy and for optimal growth and development of their baby.

 

Importance of water and keeping well hydrated:

Water is vital to good health, but is particularly important during pregnancy as your requirements increase. Expectant mums should make sure they stay well hydrated at all times by drinking at least 2 litres of water a day. You need plenty of water to flush toxins out 
of your kidneys and prevent urinary tract infections, as well as avoid constipation.

Keeping well hydrated will also support your dramatic increase in blood volume while pregnant. Water is needed for healthy blood production and flow, to carry important nutrients and oxygen to your growing baby. It’s also needed to replenish the amniotic fluid, which surrounds and protects your baby, and women are advised to drink around a cup every hour.

Keeping well hydrated will also help prevent fluid retention and promotes healthier skin. Women with severe morning sickness who are vomiting need to be careful not to become dehydrated. Sipping on water or an electrolyte drink like coconut water or sucking on homemade ice blocks will be beneficial.

Choose a PBA-free stainless steel or glass water bottle (Try our ECO glass Bodhi tea flask) to carry with you during the day.

Because their reproductive organs are still developing, unborn babies, infants and children are especially vulnerable to the effect of BPA. For this reason pregnant women should take care to avoid BPA contaminated products for their health and the health of their baby.

 

Best herbal teas for pregnancy:

Herbal teas enjoyed hot or iced are not only a wonderful way to stay hydrated during pregnancy they’re a great way to reap the fabulous health benefits herbs have to offer. Some of the best herbal teas for pregnant women include ginger, which is well-known for easing nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness along with supporting immune health (try our Bodhi Organic ZesTEA). Peppermint and chamomile tea can help ease morning sickness and digestive complaints. Chamomile is also a lovely calming herb that alleviates anxiety and helps you sleep (Try our Bodhi Organic SereniTEA).

Raspberry leaf is a widely-used herb in pregnancy, commonly taken in the last trimester. Raspberry leaf helps to strengthen,tone and relax the muscles used for delivery, preparing you for childbirth. Using raspberry leaf in the last stages of pregnancy is thought to help reduce the pain and duration of labour and birth. Another benefit of raspberry leaf is that
it is extremely nourishing, a good source of a variety of essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B, C and E, and minerals iron, zinc, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Raspberry leaf can also help ease morning sickness for some women and can be taken after the birth to help promote and enrich breast milk production. (Try Bodhi Organic Mother’s Milk). Recommended dosage: 
Drink 1 - 2 cups of raspberry leaf tea a day during the second trimester and 3 - 4 cups a day during the third trimester.

If you’re a coffee drinker try to limit your intake to 1 a day and include some caffeine-free herbal teas instead. Green or white teas are good alternatives to coffee, with only low levels of caffeine and high levels of protective antioxidants. (Try Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA or LongeviTEA.) Consuming too much caffeine in pregnancy is not recommended as it could negatively impact you and your growing baby’s health, as it can interfere with iron and calcium absorption. A recent meta-analysis of 14 cohort studies found that miscarriage risk increased to 40% with maternal caffeine intakes of 350mg/day (around 3-4 cups coffee), and up to 72% with more than 700mg/day (around 7-8 cups coffee) of caffeine during pregnancy.

 

Easing digestive complaints:

Heartburn and indigestion are common in pregnancy. The reason expectant mums are more prone to these digestive complaints is due to the increase in pregnancy hormone progesterone, which relaxes the valve (sphincter) at the top of the stomach. This allows stomach acids to rise up into the oesophagus, causing a burning sensation in your chest and throat. Indigestion is associated with having heartburn, bloating and wind (burping and flatulence). Later on in pregnancy your baby will press up under your diaphragm, which can trigger heartburn and indigestion. Try eating smaller meals more often, and don’t eat late at night before bed. Avoid any offending foods like spicy meals, citrus fruits, coffee or fried foods. Sipping on certain herbal teas can offer relief. Chamomile, peppermint, liquorice, and ginger can help prevent heartburn.
 Slippery elm is also really useful for easing heartburn in pregnancy. Simply add 1 heaped teaspoon to 1⁄4 cup water, or you 
can add a couple of teaspoons to a hot cup of water and sip it like a tea. Slippery elm coats the oesophagus, soothing it and providing relief from heartburn. Slippery elm is also an excellent source of fibre, which is beneficial if you’re suffering from constipation. Take slippery elm away from any medications or vitamin supplements as it may inhibit their absorption. Dosage 2 - 6g/day.

 

Super pregnancy foods:

Some of the top super pregnancy foods expectant mums should include in their diet are berries, which are one of the best sources of protective antioxidants and vitamin C to support immune health and baby’s growth. Seaweed is rich in iodine to help support baby’s developing brain.

Women’s immune systems are weakened while pregnant, so garlic and ginger are great additions to the diet to help protect against colds and flu and other infections. Avocadoes are an excellent source of vitamin E and healthy fats, which are essential
for supporting your baby’s nervous system, as well as beta-carotene for eye development and good vision.

Broccoli and other brassica veggies like cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and kale are excellent sources of vitamin C, which your baby needs for collagen production. It provides you with lots of beta-carotene for baby’s eye development and healthy eyesight, along with good doses of folic acid and sulphur compounds that is needed for healthy liver detoxification.

 

Eat wholesome natural foods:

A majority of your diet should be made up of wholesome, unprocessed foods, that are naturally rich in nutrients and fibre. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables with a variety of types and colours. Eat the rainbow. Limit any heavily processed or refined foods that are high in salt, sugars and bad fats, that are low in nutrients. Swap ‘white’ refined grains (white bread, pasta, rice, crackers) and processed sugary breakfast cereals for healthy wholegrain varieties (grainy breads, wholemeal pasta and crackers, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth, whole oats and natural muesli). Including plenty of fibre-rich wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes in the diet is the best way to help prevent constipation in pregnancy, together with drinking plenty of water. If you are still having issues foods such as dates and prunes which have a natural laxative effect can also be helpful.

 

Buy organic produce and teas:

All mums-to-be want their babies to have the very best start in life, and one important way they can do this is by eating healthy, clean organic foods that are free from toxins such as pesticides and herbicides, genetically modified ingredients, and other chemical additives and preservatives. Choosing to eat organic produce and drink organic tea is a great way to ensure that you and your baby aren’t ingesting any chemical nasties.

Some of the most important foods that you should buy organic are teas, due to the fact that the tea plant and herbs absorb pesticides readily. Thin skinned fruits like berries, tomatoes, peaches and grapes, and green leafy vegetables, that are more susceptible to higher levels of pesticide residue. Apples and cucumbers with wax coatings and carrots and potatoes, are also known to contain higher levels. Buying organic grass-fed meat, chicken, eggs, soy products and cow’s milk is also recommended.

Wash any non-organic fruits and vegetables well and peel off their skins. Rinse non-organic rice, legumes and grains well and then use new water to cook them in.

 

Importance of Vitamin B9:

It’s recommended that pregnant women take a good pregnancy multivitamin that contains around 500mcg of activated folic acid or vitamin B9 (folinic acid) daily. Green leafy vegetables and lentils are great sources of folate, which is the natural form of vitamin B9 found in foods. Supplementing with folinic acid in the preconception stage and during pregnancy and eating folate rich foods will help decrease the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

 

Healthy Fats in Pregnancy:

Pregnant mums and their babies will benefit greatly from including salmon in their diets a couple of times a week. Salmon contains high levels of beneficial omega-3 essential fatty acids including DHA (docosahexaenoicacid), which is vital for baby’s normal brain and eye function and development. If your a vegetarian chia seeds are the
richest plant source of alpha-linolenic
acid, a type of omega-3 fat, which the body uses to make DHA. These beneficial fats also help keep women’s skin soft and supple and less likely to develop stretch marks. Walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables also contain some omega-3 fats. It is recommended that women also supplement with a good quality fish oil supplement, 2g/daily.

 

Probiotic rich foods:

Boosting your probiotic intake in pregnancy through eating fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut and miso, will greatly benefit you and your baby’s health. Eating these nourishing foods regularly will support healthy digestion and immune function and can reduce the risk of thrush. Including more probiotics in the diet will also help promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria in your little one. Babies in the womb have a sterile intestinal tract, however they’re exposed to their mother’s bacteria when they’re born vaginally, which helps set up their own intestinal microbiome.

It’s also recommended that pregnant women take a probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus GG) daily during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester, and while breastfeeding to help lower the risk of their child developing allergies such as eczema.

 

Introduce protein-rich snacks:

It’s during the second trimester when women should increase their food intake by around 20%, and this should be made up by good quality, protein-rich foods. You could do this by including
a couple of healthy protein-rich snacks during the day, such as a handful of raw nuts and seeds, hummus with wholegrain crackers or vegetable sticks, a small tub of yoghurt, a boiled egg, almond butter on toast, or a fruit protein smoothie. Your baby needs a constant supply of protein to support its rapidly growing body. Proteins are the building blocks for your baby’s muscles, organs, skin and all other tissues in their body. Eating protein with meals will also help curb sugar cravings.

 

Increase your iron:

Iron is a very important mineral for pregnant women as it is needed to make red blood cells. During pregnancy a woman’s blood volume increases by nearly half, which increases her iron requirements significantly. Iron deficiency is a common cause of anemia (low red blood cell count) and is associated with a higher risk of pre-term delivery and subsequent low birth weight. Your baby will be born with a stored supply of iron, which will last it around 6 months. If you are deficient in iron during pregnancy this can affect your baby’s iron stores. Common signs of deficiency include fatigue, dizziness, getting colds and flu and other infections frequently, and pallor (pale colour of the skin). The best way to avoid a deficiency is to eat iron rich foods such as red meat, fish, chicken, green leafy vegetables, seaweed and legumes (lentils). This increased need for iron can not
 always be met by the diet alone so supplementation in pregnancy is often recommended.

 

Importance of zinc in pregnancy:

Good zinc levels are also vitally important during pregnancy to sustain a healthy pregnancy and optimal growth of your baby. Zinc is needed for muscle and bone growth, and for healthy immune function and brain formation. Zinc is needed for the proper formation of elastin in connective tissue, which helps prevent stretch marks, perineal tears during the birth and cracked nipples when breastfeeding. Low zinc levels (and high copper levels) after birth can contribute to post natal depression. The best food sources include meat, chicken, fish, dairy foods, eggs (yolks), legumes, wholegrains, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and pecans.

 

Written by Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tradition of High Tea

High Tea

High tea with its elegant surroundings, delightful cakes and ample pots of tea, is synonymous with British royalty and aristocrats. This time-honoured British tradition however comes from very different roots.

High tea and afternoon tea are often used interchangeably however their meaning and origins are distinctly different.

During the early 19th century tea consumption in England increased significantly thanks to Anna the 7th Duchess of Bedford. Apparently the Duchess suffered from hunger pangs in the afternoon, which she described as a ‘sinking feeling’ in the late afternoon. Around this time it was common for people to only consumed 2 meals a day, breakfast and dinner which was not served until around 8pm. The Duchess decided to satisfy her empty stomach by having a pot of tea and some small snacks in the afternoon. This later turned into a regular social gathering where the Duchess invited friends to join her for tea and a chat. Before long afternoon tea became fashionable with British upper class and royalty. They would spend their afternoons from around 4pm sipping on tea and enjoying small sandwiches, scones, and delicate cakes, while sitting on low comfortable sofas and chairs. High tea is also known as ‘low tea’ because it was usually taken at low tables. Afternoon tea was not only a social event for the upper class but a mini meal to keep them going until their late evening meal.

High tea on the other hand originated in the 19th century in the industrial areas of England, when the working class and factory workers would get home from work around 6pm, exhausted and ravenous. Unable to wait until 8pm for dinner, workers would have a meal with some tea when they got home, which they called ‘high tea’. High tea was a more substantial meal compared to a light afternoon tea, which was served at a high table or kitchen counter, which is where the name ‘high tea’ came from. High tea included breads, cheeses, egg dishes, vegetables, pickled fish, meats, potato, and pies, fruit cakes, and of course plenty of tea. High tea was a necessity for the working class after a hard day’s work, it was like a supper in the early evening so famished workers didn’t have to wait until late for their dinner.

The high class later developed their own sophisticated version of high tea, which is the elegant version tea lovers enjoy today on special occasions in the finest hotels around the world. These gorgeous cakes, pastries, and other goodies served with high tea are certainly delicious but are also usually very high calories, sugar and fats. Overindulging can often leave you feeling bloated and full. Why don’t you try putting on your own healthy high tea with healthy cakes, cookies, sandwiches and pots of Bodhi Organic Tea. Check out your local op shops for beautiful vintage tea pots, tea cups, plates, cake stands and cake forks, and decorate your table with fresh flowers.

How to Have a Healthy High Tea:

Sweet High Tea Treats:

Orange, turmeric and pistachio cake
Chai apple tea cake
Gluten-free carrot and hazelnut cakes
Gluten-free brownies
Mini raw cheesecake with berries
Mini fruit cakes
Spelt scones with berry chia jam and coconut cream
Gluten-free ginger cookies
Chocolate coated strawberries
Hazelnut and chocolate oat cookies
Banana caramel tarts (make in muffin tin holes for mini tarts)
Fresh berries and fruits

Tip: Bake cakes in square tins and cut them into squares and serve topped with fresh fruits, nuts and edible flowers.

Savoury Ideas:

Individual healthy vegetable tarts or quiches.
Sage and cheddar spelt scones.
Crust less sandwiches made with 3 layers of wholegrain breads e.g. Rye, multi-grain, sourdough, to give you sandwiches colour and texture. Cut off the crusts and cut into fingers.

Sandwich Filling Suggestions:

Organic roast chicken shredded with walnuts, celery and healthy yoghurt mayo (Greek yoghurt mixed with wholegrain mustard) with shredded lettuce.
Smoked salmon, cucumber and cream cheese.
Good quality ham (nitrate-free) with tomato, wholegrain mustard and rocket.
Sliced roast lamb, with mango chutney or horseradish and greens.
Roast vegetable slices (grilled zucchini, roast sweet potato, roasted capsicum) with goat’s cheese and pesto.
Egg with healthy yoghurt mayo and fresh herbs with rocket.

Tea:

Serve pots of Bodhi Organic Tea. HonesTEA (English Breakfast) and Black BeauTEA (French Earl Grey) are perfect for those more traditional black tea drinkers. ViridiTEA (green sencha and jasmine) for green tea lovers, and then ZesTEA (ginger, turmeric, lemongrass) and SereniTEA (chamomile, lavender, spearmint) are some delightful herbal teas that will go beautifully with your high tea delicacies.

For the warmer months serve with pitchers of iced tea filled with fresh fruits, mint and ice. LongeviTEA (hibiscus, rosehip, goji berries, white tea) makes a delicious iced tea with a splash of cranberry, and ZesTEA with some grapefruit or pineapple juice.

How to Have a Healthy Easter

How to Have a Healthy Easter

By Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea

Looking forward to a little chocolate fix this Easter.  The good news for all you chocoholics out there is that a little chocolate is actually good for you. Good quality dark chocolate that is, not the milk variety. Dark chocolate is loaded with disease fighting antioxidants, and has a protective effect on your cardiovascular system.

Dark chocolate contains potent antioxidants called phenols, the same type found in red wine. These antioxidants prevent bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol from clogging up arteries, lower total cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.

Now this doesn’t mean you should go wild and overindulge.  All you need is one small square of dark chocolate a day to reap its antioxidant benefits.

Any chocolate lover will tell you the great pleasure they feel while eating chocolate. Well there is a good reason for that. When you eat chocolate you release the same chemicals as when you are in love. You get an increase in endorphins, which are the brain’s pleasure chemicals.

Darker chocolate contains more antioxidants than milk, and contains around 70% cocoa butter. Cocoa butter provides stearic acid which has shown a tendency not to raise bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol levels in the same way as other saturated fats. Stearic acid is converted in the liver to oleic acid, a heart-healthy, monounsaturated fat.

Milk chocolate on the other hand is lower in antioxidants, usually higher in sugar and calories, and contains mostly butterfat, which can increase cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

So this Easter if you are looking for a healthier chocolate egg, buy a good quality dark chocolate egg, but try not to overdo them. I like to buy organic chocolate. You can also get sugar-free chocolate for those who want to prevent Easter sugar overload. As long as the majority of your diet is healthy a little chocolate here and there is nothing to feel guilty about. Have a lovely Easter!

 

Some top tips for making Easter healthier for your family

  1. Get baking: Instead of buying hot cross buns make your own healthy versions at home. There are lots of great recipes available online using wholesome ingredients, along with gluten-free and sugar-free versions. This is a great holiday activity to do with your kids too.
  2. Quality chocolate not quantity: Choose a smaller good quality dark chocolate egg over large amounts of poorer quality ones. The darker the chocolate the better.
  3. Healthy chocolate alternative: Giving your kids sugar-free carob Easter eggs is a great way to prevent sugar overload on Easter day. Carob is also a source of bone strengthening calcium.
  4. Healthy treats: Make some delicious healthy treats for you kids to enjoy on Easter day instead of just having sugary foods. Healthy ice blocks made with yoghurt and fruit, frozen bananas on sticks or dark chocolate or carob dipped strawberries.
  5. Balance out your day by having some fresh veggie juices, iced teas, smoothies and salads, made from lovely fresh seasonal produce. Visit your local growers market to stock up in season fruits and veggies.
  6. Make sure you start the day with a healthy breakfast like eggs with avocado toast, natural muesli with natural yoghurt and fresh fruit, or a green smoothie - before you tuck into some chocolate eggs.
  7. Having tasty healthy protein-rich snacks on hand for your family to munch on will help keep them satisfied and less likely to overeat sugary treats. Try these delicious Strawberry Bliss Balls, or Chocolate Date and Brazil Nut Bites 

 

 

New Year Resolutions, I Will Clean Up My Diet

New Year Resolutions

How often do we promise ourselves that 'we’ll get our act together' and eat only healthy foods in the New Year?  It’s a tall order and usually only lasts a short time if we’ve bothered even to start at all.  But I’ve come up with some ways that will hopefully help make one of your New Year resolutions a reality.

  1. First of all don’t overwhelm yourself and try to make too many radical changes to your diet in one go. If you pace yourself and gradually start to introduce new foods and swap unhealthy foods to healthier alternatives over the next few weeks you will be more likely to stick to your new healthy dietary regime.
  2. One of the best things you can do to start the New Year off in a healthy way is to give your liver a rest from alcohol. Get into fresh vegie juices, a couple of great liver loving combos include carrot, beetroot, celery, apple, lemon and ginger; or spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, pineapple and mint. Try cutting down of coffee and replace it with some health boosting herbal teas including ginger (ZesTEA), peppermint (VitaliTEA), chamomile (SereniTEA), and green tea (ViridiTEA). Dandelion root is a healthy caffeine-free alternative to coffee and does wonders for helping the liver detox. It can be made with milk or as a tea (PuriTEA). Don’t forget to drink lots of water too, around 2 litres a day will help flush toxins from your body. Natural sparkling mineral water with a splash of fresh lemon or iced teas are also refreshing ways to stay hydrated on a hot summer’s day.
  3. Your aim should be to get rid of as many processed and refined foods in your diet as you can and start replacing them with nutritious and natural, unprocessed alternatives. A good place to start is by cleaning out your cupboards and fridge of all your packaged unhealthy foods like sugary breakfast cereals and biscuits, soft drink, and unhealthy sauces. Natural, unprocessed foods are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Eating more of these types of nutritious foods and less processed, refined foods will promote good health and reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes.
  4. Next, start swapping refined ‘white’ grains such as breads, pasta and rice, for healthy fibre-rich wholegrain alternatives including grainy breads, brown rice, whole oats and wholemeal pasta. Wholegrain foods are important sources of sustained energy, fibre, B vitamins and vitamin E. Choosing these foods over refined ‘white’ carbohydrate foods will help you maintain a healthy weight and help to keep blood sugar and insulin levels nice and balanced.
  5. Then, swap unhealthy saturated and trans-fats for healthy unsaturated fats. Replace vegetable cooking oil with virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Instead of butter or margarine you can use flaxseed oil drizzled on toast or avocado. Make your own healthy mayo out of Greek yoghurt, and salad dressings from seed and nut oils, lemon juice and fresh herbs and spices. Instead of buying greasy take-away meals make your own healthy homemade alternatives e.g. oven baked sweet potato chips, healthy burgers and pizza and oven baked crumbed fish.
  6. Next step is to start including more antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. These foods help prevent free radical damage in the body and they can keep you younger and healthier. Free radicals damage cells in the body and increase the risk of premature ageing along with chronic diseases. The easiest way to incorporate more antioxidants in your diet is to add a handful of mixed berries to your breakfast cereal, add some super berry or super green powder to a smoothie, enjoy a few green teas a day, and add some dark green leafy veggies, and red and orange vegies to your lunch or dinner such as tomatoes, red capsicum, carrots and pumpkin. Try making a pitcher of iced tea made from antioxidant-rich rose hip (LongeviTEA), then add some fresh pomegranate and lime juice (Click Here for Recipe).

10 Top Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

There is lots of advice about how to spring clean where we live, how about spring cleaning our diets?

Here are 10 Top Ways to Spring Clean Your diet.

  1. Spring is the perfect time to give your kitchen cupboards a good clean out. Get rid of any sugary, processed foods including sugary breakfast cereals and biscuits, chips and chocolates, and any other junk foods. This is one of the best ways to beat temptation when the afternoon munchies hit.
  2. Stock your fridge up with a variety of lovely fresh wholefoods including seasonal fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, oily fish, eggs and yoghurt. Buy organic when you can.
  3. Start your day off right with a glass of water with a freshly squeezed lemon. This is a fantastic way to improve your digestion, alkalize your body, and boost your vitamin C levels to support healthy immune function and radiant skin.
  4. Include brassica vegetables such as kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower in your daily diet. These super veggies support liver function and improves detoxification.
  5. Give coffee the flick and try herbal teas instead. Green tea (ViridiTEA) is full of antioxidants, ginger (ZesTEA) improves circulation and reduces inflammation, peppermint (VitaliTEA) enhances digestion, and chamomile (SereniTEA) helps calm the nervous system.
  6. Get into juicing. Veggie juices are jam-packed with important nutrients and potent antioxidants, which help promote optimal health and vitality. Iced teas with fresh fruit juice is another lovely way to stay hydrated while reaping all the health benefits herbal teas and fresh juices have to offer.
  7. Aloe vera juice can help maintain good digestive function and bowel regularity, due to its natural detoxifying and cleansing effects on the bowel.
  8. We tend to eat richer, heavier foods in winter. Now that the warmer weather is here it’s time to switch to lighter healthy meals including plenty of salads. Reduce your red meat intake and opt for more vegetarian meals.
  9. Give your sluggish digestive system a boost by having some diluted apple cider vinegar 15 minutes before each main meal. This will stimulate stomach acids and enhance the digestion of your meal, to prevent bloating and heaviness after eating.
  10. Using fresh herbs is a great way to add extra flavour to your meals along with plenty of health benefits eg. coriander helps remove heavy metals from the body, parsley is rich in immune boosting vitamin C, and rosemary and sage are excellent memory enhancers.

By Lisa Guy

10 Healthy Habits for a New Year’s Resolution

10 Healthy Habits for a New Year's Resolution

Many of us start the New Year with a resolution to become healthier. These 10 Healthy Habits for a New Year's Resolution are an ideal way to detox our bodies, and build stronger immunity. But don't wait until January...Start Now!

Eat more fermented foods:
Fermented foods such as yoghurt, kombucha, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables contain beneficial bacteria that help you maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut. Eating fermented foods is one of the best ways to boost your digestive and immune health this new year.

Practice mindful eating:
Prepare your food with love and care. Eat when you are relaxed and sitting down, chew your food properly. Take the time to think about what you put in your mouth and what it is doing for your health.

Don’t skip breakfast:
You’ve heard it many times before, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but still over 50% of Australians choose to skip eating in the morning. Skipping breakfast leads to unbalanced blood sugar levels and increases the likelihood of overeating and poor food choices throughout the day. Skipping meals also slows down your metabolism and can lead to weight gain. Some nourishing choices for breakie include natural muesli with natural yoghurt, raw nuts, seeds and fresh fruit; organic eggs with avocado grainy toast with a side of sauerkraut or baby spinach; protein smoothie with natural protein powder, banana, LSA or chia seeds; or coconut chia pudding with berries.

Give sugary foods the flick:
Eating too much sugar will not only make you put on weight but it will increase your risk of type-2 diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, and infections. Eating sugar to excess will weakened your immune function and can increase inflammation in the body. Foods to watch out for include processed foods, soft drinks, fruit juice, breakfast cereal, savoury biscuits and sauces, and yoghurt and muesli bars.

Cook more at home:
Getting take-out might seem like the best option when you're busy and getting home late from work. Unfortunately a lot of take-away choices are unhealthy and high in calories and damaging fats which can promote weight gain and heart disease. Start the new year on a healthier note by preparing nutritious dishes on the weekend to freeze and have during the week. Or cook a little extra so you can take leftovers for lunch. Keep some frozen veggies on hand, and find some quick and easy healthy recipes to give you some inspiration.

Drink less alcohol:
If you’ve overindulged over the Christmas period this is a good time to give your liver a much needed break. Alcohol is not only high in calories and will promote weight gain, it's also damaging to your liver and health. Go alcohol free for a month and then enjoy a drink in moderation. A few red wines week is a good choice that is rich in antioxidants.

Support liver detoxification:
After Christmas give your poor overworked liver a helping hand by increasing foods and nutrients that support liver detoxification and function. These include brassica veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kale, which are rich in sulfur compounds important for liver detoxification. Enjoy a few green teas (try Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA) daily is another great way to support liver function. Use turmeric and ginger when you can in cooking, veggie juices, and in teas (try Bodhi Organic ZesTEA). Swap your morning coffee for a dandelion root coffee. Dandelion is a liver tonic herb which helps stimulate liver detoxification (try Bodhi Organic PuriTEA). Don’t forget to drink plenty of water daily to flush out toxins from your body.

Up your antioxidants:
Antioxidant-rich foods are a vitally important part of our diet. They help prevent oxidative damage in the body, reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and premature ageing. Some of the best antioxidant foods include berries, red and orange fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, mango, beetroot, tomatoes, dark green leafy vegetables like kale, turmeric, green tea, raw cacao, rosehip tea (try Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA).

Get juicing:
Juicing is a fantastic way to nourish, rejuvenate and energise your body. Fresh vegetable juices are rich in vitamins, minerals, living enzymes and antioxidants, which are essential for good health and prevention of disease. Choose organic vegetables when you can so your juice is free from pesticides and bursting with flavour and optimal nutritional goodness.

Boost your digestion:
Taking apple cider vinegar (ACV) before main meals is an excellent way to give your digestion and metabolism a boost. ACV is a thermogenic food, so it’s helpful for enhancing fat burning and assisting with weight loss. It will also help improve digestive issues such as reflux and indigestion, and prevent bloated distended stomachs. Try 1tsp-1Tbsp of ACV diluted in a little water around 15 minutes before eating. ACV can also be used in salad dressing. Including bitter foods like rocket and endives with meals. Having lemon in water first thing of a morning, or on salads or fish is a great way to give your digestion a boost.

6 Top Tips for a Hangover Cure | Bodhi Organic Tea

Hangover Cure

The warmer weather is here and there’s a party vibe in the air. With plenty of Christmas parties and work 'do’s' to go to, we can often get a little carried-away with the festivities and needing a hangover cure from our over indulgence in unhealthy foods and alcohol.

To make sure you stay in good health during the silly season, so you can enjoy your summer to the fullest, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself from the harmful effects of drinking too much alcohol. Ideally of course you should always drink sensibly and keep an eye on how much you are drinking.

TIP ONE: Keep well hydrated when out drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a major cause of dehydration. We lose fluids and important electrolytes every time we have a drink. Electrolytes are minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium that are vital for keeping fluids balanced in our bodies and are needed for good health. Those common symptoms you wake up with after a night out drinking – the headache, nausea, dry mouth and thirst - are all symptoms of dehydration. The best way to combat this is to get into the habit of having a glass of water in-between alcoholic drinks when you are out.

‘The morning after’, why don’t you try a smoothie to help you re-hydrate and treat your hangover symptoms. Into a blender pour the water from one fresh young coconut, one frozen or ripe banana, a handful of frozen mixed berries and a heap tablespoon of chia seeds. Coconut water is naturally rich in electrolytes, bananas help replenish low potassium, berries are an excellent source of antioxidants and chia seeds contain fibre to help the body eliminate toxins from the body.

TIP TWO: Make sure you eat something nutritious before you go out drinking and try to snack on healthy foods when you’re out. This will slow the absorption of alcohol into your blood stream. Healthy snacks to nibble on while having a drink include hummus, avocado and other dips with breads and crackers, nuts and pretzels, grilled fish and seafood, and olives and mezza plates are also a healthier choice compared to wedges and crisps or deep fried foods.

TIP THREE: Play it safe and stick to one drink an hour. This will give your liver time to detox the alcohol properly, and prevent a build-up of alcohol in your blood.

TIP FOUR: Increase your B vitamins. The body uses up a considerable amount of nutrients when processing alcohol, such as niacin (vitamin B3). If you are low in vitamin B3 levels are low, this elimination process will be impaired and will prolong alcohol levels in the system. By increasing vitamin B-rich foods and taking a complex B supplement daily you will be ensuring that your vitamin B levels are adequate to deal with any increase in alcohol intake. Good food sources include wholegrains, legumes, avocado, nuts, seeds, and red meat.

TIP FIVE: Rich fatty foods and excessive alcohol consumption places a heavy burden on our already overworked livers. Give your liver a helping hand by consuming certain foods and herbs that help support healthy liver function. Have a good serving of sulfur-containing vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and onion and garlic with your festive meal. When cabbage is fermented to make sauerkraut, these protective sulfur compounds increase, making it a great addition to meals. Take the herb Milk Thistle daily to protect your liver cells from alcohol-induced damage, and to enhance liver detoxification. Swapping your morning coffee with a detoxing herbal tea containing liver tonic herbs such as dandelion root, schisandra berries, and turmeric, to help the liver remove alcohol and other toxins from the body safely. These herbs are found in Bodhi Organics PuriTEA and ZesTEA.

TIP SIX: Increase antioxidants in your daily diet. Antioxidants are important to help fight the cellular damage alcohol consumption can cause, as well as giving immune function and boost. Best sources of antioxidants include green tea (Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA), citrus fruits rich in vitamin C, berries, green leafs, kiwi fruit, rose hip tea (Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA)and turmeric.  Vitamin C is destroyed by alcohol, so supplementing with vitamin C daily is also recommended.

10 Top Ways to Boost Liver Detoxification

Liver Detoxification

10 TOP WAYS TO BOOST LIVER DETOXIFICATION

1. Dandelion root: This super liver herb makes a great caffeine-free alternative to coffee. Dandelion root stimulates liver detoxification, helping clear toxins from the body. It also boosts digestion and improves gallbladder function.

2. Kale: This nutrient-rich brassica vegetable contains high levels of sulfur compounds that are vital for liver detoxification. Add kale to your next veggie juice or salad.

3. Green tea: This antioxidant rich tea can help improve liver function by protecting it from the harmful effects of toxic substances including alcohol. Catechin, a polyphenol found in green tea, has been found to help prevent inflammation of the liver.

4. Avocado: This highly nutritious fruit helps boost glutathione production, which is one of the body’s master antioxidants necessary for the liver to remove toxins from the body safely.

5. Globe artichoke: This super liver vegetable contains cynarin, a chemical found mostly in the leaves of globe artichokes, which helps increase bile flow and strengthens liver and gallbladder function. The steamed leaves are delicious dipped in hummus, baba ghanoush, or tatziki. You can also take globe artichoke as a herbal tincture.

6. Garlic: Consuming garlic regularly is a great way to enhance liver function. It is a good source of selenium which is needed to produce glutathione in the liver, which is vital for detoxification to help eliminate toxic substances from the body.

7. Turmeric: Studies suggest that this super antioxidant-rich spice is beneficial for the liver by helping improve detoxification. Turmeric has also been shown to help increase glutathione production.

8. Broccoli sprouts: Broccoli sprouts contain concentrated levels of sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy liver detoxification. Broccoli sprouts contain anywhere up to 100 times more of these compounds compared to broccoli. Add fresh sprouts to meals, or add the powder to smoothies or fresh juices.

9. Milk Thistle: St Mary’s Thistle or Milk thistle is widely used by herbalists throughout the world for its ability to treat and protect the liver. Milk thistle enhances liver detoxification, helping to remove toxins from the liver and body. This valuable herb has the ability to protect the liver and regenerate injured liver cells. The dried herb can be taken as a tea or it is available in tablet or fluid extract form.

10. Reduce your toxic load: We ingest toxins daily in the foods we eat, in the water we drink and in the air we breath. All these toxins put extra pressure on our hard working livers, which will have a negative impact on our health. Lighten your toxic load by eating fresh organic produce, and drinking organic tea that’s free of pesticide and herbicide residue. Eat wholesome unprocessed foods that don’t contain artificial additives, preservatives and harmful trans-fats, and drink plenty of filtered water. Your liver will love you for it!

How to Prevent Adrenal Fatigue

How to Prevent Adrenal Fatigue

Wondering How to Prevent Adrenal Fatigue? Try these natural herbal remedies.

Withania (Withania somnifera), also known as Ashwagandha, is a popular Ayuverdic herb that is a highly effective ‘adaptogen’. Withania is used widely by herbalists to
improve the body’s resistance to stress along with strengthening the immune system. Withania supports adrenal health and calms the nervous system, making it beneficial for alleviating anxiety in people who feel stressed, strung-out, and exhausted. It also helps promote better quality sleep.

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine as an ‘adaptogenic’ herb, to increase the body’s resistance to stress, beneficial during times of increased physical and mental stress. It is commonly used by herbalists to treat adrenal exhaustion, and helps boost immune function and vitality.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea) has been used for centuries in Europe as an adaptogenic’ herb, to help reduce fatigue and exhaustion associated with prolonged stress. Rhodiola can also help improve mood and reduce stress levels. It has been found to have an antidepressant effect as it helps improve serotonin and dopamine levels, your ‘feel good’, calming hormones.

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is a highly effective adrenal tonic traditionally used in China for thousands of years, for alleviating stress and adrenal fatigue. Licorice helps prevent the breakdown of adrenal hormones including cortisol (the body’s main stress hormone), which makes these hormones more available to the body. Licorice is also beneficial for supporting immune health and decreasing inflammation throughout the body. Poor immune function and increased inflammation are symptoms fo adrenal fatigue.

Tulsi or holy or sacred basil is a well respected Ayurvedic herb which has been used for over 5,000 years to help promote longevity, and improve energy levels and treat fatigue. This effective ‘adaptogenic’ herb, which can be consumed as a tea, is beneficial for treating anxiety and adrenal fatigue.

Green Tea for Beautiful Youthful Skin | Bodhi Organic Tea

Wrinkles are a natural part of getting older. We all eventually get them, however some of us seem to get more of them at a younger age than others.

As we age our skin begins to thin, collagen production declines, and we lose moisture and elasticity - which makes us more prone to fine lines and sagging as we grow older.

Free radicals are bad news when it comes to our health, especially for our skin. Free radicals are one of the main culprits when it comes to wrinkles and skin aging, and are linked to the development of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Various environmental and dietary factors and even certain daily activities can increase the presence of destructive free radicals in the body. These include exposure to sunlight, environmental pollutants like exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, strenuous exercise, and glycation and elevated blood glucose levels from eating sugary foods.

Free radicals play a major role in driving skin aging, as it breaks down collagen, which decreases the skins suppleness and elasticity, along with damaging DNA, and promoting inflammation, which can trigger inflammatory skin conditions like eczema (1,2).

Thankfully mother nature has provided us with plenty of powerful antioxidants, to help fight free-radical damage and reduce premature ageing.

Drinking green tea regularly is a fabulous way to maintain beautiful healthy skin and prevent signs of aging. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, namely catechins and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which are powerful antioxidants that can reduce premature skin aging and offers protection against many types of cancers. EGCG slows down collagen breakdown and can help regenerate aging surface skin cells.

Catechins benefit the skin by inhibiting the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which is a major cause of fine lines and wrinkles. Catechins prevent the death of fibroblasts, which are cells within the dermal layer of the skin that responsible for making connective tissue (collagen and elastin) and supporting healthy wound healing (3).

An Arizona study found that the more hot tea people drank rich in these anti-cancerous compounds, the less likely they were to develop squamous cell skin cancer (4).

Consuming polyphenol-rich foods like green tea can also improve blood flow and oxygen supply to skin cells as well as helping to reduce inflammation.

A study revealed women who consumed catechin-rich beverages daily noticed a oost in their overall skin health, with improvements in skin hydration, elasticity and roughness. They also felt their skin was better protected against the suns damaging UV rays (5).

Aim to drink 3 cups of organic green tea daily to fully reap all of it’s wonderful skin benefits.

 

 

How to Brew The Perfect Cup of Tea | Bodhi Organic Tea

How to Brew Tea

To make the perfect cup of tea you should generally use one heap teaspoon of tea per cup of water.

Different teas have different brewing times and preferred temperatures.

White and green teas should be brewed at around 80*C, and black around 95*C. Steeping tea for too long or using boiling water will result in more tannins being released, resulting in a bitter and more astringent tea. The amino acids responsible for teas flavour are released at a lower temperature. There are two ways to make sure your water is not too hot, either stop the kettle just before it boils, or pour boiling water into your tea cup or pot first to allow it to cool a little before adding your tea.

White tea should be steeped for 1-3 minutes, green steeped for 1-2 minutes, and black tea either 45-60 seconds (without milk), or for a stronger richer tea served with milk, 2-3 minutes.

Good quality teas can be reused. They can be infused two to three times, which will bring out different flavours and subtleties in each brew. The Chinese believe that the second or third brew of good quality tea is often the best.

Herbal teas on the other hand which can be made from flowers, leaves, branches, barks, seeds and roots should also be brewed for different lengths of time, to get maximum flavour and health benefits from your tea.

A general rule of thumb if it is a flower or leaf you can pour boiling water over your herb and then infuse it for 3-4 minutes. Harder herbs like seeds, roots and barks will produce a richer tasting tea and will draw more therapeutic properties by brewing them for longer. A decoction which is when you simmer your tea in a pot for 5-10 minutes is ideal for teas made up of these tougher herbs like that found in chai. When you have tea blends though with leaves and roots you have to find a happy medium with your brewing time.

The History of Tea

The History of Tea

“Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete”.

-Kissa Yojoki (How to stay healthy by drinking tea) by Eisai, 1211.

Tea, or it’s botanical name ‘camellia sinensis’ is the second most popular beverage in the world, second only to water. It is estimated that every year around 2.5 million tons of tea leaves are produced and enjoyed around the globe.

The history of tea ‘camellia sinensis’ spans over thousands of years and across many different cultures. Teas long and fascinating past full of Ancient legends and rituals makes this much loved drink a special part of many countries past and traditions. Tea has played a significant role in Asian culture for centuries as a staple
beverage, medicine, and status symbol.

The origins of tea dates back thousands of years, with ancient records indicating that tea was first consumed in China way back in 2737 BC by Emperor and herbalist Shennong. The legend has it that when a leaf from a nearby wild tea bush fell into the Emperors cup of drinking water he discovered a very refreshing drink that ‘gave joy to the body and sparkle to the eye’. During the Tang Dynasty (618–907 CE) tea became a popular drink. Tea was prepared differently to how we enjoy it now, it was compressed into bricks and ground into a powder with a stone mortar, then hot water was added. Bricks of tea were also used as currency. Tea production and preparation changed during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), to loose-leaf that was steamed. Then the Chinese discovered a better way to process their tea during the mid 13th century, when they started roasting and crumbling tea leaves. Tea drinking is a symbol of Chinese culture and a respected custom. Today, China has 8 million tea growers and is the biggest producer of tea in the world.

During the Sui Dynasty (589-618 AD) tea was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks. It became a drink of the royal classes when Emperor Saga encouraged the growth and cultivation of tea plants in Japan. Green tea became a staple among cultured people in Japan, enjoyed by aristocracy and Buddhist priests alike. The tea ceremony of Japan (chanoyu) was introduced from China in the 15th century by Buddhists monks. This semi-religious social custom traditionally performed with matcha green tea, reflects on being in harmony with nature, purity, and tranquility.

Drinking tea became popular in Britain during the 17th century with the British East India Company brining back tea from China. Tea was initially promoted as a edicinal tonic however soon became a popular drink among Royalty and the higher class. The British loved sweet black tea, often with milk.

Tea was first introduced into India in 1836 by the British in an attempt to break the Chinese monopoly on tea. Commercial production of tea in India did not begin until the arrival of the British East India Company, when large plantations were established in Darjeeling, Assam, Ceylon. Today India is one of the biggest tea producers in the world, with well known teas like Darjeeling and Assam being grown only in India.

Types of Tea Varieties

Types of Tea

‘Camellia sinensis’ Tea Varieties – White, Green, Black

There are many Types of Tea. All varieties - white, green, and black - come from the same plant, camellia sinensis. To make the different varieties of tea the fresh tea leaves undergo different levels of oxidization, which is a natural chemical reaction that produces a variety of different tastes and colour characteristics.

Tea plants are immaculately maintained and cultivated, as the quality of tea is highly dependent on a number of factors including the colour of the leaf, their nitrogen content and if there is any damage to the leaves. Harvesting is carefully done either by hand or finely tuned machines which remove only the top most 2-3 leaves from any tea plant.

White

White tea leaves are harvested at a younger age than green tea leaves, picked just before the tea leaf fully opens, while it’s still a bud and covered in white, silvery, fine hairs. White tea is considered a rare tea and is usually more expensive than other teas, as it can only be hand picked during a few days of early spring and has to be handled with such care. White tea can only be picked for a short time each year, making it a rare and precious tea.

Unlike black and green teas, white tea isn't rolled or steamed, but simply air dried in natural sunlight, making it the least processed of all the teas. This preserves more of its antioxidant properties, about three times as many antioxidant polyphenois found in green tea and contains the least amount of caffeine.

There are four main varieties of white tea: Silver Needle (made just from silvery white buds), white peony (buds and leaves), long life eyebrow (leaves), and tribute eyebrow (made with a special tea bush, which is processed slightly differently).

Green

Green tea undergoes only a minimal amount of processing. The freshly harvested leaves are immediately steamed or pan fried to prevent oxidization.

The leaves are then rolled which ruptures the cells of the leaf to enhance brewing, and to make drying easier. The rolled leaves are then dried. The processing methods used to make green tea help preserve the leaves natural antioxidant polyphenol levels, and health promoting properties. It also results in green teas subtle taste, green colour and grassy aroma.

Green tea is the perfect beverage to assist with meditating, as it is mildly stimulating with it’s moderate caffeine content, yet it helps to keep you calm and focused due to its L-theanine levels.

An ancient legend has it that Bodhidarma, a Buddist monk and Zen master who lived during the 5th and 6th century, wished to meditate in front of a wall for 9 years. To
prevent himself from falling asleep at night he would pluck out his eyebrows. As his hairs fell to the ground they grew into the first tea bushes. From then on it became a ritual in Buddhism to drink tea when meditating to stay awake and alert.

There are many different varieties of green tea available, created through varying growing conditions, processing methods, and harvesting times. Some of the most popular varieties include Japanese sencha, a roasted green tea which is the most popular tea in Japan; gyokura, an expensive fine tea; bancha, a lower grade tea made from the twigs of the tea plant; genmaicha, which is made with roasted brown rice; matcha, a powdered green tea; and jasmine tea, a well known Chinese tea scented with the aroma of jasmine blossoms.

Green tea has become increasingly popular addition to heath foods and beverages, nutritional supplements and even cosmetics.

Black

Black tea undergoes the most processing and oxidation of all the teas, giving it its distinctive aroma, taste and dark colour. Black tea is also called Qi Hong or Red Tea by the Chinese.

There are four basic stages involved in producing black tea, withering, which soften the leaves to reduce moisture; rolling, which breaks the leafs cells and starts the oxidation process; then oxidation, when the tea starts to develop its unique aroma, colour and taste.

As green tea is fermented to Oolong and then to black tea, polyphenol compounds (catechins) in green tea are dimerized to form a variety of theaflavins, such that these teas may have different biological activities.

This longer oxidation process changes catechins in green tea into a variety of theaflavins, which are unique to black tea. These polyphenols aren’t as potent as catechins, however they still provide health benefits.

There are two different methods used to process black tea, orthodox, which yields loose leaf artisan made teas, and cut-tear-curl which produces broken leafs, fannings (finer broken particles) and dust (fine powder), used for tea bags.

The cut-tear-curl method is often thought of as being inferior in quality and flavor as whole leaves are most desirable.