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.

Treating Depression Naturally

natural remedy for depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in Australia and around the globe. It is estimated that 1 in 7 people will suffer from some type of depression in their lifetime.

 

It’s normal to feel a little sad or low at times, but being depressed is so much more.  It can be a very serious, debilitating and a potentially life-threatening illness. People who are depressed can find it extremely difficult to function on a day-to-day basis. They commonly have feelings of worthlessness and anxiety, often lack energy and motivation, and have poor concentration and sleep. Significant weight loss or weight gain is also commonly seen in depressed individuals.

 

Contributing factors that are associated with a greater risk of developing depression include hormonal imbalances (particularly women pre-menstrually, post-natally and during peri-menopause), environmental factors (financial and work stress, relationship problems, death of a loved one), neurotransmitter imbalances and nutritional deficiencies, certain prescription drugs (corticosteroids, the contraceptive pill), regular recreational drug use, and excessive alcohol consumption. Those with a family history of depression are also more likely to suffer from the illness at some point in their life.

 

Anti-depressants are generally the first port of call for the treatment of depression. Antidepressants do have their place, especially for those suffering severe depression, however problems do exist with their effectiveness and their unwanted side effects can lead to poor compliance. Common side effects associated with anti-depressants include weight gain, sexual dysfunction, tachycardia, and drowsiness.

 

There is definitely a great need for complementary and orthodox practitioners to work together for the greater health and treatment of their depressive patients. Herbal and nutritional medicines along with diet plays a huge role in the management and treatment of depression.

 

After consulting with a medical practitioner for diagnosis, consulting with an integrative doctor, naturopath or herbalist to discuss the best natural treatments for depression is recommended before going down the pharmaceutical path. A counsellor or psychologist should also be an integral part of any treatment plan. If pharmaceutical medications are required, herbs and other natural medicines have been shown to help improve the effectiveness of anti-depressants along with helping to lessen their side effects.

 

MOOD BOOSTING NUTRITION

Good nutrition plays a fundamental role in the management and treatment of depression. We need optimal amounts of specific nutrients, including omega-3 essential fatty acids, B vitamins, iron, vitamin D, to support the production of neurotransmitters that enhance our mood, sleep and emotional wellbeing.

 

There is a definite link between fast food consumption and depression. Common nutritional deficiencies associated with the standard Western diet, rich in refined sugars and fats, can make you more susceptible to developing depression.

 

There is now plenty of scientific evidence supporting the importance of eating a wholesome diet for emotional health and prevention of depression. A well-balanced diet delivers brain-boosting nutrients that help regulate brain chemistry to support emotional health. Specific amino acids, vitamins and minerals received through a healthy diet are needed to produce the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid). Deficiencies in these neurotransmitters are associated with the development of depression. (1)

 

The healthy Mediterranean diet rich in healthy fats from olive oil and fish and fresh fruits and vegetables, with lower amounts of red meat and dairy, has been found to be associated with a lower risk of depression. (2)

 

REDUCE CAFFEINE & ALCOHOL

Alcohol and coffee are also a common part of the Western diet. Excessive amounts of caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and depressive symptoms. Too much caffeine can negatively affect dopamine transmission which will alter normal neurotransmitter function. Too much caffeine will also disrupt sleep, deplete essential B nutrients needed for neurotransmitter production, and will put stress on the adrenal glands. Adrenal stress is associated with depression, fatigue and the inability to cope with stress. Drinking to much alcohol can also exacerbate depressive symptoms. Alcohol is a known depressant. Switching your morning cup of coffee to a caffeine-free herbal tea like chamomile, licorice, holy basil, ginger, or peppermint is a great way to lower your caffeine intake while reaping the health benefits herbal teas have to offer. Green tea is another excellent lower caffeine option.

 

AMINO ACIDS NEEDED TO PRODUCE KEY NEUROTRANSMITTERS

Including adequate good quality protein in the diet is paramount for anyone suffering from depression. Protein plays a vital role in the synthesis of important neurotransmitters needed for emotional health and wellbeing.

Studies have shown that supplementing with amino acids tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine, and methionine is beneficial for enhancing mood and is useful in the treatment of depression. (3,4).

 

Serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel happy and content, is manufactured in the body using tryptophan. This essential amino acid cannot be produced in the body so it must be supplied through the diet or supplementation. Tryptophan is also needed to produce melatonin which is vital for sleep. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue. Supplementing with tryptophan has been shown to help restore serotonin levels and improve quality of sleep. (5)

 

A study published in JAMA psychiatry reported that people with clinical depression also have significantly lower brain levels of dopamine. (6) Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for creating a positive mood and enjoyment of life. People with low dopamine levels feel a loss of pleasure for things they once enjoyed like exercising, socialising with friends, or sex. They have poor concentration and focus and little or no motivation. The amino acid tyrosine is a natural dopamine booster. Tyrosine is converted to dopamine in the body, which makes it beneficial for enhancing mood and motivation.

 

Methionine is an amino acid that is needed by the body to make S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is a precursor to serotonin and dopamine. Supplementing with SAMe in the treatment of depression has been shown to be very effective without the common side effects of anti-depressants. Supplementing with SAMe can also boost the effectiveness of pharmaceutical anti-depressants. (7)

 

The best food sources of these key amino acids include eggs, poultry, red meat, fish and seafood, dairy, soy and legumes, nuts and seeds. Bananas are also a great source of tryptophan.

 

GREEN TEA

According to a Japanese study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, higher green tea consumption is associated with a lower prevalence of depressive symptoms. (8) Polyphenols such as flavonoids found in high levels in green tea have been found to have anti-depressive properties. Scientists have also discovered that L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, has an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effect. (9) L-theanine can help improve mood by increasing brain dopamine, GABA and serotonin levels. (10) GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits the activity of nerve cells. Improving GABA levels will help promote relaxation to relieve anxiety and improve mood and sleep. People with depression have lower brain GABA levels.

 

GUT HEALTH

The health of your digestive system is closely related to your emotional wellbeing. Our gut plays a key role in guarding against the development of anxiety and depression-related disorders. Most of our brain chemicals, including serotonin, dopamine, GABA and norepinephrine are produced in the gut. Dysbiosis and gut inflammation have been linked to several mental illnesses including anxiety and depression. Incorporating probiotic rich foods in the diet and supplementing with a good quality broad spectrum probiotic will help restore normal gut microbiome to help improve mood and promote emotional health. Studies have shown that probiotic supplementation is effective at alleviating depression and anxiety symptoms. (11) Some of the best probiotic rich foods include yoghurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, kimichi, kombucha, and kvass.

 

ANTI-DEPRESSANT HERBAL MEDICINES

St John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum): St John’s wort is a medicinal herb commonly used by naturopaths and herbalists for its anti-depressant effect. St John’s wort’s mood boosting action is due to its ability to increase the availability of serotonin, dopamine and norephinephrine to the brain. Studies have shown that St John’s wort is beneficial for treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety, and is just as effective as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac and Zoloft. (12) St John’s wort has also been found to be successful in treating SAD, and mood swings associated with pre-menstrual syndrome and menopause. St John’s wort can interact with certain medications so take caution when taking this herb with pharmaceutical anti-depressants, sedatives, migraine medications or heart medications.

 

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea): Rhodiola or golden root has been used for thousands of years in Europe and across Asia to improve stamina, strength and mental performance. Rhodiola is another valuable ‘adaptogenic’ herb that is beneficial for improving depression and intense physical and emotional stress. (13) Studies have shown that rhodiola can significantly reduce mild to moderate depression, without the side effects of pharmaceutical anti-depressants. (14) Rhodiola enhances the stability of dopamine and supports its reuptake, which results in improvements in depression, anxiety, and fatigue, along with an increased ability to handle stress. (15) Rhodiola also increases the blood brain barrier permeability to compounds needed to make dopamine and serotonin, including 5-HTP. (31) 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin.

 

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis): Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that has long been used for its soothing medicinal qualities and aromatic properties. The Arabs in the 11th century introduced lemon balm as a remedy for depression and anxiety. They believed it caused the mind and heart to be merry. Today lemon balm is popular among herbalists for treating insomnia and anxiety-related conditions. Lemon balm has a sedative and calming effect on the nervous system. Lemon balm and one of its key active compounds rosmarinic acid boosts levels of GABA in the brain by inhibiting the enzyme that normally breaks down this relaxing neurotransmitter. (16) Elevated GABA levels can help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.

 

Bodhi Organic PositiviTEA contains the mood boosting herbs St John's Wort, Rhodiola and Lemon balm.

 

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

Brilliant Iced Tea Cocktail Recipes for the Festive Season

iced tea cocktail

Iced teas make the perfect healthy, sugar-free cocktail mixers for your summer parties and Christmas celebrations. Using iced teas also has the added benefit of supercharging your cocktails with liver protective antioxidants.

Here are some of our favourite Bodhi iced tea cocktail recipes for you to enjoy over the festive season.

 

Rosemary & Grapefruit Greyhound

Ingredients:

250mls chilled Bodhi Organic ZesTEA*
200mls freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
2 Tbsp raw honey
2 shots vodka or white rum
Ice
Rosemary for Garnish

Method:

Combine iced tea, grapefruit juice, honey and vodka.

Pour over ice and garnish with rosemary and slices of grapefruit.

Makes 2 cocktails.

For a mocktail replace the alcohol with sparkling mineral water.

* Using a tea infuser brew 1 tsp of ZesTEA in 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes, then put in the fridge to cool.

iced chai cocktail

Iced Chai Irish Cream

Ingredients:

1 cup chilled Bodhi Organic Masala Chai *
2 heap tsp raw honey or maple syrup
2 shots Baily’s Irish Cream, Kahlua or Tia Maria
Ice
Cinnamon stick as garnish

Method:

Fill a glass with ice and pour over chilled Masala Chai.

Add Bailys and honey and stir.

Garnish with a stick of cinnamon.

Makes 2 glasses.

* Place 1 Tbsp of Bodhi Organic Masala Chai with 1 cup of milk of your choice in a small saucepan, and heat for 5 minutes. Strain and place in the fridge to cool.

iced tea cocktail

Iced Green Tea Mojito

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chilled Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA *
2 limes, cut into wedges
4 heap tsp raw honey
Handful mint
2 shots white rum
Ice

Method:

Place lime wedges in the bottom of a glass with a small handful of mint.

Drizzle with honey and then muddle.

Fill the glass with ice, and then top with chilled tea and rum.

Makes 2 glass.

For a mocktail replace the alcohol with sparkling mineral water.

* Using a tea infuser brew 1 tsp of ViridiTEA in 1 cup of near boiling water for 3 minutes, then put in the fridge to cool.

iced tea cocktail

Pomegranate & Hibiscus Iced Tea Cocktail

Ingredients:

250 ml chilled Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA *
150 ml pomegranate juice
2 shots vodka
Squeeze fresh lime
Ice
Garnish with mint leaves and slices of lime and fresh berries

Method:

Place ice in a tall glass. Pour over chilled tea and pomegranate juice.

Add a squeeze of fresh lime and vodka.

Garnish with slices of lime and mint leaves and fresh berries.

Makes 2 glass.

For a mocktail replace the alcohol with sparkling mineral water.

* Using a tea infuser brew 1 heap tsp of Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Place in the fridge to cool.

iced tea cocktail

Hibiscus & Rosehip Iced Tea Cosmopolitan

Ingredients:

200mls chilled Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA*
200mls cranberry juice
2 shot vodka
2 shot Cointreau
Squeeze fresh lime
Berries
Ice

Method:

Fill a tall glass with ice.

Combine iced tea, cranberry juice and vodka and Cointreau with lime.

Pour over ice and garnish with berries and lime slices.

Makes 2 cocktails.

For a mocktail replace the alcohol with sparkling mineral water.

* Using a tea infuser brew 1 heap tsp of Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Place in the fridge to cool.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Create Your Daily Mindfulness Tea Ritual

Mindfulness, being truly present in the moment, is something the Japanese have been practicing for centuries through beautiful rituals like their Japanese tea ceremony. The Japanese tea ceremony or Chanoyu (hot water for tea), chado or sado (the way of tea) has long been an integral part of traditional Japanese culture.

The Japanese tea ceremony is a spiritual ritual deeply rooted in Chinese Zen philosophy were the ultimate aim is to attain deep spiritual satisfaction through drinking tea with complete awareness and appreciation for the beauty and uniqueness of the present moment. Focusing on every element including the look, taste and smell of the tea, the feel and appearance of the tea cups, the different colours and textures in the room and the people you are sharing it with.

It is a way for people to escape from the mundane of day to day living, and to connect with family, friends and nature to experience calmness and inner peace. During the Japanese tea ceremony, tea is prepared in such a way that all of one’s attention and heart goes into the preparing and serving of the tea for their guests. It is an occasion to appreciate the purity and simplicity of tea and to celebrate the fact that this moment, in this place with these people, will never happen again. It’s also a time that friendships are strengthened through being completely present in each others company.

Many of us have lost the ability to feel truly present in the moment. We live in such a face paced society, we are constantly immersed in devices and rushing from one place to the next. Practicing mindful tea drinking can help you feel more grounded and present.

Mindfulness is a state of being, achieved by focusing your attention and awareness on the present moment, while you calmly connect to your breath, and acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts, and physical sensations felt throughout your body.

Mindful tea drinking:

Mindful tea drinking is a lovely way to bring mindfulness into your daily life. It is a lovely practical way to remind yourself to be conscious in the now, not worrying about the past or feeling anxious about the future. Drinking organic tea and herbal tisanes with mindfulness will help you to feel more calm and relaxed, and will allow you to reconnect with yourself, your body, and those around you.

Paying close attention to, and appreciating the finer details of preparing and brewing organic loose leaf tea, will also allow you to enjoy a more enriched drinking experience that will engage all of the senses. Making loose leaf tea may take a few minutes more than when using tea bags, that extra time and attention it requires allows you to slow down and reconnect. Tea bags are made for busy people!!! There is something unsatisfying about unconsciously throwing a teabag in a cup then going on with your busy day.

How to create your own mindful tea ritual:

Set aside a time each day to practice mindful tea drinking. Create your own tea time ritual as a gesture of self care, which will help carry feelings of inner peace and wellbeing into your day to day life.

It might be in the morning to energize yourself for the day ahead, or to de-stress and ground yourself at work, or to calm your mind and body ready for bed.

Start by.....

Placing a spoonful of whole loose leaf Bodhi Organic tea in your favourite teapot.

Smell the aroma of the dried leaves as the settle in your teapot.

Listen to the sound of the water being poured over the leaves.

Observe the beauty of the leaves swelling and expanding.

Think about the leaves being handpicked from organic tea farms around the world.

Watch the water change colour and the steam rise from the pot.

Listen to the sound of your tea being poured into your favourite cup.

Find a quiet comfortable place to sit, take a deep breath in and exhale, expelling any feelings of stress and tension in the body.

Feel the smoothness of your cup in your hands and on your lips as you take your first sip.

With each mouthful feel the warmth of your tea move from your mouth to your stomach, then disperse through your body.

Savour each mouthful, appreciating its rich flavour and aroma.

Bring your focus to your body and how this tea makes your feel. Calm and relaxed, or energized and alert.

Pay attention to what feelings this tea evokes in you.

 

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

DIY Green Tea Beauty Products

Women who use make-up on a daily basis are absorbing almost 5lb (2.3kg) of chemicals a year into their bodies, it is claimed. If you'd like to decrease your exposure to chemicals, you can find a lot of natural fabulous ingredients in your kitchen cupboard such as green tea. To make DIY Green Tea Beauty Products just follow these simple recipes. Not only will you be saving money, your skin will feel and look healthier, and you will be saving your skin from any nasty chemicals.

Scientists are discovering numerous benefits of using green tea topically on the skin. Green tea is rich in skin protective antioxidants, including vitamin C and E, polyphenols and carotenoids. Studies have shown that when applied topically green tea can help promote youthful healthy skin. It has been found to possess anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous effects (1), (2), (3).

Research has shown that green tea contains high levels of the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG), which when applied topically can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and lower the risk of photo ageing and skin cancer. Green tea can give you a smoother and healthier complexion (4).

DIY Green Tea Beauty Products - Eye Treatment

This simple eye treatment can help reduce puffiness and darkness under the eyes.

Ingredients:  2 tsp Organic green tea (Try Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA)

Method:

Steep tea for 5 minutes in 1 cup of near boiling water, strain and then place in the fridge to cool. Soak cotton pads in green tea and place on eyes. Lie down relax for 20 minutes.

NOTE: To reap green teas vitamin C benefits cold brew your tea by steeping 3 tsp of green tea in 1 cup of cold water overnight in the fridge.

DIY Green Tea Beauty Products - Toner

Many commercial toners are made with alcohol.  Many forms of alcohol are common ingredients in skin care products, all of which can be irritating and drying to the skin. A natural, alcohol-free toner can be made easily, and cheaply with green tea. This antioxidant rich toner is beneficial for all skin types, particularly for mature skin to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Ingredients:

1 tsp organic green tea (Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA)

1 cup near boiling water

2 drops of essential oil: lavender (relaxing), tea tree (for oily, acne prone skin), peppermint or rosemary.

Method:  Steep tea for 5 minutes, strain, and then place in the fridge to cool. Add desired essential oils and then pour into a glass jar or bottle. Apply to a freshly cleansed face with a cotton pad. Then apply a good natural moisturiser.

DIY Green Tea Beauty Products - Body Scrub

This delicious smelling green tea and coconut body scrub is an excellent way to remove dead skin from your body. Your skin will feel smooth, soft and silky. Use this scrub 1-2 x week.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup cooled strong green tea (Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA)

1 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 Tbsp raw honey

Method: Mix ingredients together well in a jar and then apply to your body in a circular motion.

 

While you are treating your skin you might also like to treat yourself to a delicious relaxing Bodhi Organic Tea like TranquiliTEA, or SeneniTEA, with a healthy guilt free treat.

 

By Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea

 

 

 

(1) Pillai SP, Mitscher LA, et al. Antimutagenic/antioxidant activity of green tea components and related compounds. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol (1999);18(3):147-58.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15281227

(2) Isemura M, Saeki K, Kimura T, et al. Tea catechins and related polyphenols as anti-cancer agents. Biofactors (2000);13(1-4):81-5.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11237204

(3) Park AM, Dong Z. Signal transduction pathways: targets for green and black tea polyphenols. J Biochem Mol Biol (2003) Jan 31;36(1):66-77.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12542977

 (4) Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by green tea: antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects. Curr Drug Targets Immune Endocr Metabol Disord (2003) Sep;3(3):234-42.   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12871030

 

 

 

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 

 

 

History of Masala Chai

Masala Chai is a delightfully rich and creamy spiced tea, originating from India. It’s made from black tea and a variety of beautiful aromatic spices which are brewed in milk and sweetened with sugar or honey. Masala chai means ‘mixed spice tea’. It is also sometimes called Chai Latte

This delicious drink is an integral part of people’s daily life in India, being served on the streets from small road side tea vendors and used to welcome family and friends into their homes. Masala chai has now also become very popular in cafes and tea houses around the world.

The traditional and best masala chai is made with loose leaf tea and whole spices, which gives a more pungent, flavoursome brew. Be wary of sugary instant powdered chai made from very little tea or spices, and lots of sugar.

HOW TO BREW THE PERFECT MASALA CHAI:

The best way to brew masala chai is in a small saucepan. To make one cup of chai put into your saucepan 2 heap teaspoons of loose leaf Bodhi Organic masala chai with ¼ cup of water and bring to the boil. Add ¾ cup of your milk of choice (eg. organic soy or cow’s, almond milk, or coconut) and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. The longer you brew it the stronger your chai will be. Strain and add a natural sweetener if you desire like raw honey or coconut sugar. Adding a medjool date (remove the pit first) is another delicious way to add natural sweetness to your chai. You can leave it in your cup and eat it at the end.

TIP: The aromatic compounds in spices dissolve best in fats and alcohol so brewing your chai with full fat milk or coconut milk will help bring out more of those lovely rich flavours.

HISTORY OF CHAI:

Masala chai hasn’t always been the drink of choice in India. In the 1830’s tea consumption was low and most people enjoyed coffee, even though large quantities of tea were grown in areas like Assam and Darjeeling.

The British East India company was becoming increasingly concerned about the Chinese monopoly on tea so in the early 20th century so they decided to start promoting tea to the locals to increase sales. They encouraged factories, mills and mines to give their workers tea breaks, and they supported tea vendors, know as chai wallahs, at railway stations. Initially tea on its own wasn’t too popular however as soon as someone tried adding strong spices to sweet milky tea, the much loved masala chai was born. Traditionally buffalo milk was used to make chai.

There was no fixed recipe or way to prepare masala chai. Many homes had their own family recipes made up of different spices. The spices used also varied throughout India depending on the region and climate, and local customs. The base for masala chai is a black tea, like Assam, or green tea can also be used for a more subtle flavour. In India they often use a type of Assam called ‘mamri’. The base spices used are ginger and cardamom pods, and then any additional herbs can be added including cinnamon, star anise, fennel, peppercorn, clove, nutmeg, chilli, licorice, turmeric and even saffron. You will find vanilla added to some more modern recipes too.

HEALTH BENEFITS:

Masala chai with all its lovely warming spices is beneficial for stimulating circulation and aiding digestion, making it a good choice for people who suffer from cold hands and feet, and digestive upsets such as excess wind and bloating. It also helps alleviate inflammation in the body due to the action of the fantastic anti-inflammatory herb ginger. This tasty tea also supplies plenty of antioxidants which help protect the body from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Cinnamon and black tea also help balance blood sugar levels and in turn can help curb sugar cravings.

By Lisa Guy

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).

Tips to Stay Healthy and Survive The Silly Season

Tips to Stay Healthy and Survive The Silly Season

The warmer weather is here and there’s a party vibe in the air with lots of Christmas parties and work do’s. We all tend to get a little carried-away around this time of year and can readily over indulge on a few nutritional fronts. In particular, alcohol consumption over the summer festive season can easily head a little 'Northward' from our normal levels.
You want to make sure you stay in good health during the silly season so you can enjoy your Summer to the fullest, so 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.

Play it safe during the silly season and look after your health by following these pre-party tips.

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 your alcoholic drinks. A fast way to rehydrate your body is with an electrolyte drink like coconut water.

Iced teas are another delicious way to increase your water intake and stay hydrated, and they have added health benefits too. Teas that contain green tea, turmeric and dandelion root all help improve liver detoxification.

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:
Avoid sugary mixers like soft drink, syrups, or sweet cocktails with alcohol. These will send your blood sugar levels all over the place, leaving you dehydrated and lethargic the morning after, ultimately exacerbating your hangover symptoms. Iced tea makes a delicious healthy cocktail mixer.

TIP FIVE:
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.

TIP SIX:
Take some St Mary’s thistle daily over the party season. The herb St Mary’s thistle helps protect liver cells from alcohol-induced damage, and enhances liver detoxification, helping to remove toxins such as alcohol from the liver and body. Our Bodhi Organic PuriTEA is another great way to help support your livers health, made from herbs such as dandelion root and schisandra berries that help improve liver detoxification.

TIPS SEVEN:
Increase vitamin C. Antioxidants are important to help fight the cellular damage alcohol consumption can cause, as well as giving immune function and boost. Vitamin C is destroyed by alcohol, so supplement with vitamin C daily. Also increase your dietary consumption of vitamin C foods like citrus fruits, berries, guava, cabbage and parsley. Adding freshly squeezed juices such as pineapple, orange and lemon to iced teas is a great way to boost your vitamin C and antioxidant levels.

What to do if you have a hangover?
Coconut water is an ideal way to help ease hangover symptoms. Coconut water is naturally rich in electrolytes and is useful for rehydrating and replenishing fluids and important minerals in the body.
A great way to settle an upset tummy and replenish the body with vitamins is with a fresh juice. Try with a vegetable juice such as carrot, beetroot, celery, apple and ginger (eases for nausea), or a banana smoothie with yoghurt. Or try a chilled ginger tea (ZesTEA) for super sensitive tummies.

Despite what you might feel like, eating a healthy breakfast such as poached eggs, avocado, wholegrain toast, or bircher muesli, will be far better for you at this time than going for a greasy breakfast of bacon, sausages, fried eggs, or hash browns. Greasy fried foods will only add to your upset stomach.

This homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica 30C can be useful for treating hangover symptoms such as headaches and nausea. 5 drops, 4 x day.

N-acetyl-cyseine (NAC) is another helpful hangover remedy. NAC is an amino acid that is needed to produce the enzyme glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps the liver detoxify and clear toxins such as alcohol from the body. Eggs are a good hangover food as they are a good source of NAC.

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

What is Anxiety? 8 Ways to Alleviate Anxiety Naturally

What is anxiety

People often use the words ‘stress' and 'anxiety’ interchangeably, but they actually mean different things. What is Anxiety? and How Can it be Alleviated Naturally?

Stress is the body’s natural and protective response to a potential danger. It puts the body into a heightened state of awareness to keep it out of harm’s way.

Unfortunately, stress is difficult to avoid these days; we all lead hectic lives and stress has become a part of everyday life. The most common sources of stress for most people are work related - huge work loads, and the balancing of long work hours with the wants and needs of family life; not to mention the burdens of health, relationship problems, and money related matters.

Stress is not necessarily always a bad thing though.  In small doses it can actually be a good, helping us to perform well under pressure and keeping us motivated. Stress can occur with feelings of anger, sadness, or even when we are happy and excited. It is when stress becomes constant and prolonged that we run the risk of developing anxiety and causing damage to our health and quality of life.

Anxiety is a general term used for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry.

When you’re feeling anxious, the same ‘fight or flight’ response as caused by stress is also evoked triggering a release of ‘stress’ hormones, namely cortisol, which causes your heart rate and breathing to increase, your muscles to tense, and blood flow to be diverted away from your digestion to your brain and muscles. It can also make you feel nauseous, light-headed, and may cause frequent urination and diarrhoea in some people. While the acute regulation of stress is an important protective mechanism, there are a series of downsides to constantly feeling anxious with persistently high levels of circulating cortisol.

High cortisol levels in the body has an immunosuppressive effect leaving you more vulnerable to illness and infections. It can impact your digestive health by reducing the production of stomach acids, and can disrupt gut flora. Constant high levels of cortisol can also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, it can affect women’s menstrual cycle and fertility, and can increase your risk of osteoporosis by increasing calcium in the blood.

Fortunately nature has provided us with some highly effective natural medicines that can help alleviate anxiety, by calming the nervous system, and lowering cortisol levels.

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. Try Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a well know herb used by herbalist today to treat insomnia and sleeping difficulties, due to its mild sedative and tranquillising effect. This herb helps you fall asleep without making you feel groggy the next morning, unlike pharmaceutical equivalents. Valerian is also an effective treatment for anxiety as it helps sustain levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. Try Bodhi Organic TranquiliTEA

B Vitamins are important nutrients for helping maintain emotional and mental health. B vitamins are needed for proper nervous system function and for the production of energy from food. B vitamins are considered one of the most important ‘anti-stress’ nutrients, helping to relieve anxiety. Niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6) and folic acid (B9) all work alongside tryptophan to produce serotonin, our feel good neurotransmitter. Foods rich in B vitamins include legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, green leafy veggies, eggs, chicken, red meat, and milk. A diet high in refined grains and processed foods will be lacking these important mood enhancing B vitamins.

Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) is a lemon-scented herb and member of the mint family that has been long used for its soothing medicinal qualities and aromatic properties. The Arabs in the 11th century introduced lemon balm as a remedy for depression and anxiety.  They believed it caused the mind and heart to be merry. Today lemon balm is popular among herbalists for treating insomnia and anxiety-related conditions, including nervous gastrointestinal complaints such as indigestion, nervous dyspepsia and nausea. Lemon balm has a sedative and calming effect on the nervous system. Try Bodhi Organic SereniTEA 

Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita) has been used for centuries for its wonderful calming and anti-inflammatory properties, where it has been used in the treatment of insomnia and nervous complaints. Chamomile has a mild sedative action helping to promote a sense of calmness, which eases anxiety, along with inducing restful sleep. Chamomile is also specific for treating digestive problems associated with anxiety including nervous dyspepsia, IBS, diarrhoea, constipation and nausea. Try Bodhi Organic SereniTEA.

Reduce Caffeine: Millions of people rely on their morning coffee hit to kick start their day. Many say caffeine is addictive because it boosts energy levels and makes them feel more alert. Caffeine is naturally found in certain leaves, seeds, and fruits. The most common sources in our diet are coffee, tea, cocoa beans, soft drink, energy drinks and in some medications and weight loss supplements. Caffeine stimulates your fight or flight response, stimulating the production of stress hormones, namely cortisol, which gives you a temporary boost in energy levels, but can also contribute to levels of anxiety, irritability, muscle tension, weakened immunity and insomnia. Caffeine also inhibits the neurotransmitter GABA, which can make you feel more anxious. Caffeine can also inhibit the absorption of the hormone adenosine, needed to give us a sense of calmness, which can contribute to sleeping problems.

Better choices are caffeine-free calming herbal teas or if you love your coffee, stick to just one. Given that caffeine can stay in your system for 8 or more hours, don’t drink coffee or caffeine-containing teas after 2pm so that it won’t disturb your sleep. If you make the switch to decaffeinated coffee make sure its water, not chemically, filtered.

Passionflower (Passiflora Incarnata) is used for its sedative and anxiety relieving properties. Passionflower helps calm and support the nervous system, making it extremely beneficial for calming restlessness and nervous tension. Passionflower is also the herb of choice for treating insomnia, as it aids the transition into restful sleep without the side effects of sleeping tablets. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, studies have found that passionflower can be equally as effective as benzodiazepine drugs to improve anxiety. Try Bodhi Organic TranquiliTEA

Magnesium is an essential mineral vital for good health and vitality. Magnesium is needed for many cellular functions in the body, particularly for energy production. Magnesium is considered the ‘anti-stress’ nutrient as it helps to calm and support the nervous system making it beneficial for anxious and worn out people. Magnesium is also useful for people who find difficulty in sleeping. Magnesium deficiencies are associated with fatigue, weakness, twitching and muscle cramps, and a predisposition to anxiety and insomnia.  Magnesium occurs abundantly in whole foods. People who consume large amounts of processed refined foods will risk becoming deficient in this important mineral. Best dietary sources include: tofu, legumes, seeds (flaxseeds, pepitas, sesame), nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds), whole grains (oats, barley, millet, quinoa), wheat bran, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach.  Take a magnesium supplement that also contains calcium, recommended dosage is 600-1000 mg of elemental magnesium daily.

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

Best Natural Anti-ageing Skin Care Tips

Eating a good wholesome nutrient-rich diet is paramount to promoting good health and radiant youthful looking skin. Unfortunately, with our busy lives, many of us find it hard to eat well. A lot of people, especially those who follow a typical Western diet, don’t get the recommended daily intake of these important nutrients which results in dull, unhealthy skin that ages prematurely. Here are the Best Natural Anti-ageing Skin Care Tips for fabulous glowing, healthy, youthful looking skin.

Drink

Green tea

Drinking green tea regularly is one of the best ways to promote beautiful healthy, glowing skin. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, namely catechins and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which are powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative damage that leads to premature skin ageing. EGCG slows down collagen and elastin breakdown and can help regenerate ageing surface skin cells. These are two important proteins in the skin that gives the skin strength, tone and elasticity. Drinking green tea can help enhance blood flow to your skin to promote a healthy supply of oxygen and nutrients to skin cells. Aim to drink 3 cups of organic green tea daily to reap its complexion-boosting properties.  Try Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA,

Rose hip

Rosehips, which are the fruit of the rose, are a very rich source of vitamin C. This important nutrient is vital for collagen production and for restoring the skin. Vitamin C also helps improve skin healing and prevents infections such as acne, and reduces any inflammation. Rosehips are also abundant in vitamin A, which has strong antioxidant activity to help protect the skin from premature ageing. Vitamin A promotes healthy skin cell turnover and is essential for repair and maintenance of the skin. Rose hip tea, or as an iced tea with a squeeze of fresh lime, is a great way to enjoy this skin-loving food. Try Bodhi Organic LongeviTEA.

Eat

Avocado

Avocados are the perfect skin loving food. They are jam-packed with nutrients that work wonders for keeping skin soft, supple and healthy. Avocados are rich in beneficial fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that enhance skin health from the inside out. The carotenoids in avocado have an antioxidant effect which protects the skin from the damaging effects of the sun and other environmental stressors that lead to wrinkles and other visible signs of ageing. Avocados are particularly rich in vitamin E too. This important skin nutrient can reduce the damaging effects of pollution and UV radiation from sun exposure. It’s the oleic acid content of avocados however that benefits skin the most. This beneficial monounsaturated fatty acid has a moisturising effect on the skin, helping the skin retain moisture to keep it soft, supple and well hydrated. Add avocados to salads, grainy toast, guacamole, healthy raw cacao mouse or green tea smoothies 

Wild Salmon

Salmon is one of the best sources of healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are beneficial fats needed to keep the skin soft and supple. This deep sea fish also provides plenty of amino acids, which are also important for building collagen and elastin, which are major proteins in the skin. Salmon is also an excellent source of the super-carotenoid, astaxanthin, which is responsible for giving salmon their characteristic reddish-pink colour. Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants with exceptional ability to fight skin-damaging free radicals and prevent premature skin ageing.

Pomegranate

Pomegranates contain many wonderful skin nourishing nutrients. Including pomegranates in your diet regularly can help regenerate skin cells and boost collagen production to help keep skin smooth and well-toned. This beautiful red fruit is abundant in the polyphenols, anthyocycanins and ellagic acid, which are powerful antioxidants that help protect skin cells from oxidative damage caused from sun exposure, which is a major skin ageing accelerator. Pomegranates also boast high levels of vitamin C and A, which help rejuvenate the skin. Pomegranates also contain punicalagins, a super antioxidant nutrient that helps preserve collagen in the skin, giving your skin a smoother firmer appearance. Toss pomegranate through salads or muesli, or mix through yoghurt.  Try this delicious pomegranate ice tea 

Add

Turmeric

Antioxidants are our best line of defence against damaging free radicals, which are one of the main culprits when it comes to ageing. The super spice turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin, which has been studied extensively for its powerful antioxidant properties and potent anti-inflammatory effect. Turmeric has many wonderful health benefits for the skin including alleviating skin inflammation, preventing acne and reducing premature skin ageing. Some delicious ways to enjoy turmeric is added to a mango smoothie, or as a tea with some ginger and lemon.  Try Bodhi Organic ZesTEA.

Berries

Enjoying berries is a delicious way to promote radiant skin. Berries are jam-packed with skin-loving nutrients including vitamin C and beta-carotene, which are brilliant for boosting collagen production.

They are also rich sources of powerful antioxidants, called anthocynanins, which help protect the skin against free radical damage caused from overexposure to the sun. Try adding assorted berries to your breakfast, or as a healthy dessert.

Wheatgrass

Consuming wheatgrass can help promote clear, healthy skin and reduce the likelihood of breakouts. Wheatgrass is a superior source of chlorophyll which is a natural detoxifier. This super food also contains skin-nourishing vitamins A, C and E, which are potent anti-oxidant nutrients with collagen protective effects. Wheatgrass is a super-oxide dismutase (SOD) boosting food. SOD is one of the most powerful antioxidants made by the body that helps slow down cellular ageing. If you don’t have enough SOD, cells in the body, including skin cells, will start to age faster and die. As you get older SOD production is reduced.

By Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic tea

Fantastic Ways to Liver Detox

Liver Detox

The liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body, responsible for an enormous number of metabolic activities that are vital to life. Its number one job is to detoxify all the contaminants in our bloodstream so they can be safely eliminated from the body. Here are 7 Fantastic Ways to Liver Detox with foods that will help improve the functioning of your liver and in turn help promote optimal health.

Liver Detox Foods

Broccoli Sprouts: These 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. Other sulphur rich foods include cabbage, kale, cauliflower, onion and garlic.

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. Try Bodhi Organic PuriTEA.

Green tea: Drinking green tea regularly is another good way to support healthy liver function. This antioxidant rich tea contains high levels of catechins, a polyphenol which has been found in studies to help prevent liver inflammation and fat accumulation. Green tea helps improve liver function by protecting it from the harmful effects of toxic substances including alcohol. Try Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA or another delicious way to have green tea is in this Kale and Mango smoothie.

Globe artichoke: Is a wonderful liver tonic often used in extract form by herbalists. Mostly found in the leaves of the Globe artichoke is a compound called cynarin, that can help increase bile flow and strengthen liver and gallbladder function. The steamed leaves are delicious dipped in hummus, baba ghanoush, or tzatziki.

Turmeric: The super spice turmeric contains high levels of a compound called curcumin, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions. According to a study in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, curcumin enhances liver health and offers protection from liver cancer and disease. This powerful antioxidant can also repair and regenerate damaged liver cells. Try Bodhi Organic ZesTEA.

Go Organic: Give your hardworking liver a much needed break by eating fresh organic produce that's grown without chemical pesticides and herbicides, or GMO seeds.

Garlic: Including garlic in meals is another fantastic way to boost your liver function. Garlic is a great source of the mineral selenium, which is needed by the liver to produce glutathione, one of the body’s major antioxidants. Glutathione plays a major role in liver detoxification.

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

Incredible Health Benefits of Herbal and Green Tea

Incredible Health Benefits of Herbal and Green Tea

The Incredible Health Benefits of Herbal and Green Tea in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine is well documented, and thought to assist in the cure of and recovery from many illnesses.

Legendary Japanese Zen priest Eisai wrote one of the oldest tea books, ‘Kissa Yojoki’ (Book of tea) – How to stay healthy by drinking tea (1191). This two volume book explains the health benefits of drinking green tea and its positive effect on the five vital organs, in particular the heart. It also explained the medicinal uses of tea including treating indigestion, preventing fatigue, boosting brain function, and acting as a stimulant. Eisai states ‘Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete’.

Rich in antioxidants

Over the last few decades, green tea has been subjected to numerous scientific studies to establish the extent of its long-purported health benefits. Scientists believe that green teas health benefits are due to its polyphenols, which are natural plant compounds found in high levels in green and white tea that act as potent antioxidants. These chemicals neutralize free radicals in the body that are associated with the development of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

There are a number of polyphenols found in tea including catechins (epigallocatechin gallate – EGCG, epicallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, epicatechin), theaflavins, tannis, and flavonoids. Catechins make up a majority of the pholypenols found in green tea, with the most active and most extensively studied being EGCG. EGCG, which is unique to white and green tea.

Tea also contains alkaloids including caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, that provide tea's stimulant effects, and L-theanine, an amino acid compound found in green and white tea, that has been studied for its calming effects on the nervous system.

Because white and green teas are treated gently and not over processed, they retain most of their beneficial antioxidants. White tea contains the same types of antioxidants as green tea, but in greater quantity. These antioxidants have been found to have many health promoting properties.

Cardiovascular health

Research shows that antioxidants found in green tea may help lower cholesterol levels and help protect against coronary heart disease and stroke. (1)

According to a Japanese study published in the JAMA, women who drank five or more cups of tea a day had a 31% reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, and a 42% lower risk of stroke. (2)

Cancer protection

Clinical studies have also linked green tea consumption to the prevention of a number of different types of cancer including breast, colon, lung, and stomach. (3)

Weight loss

Drinking green tea has also been shown to help encourage weight loss by increasing metabolism and fat burning. According to International Journal of Obesity (2000), green teas thermogenic effect is due to the synergistic effect of its caffeine content and catechins, which boosts metabolism.

Tea catechins, especially EGCG, seems to have and andtidiabetic and antiobesity action. (4)

Liver function

Green tea has also been found to have positive effect on liver health and may offer protection against liver disease. (5)

Oral health

Green tea consumption is also associated with better oral health. Researches discovered that polyphenols found in green tea can help protect against bacterial induced dental caries, bad breath and oral cancer. (6)

Bone density

Drinking green tea may also help improve your bone health by increasing bone mineral density. (7)

 

 

 

How to Boost Your Immune System

How to boost your immune system

Wondering how to boost your immune system?

A strong functioning immune system is highly dependent on a healthy well-balanced diet. If you're wondering how to boost your immune system against the reported "Worst Flu in At Least 15 Years", or The Worst Month on Record For Flu Cases in NSW's one of the best natural ways is to consume more foods that contain immune boosting compounds.

The following foods are chock-full of immune strengthening vitamins and minerals.

Immune Boosting Foods

Seaweed: A highly nutritious superfood that contains extraordinary health-promoting compounds is sourced from our oceans, seaweed helps boost the immune system and reduces the risk of cold and flu. Seaweed is rich in minerals and trace minerals like iodine and selenium, which are crucial for healthy thyroid function. There are many different types of seaweed including kelp, nori, and arame, which you can purchase from health food stores and supermarkets. You can use seaweed to make nori rolls, miso soup, and stir-fry’s. Or try adding seaweed to your meal as dried flakes. A great way to supercharge pasta sauces and other winter dishes.

Ginger: Adding ginger to stir-fries, soups, curries, salad dressings, veggie juices or drunk as a tea (Bodhi Organic ZesTEA), is a great way to boost your immunity during winter and reduce inflammation, along with improving circulation and digestion.

Super Mushrooms: Shitake mushrooms enhance the immune system’s ability to combat infections including colds and flu. Soak dried mushrooms for around 30 minutes, add thin slices to soups, stir-fries, or casseroles.

Garlic: Adding garlic to meals is one of the best ways to ward off colds and flu. Garlic contains potent immune strengthening and anti-viral compounds. To get the most out of your garlic, crush it first and don’t over-cook it. Raw is best.

Vitamin C Rich Foods: Eat a variety of vitamin C rich fruits such as oranges, lemons, kiwi fruit and berries. Vitamin C is a powerful immune enhancer with anti-viral action, which will help protect you from coming down with a cold or flu this winter.

Herbs and Herbal teas

Kick back with a cup of Herbal Tea like lemon balm (Bodhi Organic SereniTEA), liquorice (Bodhi Organic TranquiliTEA) or ginger (Bodhi Organic ZesTEA). These tasty, healing teas have the ability to bolster your immunity to fight off winter nasties. If you’ve a cold or sore throat ginger tea is particularly soothing with a slice of lemon and some manuka honey.

Green Tea: Drinking green tea (Bodhi Organic ViridiTEA) daily can help support healthy immune function. Research indicates that the polyphenols, found in green tea, have potent antioxidant properties, and an immune-enhancing benefit. Green tea can be drunk hot or included as an ingredient in delicious recipes like this delicious kale and mango green tea smoothie.

Echinacea: Echinacea (Bodhi Organic ImmuniTEA) is a highly effective immune boosting herb commonly prescribed by naturopaths and herbalists to prevent and treat colds and flu, and increase the body’s resistance to infection. These can be enjoyed as a tea, or a tincture.

Spice up Meals: Many spices are rich in antioxidants which help support your body's natural immune defence. Most often used in cooking turmeric, thyme, chilli, oregano, coriander, cloves and ginger are all excellent choices.

Click here for other natural flu treatments and remedies.

 

By Lisa Guy, naturopath and founder of Bodhi Organic Tea

5 Top Tips For a Better Night’s Sleep, Naturally

5 Top Tips For a Better Night's Sleep, Naturally

Sleep is just as important to our health as nutritious food and water. Unfortunately, most of us don’t seem to get enough of it, with up to 25% of Australians reporting they don’t get sufficient sleep. It is recommended that adults get around 8 hours sleep a night. These 5 top tips will help you get a better night's sleep, naturally.

Poor sleeping habits and insomnia can have a direct and damaging effect on your physical and mental health. It is while we sleep that our body rests and revitalises, and our immune system is replenished and strengthened. Chronic insomnia can accelerate the aging process and progression of chronic disease. Not getting enough sleep can also contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Thankfully there are some very effective natural measures you can take to help you get a better night sleep.

Calming herbal teas: Chamomile, valerian, lavender, passionflower and lemon balm are all beautiful calming herbal teas that are beneficial for calming the nervous system, allowing the body and mind to relax, to help you get a better night’s sleep. You will find these lovely sleep promoting herbs in our Bodhi Organic SereniTEA and TranquiliTEA.

Boost melatonin: Melatonin is an important hormone that is produced at night to promote a deep and restful sleep. There are several natural ways you can increase your melatonin production including increase your sunlight exposure (especially in the morning), meditate, and reduce alcohol intake and stress levels. There are also certain foods that can help boost your melatonin such as oats, walnuts, bananas, and almonds. Tart cherry juice has been found to significantly increase melatonin levels in the body.

Magnesium: Magnesium helps calm and support the nervous system. Taking 500-600mg of elemental magnesium daily can help ease anxiety and improve sleep. The best dietary sources of magnesium are legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, wheat bran and green leafy veggies.

Cut down on coffee: If you’re having trouble sleeping you should cut down on coffee and other caffeine-containing foods and drinks. Having too much caffeine can over-stimulate the nervous system and affect your ability to fall asleep. Caffeine is found in coffee, black tea, soft drinks, energy drinks and chocolate. It is wise not to consume any caffeine after 2pm.

Limit your alcohol intake: You may think that having a few glasses of wine at night helps you relax and get off to sleep easier, when actually it can cause sleep problems. Drinking too much alcohol at night can interrupt your REM sleep cycle, which is your deepest most restful stage of sleep. Regular alcohol consumption can also lower your natural melatonin levels, which will cause sleeping problems.

By Lisa Guy, ND.

 

 

 

 

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.