Find information and articles on green tea, and the anti-inflammatory diet from Dr. Weil, your trusted health advisor.
1. Matcha is the quintessential experience of Japanese green tea. It is made from skillfully cultivated, shade-grown tea leaves that have been meticulously stone-ground into a fine powder. To prepare, take a teaspoon of bright green, powdered matcha tea and stir it vigorously with hot water using a bamboo whisk. Because it is made from the entire tea life, matcha bursts with a bold, rich herbaceous flavor in the mouth. It is traditionally served with delicately flavored sweets to balance this intense taste.
2. Sencha refers to a broad category of loose leaf green tea meant to be infused. Senchas can range from simple, unassertive teas that may be enjoyed daily to more bold teas. In general, the top few tea leaves from the shoot are used since they are rich in flavor. The finished tea may consist of small, almost powdery particles, or long, delicate, slender stands. For the best balance of flavor and color, many senchas are a mix of leaves of different sizes and shapes. The final brew will be yellow-green to a deeper green in color. The taste may be a mellow with a hint of maize or wildflower to lively and herbaceous with a palate-cleansing astringency. Often times, the leaves are deeply steamed to create a bolder sencha known as fukamushi-cha.
3. Gyokuro means "jade dew," referring to the deep green color of its leaves. An elaborated form of sencha, its leaves are meticulously shade-grown in the same manner as leaves for matcha. The shading creates a tea that is intensely rich in flavor and low in astringency. The intense labor behind gyokuro makes it one of Japan’s most expensive kinds of tea.
4. Kabusecha is similar to gyokuro in that it is also shade-grown, but for a shorter length of time. Its flavor lies between sencha and gyokuro, offering a mild sweetness and depth of character.
5. Bancha is made from more mature leaves than sencha, picked during a later harvest season. While not as complex as sencha, it is mellow and easy drinking. Moreover, it is low in caffeine yet high in antioxidants, making it an ideal daily tea.
6. Genmaicha is one of the most popular Japanese green teas. It consists of a mix of roasted rice and either sencha or bancha tea. The roasted rice imparts a warm, toasty flavor to the vigor of green tea, creating a smooth overall taste. Genmaicha’s popularity grew out of the lean war years when the scarce fresh tea available was mixed with rice.
7. Hojicha takes its name from is the combination of the Japanese terms hoji, "roasted," and cha, "tea." The story behind hojicha is that a Kyoto tea merchant had an excess stock of green tea that he was an unable to sell off. Instead of wasting his stock, he roasted the leaves to quick public acclaim. To create hojicha, finished tea leaves or stems are roasted for a few minutes, turning them a dark brown. The result is a smooth tea with no astringency - making it ideal with meals.
8. Kukicha is a tea made mainly of stems, or kuki. Its flavor is vibrant but mild in astringency. It is important to note that the kukicha referred to in macrobiotic circles is actually hojicha made from stems.
9. Konacha is made from from fine, powdery tea leaves. It brews a vibrant green and yields a clean, brisk taste. Because it cleans the palate well, it is often the tea of choice to serve with sushi.
Learn more about turmeric and the anti-inflammatory diet from Dr. Weil, your trusted health advisor.
Here are some of the diseases that turmeric has been found to help prevent or alleviate:
Alzheimer's disease: Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric's effects in addressing Alzheimer's disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer's disease.
Arthritis: Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including sixdifferent COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme). By itself, writes Duke, curcumin - the component in turmeric most often cited for its healthful effects - is a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, and studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms.
Cancer: Duke found more than 200 citations for turmeric and cancer and more than 700 for curcumin and cancer. He noted that in the handbook Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action, curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.
1. Diabetes is not that serious. In fact, diabetes causes more deaths than breast cancerand HIV/AIDS combined, McLaughlin says. Still, people with type 2 diabetes—the most common form of the disease—may go a long while, even years, before being diagnosed because they may downplay their symptoms or write them off to other causes. So if you are making frequent trips to the bathroom at night; experience extreme thirst, overwhelming fatigue, or blurry vision; or notice that you keep getting infections, ask your doctor to test you for diabetes. An early diagnosis can help ward off complications.
2. Eating too much sugar causes diabetes. "Certainly, anybody will benefit from eating less sugar...because it is not a nutrient-dense ingredient," McLaughlin says. That said, simply eating too much sugar does not cause diabetes.
3. Being overweight causes diabetes. Just because a person gains weight doesn't mean she's going to get type 2 diabetes. Having a body mass index over 25 is just one of several risk factors for diabetes, but there are many overweight people who don't ever get the disease, McLaughlin says. Still, being obese—having a body mass index of 30 or more—is considered to be a major risk factor, and the increase seen in diabetes diagnoses has coincided with a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States, according to the CDC.
Other risk factors for diabetes include being older than 45, a lack of regular physical activity, or a family history of diabetes. You're also at risk if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, polycystic ovary syndrome, metabolic syndrome, or acanthosis nigricans (a condition that causes dark, thickened skin around the armpits or the neck). Having suffered from gestational diabetes during pregnancy or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds also raises the risk of the disease. And African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian-Americans, and American Indians are at higher risk than are Caucasians.
4. Having diabetes means you must eat foods that are different from everyone else's. People with diabetes don't need to follow a restricted diet but instead should try to follow the same healthful eating guidelines as everyone else, including choosing foods that are lower in fat, higher in nutrients, and contain an appropriate amount of calories, McLaughlin says. "Everyone needs to be eating healthier. And if you haven't followed healthy eating habits before now, [a diagnosis] is a good wake-up call to make positive changes," she says.
5. A diabetes diagnosis means you automatically need insulin. That's the case with type 1 diabetes but not with type 2 diabetes. In some cases, proper diet,exercise, and oral medications, if needed, can keep type 2 diabetes under control for some time before insulin becomes necessary, McLaughlin says. The key is to make a lifestyle change. That means no smoking, more healthful eating habits, and regular exercise.
6. Only older people get diabetes. These days, children as young as age 5 are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, McLaughlin says. That's a big change from 20 or 30 years ago. When a child or adolescent was diagnosed back then, she says, "you could be almost 100 percent sure that he or she had type 1," which is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. Not anymore. To help prevent diabetes in children, parents should try to encourage good habits for the entire family. That means less video game and TV time, more physical activity, less junk food, and smaller portions.