Posts Tagged ‘Health Tips’

DID FOOD POISONING RUIN YOUR HOLIDAY?

When we travel our immune system comes under stress. Changing climate conditions and time zone changes are challenging but the major stress comes from different bacteria we come in contact in our new surroundings. Food especially can turn our stomachs upside down. There are only few things nastier than having to run in and out of toilet on your dream vacation. How can you protect yourself?

Aching stomach makes me bad bad company on a vacation. It feels like a bleached black and white photograph.

TWO SIMPLE THINGS TO PROTECT YOURSELF

We can easily pay attention to our own behavior but we can’t change the behavior of others. Everybody knows that good hygiene is the starting point against bacteria inflicted stomach problems. This is what our moms have been telling us since we were toddlers, don’t put that into your mouth, you can’t eat that, let’s wash those hands… So what are those two things you didn’t know yet? Believe it or not – tea and bilberries – and you can combine the two by drinking bilberry infusion.

BOILED WATER IS THE KEY

While on holiday we often pay attention to the place where food is made. We don’t go and buy whatsoever from every street vendor, but we do buy refreshing drinks from left and right. These sweet drinks are perfect home for bacteria as there is lots of sugar available and surrounding conditions tend to be quite warm (yes many of us like to have our holidays on skiing slopes).

If you limit yourself to only boiled drinks like coffee and tea your chances to catch a stomach problem on a holiday will greatly diminish. Boiling the water will kill bacteria and as tea leaves and coffee beans are dried they are safe from harm too. Tea especially is a drink that enjoys wonderful rejuvenating qualities and you will get a long-lasting boost from your cup so try to sit down and relax in a local tea room instead of a juice stand.

WHAT ABOUT THAT BILBERRY?

Bilberries calm the stomach and can ward off mild stomach problems like heartburn after a heavy meal. Combining boiled water and bilberry will result into a bilberry infusion free of nasty bacteria and a traveler’s self-help stomach medication via increased fluid intake and acidity soothing tendencies. No wonder your grand mom asked you to eat some bilberry soup when you had a stomach ache. While travelling I keep a little pouch of bilberry powder close at hand. It makes a nice drink and keeps me going.

Airplane image by Kitty Terwolbeck

In this post I introduced the winter’s “must-have-tea” – ginger tea for Chinese people, now I will introduce you another winter’s classic: Red Date & Longan tea.

As its name indicates, the basic ingredients are red date and longan, in addition Chinese often add other herbs in such as goji berries (Lycium Barbarum, goji is the way to pronounce it in Chinese) and astragali radix to enhance the effects. All ingredients have their different functions for maintaining health, but in general they help strengthening one’s Chi and make the blood circulation better.

Therefore, almost all Chinese women know that during the last part of their menstruation circle it is good to have some Red Date & Longan Tea with brown sugar, because it can smoothen the pain of menstruation and help the blood flow in a way that it doesn’t “stuck” inside. In other words, a healthy cycle help women get rid of waste in the body and Red Date & Longan Tea is helpful during the process.

Here you can see the ingredients in my kettle:

Red Date -The red big fruit-like ingredient

Goji berries – smaller ones from the kettle, orange colored berry

Astragali radix – the long-shaped one that looks a bit similar to ginseng

Longan – the black round dry fruit. From the picture you could see two longan.

Besides, I also added in some slices of gingers as well as brown sugar. As Finland is really cold now, -10 to -20 everyday, so I sort of cooked the Red Date & Longan tea and ginger tea together to keep myself warm and healthy.

The ingredients are very common for Chinese, but it could be a bit challenging to get it if there is no Chinese grocery stores nearby in your area. Let me list Chinese names of those ingredients here, which you can print it out and bring with you to stores in case you are in need of them. I don’t know how it is in the States or Canada where many Chinese reside, but in Finland, those ingredients are always big “puzzles” for many Finns. : )

Here you go:

First of all and most important of all, the Red Date & Longan tea in Chinese: (pronounced as guei-yuan-hong-zao-cha)

Longan in Chinese is: (pronounced as long-an)

You might have noticed, the characters of Longan look different from the name of the tea above, right? Actually, longan (龍眼) and guei-yuan (桂圓) refer to the same fruits. When guei-yuan has been dried up, we call it longan.

So, if you go to Chinese grocery store to buy ingredients for the tea, you should buy longan (龍眼) , but to name the tea, you should call it guei-yuan. : )

If you are enthusiastic to know all the ingredients in Chinese, here you go:

Guei-yuan in Chinese:

Goji berries in Chinese: (pronounced as goji)

Astragali radix in Chinese is: (pronounced as huang-qi)

Voila! Now you know one more “tea” Chinese drink for their health!

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When my husband, the emperor suggested me to write for Tea Emperor, I was initially uncertain about it. I do like tea, always prefer tea to coffee, always willing to try new teas, always enjoy teas, however I am not a tea reviewer, not a tea collector, not a tea expert, never bother to distinguish one tea leaf to another, I wonder thus, can I actually be a contributor to Tea Emperor?

My cup of tea, photo by Empress

Amazingly, just in a few weeks of time my thought has completely changed. Now I start to think that Tea Emperor is exactly a place where I would love to devote my passion and time, why?Because I just recently realised the connection between tea, herbal remedies, Chinese medicine and health during a chain of events (which I wish to share with you more in this blog). As a person who is extremely interested in health-related issues, this “discovery” made me realise that to explore more on tea would be a rewarding journey in my life.

I will start by telling you one of the events that leaded my thoughts on this.

Bach’s flower remedies

During my visit to London last October, I learned about Bach’s flower remedy from a friend. “It is a commonly-used home remedy in UK. You could even find it from supermarket. Dr. Bach’s idea is that everybody should be able to heal themselves by using the natural flower remedies” said my friend. According Dr. Bach who created flower remedies in the beginning of last century, all human diseases come originally from our own emotions. The way to cure diseases is to retain balance of our body. Bach believes that the cure of our emotional imbalance can be found from flowers grown in nature, thus he has tried hundreds and hundreds of flowers grown in England to develop his flower remedy which in the end consists 38 different flowers, 38 basic remedies.

Honestly I haven’t tried the flower remedies yet, but I am highly interested in it and I do believe the idea behind it. I guess this has something to do with my Chinese cultural background.

Chinese herbal remedies (Chinese medicine)

As mentioned in this article, a legendary creator of Chinese medicines has also tried hundreds and hundreds of plants from nature to test their functions regarding human health. According to Chinese medicine theory, all the diseases come from the imbalance of our body system. Disease is not an enemy, instead it is a way through which our body tries to communicate with us and remind us: it’s time to retain balance in our mind and body again.

Both remedies focus on plants and herbs, human body as a system of balance

I noticed that the ancient Chinese herbal remedies (Chinese medicine) and the modern British flowe remedies are not so different from one another from those aspects. The may differ in the plants they use, in the methods they use, in the way they interpret the relations between human body and disease, but in essence they both believe in achieving balance of mind and body is a way to be healthy. Be it flower or Chinese herbs, they are just ways to help us achieve the healthy state.

People in both countries love to drink tea

Interestingly, both British and Chinese are especially active tea drinkers in the world! Tea has also been said as healthy drinks in both countries. As mentioned in this post, Chinese called any water cooked with plants as tea, I think in western world it often goes the same way too, such as rose tea, jasmine tea, berry tea… none of them have to have “tea leaves” in, but they are all tea anyway. They are flower tea, herbal tea, just like Chinese herbal medicine from which you can find flowers and plants. By the way, Chinese also like to put rose and jasmines into different kinds of tea!

Tea, a drink to achieve balance of body and mind?

Could it be so that tea in ancient times, be it in China or in Britain, is considered to be drinks that are cooked with plants/leaves/flowers that can help us to achieve healthy mind and body state? So maybe drinking tea has never been just custom of a nation, but also a way for people to contemplate, to feel calm, to feel balanced, to be healthy? Sure that not everybody drinks tea to be healthy, one can also drink tea for fun and enjoyment. But isn’t it so that the feeling of enjoyment and fulfillment is exactly the sources of a person’s mental health and will also result in a more balanced physical state, no matter you deliberately think about this or not?

At least that’s what I think.

Then I know this blog is really for me too, through which I hope to explore more about tea as tao, tea as way of living, tea and health, and how we as human beings can achieve a healthy mind and body state with the help of all kinds of tea. Those are what I am to share with all of you.

Ricola used to be my favourite big brand name manufacturer of foodstuffs. The company was established in 1924 and originally made various sugary sweets of which a cough drop with herbs became a big hit and was further developed into a Swiss Herbal Candy. Customers took the herbal candy and used it in the most peculiar manner. When candies were mixed into hot water the result was delicious herbal tea. Sales rocketed!

Eventually one thing led to another and the company became involved with supporting the growing herbs that they use in their production. Think of those pure plants high on the mountains, could there be a cleaner place to grow crops?

THE TEA REVIEW Enough of the company background and to the point. This time I’m going to focus on Ricola Herb Tea that is absolutely fantastic! With fantastic I refer to the taste, which is just delicious. Quick glance to the product information sheds some light on the reason for the taste. It must be delicious, because the herbal tea is basically sugar and only 2,7% of the content consists of herbs. Candy for kids, eh?

I don’t have scientific reports to back me up, but I believe that product, which has so much terrible carbon hydrates can’t compensate with a small amount of herbs. I know it tastes great, but for diabetes sake, don’t drink it! End of story. Drink real herbal tea instead!

Coffee and tea drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes says a new study that was published in Archives of Internal Medicine. The study shows that people who have three or four cups of coffee or tea a day lower their risk of the type 2 diabetes by at least 20%. It is probably antioxidants like lignans and chlorogenic acids that are involved with this magic trick. One thing is for certain it is not the caffeine, because decaf coffee has the greatest effect.

Dr. Kaijun Niu, at Tohoku University Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering in Sendai, and his colleagues found that men and women who are aged 70 and older and drank four or more, versus one or fewer, cups of green tea daily were 44 percent less likely to have symptoms of depression. This means that drinking several cups of green tea every day will very likely improve your spirits (like a true scientist, Dr. Kaijun Niu suggests further studies before any strong recommendations can be outlined). Also several prior studies have linked green tea consumption to reduced levels of psychological distress, so this information is very solid. Furthermore, through history, green tea has been associated with positive effects to both body and soul.

What makes Dr. Kaijun Niu’s research findings even more interesting is that if green tea was to be substituted with black tea, oolong tea or coffee then there are no beneficial psychological effects. What seems to explain this is the amino acid theanine, which apparently has soothing effect on the brain. Looks like all kind of treatment and processing of tea will diminish the nutritional value of the tea. Naturally this is especially true for coffee, which is roasted. After reading about this study, I’m willing to make the recommendation that we should always drink and eat as lightly processed beverages and foods as possible for example berry powders.

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