Samurai means “to serve.”
Tamurai means “to serve through tea.”
AT TAMURAI TEA OUR GOAL IS TO HONOR THE SPIRIT OF HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.
One of the most exciting and well-documented new breakthroughs in anti-aging and longevity is a cellular process called autophagy. Tea, especially green tea, has been shown to activate autophagy.
However, there is little-known downside to drinking green tea, especially if you’re hoping to use it to activate autophagy.
Autophagy Tea: How it Works
See, the primary benefits of drinking green tea come from a compound inside of it called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
EGCG is a polyphenol, which is a class of nutrients that are powerful antioxidants.
Antioxidants promote longevity, help with blood pressure, and have been shown to fight cancer. In fact, EGCG is the most potent anti-cancer polyphenol in green tea.
As you can see, EGCG has a wide range of health benefits.
However, the most interesting–and probably the most healthy–benefit is the fact that it induces autophagy. Tea, particularly green tea, starts autophagy by mimicking the effects of caloric restriction.
But not all green teas are created equal.
What is Autophagy and Why Is It So Good for You?
Your cells are simply tiny machines. Throughout the course of your day, your cells produce waste inside them and their small, internal parts start to wear down and break.
When you fast, your cells get depleted of nutrients and the first place they look for energy is right inside of themselves.
Autophagy is your body’s recycling program. During fasting, your cells begin autophagy and start to breakdown that waste material and recycle the broken parts into raw protein and amino acids.
However, you have to fast for a significant period of time to induce autophagy. Studies show you need to fast for at least 12 to 16 hours to begin autophagy. The longer you fast, the more autophagy you can induce.
Calorie Restriction Mimetics: Autophagy, Tea, and Fasting
But with green tea, you may not need to fast for quite as long.
We now know about a group of nutrients called caloric restriction mimetics (CRM) that are proven to begin autophagy without having to fast.
The EGCGs found in green tea and black tea do exactly that. They have been shown to recreate the effects of fasting inside your cells without actually having to fast.
But EGCGs are just one of a handful of healthy caloric restriction mimetics (more on that below).
The Catch with Autophagy Tea
But here’s the problem with green tea: you need around 100mg of EGCG in order to achieve its health benefits.
How do we know this? Because most of the clinical studies on green tea extracts and EGCG are done using 100mg or more of EGCG.
So you would need to drink at least 2 cups of green tea every single day in order to get the benefits.
Which is not that big of a deal.
But the amount of EGCG in a cup of green tea can vary by up to 240%.
In some cases, you could drink 3 or more cups of green tea and still not hit 100mg.
The point is: you just don’t know.
If you’re hoping to either reduce your risk of atherosclerosis or induce autophagy, tea on its own may not be the best idea. You’d be shooting in the dark without knowing if you’re actually achieving your goals.
But here’s how you can be sure. Caloric restriction mimetics can help you make sure you know exactly what’s going on inside your body.
A Simple Solution to Induce Autophagy
Tea isn’t the only caloric restriction mimetic (CRM). There are several other very healthy CRMs that are all backed by significant scientific research.
Curcumin – The compound in turmeric that gives it that beautiful orange/yellow color. It is a potent and healthy anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Resveratrol – Resveratrol is a phenol found in the skin of red grapes and wine.
Pterostilbene – A more bioavailable “cousin” of resveratrol, found notably in blueberries.
Niacinamide – A form of Vitamin B3. Unlike niacin, does not cause the dreaded “flush”.
Quercetin – This is another polyphenol, found in kale and red onions. Several studies have shown that when combined with resveratrol and curcumin, quercetin increases their bioavailability and potency.
Each of these nutrients and antioxidants has been studied very closely and found to induce autophagy on their own and when combined together.
Health Benefits of Blackcurrants and Redcurrants
Currants are the wonderful fruits that are easy to grow whether you grow them in your backyard or in an apartment in containers, great to taste and can be eaten fresh or in the form of jams and jellies. But even more important is the fact that they impart a number of health benefits.
Currants are native to northern and central Europe and Siberia, and they grow fast as deciduous small shrubs attaining a height of 5-6 ft. They can be easily grown in other regions where there are humid summers and chilling, severe winters. There are multiple colors in currants, like black, red, white, pink and yellow, but black and red currants are apparently the most popular varieties. Here are their health benefits…
Health Benefits of Blackcurrants
The botanical name of blackcurrant is Ribes nigrum. The bush bears bunches of small berries, each berry being about 1cm in diameter, extremely dark purple, almost black in color and has a silky skin, with its apex carrying a persistent calyx. There may be 3 to 10 seeds that are edible, within the fruit. Other varieties of currants, such as red, white and pink are considered substandard to blackcurrants in terms of the amount of antioxidants the fruits contain. Another variety is Jostaberry which is a hybrid of R. nigrum and wild gooseberries. Here are the health benefits of the blackcurrants.
Contain Anthocyanins: Blackcurrants contain a high amount of anthocyanins, a phenolic flavonoid phytochemical. Studies have shown that because of this phytochemical, consumption of blackcurrants can impart potential health benefits against aging, neurological diseases, inflammation and even cancer.
High Antioxidant Content: The antioxidant value (ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of blackcurrants is 7950 Trolex Equivalents per 100gm which is 4th highest after chokeberries, elderberries and cranberries.
High in Vitamin C: Blackcurrants are rich sources of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant too. If you consume 100gm of fresh blackcurrants you get more than 300% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Studies show that eating fruits containing Vitamin C in high amounts helps body to fight against infectious diseases and also remove free radicals from the body.
Vitamin A and Flavonoids: There is also a small yet significant amount of vitamin A as well as flavonoid antioxidants like zea-xanthin, beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin in blackcurrants. All these compounds act as antioxidants too. Vitamin A is also essential for keeping up integrity of skin and mucosa, and also for the health of vision. So also, eating natural fruits high in flavonoid antioxidants provide protection against cancers of lungs and oral cavity.
Rich in Vitamins: There are several essential vitamins in fresh blackcurrants like vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). These are essential vitamins, which means that our body needs them from outside sources (body doesn’t produce them) for a healthy metabolism.
Rich Source of Iron: Blackcurrants also contain a significant amount of iron. 100gm of blackcurrant gives you around 20% of the daily recommended dose of iron. As you know, iron is extremely essential for the formation of RBCs (red blood cells) that are produced in the bone marrow. It’s an important cofactor in cytochrome oxidase guided cellular metabolism.
Many other important minerals like calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and potassium are also provided by blackcurrants.
Harvest and Storage
Blackcurrants should be picked intact. You can avoid the damage by picking the whole string by stem without damaging the spur. Only pick berries with glossy skin and avoid those with cut skin, bruises and leaking juice. If you don’t want to eat them fresh, store them in fridge where they remain fresh for a few days. While buying from stores, only buy those which look healthy and bright in color, and are uniform in size. Wash in cold water before using, keeping their texture intact.
How to Consume Blackcurrants?
Blackcurrants can be anytime eaten fresh. However, you can also consume them in various other forms. Here are some:
Blackcurrant Tea: For making blackcurrant tea, leaves and dried fruits of blackcurrant are used. Blackcurrant leaves are fragrant and the fragrance is a bit reduced when leaves dry out. Tea can be made from fresh or dry leaves. To this, you can add dried fruits of blackcurrant too for an added flavor and color. Add 1-2 spoons of chopped blackcurrant leaves and/or dried berries to 200ml of water and boil. Allow to soak for 5 to 10 minutes. If you add dried fruits, remove the tea from the flame and allow it to steep for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy hot with sugar or as iced tea.
Obviously this tea is extremely high in antioxidants. ¼ cup of fresh blackcurrants turn into 1 tablespoon when dried, and can be used to make 2 cups of tea. 1 tablespoon of dried blackcurrants have over 50mg vitamin C that boosts your immunity and helps in repair as well as growth of body tissues, along with protecting body from free radicals and toxins.
Dried Blackcurrants: Dried blackcurrants are rich in nutrients. They lack in fats and cholesterol, and are rich in protein. A cup of dried blackcurrants contain 5.88gm of protein. Dried blackcurrants are also rich in dietary fiber, manganese, copper and potassium. They can replace raisins, prunes and dates in baked goods. A cup of dried blackcurrants provide 9.8gm of dietary fiber which is about 39% of the recommended daily allowance of fiber for women and men, following a 2000-calorie diet. The dried fruit contains both soluble as well as insoluble fibers that regulate your bowel movement, reduce the risk of cholesterol and diabetes, and prevent digestive problems. They also reduce obesity, and the risk of hypertension, heart disease and stroke.
Around 75% i.e. 674mcg of copper is provided by a cup of dried blackcurrants. Copper is useful for collagen synthesis, absorption of iron, energy metabolism, and inhibition of free radicals from cellular damage. Adequate intake of copper reduces the risk of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, anemia and thyroid problems.
A cup of dried blackcurrants also provide 0.675mg of manganese which satisfies 37.5% of RDA of a woman and 30% of RDA of a man. Manganese is important for strength of body, bones and fertility, health of nervous system and formation of hormones, proteins responsible for blood clotting, bone tissue and superoxide dismutase. Lack of manganese in diet increases the risk of arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.
A cup of dried blackcurrants also contain 1,284mg of potassium which is 27% of the RDA of potassium for an adult. Potassium reduces the risk of kidney disease, osteoporosis, stroke and high blood pressure.
Blackcurrant Seed Oil: Blackcurrant seed oil is effective against immunity disorders, thinning of hair and inflammation. The oil is obtained by cold pressed method; however, methods like supercritical carbon dioxide and solvent extraction are also used, but they don’t yield organic oil because chemicals are used in them to extract more amount of oil. To get real health benefits, you should use the cold pressed organic blackcurrant seed oil.
The oil is rich in antioxidants that protect body from cell damage. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, immunostimulant, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergic and anti-neuropathic properties.
Health Benefits of Redcurrants
The next variety of currants rich in health benefits is redcurrants. Its botanical name is Ribes rubrum. Redcurrant is slightly tarter than blackcurrants, but its sweetness is same as that of blackcurrants. Here are health benefits of redcurrants.
Lower Glycemic Index: Redcurrants have lower glycemic index than most other foods, since the sugar in this fruit is absorbed slowly in blood and thereby prevents blood sugar crashes, sugar spikes, sugar cravings and mood swings.
Fights Infection: As a cup of redcurrants has 77% of RDA of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, it boosts body’s immunity to fight against infectious agents and also against cancer-forming free radicals.
Great for Skin and Hair: Because redcurrants have such a high level of vitamin C, it is also good for skin and hair as it produces and maintains collagen, an important protein for skin and hair.
Energy Production: A cup of redcurrants carry 10% of manganese, an important cofactor in certain enzymes responsible for energy production as well as antioxidant protection.
Assistance in RBC Production: Redcurrants contain iron and copper, essential for blood cell production.
Bone Strength: Redcurrants also contain good amount of vitamin K, necessary for maintaining calcium in the bones. It also reduces excretion of calcium through urine. A cup of redcurrants gives you 15% of RDA of vitamin K.
Improves Digestion and Fights Constipation: Redcurrants provide fiber which improves digestion and eliminates constipation by improving bowel movement. Fiber also scrapes arterial debris, and thus reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease: Like all red fruits and vegetables, redcurrants contain lycopene, a carotenoid that reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Protection of Mouth: Redcurrants are useful in a number of oral cavity issues. It is effective against gum diseases that lead to reddening, loosening and inflammation of gums. It also stops tooth decay and is effective against mouth infections and mouth ulcers.
Helps in Menstrual Cycle: Redcurrants help in regulation of menstrual cycle and relieve pain and colic during menstruation.
Removes Toxins: Redcurrants are great diuretic and promote perspiration because of which they help to remove toxins from the body.
How to Consume Redcurrants?
Redcurrants too can be eaten fresh or dried like blackcurrants, but as they are sourer, they aren’t as popular as blackcurrants. Mostly they are made into jams, jellies and other culinary preparations, and are used for garnishing because of the attractive red color. They can also be preserved for longer by refrigerating. Remember that washing before storing will make them saggy; so, don’t wash. Their acidic content can be reduced by adding sugar, agave nectar or honey, and of course, by cooking. But for having their maximum health benefits, you can consume them in following ways in addition to eating fresh.
Redcurrant Tea (Extract): Tea is made from dried leaves of redcurrant and is extremely beneficial for health. It eases symptoms of rheumatism and gout. It’s also effective in compresses for wounds that are taking time to heal. It can even be used as a gargling solution to cure mouth infections. Redcurrant tea is rich in antioxidants, so destroys free radicals, and so, is helpful to reverse aging and degeneration of health.
Redcurrant Oil: Oil is extracted from seeds of redcurrant and is used for making tarts and even soaps. It has a mild fragrance and is good for skin health. It’s used as cooking oil too.
Currants – black, red, yellow etc. are great for your health, they are easily grown in the backyard and even in the containers. So, if you are not growing few plants of the currants, what are you waiting for? 🙂
12 Impressive Health Benefits of Cinnamon Tea
Cinnamon tea is an interesting beverage that may offer several health benefits.
It’s made from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree, which curls into rolls while drying, forming the recognizable cinnamon sticks. These sticks are either steeped in boiling water, or ground into a powder that can be used to make the tea.
Cinnamon tea is full of beneficial compounds that may offer various health benefits, including aiding weight loss, improving heart health, alleviating menstrual cramps, and reducing inflammation and blood sugar levels.
Here are 12 science-based health benefits of cinnamon tea.
Cinnamon tea contains lots of antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that help keep you healthy.
Antioxidants fight off oxidation caused by free radicals, which are molecules that damage your cells and contribute to diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Cinnamon is particularly rich in polyphenol antioxidants. A study comparing the antioxidant activity of 26 spices reported that cinnamon is only outranked by cloves and oregano (1Trusted Source, 2, 3Trusted Source).
SUMMARYCinnamon is one of the spices richest in antioxidants. Cinnamon tea may increase your body’s ability to fight off free radicals, keeping you healthy and protecting you from disease.
Test-tube studies suggest that compounds in cinnamon may reduce markers of inflammation. This may be immensely beneficial, given that inflammation is thought to be at the root of many chronic diseases, including heart disease (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
A review of 10 studies found that consuming as little as 120 mg of cinnamon — less than a 1/10 teaspoon — each day may be sufficient to help you reap these benefits (9Trusted Source).
Cassia cinnamon, in particular, contains high amounts of natural coumarins, a group of compounds that helps prevent the narrowing of blood vessels and offers protection against blood clots (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
However, excess intake of coumarins may reduce liver function and increase the risk of bleeding, so make sure you consume cinnamon in moderation (9Trusted Source).
SUMMARYCinnamon contains heart-healthy compounds that may decrease inflammation and raise levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. It may also reduce your blood pressure and triglyceride and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Cinnamon may provide powerful antidiabetic effects by lowering blood sugar levels.
What’s more, compounds found in cinnamon may further contribute to lower blood sugar levels by lowering insulin resistance, thereby increasing insulin’s effectiveness (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
Cinnamon may also help slow the breakdown of carbs in your gut, preventing your blood sugar levels from spiking after meals (17Trusted Source).
Most studies observed benefits when people took concentrated doses ranging from 120 mg to 6 grams of powdered cinnamon. However, there’s evidence that cinnamon tea may also offer blood-sugar-reducing benefits (4Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
SUMMARYCinnamon may help reduce your blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, thereby increasing insulin’s effectiveness. These effects may offer protection against type 2 diabetes.
However, few of these studies have properly controlled for calorie intake, and most have failed to distinguish between fat loss and muscle loss. This makes it difficult to attribute the weight loss effects to cinnamon alone.
The only study that controlled for these factors reported that participants lost 0.7% of fat mass and gained 1.1% of muscle mass after they took the equivalent of 5 teaspoons (10 grams) of cinnamon powder per day for 12 weeks (19Trusted Source).
However, such large amounts of cinnamon may contain dangerously high amounts of coumarin. When consumed in excess, this natural compound may increase the risk of bleeding and cause or worsen liver disease (9Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
This is especially true for Cassia cinnamon, which contains up to 63 times more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon (12Trusted Source).
More research is needed to confirm whether any weight loss benefits occur at lower dosages, such as those found in cinnamon tea.
SUMMARYDrinking large amounts of cinnamon tea may help you lose body fat, but this beverage could contain dangerously high levels of coumarin. More research is needed to establish whether lower dosages also provide weight loss benefits.
Cinnamon has some potent antibacterial and antifungal properties.
These include common Staphylococcus, Salmonella,and E.coli bacteria, which can cause illness in humans.
However, more research in humans is needed before strong conclusions can be made.
SUMMARYCompounds found in cinnamon tea may help fight off bacteria, fungi, and mold. They may also help freshen your breath and prevent tooth decay.
Cinnamon tea may help make some menstrual symptoms, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmenorrhea, more bearable.
One well-controlled study provided women with 3 grams of cinnamon or a placebo each day for the first 3 days of their menstrual cycle. The women in the cinnamon group experienced significantly less menstrual pain than those given the placebo (25Trusted Source).
In another study, women were given 1.5 grams of cinnamon, a pain-relieving drug, or a placebo in the first 3 days of their menstrual cycle.
The women in the cinnamon group reported less menstrual pain than those given the placebo. However, the cinnamon treatment wasn’t as effective for pain relief as the pain-relieving drug (26Trusted Source).
There’s also evidence that cinnamon may reduce menstrual bleeding, vomiting frequency, and nausea severity during women’s periods (27Trusted Source).
SUMMARYCinnamon tea may help alleviate painful menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms. It may also help reduce menstrual bleeding, as well as nausea and vomiting during menstruation.
Cinnamon tea is touted to offer several additional benefits, including:
- May fight skin aging. Studies show that cinnamon may promote collagen formation and increase skin elasticity and hydration — all of which may reduce the appearance of aging (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
- May have anticancer properties. Test-tube research has observed that cinnamon extracts may help kill certain types of cancer cells, including skin cancer cells (30).
- May help preserve brain function. Test-tube and animal research suggests that cinnamon may protect brain cells from Alzheimer’s disease and improve motor function in those with Parkinson’s disease (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
- May help fight HIV. Test-tube studies report that cinnamon extracts may help fight the most common strain of the HIV virus in humans (33Trusted Source).
- May reduce acne. Test-tube research suggests that cinnamon extracts can fight bacteria that cause acne (34Trusted Source).
Although this research on cinnamon is promising, there is currently no evidence that drinking cinnamon tea will provide these benefits. More research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.
SUMMARYCinnamon may offer several additional benefits, including helping reduce skin aging and protecting against HIV, cancer, acne, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. However, more research is needed.
Cinnamon tea is incredibly easy to make and incorporate into your diet.
You can drink it warm, or cool it to make homemade iced tea.
The easiest way to make this beverage is to simply add 1 teaspoon (2.6 grams) of ground cinnamon to 1 cup (235 ml) of boiled water and stir. You can also make cinnamon tea by steeping a cinnamon stick in boiling water for 10–15 minutes.
Alternatively, cinnamon tea bags can be found online or at your local supermarket or health food store. They’re a convenient option when you’re short on time.
Cinnamon tea is naturally caffeine-free, so it can be enjoyed anytime throughout the day. However, if you’re specifically interested in its blood-sugar-lowering effects, it may be most effective to consume it with your meals.
If you’re currently taking blood-sugar-lowering medication, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider before adding cinnamon tea to your routine.
SUMMARYCinnamon tea is incredibly easy to make. It can be enjoyed as a warm or cold beverage.
Cinnamon tea is a powerful beverage.
It’s filled with antioxidants and offers several health benefits, including reduced inflammation and blood sugar levels, improved heart health, and perhaps even weight loss. Cinnamon tea may also fight off infections and reduce PMS and menstrual cramps.
Whether you enjoy cinnamon tea warm or cold, it’s definitely a beverage worth trying.