Category Archives: diets

Women Need Vitamin D

According to ScienceDaily(1) Americans have low vitamin D levels. That means we are susceptible to other illnesses including breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. The link between vitamin D and dementia risk is confirmed. D maintains muscle strength helping reduce falls in the elderly. It can reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis which has no cure. It can reduce metabolic syndrome and risk of diabetes. Vitamin D also regulates genes that relate to cancer development and can provide powerful protection against common cancers. If you live in the northern part of the U.S., your are at higher risk during the winter months without sunlight.

Vitamin D deficiency can affect other areas of your body as well. Here are six reasons to get you D levels checked(2).

1. Brain Function: Studies have found that low vitamin D can cause memory and attention difficulties. Many think that mental changes are due to hormonal loss during and after menopause, but it could be your vitamin D level.

2. Weight Gain: This is female specific; when postmenopausal women took 400 IU of vitamin D and 1,000 mg of calcium daily, they gained less weight and increased their bone integrity.

3. Heart Function: If you are a woman over 50, studies show low levels of Vitamin D can put you in danger of having a heart attack, stroke, or congestive heart failure.

4. Parkinson’s disease:  Parkinson’s is a disorder of the brain that manifests itself as shaking, stiffness, and poor muscular coordination. This disorder mainly develops in people over 50 and increases with age.  Low levels of Vitamin D increases the threat of Parkinson’s disease, while high levels may protect against the devastating illness.

5. Bones Integrity: Studies of bone structure show that Vitamin D deficiency will increase the start and spread of bone fractures. Women are more like to be effected because your bones tend to become brittle and more prone to break.

6. Depression: A study with severely depressed middle age women who were given oral vitamin D supplements revealed a positive response from all participants. We are not sure if this is the cause of the depression, but we know you can feel better as a result.

Life Extension Magazine has confirmed a number of vitamin D benefits similar to the above. They noted that weight loss and reduced inflammation occurred together. It increases survival rates for breast cancer and lymphoma patients. It is associated with less coronary artery disease and premature risk of mortality. It improved cognitive test scores and reduces risk of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. It can protect against uterine fibroids in women and can prevent infections after surgery. So, its importance cannot be under-estimated.

How to increase our vitamin D?

1. Improve your diet: fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are a good source of Vitamin D as well as beef liver, cheese, egg yolks. Foods fortified with D are dairy products, orange juice, some cereals and milk.

2. Supplements: Although studies have shown that 600-800 IU of Vitamin D per day is safe, always check with your doctor before starting a Vitamin D supplements. Some feel this is not the best way because of the poor absorption rate of vitamins.

3. Sunshine: The article suggests that it’s better if we get at least 15 minutes of sun a day before we apply sunscreen.

I have to admit that I have been taking vitamin D3 at 5,000 IU for a few years now. I originally started after reading some convincing research.  It’s difficult to fell the physical change, except for just maintaining good health. If you’re not sure if you need vitamin D,  just get your levels checked.   L.  Johnson of www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/vitamin+d/         (2)http://www.empowher.com/holistic-health/content/got-vitamin-d-what-women-over-50-should-know-0?page=0,1

Pet Ownership Health Benefits

Pet ownership offers a surprising range of health benefits. Most of us have heard of the pet therapy programs in many hospitals because pets help patients recover faster on less medication. The hospital program is a big success because patients return home sooner, the cost is less, and they’re happier and healthier overall.

The unconditional love provided by a pet is fairly rare in life and has proven to reduce anxiety and depression.  Pets offer companionship that reduces boredom and isolation especially for those residing alone.  This emotional benefit has been scientifically proven to improve our physical health in a number of different areas. Here are health results from a pet study(1).

CARDIOVASCULAR IMPROVEMENT: Dogs and cats provide similar benefits. A study found that, “If you have a cat, you’re 30% less likely to have a heart attack, and you’re 40% less likely to have a stroke.”(1)

BLOOD PRESSURE: So many people are on hypertension medications so early in life. We need to find a better method to control this. The comfort of a pet actually lowers blood pressure and makes the biggest difference if blood pressure is already elevated.

IMMUNITY AND ALLERGIES: Having a pet as a child can reduce allergies and increase immunity. Children raised on farms don’t have allergies, have less illnesses, and attend school more often on average.

DECREASES STRESS: A study gave people a stressful task and found they experienced less distress when with their pets. This relaxation response was better when compared to being with a family, spouse or friends. Pets can reduce stress more than our own spouse or best friend!

PAIN MANAGEMENT: A study in hospitals revealed that surgery patients need less pain medication and recover faster when pets are present. Pets can reduce migraine and arthritis pain as well.

IMPROVED MOOD: A decrease in a range depressive symptoms has been noted. It’s most likely from the unconditional love and companionship pets provide. Pet contact releases endorphins that have a pain killing and mood increasing effect.

EMOTIONAL  DEVELOPMENT: Caring for a pet, especially when young, enables better social skills and a sense of responsibility. Pets even increase literacy skills and self-confidence in children.

SOCIAL BENEFIT: It’s not a surprise that studies show dog owners are better socially connected and friendlier than non-owners.  Taking your dog for a walk twice a day is a form of social networking.

MAY LOWER CHOLESTEROL: Pet owners have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels on average. The causal relationship is still being explored.

If you are already a pet owner, then you are taking care of your health. If you’re considering getting a pet, be sure you have the minimum time available to spend. Each type of pet needs a certain amount of attention because pets can get lonely and depressed too. For those retiring alone, I believe having a pet is an essential relationship for happiness and longevity.  I’ve personally had pets since I was a child and I’ve always enjoyed the special supportive relationship they offer.       L. Johnson       http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Gekas, A. 2-28-11 10. Benefits of Owing a Pet. Retrieved from: womansday.com/life/pet-care/a2352/10-health-benefits-of-owning-a-pet-116238/

Superfood: CHAGA MUSHROOM

If you haven’t heard of the medicinal Chaga mushroom, this article is for you. The Inonotus obliquus is a fungus that grows on trees by feeding off the lignins without damaging the integrity of the tree itself. However, it doesn’t look like a typical mushroom with a top and stem. It’s visually similar to a piece of bark with red, brown and black colors.

A superfoods site(1)tells why this fungus is so healthy. It starts with the extremely high level of immune boosting antioxidants such as glucans and betulinic acid. Beta glucans boost the immune system, but is not produced by the body. It is found in grains like oats, wheat, rye, and barley besides certain mushrooms. This immune response protects us from breast, stomach and colorectal cancers. It has been used in Russia as an anticancer drug since 1955.

Betulinic acid is an anti-inflammatory and antiretroviral agent that is also found in the bark of trees. It is thought to inhibit melanoma and has been studied by the National Cancer Institute as a treatment for some cancers. Chaga is also considered one of most powerful adaptogens or compounds that promotes homeostasis in the body.

Its even good for your skin. Chaga has the highest melanin content in any food which acts as a gene protector. Melanin, a pigment produced in the skin of all animals, can protect the skin from sun damage as well as hair and eyes. It prevents UV radiation damage from the sun. We all know how UV damage tends to age the skin prematurely.

Here are the vitamins and minerals(1):

  • vitamin B2
  • vitamin D2
  • calcium
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • sulfur
  • potassium
  • rubidium and cesium
  • silicon
  • germanium
  • manganese
  • selenium
  • zinc
  • antimony
  • barium
  • bismuth
  • boron
  • chromium
  • copper

There are different ways to ingest the Chaga mushroom, but it’s mostly ground and used in tea or as an extract in capsule form. I personally enjoy it as a brewed tea, so I buy the ground powder on amazon. I find the taste similar to orange pekoe tea with a bit of an earthy flavor. It’s mild enough that I don’t use sweeteners and my teenage daughter has fallen in love with it.

Side effects: It may increase the effect of anticoagulants like aspirin and warfarin. It may also interact with diabetes medicines like insulin.

(1)Superfoods for Superhealth staff. Changa Mushroom Benefits as an Immune Enhancing Superfood. 2015. Retrieved from www.superfoods-for-superhealth.com/chaga.html on 8-31-15.

by L. Johnson    http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

BEST DIETS

The best diets are ranked by doctors, nutritionalists and dietitians for U. S. News and World Report(1) annually. There are many factors that go into the ranking like its heart and diabetes ratings, weight loss potential, ease of following and best plant based diets. These different ratings are combined to afford its overall rating.

One of the first things you notice reviewing the list is how the trendy diets are near the bottom. Here is a list of the top and bottom five diets:

The Worst:

The Fast Diet–weak on dietary guidance when not fasting

Atkins–good for weight loss, not for nutrition or heart health

Raw food–3rd for weight loss, but too hard to follow

Dukan–not proven with a ton of rules

Paleo–not proven and ignores certain food groups, hard to follow

The Best:

DASH diet-(Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)This started out to lower blood pressure, but ranks high due to its safety, nutritional completeness and prevention of diabetes and blood pressure.

TLC diet (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) was created by the National Institutes of Health. Its described as a complete diet and is especially heart healthy. Its a do-it-yourself diet, so you just get organized with meal planning.

Mayo Clinic Developed at the clinic to make healthy eating a lifestyle. It has great nutritional balance and safety, but not necessarily as a weight loss diet.

Mediterranean Diet This diet is heavy into veggies and fruits, olive oil, fish, nuts, and grains. It’s a longevity diet, but not necessarily for weight loss.

Weight Watchers The only commercial diet on the top 5. It’s a nutritionally sound diet that’s easy to follow and has group support to encourage weight loss.

I found it interesting that cancer prevention wasn’t included as part of the ranking criteria considering it’s the second cause of death in the U.S.(heart disease is first). A plant based diet is good for cancer prevention as many of these are, but you may want a more specific diet. For example, we know that onions, mushrooms, and cruciferous vegetables provide more cancer protection than other veggies. So, adapting a diet specific to cancer is better than a general good diet, if that is your situation.

After examining the details of these diets, I find the DASH and the Mediterranean diets to be similar with their heavy emphasis on whole grains and veggies. I personally follow the Mediterranean diet because I have a cerebrovascular(stroke) history in my ancestry and I like the freedom it provides. I encourage you to choose a diet based on your genetic predispositions as well. So, take a little time to find out your family medical history to help determine your direction. Then you can choose a diet specific to your genes and family history. Bon Appetite.

L. Johnson        www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)U.S. News staff. Jan. 2015. “Best diets overall” Retrieved on 9-14-15 from website: health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-overall-diets

Best Foods for Women over 50

The best foods for women over 50 is based on the premise that women’s nutritional needs change at 50 and are different from men. An interesting article noticed that certain foods give women a health benefit by, “helping to prevent memory loss, hip fractures, breast and stomach cancers”(1). Five primary food categories have been identified as therapeutic.

Strawberries and Blueberries: The berry category is known to help prevent brain aging and memory loss especially if eaten daily. The article also mentions a Harvard study that found if older women eat two servings (1/2 cup each) of strawberries a week there is less inflammation in the blood. The study found that strawberries contain a number of key nutrients that play a role in taming inflammation, including fiber, folate, potassium and vitamin C.

Green Tea We know that teas from the Camellia Sinensis plant like matcha, white, green, and oolong teas have a long list of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Black and pu-erh teas have more caffeine and less of these polyphenols and catechins. Catechins are a potent anti-cancer antioxidant also found in cocoa, peaches and prune juice. Catechins rich foods have been shown to reduce cancerous tumors in skin, colon, liver, and mammary glands.

The article reports another study by the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center that involved the diets of 75,000 middle-aged women. “Women who drank green tea three times a week for more than six months had a 17 percent lower risk of all three digestive cancers combined.”   For more details about green tea please see: http://blog.creativeretirementforwomen.com/green-tea-update/

Dark, Leafy Greens This is more antioxidant food with the addition of vitamin K which is an important bone strengthener. Along with calcium, the combined effect helps prevent hip fractures when over 50 years of age. These leafy vegetables also help lower cholesterol,  protect your eyes, and reduce colon cancer. The effect of vitamin K may also help to protect the skin’s elasticity while helping to prevent wrinkles.

Walnuts The article included walnuts for omega-3 fats. I was a bit surprised with this one since we know fish and flaxseed is much higher in omega-3 fatty acids. If there is a concern with mercury in fish, you can certainly use flaxseed oil or just supplement with krill oil, like I do.  Nevertheless, walnuts and nuts in general are a healthy food with clear benefits. They mention, “Researchers speculate that walnuts carry many anti-cancer components that may be acting synergistically.” Salt free is the best way to go if you’re watching your blood pressure.

Red Wine/Alcohol This one is a bit of a surprise too since we know this benefits both genders. Alcohol acts as a blood thinner and takes pressure off the heart. The red grape contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that is known to prevent cell damage and cognitive decline. It contains quercetin, an antioxidant known to induce death to cancer cells. It also contains tannins, which give wine its color and may protect against heart disease. Some studies have correlated red wine consumption with longer life spans. The amount recommended for women is one to two glasses per day of any alcohol drink.

In conclusion, I find the recommendations here are sound and based on research. There are many ways to get your needed nutrients, so don’t feel confined to any one. If you are allergic to nuts, for example, just replace it with fish, krill oil or other foods high in omega-3.     L. Johnson     From: http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Callahan, M. 12/28/12. Fiftysomething Diet: The 5 Food Women Need to Eat Retrieved from: www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/28/diet-for-women_n_2371463.html

Over-Cooking Causes Cancer

Over-Cooking your foods is a slow way of shortening your life. A recent article discovers startling dangers when foods are cooked at high temperatures. Studies reveal that, “breast and prostate cancers are sharply increased in those who eat heavily cooked meat such as hamburgers(1)”.

It is not confined to low quality meat such as ground beef. When any food is cooked above 300 degrees, damaging chemical changes occur. Upon ingesting this chemically altered food, we are exposed to mutagens that effect our DNA by increasing cancer risk. This altered food also causes glycation and inflammation that destroy our body’s proteins which leads to premature aging.

If you are skeptical about the proof, please see the life extension reference at the end of the article. This study included over 100 supporting scientific studies. These studies discuss how well done steak, bacon, and hamburgers dramatically increase breast cancer risk. Eating deep fried foods are even worse due to their link to a wide number of cancers. Even over cooking healthy foods like fish, can create a similar danger.

What to do: This article really woke me up and scared me into changing my cooking routine. The worst methods of cooking are deep frying, oven broiled and pan fried. The best methods are steaming, stewing, poaching and boiling. If you never had steamed fish, it’s much moister and cleaner than other methods.  It turns out that small changes in cooking make all the difference. You can boil eggs in the morning rather than fry them. If you are a big meat eater, consider stewing meats which also makes them very tender and flavorful. Steaming all your veggies also helps keeps the nutrients intact.

Besides cooking better, eating cruciferous vegetables(broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) contain Idole-3-carbinol which offers protection against cancers caused by over cooking. Chlorophyllin, the green pigment from plants, is also another way to mitigate this damaging effect. If you are a big fan of bar-b-q or grilling, you might consider this supplement. Chlorophyllin is sometimes sold as an herbal supplement, so be sure you get a high quality product with proper absorption.

A positive attitude about making healthy changes is just part of our lifestyle. I am research driven and absolutely determined to get the best out of life. I’ve already eliminated foods from my diet like beef, pork, butter, deep fried foods, etc. I figure that it’s never too late to get healthier. If that means making changing the way I cook to improve health and increase longevity, I look forward to it.  L.  Johnson from: http://www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

Fallon, Wm., “Live Longer by Changing How You Cook”. Life Extension 2015 Aug. Vol.21. No.8, p7-15.

Only 9% of Us Eat Enough Vegetables

A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control or CDC(1) claims we need 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables every day. The report concluded that only 9% of us eat enough veggies and only 13% of us eat enough fruit for maximum health. This varies by state with the South being the least fruit/veggies friendly and the West the most.

Why is this important? Fruits and especially vegetables contain numerous antioxidants, proteins, vitamins and minerals that reduce the occurrence of heart disease, cancer, and weight related disease(diabetes and hypertension). Some studies even correlated fruit/veggie consumption with increased longevity. There are too many studies to mention here that confirm the health benefits.

The American Heart Assoc. defines a serving of fruit as the size of a baseball or 1/2 cup chopped or 1/2 cup of juice. One serving of veggies is one cup if raw and leafy, 1/2 cup if chopped or 1/2 cup of vegetable juice. For grains, a serving is 1 slice of bread or 1/2 cup of cooked cereal or pasta.

That’s great, but how do I include all this into my diet? That’s exactly what Jack LaLanne thought when he decided to juice all his fruits and veggies. His juice was better than store bought since it didn’t have the additives. He lived to 96, so it certainly worked for him.

I prefer to eat solid foods, so I put a large bowl of fruit right in the center of my kitchen. It serves as a constant reminder to eat fruit for all my snacks. I also add fruit to anything I’m eating at the time. I add raisins and apples to my oatmeal for breakfast. I add strawberries and spinach to pre-made superfood salad mixes from the grocery. I often eat a large bowl of super salad for a meal. I mix in some quinoa for more protein and I don’t get hungry afterwards. I wake up in the morning feeling lighter and hungry–I just love it and so will you–happy eating!    L. Johnson from www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Sifferlin, A (7-9-2015) “Only 13% of Americans Eat Enough Fruit” Time. Retrieved on 7-13-2015 from: http://time.com/3950253/fruits-vegetables-intake/

Superfood: QUINOA

The superfood quinoa(KEEN-wah) has recently become popular in healthy restaurants and homes. Since quinoa is a vegetable seed and not a grain, it is low in carbohydrates, low in sodium, high in protein, high in antioxidants and gluten free. Lets take a look at why this seed is considered a superfood.

Here is a summary of a study(1) that has outlined 10 benefits of quinoa:  Quinoa is incredibly nutritious because of its protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium.  It contains the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol which are anti inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer. Its very high in fiber helping reduce blood sugar and lower cholesterol which helps with weight loss. It is gluten free. The protein contains all the essential amino acids. It’s also high in minerals where most of us fall short. It should improve your metabolic health by reducing blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels. It has one of the highest antioxidants levels on the planet.

In a life extension study(2), “Scientists continue to find evidence that this versatile grain substitute may inhibit inflammation, reduce cholesterol, quench free radicals, improve glucose levels, promote cellular energy production, support weight loss, act as a prebiotic and potentially help prevent cancer and heart disease(p97).” Quinoa contributes to your health and longevity on different levels.

There is not one food that can provide all of the essential nutrients, of course, but quinoa comes close with all of its high quality proteins. Grains often provide only partial proteins and are higher in carbs. Even the fiber in quinoa is higher compared to whole wheat or brown rice. The life extension study cites other studies which conclude that quinoa can reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides resulting in a reduction in cardiovascular disease.

You can find quinoa in most grocery stores near the rice section. Just rinse it off and cook it just like rice on the stovetop. It can be used as a side dish, but I’ve been mixing it into salads and veggie dishes. Many people use it as a breakfast cereal by adding fruit. If you haven’t tasted it yet, its a very mild flavor similar to brown rice. If you are looking for a more complex flavor, I’ve tried a mix of bulgur(durum wheat) and quinoa that works well.

The most common way I use quinoa is to mix it into my salads because it is so light and versatile. I also mix quinoa with sautéed or steamed veggies, add a little soy sauce, shrimp or chicken optional, and you have a high protein Asian entree. You can stuff avocados or bell peppers with a quinoa salad mix. You can easily replace all your rice dishes with it.  There are many recipes for quinoa on the internet and if you have a favorite, please let me know.   L. Johnson of www.creativeretiremetforwomen.com

 1. Gunnars, K (no date) “11 Proven Health Benefits of Quinoa” Retrieved on 7-9-2015 from: http://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-benefits-of-quinoa/                                                                    2. Downey, M. (July 2015) “Superfood Quinoa A Complete, Gluten-Free Protein” Retrieved on 7-9-2015 from: http://www.lifeextension.com//Magazine/2015/7/Quinoa-A-Complete-Gluten-Free-Protein/Page-01

Superfood: SPIRULINA

Maybe you haven’t heard about the superfood spirulina yet, but its multiple health benefits might surprise you. Spirulina(Artgrisoura platensis)is an algae that grows in spirals of a green-blue color with a mild taste. Its history goes back to Aztecs who harvested it in Mexico. It is about 70% plant based protein. Since it doesn’t have hard cell walls, the protein is quickly and easily absorbed. It provides all eight essential amino acids making it easy to digest. It also provides 10 non-essential amino acids, eight minerals, and 10 vitamins. It is considered one of the best antioxidants on the planet.

Antioxidants are so important because they repair DNA cellular damage that leads to cardiovascular disease, cancer, and slow recovery from exercise. Performance athletes are well aware of this. Spirulina significantly increases exercise performance and fat oxidation(1). This study put runners on treadmills for two hours. They gave them 6 grams of spirulina a day. Blood samples were used for measurement and showed that fatigue was significantly improved and more fat was burned which continued after exercise.  This allows athletes to feel less fatigued while exercising and recover faster.

An interesting study in India focused on pan tobacco chewers(2). These people commonly have leukoplakia, a form of oral cancer. The study provided only one gram(a quarter of a teaspoon) of spirulina per day for 12 months. During this time, the lesions(an area of abnormal tissue) that were present in the subjects regressed or went away. “Complete regression of lesions was observed in 20 of 44(45%).” There was no toxicity from this use and within only one year of stopping the spirulina, 45% had recurrent lesions. So, the continual use of spirulina kept the cancer at bay.

Another study in Greece gave subjects only 1 gram a day for just 12 weeks. Through blood testing, they found reduced triglycerides, reduced high and low lipoproteins, and lower total cholesterol, all at significant levels(3). The authors described this effect as “powerful.”

If you have PKU talk with your physician regarding that amino acid. If you take anti-coagulation drugs, are pregnant, or have autoimmune disease, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor for that as well.

In terms of its form, Supirulina comes in powder, pills and tablets. In general, a powder usually has better absorption into the body. Pills and tablets often contain fillers that bind the powder together. A powder also allows you to mix it into may different drinks or meals.

I’ve personally been using organic spirulina powder for over two years and I like to mix a tablespoon into my orange juice with broccoli powder every morning. The powder is easy to find on amazon and I notice that I have more energy and am less hungry during the day. If you’re dieting, a smoker, enjoy exercise or just want more antioxidants for health reasons, this superfood is for you.      L. Johnson  www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1) Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jan;42(1):142-51. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ac7a45.                     (2) Mathew, B et al. “Evaluttion of chemoprevention of oral cancer with Spirulina fusiformis” Nutr Cancer. 1995;24(2):197-202. Retrieved on 6-29-15 from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8584455                                                                      (3)Mazokopakis, E. E., Starakis, I. K., Papadomanolaki, M. G., Mavroeidi, N. G. and Ganotakis, E. S. (2014), The hypolipidaemic effects of Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) supplementation in a Cretan population: a prospective study. J. Sci. Food Agric., 94: 432–437. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6261               PHOTO:  http://yurielkaim.com/7913/6-surprising-facts-spirulina-doctor-doesnt-know/

GREEN TEA UPDATE

The benefits of green tea have not been disputed, but there have been recent articles about lead and the effect of green tea extract on the liver, so its time for an update.

“Green tea benefits your health as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-carcinogenic, antihypertensive, brain protector as well as lowers cholesterol.(1)” We also know that it has a long list of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Green tea has been shown to reduce cancerous tumors in skin, colon, liver, and mammary glands.

The above study reports that in Canada, black, green and oolong teas taken from local store shelves contained lead. Green tea from China had lead while green tea from Sri Lanka did not. Organic teas had the same concentrations. So, it’s not the tea itself, but where it’s produced that matters.

According to the National Institute of Health(2), “Drinking green tea has not been associated with liver injury or serum aminotransferase elevations.” But, the tea extract in diet supplements like Exolise(now rescinded) has caused some warnings. The problem is that the extracts have various concentrations levels. Even then, the article concludes that, “Liver injury from green tea is rare.”

What to do? You might hear that green tea is considered unsafe during pregnancy and lactation. Although, confirming studies are needed, it’s probably a good idea for women to refrain from tea “extract” and matcha use during this period.

In the NIH article, “Human clinical studies demonstrate that single doses of up to 1.6 grams of green tea extract are well tolerated.” That is equivalent to about 4 cups in extract from. However, if the extract form is questionable, why use it al all?

CONCLUSIONS:

1.  “The amount of lead is not dangerous if it is brewed. This is because 90% of the lead stays in the tea leaf itself.”(3)

2.  It is prudent to avoid green tea “extracts” or supplements until better research is available for both genders.

3.  Drinking green tea powder or Matcha can have concentrated levels of all ingredients.  “If in doubt(about its content), limit yourself to just one cup of Matcha a day and drink brewed tea for the rest of the day.”(3)

4.  Be more aware where your tea is grown and look for testing of the ingredients.

5. GREEN TEA WITHOUT LEAD: Bigelow Green Tea Naturally Decaf(bags), Salada Green Tea Naturally Decaf(bags), and Tevana Gykuro Loose Leaf. Matcha without lead is matchadna.com/organic/(based on studies that DNA can be restored).

So, we can continue to drink brewed green, white, black and oolong teas, but should switch to a higher non-lead quality for matcha drinkers and avoid extracts for now.   L. Johnson   www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

528E7GeI1KL1. Thyr, S. ND, “Green Tea Update” 6-24-2014. Retrieved on 6-16-15 from: http://www.naturopathic.org/article_content.asp?edition=105&section=157&article=926            2. National Institute of Health. “Green Tea” 4-3-2015. Retrieved on 6-16-15 from: http://livertox.nih.gov/GreenTea.htm         3. Becki. “What you need to know about green tea and lead” 10-14-2014 Retrieved on 6-16-15 from: http://www.green-tea-guide.com/green-tea-lead.html