More berries, apples and tea..oh my
These past few months of staying home have had an interesting effect on me. Prior to the event of Covid-19 I was enjoying (way too much) more than an occasional sugary treat. In fact, it was becoming an every day ritual with me ~ dinner without dessert was no meal at all. I have always known that this would mean not only weight gain, but also dampen my immune system. Not only that…..I just recently read that according to the latest science, sugar reacts with protein in our bodies, changing their structure to form toxic advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which accelerate the aging process!
So, back to my story……I was feeling the weight of all that sugar so I made a major decision. I decided that I would not eat sugar for the entire month of May! For someone who indulges every day, this was a big deal.
I am now on the 6th day of this new way of eating and I have found it quite satisfying. Suddenly fruit tastes much sweeter and I have found that my cravings have disappeared! I have reduced the snack foods (particularly crackers and bread) as well and am incorporating more vegetables in my everyday meal planning.
Perhaps that is why I was so excited to read about a study done by Tufts University, Health Sciences Campus (5/5/2020) with 2,800 people aged 50 and older that found that those who consumed small amounts of flavonoid-rich foods, such as berries, apples, and tea, were two to four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias over 20 years compared with people whose intake was higher. (Led by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University). Every 4 seconds, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease so this is great news.
So why the emphasis on these particular foods and tea? Flavonoids are natural substances found in plants, including fruits and vegetables such as pears, apples, berries, onions, and plant-based beverages like tea and wine. They are associated with various health benefits, including reduced inflammation. AND dark chocolate is another source of flavonoids…good to know!
Since we do not have an effective drug currently available for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, what better way of preventing this is through a healthy diet that includes flavonoids. Esra Shistar, first author of of the study, states “When we look at the study results, we see that the people who may benefit the most from consuming more flavonoids are people at the lowest levels of intake, and it doesn’t take much to improve levels. A cup of tea or some berries two or three times a week would be adequate.”
Since dementia really starts to increase over age 70, those 50 and older need to take note of this. Changing just a few habits each day can really make a difference in the quality of life.
I realized how important my decision has been in eliminating sugar at this time and will continue this beyond May. Although I am not a wine drinker, fortunately, I take a liquid supplement each day made from the skin of Muscadine Grapes which provides the full complement of polyphenols and boasts superior concentrations of ellagitannins and ellagic acid, polyphenols that, when combined with other polyphenols, yield immense antioxidant power. For more information about this powerful supplement that helps to slow aging at the cellular level, go here.
I also love taking an energizing cup of tea (Green Matcha or Pomegranate) each day that provides an antioxidant-rich blend of green, white, and red teas. Did you know that tea has some of the highest levels of polyphenol antioxidants of any food on the planet? Green teas are loaded in catechins. Black teas are high in the theaflavins and many herbal teas are polyphenol powerhouses.
Since we all want to build up our immune systems during this critical time the more antioxidants and the greater the variety of antioxidants that you get, the better since antioxidants are critical to support a healthy immune system. Perhaps you could say that tea could be the world’s healthiest beverage. Go here to learn what my favorite green tea is.
So my journey away from sugar continues. With summer approaching I will enjoy feasting on blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. I recently came across a book that I highly recommend ~ I Quit Sugar For Life by Sarah Wilson. It is filled with great information as well as wonderful recipes. Enjoy! There is no better time to take care of your health.