What is it?
Catechin is a type of a polyphenol and it belongs to a group of flavanols part of the flavanoid family. I had recently discussed Naringin, another flavanoid, in a previous post. There are also types of Catechin and Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) is worth mentioning as it is a powerful one(found in tea).
What does it do?
Catechin is a powerful anti-oxidant and helps in the removal of free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals are harmful to our bodies at a cellular level greatly weakening it and leaving it vulnerable to infections or more seriously degenerative diseases, cancer, heart issues etc.
Benefits of Catechin
Yes there are many, IMHO.
– Catechin maybe a natural flu/cold fighter as it has a natural sterilizing effect killing bacteria. Some plants actually secrete catechin into the ground around them to the hinder the growth of other plants around them. Anyone want to wipe out competition around them this easily?
– Catechin maybe good for the heart and may prevent many heart ailments.
– Maybe a weight loss tonic, fat burner and a blood sugar regulator. I am going to try this and update my blog once I have some results, not that I am admitting that I need to lose weight :-)!
– Maybe an important player fighter against cancer. Hopefully there wil be some scientific research on this in the near future.
Where is Catechin found?
IMHO, the best source is green tea. Not to endorse any brands but I am drinking Tea’s Tea (Unsweetened Green White Tea) which is rich in catechins. And certainly mind the caffeine.
Also found in Acai, Peaches, Kola nut and even garlic and more. (Isn’t garlic amazing?)
Moral: Drink lots of green tea throughout the day, so the catechin from the green tea is entering the body. I certainly am! Enjoy.
– Gary Saggu
Naringin is the flavanoid in grapefruit that gives it that lovely bitter taste. Naringin exists in all citrus fruits but grapefruit seems to have it as its major flavanoid. Btw, flavanoids are plant secondary metabolites – not directly involved in the growth of the plant but help in it.
Naringin may have a number of benefits :-
- Antioxidant activity
- Lowering of the blood lipids. (lipids are mostly fats but may also be waxes, sterols etc)
- Improvements in cognition
- Some tests (on rats) have shown it to reduce the effects of diabetes. In humans? IMHO, its beneficial.
Time for some grapefruit juice.
– Gary Saggu
BAT or brown adipose tissue is one of the two types of fat found in humans. It is abundant in newborns and contains many smaller droplets of lipids with a lot of mitochondria with iron hence the brown color. As infants grow up, this tissue becomes similar in appearance to white fat but there have been many articles and research that relate BAT to skeletal muscle.
Functionally, BAT has a primary function – to generate body heat by burning fat. That explains why BAT is present in hibernating mammals and also animals that do not shiver. Based on reading research articles, BAT is a fat burning fat cell so it maybe good for us. BAT growth maybe stimulated by cold and therapies like hydrotherapy as well as books like the “The 4 hour body” by Tim Ferriss talk about the benefits of cold water and showers. Refer to article here.
Therefore, BAT maybe a good fat and stimulating its growth could be a valuable aid in burning fat. IMHO, cold showers in the morning, encouraged by yoga and other eastern philosophies did have BAT research behind it !
– Gary Saggu
How important are cold showers for health? Cold water therapy and hydrotherapy (super popular in the 1800s) cite a number of benefits of cold water showers. Benefits include improved blood circulation, mood, good for skin and hair and even a boost to testosterone levels.
I just also read that James Bond’s character in the books by Ian Fleming started the shower warm and towards the end turned it to cold for a few minutes. James Bond knows something!
As per yoga, cold showers have a huge anti-aging effect, mood uplifters and a bolstering of the immunity system of the body. Bond must have been a yogi too!!?
What about drinking ice water? Drinking cold water has been encouraged by the 4 hour body by Tim Ferriss. Well, I think if ice cold water is drank by us, the body must have to heat it up to 37C(unless you are an extremely cold blooded reptile). That must consume some calories and slowly it all adds up.
My take on this is that I will start making an effort to take colder showers gradually. It is tough to do when it is sub-zero outside but the benefits sound logical enough for me to give it a try. Drinking cold water is easy if there is an ice maker handy around you during the day, so I am game with that as well. For who does not want to waste a few extra calories just by drinking ice cold water?
I was eating breakfast this morning and decided to indulge in a little salt. As I was about to open the packet of salt, I decided to look at the ingredients. I was quite surprised to see the list – Salt, Sodium Silicoaluminate, Dextrose and Potassium Iodide.
Salt – as expected Sodium Chloride (NaCl). Essential to human life but harmful to us in excess.
Sodium Silicoaluminate – an anti-caking agent used to prevent lumping in table salt. I did some research on this and realized that there is speculation around it being linked to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. This is also known as E554 and there is no way I can believe that it is good for the body. My take is that anything with this synthetic of Silicon and Aluminium should be avoided. IMHO, all E-ingredients should be avoided.
Dextrose – another mystery! According to the dictionary it is “The dextrorotatory form of glucose found naturally in animal and plant tissue and derived synthetically from starch.“. Personally, I do not want any form of sugar in my food especially in a sneaky way. It is claimed by the salt makers that Dextrose keeps the Potassium Iodide stable (preventing its oxidation) but I am sure there are other ways to get iodine – naturally. Also, definitely not good if you are on the slow carb diet (SCD)!
Potassium Iodide – (KI) This ingredient has a purpose – Iodine is a micro-nurient that enables proper functioning of the thyroid gland and used to prevent Goiter (swelling of the thyroid). Some people argue the need of this in table salt as we need only a little bit of Iodine and it is present in sea vegetables, cranberries and strawberries (all organic I hope!).
I have attached the photo for reference for all :-)!
My take on this is to start eating natural unrefined sea salts from pure sources – like Celtic sea salt. I will check in my local Whole foods and update this list.
– Gary Saggu
(My tech blog)
I have come across so many articles about how great Olive Oil is and its many benefits. So, I thought this necessitates a blog entry this Saturday evening as I was confused about some terms like virgin, extra-virgin and cold pressing.
What is it?
Olive Oil is a natural juice(fat) of the Olive fruit that preserves the nutrients, taste and other aspects of the this fruit of this traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean basin. Olive oil is a core component of the Mediterranean diet (more on that in the future) and allowed in SCD(slow carb diet). This extract is rich in beneficial monounsaturated fats and its anti-oxidant substances. If confused about anti-oxidants read my blog post about another important anti-oxidant here.
How is it produced? Different types of Olive Oil? (I was confused about the following part the most)
Olive Oil can be extracted from the Olive fruit by chemical or mechanical means. Mechanical means are the best and involve less processing. These terms do not guarantee the quality or standard of Olive Oil, however, a good health food store will generally carry the top 2 varieties. The following is a list in descending quality and nutritional benefit :-
- Extra virgin – extracted of the first processing of just ripe olives, it is the least processed and it is certainly the most nutrient rich. Involves no chemical treatment at all and has less than 1% acidity.
- Virgin – extracted from the second processing of olives whose ripeness may be more. Its acidity is around 1.5% or less.
- Pure – has some filtering and refining and it usually lacks strong flavor. This processed, blended variety has higher acidity than 1.5%
- Extra light, Refined Olive Oil and Olive oil – have varying degrees of processing involved and maybe considerably less beneficial than the top 2 in this list. Variable levels of acidity which may be high sometimes and not good for us.
Like I said before Olive oil in a heath food store should really be in the top 3 types(really 2) only. Since there are not many standards and governance around the above mentioned terms, take them with a grain of salt and experiment and really examine the contents to make sure the olive oil will be what the label says.
What is cold-pressing?
Olive oil is produced by extracting the juice from the Olive fruit by mashing them. Olive presses were used and traditionally operated by hand. This first pressing produced very little oil and was called “cold pressing”. All extra virgin Olive Oil should be cold pressed to preserve its nutritional benefits.
What are its benefits?
- IMHO, Olive oil is rich in beneficial anti-oxidants and may be an important cancer fighter.
- May be an important blood pressure(BP) regulator.
- May even help lower LDL (low density lipo-protein) cholestrol – the bad kind.
- May help with obesity as well.
- Supposed to help against osteoporosis.
- Also, maybe effective against stones in kidney and bladder.
As part of the slow carb diet that I am on, I am consuming enough olive oil everyday – definitely more than 2 tablespoons of extra virgin cold pressed. Coming up next Macadamia Oil. Happy Weekend!
– Gary Saggu