Green Tea Linked to Lower Flu Risk

No one likes to get the flu, so finding simple ways to fight off the illness is welcome news, especially for those at higher risk for infection. A study in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine suggests that green tea extracts may help prevent influenza in healthcare workers.

Better immuni-tea
Certain people, such as healthcare workers, the young and the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or lung disease, are at greater risk of getting the flu than others. This study looked at the effect of green tea extracts in helping prevent flu in Japanese healthcare professionals who care for the elderly.

In this study, 200 healthcare workers were randomly assigned to receive capsules of a green tea extract that contained compounds known as catechins (378 mg per day) and theanine (210 mg per day) or placebo for five months. The majority of participants had also been vaccinated against the flu.

Results showed that the incidence of influenza in the green tea group was significantly lower compared with the placebo group (4 versus 13 people were diagnosed with the flu).

Prior studies have also shown that green tea may help prevent influenza, and the authors of this study comment, “The consumption of tea extracts including catechins and theanine has also been reported to enhance systemic immunity and prevent the occurrence of upper respiratory tract infection and influenza symptoms in healthy adults.” Larger research trials are needed to confirm these study findings.

Things you can do to prevent the flu
The influenza virus is a cause of serious illness and even death, so it is important to take preventive measures to stay well:

■ Keep it clean. To help prevent contracting or spreading the flu, be sure to wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and get a flu jab. When possible, avoid people who have the flu or going to work if you are sick. While these measures aren’t 100% guaranteed, they go a long way toward lowering the risk of respiratory illness and flu.
■ Choose a healthy lifestyle. Living a balanced life that includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking, and stress-reducing activities can also boost your immunity and help you stay healthy. Commit to these activities to improve and maintain your health.
■ Talk with a doctor. Visit your doctor to discuss ways to prevent the flu and whether or not a flu jab is appropriate for you.

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Quick easy recipes and sauces from Countrywise

You’ve seen the recipes on TV. ‘Countrywise’ has toured the UK bringing us insight into variations of the British diet and lifestyle.

But did you know that you can get your hands on easy Countrywise receipes?

Four cooking sauces are available, with recipes featured on ITV.com. In fact, the website is a source of many of the tantalisingly beautiful Countrywise recipes. So make sure you check it out for yourself.

Countrywise sauces include:
Cottage Pie Cooking Sauce (ITV recipe)
Cumberland Cooking Sauce (ITV recipe)
Kentish Cider & Apple Cooking Sauce (ITV recipe)
Stout & Mushroom Cooking Sauce (ITV recipe)

Countrywise sauces inspired by classic British dishes
Countrywise sauces inspired by classic British dishes

Spread the love with Detox Your World’s raw and organic chocolate spread

Shazzie’s time in the kitchen is never wasted, coming up with more organic Raw Food wonders for you to indulge in – and when I say indulge, I mean it: we’re talking about luxuriating, pampering, gratifying your senses – beacuse that’s what these foods were made for…

For example, have you come across Almond Butter yet? It’s similar to peanut butter but with a sweet and more delicate almond taste. Detox Your World has a white almond butter or a wholemeal version.

Then, perhaps even more exciting, is Shazzie’s Detox Your World chocolate spread. The innovative sweet and smooth raw almond butter is mixed with lots of cacao (unprocessed cocoa) to provide a spread of instant chocolate indulgence.

A little love to spread around
A little love to spread around

What is more it’s a chocolate spread with a low GI, and it’s low in saturated fats, sodium and refined sugar – in fact there’s no added sugar, just some syrup-ticious agave syrup.

Finally, Shazzie has also brought out a raw Tahini (creamed sesame seed) and ‘Hempini‘ (creamed hemp). Unlike normal seed and nut butters, none of the nuts or seeds in these spreads are roasted which means they keep their original raw and highly nutrtional properties. And they’re dairy free and vegan, of course

All these organically nutritious spreads are perfect for smoothing over crackers, or dipping with carrots, cucumbers and celery. Just try a dollop in a smoothie or bake it in cookies – heaven!

So go ahead, try a jar of Detox Your World and help spread the love.

The brilliant Qi teas all began with the mistaken purchase of a book at an airport

It’s fascinating to learn how some companies started. Take for example the beginning of Qi Herbal Health.

There has been a huge increase in the tea business in recent years but few probably started by mistakenly buying the wrong book at an airport. Joe d’Armenia must have been forced to read about the benefits of Green Tea for a few hours, but he was fascinated what he read of the benefits of drinking the tea.

It surprised him more to learn that Green Tea was mostly imported by German brokers rather than directly from China. Following an introduction to Mrs Yu Jing Hong, a minister supervising over the Yellow Mountain Region of China, Joe d’Armenia arranged for tea to be imported directly into the UK.

The Yellow Mountain Region is an area of outstanding natural beauty, remote and unspoilt. The farmers there still farm by organic methods and Joe d’Armenia helped organise more than 400 families into the Xitou Organic Farmers Association, a Fairtrade partnership.

The farmers pride in their tea, blending the teas into wonderful varieties such as pomegranate with white tea or oolong with mint and licorice. Qi Herbal Health has resulted not only in industrial enterprise for the area but also the funding of a local school, greater medical care and amenities such as street lighting and road repairs for the local town of Xitou. Not bad for a journey which began with buying the wrong book.

Introducing the Organic Festive Collection – you can taste the quality

You can always taste quality can’t you? There’s a fulsome intensity to the texture, the taste is sensational even if it’s subtle, you experience that little burst of wonder which invariably inspires a second bite.

And it’s always better when you can share the delight with friends at Christmas, Easter or at an evening party.

The Organic Collection lends itself to such moments. The quality is assured, organic ingredients are standard and the best of European foods can be found in their range. Chef Antony Worrall Thompson holds the collection in high esteem.

The Organic Collection
Introducing The Organic Collection

Turron and Nougat
There’s the famous nougat of Montélimar in France or Spanish Turron in hard and soft varieties.

Chestnuts
There are chestnuts, roasted or puréed, straight from the Ardèche, the most famous chestnut area in Europe.

Sparkling Juices
Also from France, these beverages are ideal for those who don’t want to overdo the alcohol. There are three Sparkling Juices from Brittany in raspberry, blackcurrant or blueberry flavour.

Stollen and Marzipan
German Christmas treats include stollen  and marzipan – Stollen made according to the Steiner philosophy, and marzipan, from its home in Lübeck, made exclusively from almonds and honey.

Panettone and Cantuccini
For lovers of coffee-time treats there are Italian Cantuccini, in an almond or chocolate chip flavour, and the traditional panettone.

Biscuits and Flutes
It is difficult to surpass the quality of these delicacies: as delicious buttery delights from Normandy and Belgium, these biscuits have been hand picked for those with a taste for the finer things in life. Choose from Flutes, Galettes Fines or Petit Beurre.

If you’re having a flu vaccination it’s likely that you can improve it with probiotics

Did you know that probiotics are thought to boost the effectiveness of flu vaccines?

A study (see the British Journal of Nutrition) found that probiotic supplements may boost the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.

Probiotics increase immunity, but health experts don’t know exactly how the friendly bacteria help or why. However, the study found that probiotic supplements can improve a person’s immunity as a result of a flu vaccination. That means that you’re more likely to be protected from flu when it comes knocking.

But, when it comes to probiotics, if you need a flu vaccine, it’s still best to talk to your doctor about the safety of probiotics for you. Then, if you plan to take a probiotic supplement with a flu vaccine, it is suggested you take it daily for several days beforehand, and use it for a few weeks as well after the vaccination.

(Please note that the probiotics strains Bifidobacterium animalis subspecies lactis (BB-12) and Lactobacillus paracasei (L. casei 431) were the probiotics found to be effective in the study.)

Of course, as always in flu prevention, pay attention to basic hygiene as well. Wash hands, sleep well, include lots of fruit and veg in your diet, and keep drinking water or other fluids.

Do you dream of chocolate heaven? Double blessings come with Green & Black’s

Butterscotch choc, raisin choc with hazelnuts, creamy milk chocolate, almond chocolate, ginger chocolate, espresso chocolate, chocolate with orange and spices, mint chocolate, vanilla white chocolate, dark chocolate with cherries, milk chocolate with a soft caramel centre… the list goes on… and on…

But when you dream of chocolate heaven, what more could you want? Whether it’s 30%, 32%, 34%, 60%, 70% or 85% of cocoa solids – there’s so much choice!

You could just possibly transcend seventh heaven with Green & Black’s eight new Organic and Fairtrade collections.

Starting with the largest, there’s The Ultimate Collection – 15 bars of intense and refined chocolate tastes. Then there’s The Tasting Collection with 25 tantalizing flavours including an exciting new Dark Chocolate with Burnt Toffee bar.

Green & Black’s after dinner style chocolates ‘Conversations’ come in two varieties: a mixture of 40 Milk, White, Dark or Butterscotch textures or 27 squares of dark chocolate infused with peppermint oil. Both Conversation boxes are full of chocolates decorated with ingenious questions designed to intrigue and inspire after dinner conversation.

Finally the chocolatiers have organised their Miniature Bar Collection into four cornucopian pleasures. Depending on whether your friend loves a majority of dark or milk or white chocolate you can bestow 12 little blessings on them, or not bother with the choice and give 24 miniatures with a selection of chocolate bites from each.