The Benefits of Drinking Green Tea

I grew up a tea drinker because my mother was a great tea drinker. It almost seemed I was destined to follow and she couldn’t wait for me to be old enough to discover her love of tea. Most of my memories of her involve her holding a cuppa in one hand. She’d start her day with a mug of tea and end it the same way. She’d even take a mug of tea when she went outside to garden or hang the washing out. But she always drank black tea and never got to know the amazing health benefits of green tea.

Back then tea was always black tea varieties. Green tea was served at the local Chinese restaurant, but I never knew anyone who actually drank it. But the health benefits of green tea are now well known and widely touted.

health benefits green tea

The healing effects of green tea have been recognized by the Chinese for over 5,000 years. In the west we have been slow to recognize these, but widespread research has verified the amazing role that green tea plays in protecting the body against a host of diseases. You too can benefit simply by drinking green tea each day.

Tea is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which are considered the most effective and protective of all the antioxidants. Green tea is particulary rich in one of these called catechins, with between fifteen and thirty percent catechin content. EGCG is the main active component of the polyphenol activity and is highest in green tea.

The Difference Between Green And Black Tea

Green tea differs from black tea in that it is unfermented. It is made by steaming the leaves very quickly just before picking, rolling and drying. This prevents the breakdown, or oxidation, of the catechins.

Black tea undergoes more processing and the leaves are subjected to heat and light where they wither before they are fermented. This results in the EGCG being converted into less effective compounds. Black tea has less far less beneficial properties than green.

I started drinking three cups of green tea on my homeopath’s advice and initially I hated the taste. But I decided to experiment with how I made the tea and learnt some interesting things.

  • Strong green tea is very astringent.
  • Green tea gets bitter as it cools down.
  • Experts advise to not use boiling water in the preparation of green tea as it destroys the flavonoids which give the healing potential.
  • Green tea marries well with other herbal and floral flavours.

Once I realized that unlike black teas, the strength and temperature of the green tea brew was far more crucial to drinking pleasure, I quickly came to enjoy it. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I had to careful not to drink too much and this leads to digestive problems. Now I stick to three or four cups a day.

Green tea is often combined with other ingredients. Jasmine is one of the more common ones. Recently I found a wonderful mix of green tea and berries. Not only is it delicious, it is also loaded with antioxidants.

The Benefits

teapot cartoonWhich brings me to the benefits of drinking green tea, and the good news just keep getting better. It’s difficult for any black tea or coffee lover to see why they should make the change, whether it be a total change to green tea or just to include it alongside their coffee or black tea, but green tea has many reasons why it’s a vastly better choice.

Green tea’s high in antioxidants (EGCG) to protect the cells from damage and inflammation caused by free radicals which leads to many chronic diseases.

Scientific research into the effects of green tea

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All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

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Spirulina, The Supergreen Solution

super spirulina

Spirulina is one of my favourite superfoods because it is one of the most nutritious plant-like organisms known to humans. I regard it as the ultimate superfood powerhouse. Although there are other super-greens such as chlorella, spirulina is almost like the supergreen equivalent of a “multi-vitamin”, a great all-rounder. Its nutritional benefits are both vast and impressive, making it an invaluable food especially for vegetarians, vegans, anaemics, diabetics and anyone who is nutritionally compromised.

Spirulina is one of the oldest life-forms on the earth and it helped produce our oxygen-rich atmosphere billions of years ago. Actually a blue green algae, it is a 100% natural and highly nutritious micro water plant. It is found in both the ocean and large warm alkaline fresh water lakes.

Spirulina is so nutrient dense you could survive on it and water alone.

Health Benefits

Spirulina earns its superfood powerhouse status because it has the highest concentration of digestible vegetable protein (60-70%) with a perfectly balanced combination of essential amino acids. This is more protein than you will find in beef, chicken or soybeans.

One of the most common vitamin deficiencies found in a vegan or vegetarian diet is vitamin B12. When you consider that Spirulina also contains large amounts of Vitamin B12, which is very difficult to find in other plant foods, it is easy to understand why it makes such a great choice for vegetarians.

Spirulina is loaded with other nutrients in addition to B12. It is very rich in iron, which is a mineral that is very commonly deficient. Spirulina also contains calcium, magnesium, and Vitamins A, B, C, D, E and K. There are also small amounts of a number of other minerals. There is no use in ingesting lots of minerals if they are not absorbed, but Spirulina actually improves mineral absorption and so the abundance of minerals it contains can be utilized properly by the body.

Spirulina is a wonderful plant source of the essential fatty acids linolenic acid (omega-3) and GLA (omega-6), offering a great source for anyone who cannot get their essential fatty acids from fish oil.

There is always some concern about the effect on processing and shelf storage on nutrients. But Spirulina only grows in extremely warm conditions and it has the ability to withstand the high temperatures that are always involved in processing, able to retain its nutritional value unlike many other plant foods which deteriorate at these temperatures.

It only contains 3.9 calories per gram and still has all of these great benefits. It is a low calorie, nutrient dense

The immune boosting qualities of spirulina can never be over stated. With its unique ability to fight infection, enhance cellular functioning, and even keep cancer at bay, it has a wide range of uses.

Here are some ways that Spirulina is beneficial:

  • Boosts energy – it is a source of life force or vitality
  • Protection against viruses including flu, herpes, mumps and measles
  • Promotes healthy nerve tissue
  • Increases antioxidant protection to fight free radicals
  • Improves digestion and gut health Improves age spots, eczema, acne, rashes
  • Fights the ageing process,
  • Curbs the appetite to help weight loss
  • Aids glaucoma, cataracts, poor vision
  • Improves allergies & respiratory function
  • Helps to detoxify radiation out of the body
  • Plus it fights heart disease, reduces arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression, and lowers bad cholesterol

Because it is so easily digested it packs a powerful punch when it comes to all these benefits.

What to look for

Good Spirulina has no side effects, and this is one product that you need to be absolutely certain of the quality. Contaminated blue-green algae is incredibly toxic to the system and can cause a range of fresh health problems such as liver damage. Because Spirulina easily absorbs nutrients from water, if the water contains pollution or heavy metals, these will be highly concentrated in the Spirulina cell. If this happens, then this kind of Spirulina is no longer suitable for human consumption. There are a number of Spirulina products on the market that are of questionable quality so select carefully. Either research well or buy from a qualified practitioner.


Spirulina Tablets
Spirulina Tablets

Spirulina comes in powder or tablet form and it is easy to tell if it is good quality or not. Quality tablets are made without sugar, starch fillers, animal parts, preservatives, stabilizers, and colours. They are a uniform dark green colour without any light coloured specks. You can take up to about twelve a day, and some people take even more. But start out with three and increase to six over a couple of days. You can take them all at once or spread over two doses. The recommended dose for adults is 5-10 per day.

When I am going on a long-haul flight I take lots of Spirulina on the day of the flight as well as the day before and the one after. It is part of my ‘flight regime’ to help overcome the bad effects of air travel.

Powder is a better choice if you want to add spirulina to smoothies, juice or other foods. 100% pure powder is also a uniformly dark green colour.  You feel the effects very quickly because the powder is easily digested. Because Spirulina is a natural food and NOT a supplement you can’t take too much. If you take more than you need it is like overeating. You can take two or more tablespoons a day but a good way to start is with one teaspoon (5 grams) added to drinks or other foods. The drink or smoothie colour will change to dark green but it doesn’t really affect the flavour. You can gradually increase the amount over time to two teaspoons (10gms) per drink.

I use the brand Hawaiian Pacifica made by Microorganics in my clinic as I know it to be high quality and free from toxic heavy metals. Just for the record, I have no affiliation with this company or product, and only recommend it to you to help your health. (I also like this one personally as it is easy to swallow)

If you are very run down or have a debilitating illness keep the amount you take low. You will get enormous benefit from the smaller amount and the smaller quantity will not push your body too fast or too hard.

Avoid alcohol, soft drinks or coffee for about 30 minutes after taking the spirulina as these will destroy some of the nutrients and enzymes.

People with hyperparathyroidism or phenylketonuria should not take spirulina.

Spirulina powder
Spirulina powder


All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

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Delicious Recipes Using The Superfood – Spirulina (

Mastering The Breath Of Life

lust for life

How often do we ask somebody “how are you doing?” If we were really concerned for their wellbeing perhaps it would be better to ask them “how are you breathing?”

Have you ever stopped to consider how you breathe? Have you ever stopped to watch your breath? If you practice yoga the answer is likely a resounding yes as the use of breathing is a yogic fundamental. Likewise, meditation practices and relaxation techniques require breath awareness and control. But how often do you stop and consciously alter your breath during your normal day?

Consciously controlling your breathing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to diminish the effect of stress on your body and improve your health. As stress leads to the production of free radicals and free radicals are the forerunner of serious chronic disease, efficient, effective and mindful breathing is a basic essential of good health practice.

Ninety percent of people breathe completely inefficiently. Their breathing is unconscious and purely reflexive. When breath is not conscious it can easily become haphazard and irregular. Being mindful of your breath allows you the conscious control to command how you breathe rather than allowing it to become automatic. When you are not in control of your breath, when you ignore it, a primitive part of your brain is triggered to step in and take over – breathing becomes a simple reflex action, it becomes unconscious.

Stop right now and take a look at just how you breathe. Take a deep breath. Is it satisfying or do you find it somewhat difficult? Is it shallow? Is it fast? Do you sigh a lot? Or gasp? Do you hold your breath?

Try this experiment. Time yourself and count how many breaths you take in one minute. For most people the number will be between sixteen and twenty which indicates that they are breathing poorly, from the thoracic region, or upper chest. They are breathing reflexively, and their breathing is under the control of the primitive part of the brain. This way of breathing is very inefficient. The air they breathe is only making it into the upper part of the lungs, which means they are not getting the optimum amounts of oxygen that their body requires.

You can tell when people are thoracic breathing as the upper part of the chest rises with each breath and sometimes even the shoulders may rise a little or slump forward.

When we were born we automatically breathed well. When babies breathe their abdomen rises with every in-breath and subsides as they exhale. But most of us lost this innate way of breathing as we got older. As children we copied our parents and those around us who generally shallow breathed. When we get upset, sad or angry we often even hold our breath. By the time we are adults we have become disconnected from our breath.

When I was young I was taught to suck in my belly and to stand tall, all in the interest of looking good and fitting into tight fashion. But cultural practices such as these, which are the basis of learned habits, are a disaster to good breathing techniques. The desire for a flat stomach has meant that many people now have tight diaphragm muscles which lead to restricted breathing. As an adult I have had to unlearn this practice and learn to ‘stand loose and let my belly hang out’ so I can use my abdominal muscles to breathe properly.

Living with ongoing stress and anxiety is another major cause of poor breathing for many people. It creates a pattern of shallow, more rapid breathing, which means that less oxygen reaches the brain. This not only makes them feel light-headed or even dizzy, it also affects their thinking processes, causing them to become unfocused. With reduced thinking capacity they are less able to deal with their anxiety or stress effectively or rationally. It means they have great difficulty moving their body out of the state of constant readiness, the ‘fight or flight response’, and it maintains their body in a state of high stress hormone production.

Why Develop The Habit Of Deep Breathing

Most people have at some time been told to slow down and breathe when they are distressed, or sometimes more simply to “take a deep breath”.

When you slow the breath down you also breathe air more deeply into your lungs.

However, there is no point in expecting your lungs to do all the work to breathe as basically, they are just empty sacs to hold air, and are incapable of doing the work of breathing on their own.

Good breathing utilizes muscles lower down the body than those in the chest and upper back. Right across the front of your body below the ribs is a sheet of muscle called the diaphragm. It sits directly below the lungs and above the abdomen. When you squeeze in your belly the diaphragm moves upward and pushes the air out of your lungs. When the abdominal muscles are relaxed the diaphragm moves back down, leaving space for the lungs to stretch out, which draws air into the expanded lung space. Healthy, beneficial breathing comes from the diaphragm.

When you don’t breathe deeply into the abdomen the space for lung expansion is greatly reduced and less air enters, meaning less oxygen is able to enter the blood.  If you put your hand on the bottom of your ribs and take a deep breath right now you will feel your hand rise and fall. That is because the diaphragm is doing its job, rising and falling to push air out of the lungs and let air flow back in. If you are breathing deeply you should also see your abdomen rise and fall.

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All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue. 

Source articles

Effective Breathing – why it’s so important

Smith Jones, Susan, Health Bliss: 50 Revitalizing NatureFoods and Lifestyle Choices to Promote Vibrant Health, Kindle ed, 2008