For thousands of years, humans have used herbal and plant remedies to cure illness and prevent distress. These panaceas were part of modern medicine and health studies. Today, there is still a lot more for scientists to discover and understand about what our ancestors used to heal the body, mind and soul to apply in the modern time.
While our civilization becomes more technologically and medically advanced, people are going back to these ancient remedies that have been used for centuries to heal us. People are becoming more aware of their health, choosing natural panaceas to cure ailments makes sense. Add these seven ancient ‘super’ foods to your life today.
World's common ancient panaceas
From West to East, different civilizations offered different ancient panaceas. Depending on your body condition and the illness severity, ancient natural remedy is a healthy and natural way to improve your well-being and bring more balance into your life.
We decided to explore some of the popular and commonly used herbal powdered remedies by people worldwide to manage weight, boost energy, improve immune system and enhance overall wellness. Let’s find out their secrets!
Maca powder is derived from maca root, native to the high Andes of central Peru. For 3000 years, this plant has been cultivated as vegetable crop and herbal medicine.
The main edible part of this plant is the root, similar to carrot or radish. The root is cultivated and often consumed in the powder form. It has an acquired taste which has been described as nutty and earthy, so people often add it to smoothies, juices, oatmeal or sweets.
Maca root is the great source of important vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, etc. The major antioxidant found in maca is glucosinolate, a natural compound commonly found in broccoli, cabbage, or horseradish. Glucosinolate has been showed in some studies to possess anti-carcinogenic property by blocking the formation of cancer caused by the environment or within the body. It’s responsible for the release of detoxifying enzymes that eliminate carcinogen from the body.
Maca powder derived from its roots
Due to its detoxifying properties, maca can also help boost our immune system, prevent diseases, and also help keep your skin healthy from free radicals and sun damage. You can also make your own Maca Face Mask to help your skin radiant and shine with this recipe.
Another common use and benefit of Maca is to rev up libido in both women and men. It can also balance body hormones and boost fertility in male. Whereas in female, maca is shown in a small study that it can also help relieve the menopausal symptoms, including interrupted sleep, hot flashes, anxiety and depression.
Also originated in Peru, lucuma is known as “gold of the Incas” and has been cultivated as fruit crops since 200 AD. Lucuma is also the symbol of fertility in Peruvian culture and has been used as staple food and religious offering that associated with fertility.
Lucuma fruits- the famous "golds of the Incas"
With its yellow-orange flesh and texture of a hard-boiled yolk, it’s also called Egg fruit. Its taste is sweet as a tropical mango blended with apricot which is in fact the most popular flavour for ice cream in Peru. The pulp of the fruit is dehydrated to produce the powder form that is widely used in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and can be shipped around the world.
Lucuma is not only well-loved for its taste but also for its medicinal benefits. Like maca, lucuma is the rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It’s super great for combat skin aging, fight diseases, and can even accelerate healing and tissue regeneration due to its anti-biotic, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Furthermore, lucuma is super great for weight and blood sugar management. It is the natural sweetener with a low GI, an index tells the effect of foods on blood sugar level on the scale of 1-100. With its low GI, lucuma’s sweetness is safe for diabetics and helps maintain a healthy sugar level in blood. As a fruit, it contains healthy carbohydrates and fat which fuel energy for the brain and body yet keep your waistline in check.
Lucuma juice is healthy for your beauty & general wellness
So move over sugar, and substitute this wonderful powder to your morning smoothies, cereals, drinks, baking treats. Don’t forget the ice-cream as well!
Cacao is definitely the most popular plant on the planet where chocolate- the world’s famous sweet treat, is derived from. Cacao, an evergreen tree, is native to the deep tropical Amazon basin and other tropical regions of the Central and South America. Although its name is well-known worldwide, people tend to only think cacao as a treat without knowing the loads of health benefits it carries.
Cacao beans from cacao fruits
Let’s start with the difference of cocoa and cacao powder. Cocoa and cacao powders are both derived from cacao trees. The difference lies in the process of making them. Cacao powder is often raw ingredient where it is the unroasted beans that are cold-pressed while cocoa powder is the raw cacao powder that is roasted at a high temperature.
Because raw cacao is not treated with high temperature its enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients retain with all the amazing health benefits that you might not find from an average store-bought chocolates. The content of antioxidants like epicatechins, catechins, resveratrol and procyanidins benefits cardiovascular health and blood sugar level. The antioxidants are also higher than most of the superfoods such as 20 times more than blueberries and four times more than the average dark chocolate.
Raw cacao powder is from un-roasted beans
The best part of cacao is definitely its natural mood booster, stress reliever, and brain enhancer. Raw cacao contains the high content of serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine which are the neurotransmitters, often-called ‘bliss’ chemicals, that stimulate the euphoric feelings of relaxation, happiness and love.
Another is phenethylamine or PEA which is normally released when you are attracted to someone and can stimulate a release of endorphins to help us stay focused and sharp.
So mix some raw cacao powder to your morning drink like our Raw Cacao Matcha Smoothie to enhance your mood and energy for a new day!
Leaving the West we now explore the first ingredient that originated from the East- the mighty cinnamon. Cinnamon is not so unfamiliar to any of us but not many people know the real story of this spice. There are two commonly known types of cinnamon in the world. Ceylon aka true cinnamon is native in Sri Lanka and southeastern coast of India while Cassia- the closely related species is originated from China, which also is commonly used in the US.
Cassia vs Ceylon cinnamon
Cinnamon is one of the well-known and widely used in the ancient world. Thanks to the Arabs, cinnamon was first introduced to the West from the ancient trade route went from East to West. It was the big trade good in ancient world and even now. It is used extensively for ritual and mundane purposes such as perfumes, incense, oil, candles. Beside these commercial uses, cinnamons are well-known for their health benefits and medicinal effects.
Both types have been studies and turn out they are not the same. Unlike the true cinnamon, cassia contains a natural chemical compound called coumarin which acts as a blood thinner and can be toxic to the liver and kidneys if taken in large dose. Most cheap cinnamon sold in supermarkets is more likely to be Cassia as Ceylon is more rare to find.
Cinnamon powder is great with many uses
Ceylon cinnamon has the great health benefits you might want to know. A study in 2014 published on PLOS One revealed that cinnamon improves insulin action in brain which help regulate metabolism and brain function. This effect further mediates metabolic alterations in the liver that help reduce liver fat and balance blood sugar.
Cinnamon is super great for the brain, diabetes and weight management. So don’t forget to spice up your oatmeal or tea with some Ceylon cinnamon as autumn is here.
The most common question people ask is probably if turmeric is different from cumin. Although they both are popular spices in curry and used in Ayurvedic medicine, the world’s oldest holistic healing system from India, turmeric in fact is very different from cumin. Cumin is derived from seeds native from east Mediterranean to South Asia while turmeric is a root similar to ginger and native in Southeast Asia. For now we only focus on turmeric.
Cumin seeds vs. turmeric roots
There has been many studies on how turmeric benefits our body. Turmeric contains several pharmacological compounds and curcumin is the main one. It is the most important antioxidant that has powerful anti-inflammatory property.
It helps to repair tissue damages and fight pathogens. With its anti-inflammatory effect at the molecular level, scientists believe that turmeric helps treatment in many different diseases like arthritis or osteoarthritis, improves pancreas and spleen healths, and is a natural painkiller by inhibiting the inflammatory causing pain.
And you might haven’t know but many Asian cultures, including Southeast Asia, have been using turmeric for the skin. As a potent antioxidant, curcumin from turmeric helps prevent skin aging from free radicals, soothe burns and acnes even on sensitive skin, and heal wounds and scars.
Originated from a farland Korea, ginseng is not uncommon in traditional Asian medicine. Ginseng is a type of root that its look resembles a human body with shoots for legs and arms. Because of its look ancient Asian people believed this can treat many human health problems, from cold, flu and fatigue to asthma and cancer.
Ginseng roots resemble human body
Korean ginseng or Panax ginseng have been studied on its benefits especially its immunity boosting effect. Some studies show that ginseng effectively treats inflammatory diseases by protect the cells from pathogens and suppress inflammatory stimuli from bacteria. They also found that ginseng’ positive effect on brain ischemia, a condition of insufficient blood flow to brain that can lead to irreversible brain damage.
Ginseng’s anti-bacterial and anti-viral activity are also studied. It significantly inhibits the activity of influenza virus in flu such as H9N2 virus causing cell death and DNA damage, or H1N1 (swine flu) causing pneumonia or lung infection. Some scientists also believe that ginseng can be valuable in dealing with HIV infection but more studies are needed to confirm that.
Ginseng tea is the traditional Chinese medicine
If you are interested to try out this ancient herb, know that unlike turmeric, cinnamon or cacao powder, it is purely used as medicine. It is better to get advice from your doctor to have the right dosage for you. Asian cultures often use its root or powder form in their herbal tea. So check with your doc and try some ginseng tea for your health regimen.
Matcha is becoming more and more known in the recent years. Originating in China, then popularized in Japan, matcha was mainly used in tea ceremony as a traditional ritual. When this green powder become more well known to the world, matcha is not just a ritual tradition but now becomes the famous ingredient in culinary, beauty care, and health regimen.
Matcha has loads of health benefits
Matcha’s EGCG is the well-studied antioxidant with tons of health benefits from weight management, energy and mood booster, memory and cognition enhancer, to anti-aging and free radicals fighter. Like many other antioxidants, EGCG has an awesome anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Studies showed that anti-inflammatory effect from matcha helps improve acne and oral health. EGCG regulates the sebum production and bacterial activity which cause inflammation and acne on skin, while maintain the skin structure by increasing blood flow and hydration to skin which prevents skin aging.
Matcha face mask - photo credits to @wileyxcoyote
EGCG helps fight bacteria in your mouth that can lead to cavity and bad breaths. EGCG and the high content of chlorophyll in matcha make it the great detoxifier that helps cleanse all the radical toxin in the body.
Not only benefiting skin and teeth, matcha is great for weight loss and blood sugar level control. By increasing metabolism and fat burning, drinking matcha tea daily helps you manage your weight and health. Matcha also increases your energy level and endurance in exercise which helps further in weight loss.
For a healthy mind and mood, matcha contains both caffeine and L-theanine which is the perfect synergy for stress and anxiety reliever, cognitive performance and focus booster, and mood enhancer.
Being creative with Matcha - photo credits to @becomingness
Matcha green tea is not only beneficial to your health, mind, beauty but also is a delicious ingredient in food and baking. Matcha is truly the amazing panacea that nature has to offer us.
The discovery of these incredible panaceas has played an important role in our modern society. The ancient knowledges were the root of our knowledge about health and wellness today. But just keep in mind that these panaceas are not solely miracle. After all, a healthy body is achieved from the food we eat but also the work we do.
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Christmas spirit is in town! - via @jenna_yttar (L) & @amyleeactive (R)
It’s that time of a year again; the time for sweet treats, gourmet feasts, and family bonding. Yes! We’re talking about Christmastime.
From now until New Year’s Day, you will probably be planning and scheduling family visits, gift shopping, and preparing food. Amongst all this busyness, there’s no surprise staying healthy and fit during the holiday season will move further down the to do list.
However, we believe that although the holiday season is about indulging, it can be done in moderation. So we’ve come up with a list of tips to help you stay on track with your health and fitness routine during the holidays, so you can celebrate a season of indulgences without the New Year guilt.
Eating plays a big part in staying fit and healthy during the holidays. You are often invited to numerous dinners over the Christmas period. It can be hard to control what you eat, as there is often so much delicious food and tempting desserts on offer.
However, there are a few simple tricks that can help prevent us from overeating:
A great morning begins with great breakfast - and matcha! - via @cestbonn_e
Skipping breakfast is never a good tactic for staying healthy and managing your weight. Not eating breakfast can mess up your overall health. In the long run, your body turns to starvation mode, leading to the slowing down of your metabolic rate. So when you do go back to eating, the body thinks it should store up all the energy it can (aka calories) to prepare for its next starvation period - even if you end up eating less than normal.
In the short term, not eating until lunch or dinnertime can cause you to overeat. So instead, have a healthy breakfast to kick start the mornings throughout the holiday season. The nourishment will keep you fuelled for the whole day too.
Matcha Adzuki Bread (@alterjiwo) & Matcha Avo Smoothie (@thrivingonplants)
So get yourself a healthy matcha smoothie bowl or freshly baked matcha muffins to munch on for your first meal of the day. You can also check out more of our healthy breakfast ideas at Kenko Tea here.
Similarly, before a big feast in the evening, have a healthy snack to help you temper the urge to overeat too much at those Christmas parties.
Eating healthy snacks can help to activate your metabolism, allowing you to maintain your blood sugar in between meals. A bowl of vegan matcha granola, a few pieces of dark chocolate filled with matcha or a couple of matcha pistachio cups are just some examples of delicious, yet healthy snacks.
Healthy matcha snacks - via @canyourdoctorcookthis, @the_paleo_shack, & @zuzigettingfit
Protein and fibre are your friends over the holiday season. Protein is a healthy source of energy for weight management, as it takes more time to digest than other foods, making you feel fuller for longer.
Similarly, fibre simply makes you feel full without adding extra calories to your body, reducing your appetite while allowing you to eat less. Soluble fibre can slow down the absorption of sugars into your bloodstream, lowering your blood sugar and insulin levels, meaning your body is less likely to store fat.
So make sure you serve yourself some turkey or plant-based proteins like legumes, quinoa or veggies. It helps to serve your food on a small plate too, to ‘trick’ your brain into thinking you’re having a larger portion than you are.
Always drink plenty of water before, during and after big holiday meals. Not only does staying hydrated help you feel full, but it also keeps you away from sugar-filled drinks like soda or juices. Water is the best way to beat the heat at this time of year, keeping you from feeling fatigued.
Working out with Kenko Tea's matcha - via @tttesselate (L) & @kylraggio (R)
It’s hard to stay active during the holidays as this is often the best time for sleeping in and being lazy. Nevertheless, try to plan a holiday workout routine, setting yourself achievable goals.
You should plan to go to the gym or do some exercise at home early in the morning before you get distracted with parties and visiting friends and family. You don’t have to spend too much time, 15 minutes will do, but it’s a simple way to stay on top of your fitness regime.
Matcha Kale Smoothie (@elocyninoz) & Matcha Bliss Balls (@beautyinpure)
Holidays are all about bonding and togetherness, so it’s not a bad idea to find yourself a workout buddy (or buddies) to encourage you to keep fit during the festive season.
Working out needn’t be a solitary activity, so encourage each other to get moving during pre-dinner workouts. This way you can be sure to stay on top of your workout routine, while feeling great too.
Kitty is the best workout buddy, ya know? - via @kaseyhuongdoan
If you really don’t have the time, or aren’t in the mood for exercise, try and build activity into your everyday tasks. Don’t sit in a room for whole day, get up and take a walk for 15 minutes around your neighbourhood. You might even discover something new or encounter people you haven’t seen for awhile.
Instead of parking close to the supermarket doorway, park further away and take a walk to increase your movements. If you are holidaying to someplace new, stroll around the new area on foot or bike instead of taking a taxi or public transportation.
Walking is not only easy but good for your physical and mental health, as it gives you an opportunity to slow down from the busy pace of life. So get moving!
Another way to keep yourself fit and active during the holidays is to keep get on top of household chores. If you have been busy with school, exams or work during the year, the holidays can be a good time out to get some household chores done.
Whether it’s raking the leaves or deep cleaning your kitchen, pottering around the house is sometimes the best way to get your heart rate up while fitting in some exercise in a practical way. Take a break and replenish your energy with a refreshing matcha smoothie or matcha iced latte in between scrubbing those tiles.
Matcha iced latte after cleaning sounds great! - via @aumanro
For some people, the holiday period can be stressful, depressing and overwhelming. Your to do list can become long and it can be difficult trying to keep all family members happy.
But don’t let it get to you. It’s important to stay on top of your emotional and mental well-being… and here are some tips to help you do it.
Morning meditation can imrpove your well-being - via popweightloss.com
Meditation helps you to relax your muscles and breathe deeply. Meditation is also a good way to practise mindfulness, which encourages emotional relaxation, improves self-esteem and optimism, and lessens stress and anxiety.
Instead of turning to food or alcohol to cope with stress, meditation can help prevent emotional over-eating and drinking, which is great for both your mind and body. So take at least five minutes after waking up and before going to bed to free your mind while in a meditative state.
Since ancient times, people have been drinking teas and herbal drinks in spiritual and holistic rituals, to help improve and relax their minds and bodies.
Start your day right with matcha tea - via @ carlylancasterblog
Matcha consists of both caffeine and l-theanine - a synergy that strengthens cognitive focus while enhancing mind relaxation. Matcha is the perfect drink to help you stay on top of your holiday to do list without feeling stressed.
Feeling drowsy and heavy-eyed is not how you want to start the holiday season. The amount of sleep you get defines your energy levels and productivity for your day.
Time for some beauty sleep - via @ebony_walton
Moreover, lack of sleep is linked to weight gain as you are more tempted to eat in the anticipation of a sugar rush.
So no matter how fun the party is or how much more work you need to complete, wrap it up at a reasonable hour and try to get a good night's sleep!
Green, Bright, Positive, & Stress-free! - via @michelleharsworld
Keeping yourself positive and stress-free is a difficult task when it can cause financial or interpersonal stress.
It is ok to take a break from these pressures, forget the schedule and just do what you want to do. Set realistic Christmas goals and don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go to plan.
Remember to treat yourself - it is the festive period after all! You’ll feel better for it, and ready to rock the best time of year.
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(Photo Matcha Powder via @beingglutenfree)
Yerba mate, or mate, is a hot new trend in the tea drinking world and has been recognised by many health experts around the globe for its benefits.
But tea lovers can often confuse mate and matcha. So we want to break down some facts about mate and matcha, to explore their differences.
This is not really about who is the winner. Both drinks are healthy and have amazing health benefits for us. At the end of the day, we will leave it to you to decide. Though as you can tell, we’ve made our choice!
Matcha green tea is originally from China and was brought to Japan by a Zen monk who developed a ritual for consuming powdered tea in the year 1191. This ritual has been passed down through the years to become the matcha we know and love today, be it the ceremonial type used in tea ceremonies or the culinary mix used for baking and drinks like matcha lattes.
Mate is derived from a plant native to tropical rainforests in Brazil and Paraguay in South America. It was found and used as a cultural drink by the ancient Guarani Tribes, then recognized by missionary Jesuit priests who helped it become a popular social drink.
Matcha is green tea leaves crushed into a powder form. It has a bright, vibrantly green colour due to the special method of its cultivation. The leaves are de-veined and de-stemmed, which helps the matcha powder become fine and smooth.
The taste of matcha is naturally sweet with a slight vegetal or grassy overtone and a hint of astringent, which makes it pair very well with other flavours in baking or beverages.
(Photo via @beingglutenfree)
Mate is made from dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis tree in South America. People harvest the leaves in the forest and dry them for consuming.
Mate has the acquired taste, which is a slight astringent bitter flavour, caused by the high tannin content in the leaves. Also, the veins and stems are not removed from the plant, so mate typically has a strong woody flavour. To make the taste more palatable, sweetener is sometimes added.
Matcha is versatile and easy to mix with other flavours. You can prepare traditional matcha tea by whisking the powder in hot water. For cooking, you can add matcha powder to make your recipes more unique and delicious. Want some ideas? Visit our matcha recipes page here!
(Photo via @yummiegirl)
Mate is prepared like steeped tea, with the dried leaves immersed in hot water inside a traditional hollow gourd. When ready, the tea is sipped through a metal straw called bombilla.
Mate is not consumed in any other way beside drinking. The leaves are not versatile as a powder form, so we can’t guarantee how it would turn out if you incorporated mate into other recipes!
Matcha is rich in nutrients and essential vitamins, including vitamin C, zinc, and potassium. It’s low in calories and cholesterol, which is great for your waistline and cardiac health.
There’s also caffeine and an important amino acid called L-theanine, along with a high antioxidant content including catechins and chlorophyll.
Mate also contains lots of vitamins and minerals. It is abundant in amino acids, antioxidants, caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine - well-known stimulants also found in tea, coffee and chocolate.
Mate is low in calories and beneficial for weight management.
Matcha contains roughly 75mg caffeine in 8 fl. oz, which is a small amount compared with coffee. Unlike coffee, matcha also has L-theanine, an amino acid, that works together with caffeine.
This amino acid is known for its ability to promote relaxation and concentration. Its combination with the caffeine in matcha helps improve cognitive performance, and also helps prevent caffeine’s usual side effects like an energy crash or jitters.
Mate has 80mg caffeine per 8 fl. oz, which is similar to matcha. There are many sources that say mate does not contain caffeine, but instead has ‘mateine’ as its active stimulant. However, more research is needed to support this claim.
Similar to matcha, most mate consumers don’t experience the negative side effects of the caffeine content. But unlike matcha, mate does not contain L-theanine and the synergy effect of this amino acid and caffeine.
Matcha is abundant in antioxidants, with an ORAC value of about 1350 units per gram. Matcha helps boost metabolism, reduce inflammation and aids in preventing the growth of cancer cells. It also slows bacterial growth that leads to plaque buildup on teeth or acne on skin.
The most significant antioxidant found in matcha is called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG. It is well-known for its amazing effect on weight loss, improving metabolism and reducing the risks of various diseases. It’s also great for your teeth and skin, due to its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mate is also super rich in antioxidants, with an ORAC value of about 6,000 units. The primary antioxidant is Chlorogenic Acid, which is potent for slowing the release of glucose in the body, reducing blood pressure, cholesterol and helping fight cancers and bacteria.
Some researches show that, like matcha, yerba mate also aids weight loss by reducing appetite, increasing energy expenditure, burning stored fat and improving insulin sensitivity.
With the tag team of L-theanine and caffeine working away, matcha can amazingly improve your mood, sharpen concentration and increase your energy - with the effects sustained for a long period of time.
Research shows matcha green tea boosts energy expenditure by up to 8% and helps keep those increased energy and concentration levels going for between 4-6 hours. It’s also a super helpful supplement for your workout routine, as matcha can prolong physical endurance and enhance performance.
Mate also delivers a balanced energy boost, stimulating concentration and alertness without an energy crash, due to the low amount of caffeine compared to coffee. Similar to matcha, yerba mate is also capable of increasing energy expenditure and delaying physical fatigue during exercise.
(Photo via @eatwithandy)
Matcha is great for weight management due to the abundance of EGCG. EGCG promotes fat burning for energy by 17% and increases the metabolic rate up to 40%. It prevents fat absorption and accumulation, especially for abdominal fat.
A study has shown that combining matcha and exercise can also increase up to 89% of fat burned. It is also known to reduce cholesterol in blood which prevents obesity and heart diseases.
Mate is also potent for helping weight loss by increasing the amount of fat you can burn, boosting energy expenditure and promoting a feeling of fullness, which stops cravings. Mate also has the ability to improve your digestion, which in turn helps boost metabolism.
With its amazing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, matcha can reduce acne, prevent skin aging and the risk of cancers by suppressing UV-induced damage. EGCG also improves skin structure by enhancing blood flow and increasing hydration.
You can use matcha orally by drinking it, or topically by applying it directly on your skin. Matcha can also be incorporated with any skin care products.
(Photo via @natalieparpaiola)
Mate also contains a rich content of antioxidants, which is ideal for skin care. It has been shown to regulate blood circulation to the skin, reduce cellulite and stretch marks, and eliminate damaged cells.
Unlike matcha, you can’t use yerba mate topically on your skin. Drinking it is the way to get its benefits for your skin.
So have you decided which product you prefer? It’s a tough ask. Both of drinks are healthy for us in many ways and they share plenty great benefits for our bodies, minds and moods.
In the end, we think it doesn’t matter which one is better. You can enjoy matcha for its versatility and convenience, or yerba mate for the richness of antioxidants, or you can just have both!
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you feel good - and matcha and mate can help do just that.
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(Photo from @kenkotea)
Are you a morning person? Do you sometimes wake up feeling grumpy or halfhearted?
How you feel in the morning can set the tone for the rest of the day.
But you don’t have to settle for a slow start. You can influence and improve how you feel first thing in the morning by developing a positive morning ritual.
After all, the morning is one of the best times to have for yourself, where you can reflect, grow, plan and set out your goals.
A morning ritual is something that gives you a reason to get out of bed other than the beeping of the alarm. It will bring you good energy and a sense of focus that sets up the rest of your day for happiness and success.
To help make your mornings more productive, energetic and stress-free, we have come up with 10 habits that can bring you a fresh start!
(Photo from whiteconsultingllc.com)
Before going to bed, it’s a good habit to prepare what you need for the next day - your outfit, your work gear, what you’ll have for breakfast and lunch.
By taking care of these things the night before, your morning will be much smoother and you’ll have less moments of stress and rushing around.
You can wake knowing you have already prepared for the day, and can relax and enjoy the morning, setting you up for a brighter day.
(Photo from reilycenter.com)
Waking up feeling drowsy and heavy-eyed is not a great start to the day.
A productive morning begins with a good night’s sleep. Sleep is the key to maintaining a healthy sense of well being and a calm, focussed state of mind. And did you know sleep is your best beauty remedy too?
It’s recommended that average adults (18-35 years old) spend 7-9 hours a night sleeping.
Once is not enough though. The key has to sleep for this amount of time regularly, building up a good sleeping habit that refreshes and energises your body.
A great way to ensure you get enough shut-eye is not to stay up too late. Scientists have suggested that the ideal bedtime is 10-15 minutes before you want to fall asleep. So if you want to wake up by 7 am and maintain 8 hours of sleep, you should go to bed around 10:45 pm.
When you have enough good sleep, your body is fully recharged and ready for the new day. Waking refreshed will also give you more time for yourself in the morning to prepare, plan, and relax.
(Photo from sglivingpod.com)
In Japan and many Asian countries, it is common to drink water immediately after waking up. After 8 hours of sleep, your body becomes dehydrated because it still operates even when you sleep.
Drinking at least 500ml water in the morning helps to fuel up your brain, flush out body toxins, boost your metabolism and refresh your mood.
Since 75% of your brain is water, drinking a glass when you get out of bed will keep you sharp and clear in the morning, boosting your awareness and productivity.
While you’re sleeping, your body still operates and repairs itself. So drinking water helps release the toxins that have built up during the night. This keeps you healthy and feeling great.
Another great reason to drink water is to increase your metabolism by up to 30%, according to a published study. You also tend to eat less and make better food choices at breakfast after having glass of water in the morning.
And one more thing - it’s better to drink warm water instead of cold. Drinking cold water causes the body to heat up the water and expend more energy, while warm water is more beneficial to the body’s natural state.
Drinking water first thing in the morning is a simple habit to add to your morning routine, bringing plenty of benefits.
(Photo from telegraph.co.uk)
Morning sunlight can trigger your body’s biological clock and send you a wake-up signal. Sunlight causes your body to stop the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, and boosts your wakefulness.
Not only that, exposure to sunlight can reduce the risk of vitamin-D deficiency. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D can also be produced naturally under the skin. Vitamin D is essential for your bone health and beneficial for fighting against depression and cardiovascular diseases.
So let the sun in your room in the morning and feel happier and healthier.
(Photo from popweightloss.com)
Begin your morning with a 15 to 20-minute meditation session to start your day in a more mindful and relaxing manner.
Meditation has been shown to be beneficial for your brain and state of mind.
Practicing meditation trains you to control your thoughts and detach yourself from negative feelings. Without negative thoughts in the morning, you can begin the day with happiness and positivity.
Meditation also helps you improve your focus and mindfulness. It prevents anxiety and stress so you can be ready for a productive and energetic day!
To start, simply take 15 minutes of your morning and sit quietly, emptying your mind of thoughts and focusing on good things. You can start with 5 minutes as a beginner and work your way up.
(Photo from pgeveryday.com)
It can be tough to exercise when you’re stuck in the office or tired after working a long day.
But first thing in the morning is the best time to exercise. Even something as simple as stretching can help relieve muscle tension, boost mental relaxation and enhance physical strength for the day ahead.
Your muscles develop stiffness during sleep, so a morning stretching routine can relieve this tightness, improve your posture and flexibility and increase blood flow for the active day ahead.
Morning stretches also enhance your mind and energy. They help you shake off the sleepiness, triggering the release of endorphins and dopamine, the hormonal mood-enhancers.
A cold shower in the morning can be tough to take, especially during the winter. But cold showers (20-24C) are great for your health and body.
Having a cold shower in the morning helps enhance your alertness and wakefulness by giving your body a slight shock from the cool temperature.
Your body responds to the cold by increasing blood circulation throughout the body thus helps your overall heart health and recharges the energy. A cold shower can boost weight loss and refine your hair and skin. It helps close your pores and makes your hair shinier and stronger.
You can start slow with the cold shower habit. Warm up with a hot shower then slowly switch to cold for the last few minutes. Your morning will be more energetic, trust us.
(Photo from @earthlingcaity)
Many people skip breakfast because they’re in a rush to get out the door.
But breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your body uses up a lot of energy when you’re sleeping and breakfast is the best chance to replenish your reserves for a productive morning.
A healthy breakfast with fruits and low-fat ingredients is a good choice to start your day. You can check out our healthy breakfast recipe ideas here!
By preparing your healthy breakfast the night before, you set yourself up for an even better day.
(Photo from @helenariggelsen)
We all love our morning cup of coffee but switching to tea can be very good for your health.
Drinking tea gives your body a wide variety of healthy antioxidants. Matcha tea, especially, contains 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea. EGCG, an antioxidant found in tea, helps to fight aging and prevents cancer.
Unlike coffee, matcha contains both caffeine and L-theanine, which can wake you up and sustain energy levels for long hours. L-theanine is also a mood enhancer that relieves stress and anxiety.
A cup of matcha tea instead of coffee can give you the energy and good mood you crave while also tasting great and enhancing your health.
(Photo from eatdrinkbetter.com)
Jamming to your most beloved playlists before work is an ideal way to enhance your mood and reduce stress.
Listening to some great tracks in the morning can wake you up and make you happy.
So get your headphones on and start your jam session!
Psst! Remember to mind your neighbours though. You might be the only early bird around...
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(Photo by @yumezakka)
Let’s face it. There’s nothing worse than waking up to bad breath… and then inflicting the smell on your partner.
So what if I told you that there’s a super easy way to make your breath fresher, your mouth more kissable and your dental hygiene free from nasty bacteria, saving you money on those pricey dental bills?
We’ve all heard of brushing, flossing and mouthwash to keep your mouth and teeth clean - but there’s another secret weapon you should be using.
You’ve heard over and over about the health benefits matcha is touted for; including and improving concentration, detoxifying your body, boosting your metabolism, slowing down aging and increasing fat loss.
But that’s not all… matcha also has amazing benefits for your mouth – and not just with its great taste!
(Photo by mountaincleaning.com.au)
Matcha is exceedingly rich in catechins, EGCG, which is an excellent antioxidant with loads of health benefits.
Bacteria constantly grow in your mouth, fed by the sugar and starches that are in our diets. Most of this bacteria does us no harm, but sometimes it can cause problems and affect your oral health. These bacteria are the primary causes of teeth staining, bad breath and cavities.
With matcha’s antibacterial property, you can help suppress the growth of bad bacteria in your mouth. So drink up and keep your teeth and gums clean and fresh.
(Photo by teethwhiteningreview.co.uk)
Catechins from matcha can also lower your mouth acidity and protect you from tooth decay. Bacterial growth produces acid in your mouth, which can erode your teeth and lead to cavities.
Catechins helps matcha work its dental magic, saving us a lot of money on dental bills.
P/s: We love dentists and this isn’t a substitute for medical advice. Please seek a medical expert for more professional advice :).
The lowering of acid levels in our mouths can bring us better breath as well. A study in Japan shows that green tea’s catechins outperformed chewing gums, parsley seed oil and mints in reducing oral malodor with its effective deodorant and antibacterial properties.
With matcha, you can give your loved ones the sweetest smelling kisses.
(Photo by teethwhiteningwholesale.com.au)
Unlike black tea or coffee, matcha does not stain your teeth. It’s because matcha contains the high level of chlorophyll and catechins. It acts as natural detoxifiers preventing your teeth from staining.
Harmful bacteria cause staining in your mouth, but with the antibacterial property of matcha, your teeth can be protected from discoloration.
That’s yet another great reason to switch from coffee to matcha, right?
Catechins from matcha are known for their potential anti-cancer activity. According to studies by scientists from Pennsylvania State University, matcha may help treat oral cancer cells,
The scientists found the natural antioxidant effect of matcha’s catechins could suppress cancer cells without harming the healthy cells while leaving no side effects.
It's yet another reason why matcha is awesome for your mouth and health!
With these amazing benefits for your teeth and breath, matcha is a great addition to your daily brushing and flossing routines.
So, what are you still waiting for? Drink up and enjoy the benefits.
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As 2016 accelerates, we’ve noticed many new food trends dominating the internet. Blue steak. Smashed cucumbers. Even seaweed!
But while these new kids on the block may be getting a lot of attention, there are foods that were on trend in past years that are still going strong and are showing no sign of slowing down this year.
So to help keep your taste buds on trend, at Kenko Tea we’ve hunted around the past and present and compiled a list of the top 7 food trends we believe to continue taking 2016 by storm!
Although it’s originally from Japan, matcha is no longer so exotic around the world. It has been a top food trend for a few years now and we reckon foodies will continue to love it in 2016.
The reason why matcha should be a superfood at the top of your list is because of its amazing health benefits.
(Photo by @begin_anywhere)
We’ve heard time and time again about the rich antioxidants matcha has. Containing 10 times more antioxidants than regular steeped green tea, matcha is an anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial agent that can detox and heal your body.
Matcha isn’t simply a tea. People love using matcha in baking, cooking, and beverage recipes. It has a unique, distinct and natural sweetness and flavor, which blends well into many recipes.
You can check out our Matcha Recipe page for ideas here.
Not only for drinking and eating, you can also create your own skin care products from matcha using its anti-aging, detoxifying and soothing properties. Follow the link here for our beauty tips using matcha!
Eating smoothies from a bowl is still sexy thing this year! Smoothie bowls, the dawn of the bowl trend, still take the internet by storm and it’s easy to see why.
Smoothie bowls are fun to make and eat. You can blend anything - nuts, seeds, and fruits – making it thick enough to eat with spoon and serve it all up with different toppings. Smoothie bowls are a super quick, easy and cheap breakfast that gives you enough energy until lunchtime, and they are delicious.
There are many different smoothie bowl recipes at Kenko Tea for you to explore. Click on the pictures below for the full recipes.
Eating ancient grains is all about focusing on health, sustainability and simplicity.
Forget refined white grains! Ancient whole grains like rye, amaranth, barley, quinoa, spelt, millet and old-school techniques such as fermentation are anticipated to bloom across restaurant menus and home kitchens.
These trendy ancient grains are staple diets in many cultures and come with numberless health benefits and nutrients including fibre, minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and protein.
(Spelt from thekitchn.com)
Many grains like amaranth, spelt, teff and quinoa are gluten-free and high in protein, which makes them the perfect option for weight management, blood sugar control, gluten-free food and vegan diets.
(Amaranth from theweightmonitor.com)
Because it’s lower in gluten and higher in protein (17%), spelt is commonly used to replace wheat. Amaranth, a gluten-free grain, contains 13-14% protein and is packed with minerals, calcium, iron and magnesium.
(Teff (L) from gourmetstore.com & Farro (R) from gourmetsleuth.com)
Teff is a fine grain that’s gluten-free and provides an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C while giving a molasses-like sweetness.
Farro, an ancient strain of wheat, is known for its earthy nuttiness and high content of fibre vitamin B3 and zinc. This provides great benefits for alleviating Type-2 diabetes, heart disease and carotid arteries as well as controlling weight and blood pressure levels.
Praised by the United Nations, 2016 is the International Year of Pulses.
Lentils, beans and chickpeas are examples of pulses, which are not only nutritionally beneficial but also environment-friendly because of the way they are grown in soil.
(Pulses from fussyfoodie.co.uk)
With high protein content, pulses are perfect for vegan and vegetarian diets. They are low fat, high in fibre and loaded with minerals.
There are tonnes of pulse-based options for you. Perhaps the most well known ones are from Indian and Mediterranean cuisines, like chickpea hummus, falafels or lentil curries.
In East Asia, red beans, mung beans, adzuki beans, black beans, soybeans or bean sprouts are commonly used in soups, salads and desserts.
Pasta made from veggies, like zucchini, carrots, squashes, or turnips, is also proving popular this year. You can use a spiraling machine or an inexpensive julienne peeler to create this extra healthy version of pasta.
(Zoodles from seevanessacraft.com)
The trend for noodle-like vegetables is a wonderful way to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals while cutting down on calories, gluten and refined carbs. There are endless choices: you can toss the noodles in pesto sauce, mix with salad or create your own Asian-style bowls. Doesn’t that sound like an idea for tonight’s dinner?
Health food junkies have said seaweed is the new kale in 2016!
This ocean vegetable is praised for its nutrient-profile, environment sustainability, and delicious umami flavor.
Loaded with minerals like iron, vitamin C, B and iodine, seaweed is a healthy choice for replacing salty processed foods. Seaweed also has great skin-care benefits that contribute to healthy skin, hair and nails.
(Types of seaweed from honeyfanatic.com)
So, why not add some seaweed to your salad, soups and sushi, or make yourself a simple seaweed face mask?
Being one of the top food trends of 2015, fermented food (e.g. yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc) continues to be popular in 2016.
(Kimchi from theguardian.com)
Fermentation is the natural process involved in naturally-occurring microbes, yeast, or bacteria breaking down food items. It was first adapted in ancient civilizations to preserve food and create flavors.
In some cultures, like Japanese and Korean, fermented food has been known for benefiting the health of your gut. Kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir or kombucha have gained a name for their health benefits in treating bloating and anxiety while improving digestive health.
(Kefir (left) from kefirnatural.com & Kombucha (right) from foodrenegade.com)
So add some kimchi or sauerkraut to your favorite sandwiches and experience this healthy trend!
(Cricket flour from leanitup.com)
This new food trend emerging in 2016 is sustainable, cheap, nutritious and a rich source of protein for your diet.
Why crickets? One of the reasons for its popularity is that it contains high protein and is low in carbohydrates, benefiting muscle building and paleo dieting.
About 3 ½ ounces (100g) of crickets has up to 13g protein. Cricket flour is 65% protein by dry weight, compared to 22% for salmon and 23% for chicken.
(Protein comparison chart by EXOprotein.com)
Crickets are also cheap and good for the environment. They require less land and water to grow and harvest. They don’t release methane or greenhouse gas into the atmosphere like livestock does. Also, pesticides aren’t used to farm them so they are a safe food to eat.
However, don’t pick the insects yourself as you can’t be sure if there are traces of pesticides on them. You can bake with cricket flour purchasing from established brands like Bitty Foods. Or try some Six Foods’ cricket-flour chips or EXO’s cricket-flour protein bars.
(Exo Cricket Peanut Protein Bar from EXOprotein.com)
How do you like these new trends? They are all healthy and delicious that help us eat better, feel greater and save our planet. Get stuck in!
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(Photo credit to @coraliejf)
Matcha Green Tea has taken the internet by storm!
The finely ground powder of this specially grown green tea is famed for its health benefits and amazing taste, making it enormously popular with health nuts and foodies alike.
You can brew it, drink it in smoothies and bake or cook it in marvellous ways. But what you may not know is that matcha green tea is also incredibly good for your skin.
Packed with tonnes of natural antioxidants and nutrients, matcha has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-aging properties can help detox the body, improve skin structure and hydration while reducing acne and skin aging.
A lot of cosmetic companies like The Body Shop, St. Ives, Garnier and Innisfree are embracing matcha’s benefits and using green tea extract in their skin care products. You can learn about matcha’s beauty secrets here!
Now, you don’t have to shell out huge amounts of money to add matcha to your beauty regime. With a bit of creativity, you can make your own green tea based beauty products that are all natural, chemical-free and cheap.
We’ve curated the top 8 homemade matcha beauty care products from some of the best-loved beauty and style bloggers out there.
Let's check them out!
1. Matcha Facial Mask
This Matcha Facial Mask recipe from Hello Glow will promote healthy, glowing skin, and relax, detox, and stimulate blood circulation.
The rich antioxidants in matcha help renew the skin and cleanse impurities from the pores. The antibacterial properties of honey then soothe acne while cinnamon promotes blood circulation. You’ll be glowing in no time!
This is what you need to make this soothing matcha facial mask:
Click on the pic for the full recipe. Psst… a bonus recipe for Salted Cream Body Scrub by Hello Glow is also included!
(Photo credit to Hello Glow)
2. Green Tea Facial cream
Moisturising is the important thing you can do to keep your skin healthy, especially on your face.
This green tea facial cream by Say Not Sweet Anne
helps reduce the appearance of ageing and repair damage from the sun using a combo of rosehip seed oil, coconut oil, almond oil, and green tea.
The green tea used here is loose leaf but you can substitute that with matcha. Just mix 1 tsp with hot water to get ten times more antioxidants and nutrients compared to regular green tea.
Here’s the ingredient list – just click on the pic for more details:
(Photo credit to Say Not Sweet Anne)
3. Matcha Eye Gel Patches
Puffy eyes and dark circles suck!
Eye masks and eye patches do the trick though - they soothe your eyes and refresh your gaze. But instead of buying them from the shops, try these DIY matcha lemon eye gel patches by Ice Pandora.
Both matcha and lemon are great for reducing dark circles and swollen eyes. The vitamin C in lemon helps lighten the dark circles and antioxidants from matcha can relieve swollen eye tissues.
Here’s the list of ingredients for these super refreshing green tea eye masks:
For more details, click on the picture below :)
(Photo credit to Ice Pandora)
4. Matcha Moisturizing Lip Balm
Cracked or chapped lips are painful… don’t skip the lip balm!
Lip balm helps your lips heal, prevents infection and makes you much more kissable.
This easy DIY matcha green tea lip balm by Glam Radar will soften, moisten, and heal your lips while protecting them from further damage. With antioxidants and nutrients from green tea, it helps prevent aging too! Awesome, right?
Check out the full recipe by clicking on the pic. Here is the quick list of the ingredients:
(Photo credit to Glam Radar)
5. Matcha Butter Hair Lotion
Another benefit of matcha green tea’s beauty secrets is stimulating hair growth.
Matcha contains Panthenol which helps strengthen hair and repair split ends.
Scientists in Korea are also studying another element in matcha called EGCG, analysing its effect on hair growth, said to reduce cellular death rate and encourage the growth of new hair follicles.
This nourishing hair lotion matcha green tea butter by JB Bardot is simple to use and a great way to protect the hair and scalp. All you need is:
Click the pic below for more details:
(Photo credit to JB Bardot)
6. Green Tea Sugar Body Scrub
Exfoliation is one of the best ways to attain beautiful, glowing skin. It cleanses the pores, improves the skin’s texture by removing dead skin cells and prevents breakouts while keeping everything moisturised.
This at-home Matcha Green Tea Sugar Body Scrub from Freutcake is an excellent way to rejuvenate your skin. It smells just like a fresh green tea latte!
With high antioxidants, matcha helps to restore the skin’s hydration and repair sun damage, making your skin look younger and healthier. Here’s what you need:
Learn more how to make this body scrub by clicking on the picture below:
(Photo credit to Freutcake)
7. Matcha Epsom Salt Bath Soak
A bath after a long day is the awesome way to replenish your energy. As matcha green tea is high in antioxidants and contains both caffeine and L-theanine, this green tea bath soak with epsom salt by Soaking Serenity helps recharge, freshen, and rejuvenate your skin.
Epsom salt has lots of health benefits including deep relaxation, skin rejuvenation, soothing pain and muscle strains. The hot water opens up the pores, which allows the nutrients from matcha and epsom salt to revive your whole body.
Here are the ingredients for this marvelous bath soak:
Click the below pic for the full details :)
(Photo credit to Decorbox.bg)
8. Green Tea Coconut Body lotion
After a nice hot shower, moisturising the skin should be the very next step if you want to keep that glowing look. This green tea coconut oil Lotion by Hello Glow helps to balance skin hydration, sooth skin inflammation and protect skin from ageing.
This recipe uses loose green tea but you can swap that out with matcha tea, which has 10 times more antioxidants and nutrients than regular green tea.
This homemade lotion is super easy to make, chemical free, organic and cheaper than anything you could find in the stores. This is all you need:
For more details, click on the picture below:
(Photo credit to Hello Glow)
Matcha green tea is not just a delicious drink or ingredient for healthy recipes. It’s also an amazing beauty product that will make you feel great inside and out.
With so many health benefits matcha has been one of the biggest healthy food trends in recent years and will surely continue to gain in popularity as we find more and more amazing uses for it.
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