Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Could a cup of tea made from coffee leaves be the healthiest hot drink option?

This is just another variation on the stupid but uncrushable  antioxidant theory.  No evidence of its effects at all

For those who find ‘tea or coffee’ a question too far first thing in the morning, relief may soon be on hand – a combination of both.

Researchers claim they have discovered the ultimate brew – a tea made from  coffee leaves which is healthier than both of the drinks.

The coffee leaf tea, which is said to have an ‘earthy’ taste that is less bitter than tea and not as strong as coffee, boasts high levels of compounds which lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease, experts said.

It also carries far less caffeine than traditional tea or coffee and contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The coffee leaves were analysed by researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, South-West London, together with researchers in Montpellier, France.

They believe the drink – from the leaves of the coffea plant – has thus far been overlooked because of the preoccupation with the plant’s seeds, coffee beans, which are nowhere near as healthy.

While there is evidence coffee leaf tea is drunk in places such as Ethiopia, South Sudan and Indonesia, previous attempts to import it into Britain from as early as the 1800s have been unsuccessful.

After analysing 23 species of coffee plant and finding many health benefits, the researchers now hope the coffee tea could rival the well-established types of coffee and black and green teas in Britain.

Dr Aaron Davies, a botanist at Kew, reported in the journal Annals of Botany that seven species of coffee plant contained high levels of mangiferin – a chemical usually found in mangoes which is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects as well as lowering cholesterol, protecting neurons in the brain and reducing the risk of diabetes.

The leaves were also found to hold high levels of antioxidants, which reportedly help combat heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Dr Davies said: ‘In 1851 people were touting it as the next tea and there were all these reports about its qualities. It was said to give immediate relief from hunger and fatigue, and “clear the brain of its cobwebs”. It was also said to be refreshing – although some found it undrinkable.’


Brain-boosting milkshake claiming to reduce symptoms of early dementia goes on sale in the UK

This is just a con-job by a yoghurt company

A brain-boosting milkshake that is said to reduce symptoms of early Alzheimer's has gone on sale in the UK today.  The drink contains a mix of ‘memory boosting’ nutrients including those found in breast milk and herring.

The ‘medical food’ comes after a decade of research into a formula food that might improve the brain function of people in the early stages of the disease.

It contains omega 3 fatty acids, the nutrient found in fish which is known to be good for the brain, with a daily dose equivalent to eating three or four herrings.

The drink also contains two other compounds normally present in the blood - uridine, which is produced by the liver and kidneys and found in breast milk, and choline found in meat, nuts and eggs - B vitamins and other nutrients.

It will be available over-the-counter in pharmacies and online at £3.49 for a daily dose - adding up to almost £1,300 a year - and consumers have to confirm they have consulted a doctor or other health professional.

Studies originally carried out by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggest it helps improve memory performance after six months in people with mild Alzheimer’s who are not taking drugs.

However, a study on people with moderate Alzheimer’s who were on prescribed medication found no improvement.

The Alzheimer's Society has warned the milkshake 'is a lot less effective than current drugs available for people in the early stages of dementia'

Some have welcomed Souvenaid for providing a new dietary aid to improve the health of early Alzheimer’s patients, but critics warned it was an expensive option that was less effective than drugs.

The three main compounds in Souvenaid are needed by brain nerve cells to make phospholipids, the primary component of cell membranes that form synapses.

Dr David Wilkinson, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry, said ‘Alzheimer’s disease is not part and parcel of aging but a serious and progressive disease of the brain which prevents us from being able to retain new memories.

‘As we age, our bodies become less efficient at processing essential nutrients, meaning that we need to increase our intake of food to absorb the same amount of nutrients in order to maintain a healthy body. In the same way, we need the right nutrients for our brains to keep them healthy.

‘Alzheimer’s disease sufferers often find it very difficult to get everything they need through diet alone and the nutritional intervention by the use of Souvenaid is a new area of research offering promising results for the management of early Alzheimer’s disease.’

Products marketed as food for special medical purposes do not have to go through the same EU regulatory process as drugs.

But they have to prove they are ‘safe and beneficial and effective in meeting the particular nutritional requirements of the persons for whom they are intended’ and must be taken under medical supervision.

People buying Souvenaid, which comes in two flavours vanilla and strawberry, are being urged to speak with a doctor, specialist nurse, dietitian or pharmacist first.

Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society charity, said ‘People shouldn’t get excited that an off-the-shelf drink is going to transform the lives of people with dementia.

‘While past studies of this product have showed some benefits for memory, there is no evidence that it has an effect on other aspects of thinking or everyday life and there was also no benefit on other symptoms of dementia.

‘This is likely to cost about £1000 a year and is a lot less effective than current drugs available for people in the early stages of dementia.

‘For many older people with dementia where finances might be tight, people are probably much better off putting their money towards good quality care or taking part in exercise.

‘One in three people over 65 will develop dementia. It’s vital we continue to fund research into new treatments to enable people to live well with the condition.’

Souvenaid is made by Nutricia, the medical foods division of Danone Research.


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