Ways Green Tea can Benefit your Health

The health benefits of green tea have long been touted, with some researchers suggesting it can prevent heart disease and cancer, as well as help the drinker lose weight and lower cholesterol levels. However, although there is little doubt that drinking green tea is generally good for the body, experts are still on the fence about just how effective it is at preventing major diseases such as cancer. This article will discuss some of the potential health benefits of green tea and where the research currently stands.

Heart disease

Numerous studies have suggested that green tea could reduce the risk of heart disease. A 2006 European study suggested that green tea provides polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, which protect against heart disease by inhibiting the oxidation of bad cholesterol in the arteries. Compared to other types of tea, green tea provides more polyphenols because it is the least processed. Unfortunately, some experts doubt the existing research evidence because the majority of studies have been conducted in Asia, where other dietary and environmental factors could also come into play.

Cancer

WebMD explains that controlled laboratory studies have shown that green tea can slow down the growth of cancer, but that more evidence is needed before it can be categorically stated that green tea inhibits cancer. The issue is that every sufferer is different and more research needs to be done to eliminate other factors. However, numerous studies, particularly those conducted in China, have suggested that green tea could help in slowing down prostate cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, stomach cancer and lung cancer. 

Weight loss

The jury is still very much out on the weight loss aspect of drinking green tea. Some studies suggest that it speeds up one’s metabolism by helping the liver to work more efficiently. A Daily Mail article cites a U.S. study in which overweight men were recorded as burning 200 extra calories a day when their diet included three cups of green tea. No other changes to their diet or exercise were made to explain such a difference. 

Allergy-fighting

A Japanese study suggests that green tea is able to assist in fighting allergy symptoms, which is good news for those who suffer from seasonal allergies such as hay fever.  A compound in green tea apparently helps to block the manufacture of histamine and immunoglobulin E, which are responsible for triggering allergic reactions.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin, which regulates the amount of glucose in the blood. Initial studies have suggested that green tea helped the fat cells of diabetic rats to respond to insulin better, thereby increasing the ability to absorb blood sugar. Again, however, researchers are not 100 percent convinced that it is green tea alone that helps to regulate diabetes. 

Research into the health benefits of green will undoubtedly be ongoing. However, the fact that it has been linked with so many positives should be enough to persuade most people to introduce two or three cups of green tea a day to their diet. At the very least, it helps to flush out toxins from the body and has a hydrating effect on the skin, making it look plumper and fresher. 

Fantastic creamy chicken fried pork steak recipe

Chicken fried steak continues to be a popular dish throughout the United States and beyond. Most often made with beef,  but a superb chicken fried steak can be made with pork as well. The flavor is delicious and well liked, and yet the meal has the wonderful ‘touch of home’ flavor that many meals lack. 

This recipe is one that was invented a couple of decades ago when the author got everything together to make a traditional country fried steak, then discovered, after the fact, that the only thing missing was the beef. Thankfully, there were pork steaks in the freezer and the result was so phenomenal that it has been a family favorite ever since. There are probably other recipes that are similar, but this is original.

Ingredients:

6 pork steaks, cut off the bones and run through a tenderizer, cutlet style
4 large eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp sage
3-4 tbsp virgin olive oil for cooking

Method:

Mix the flour and seasonings well. An easy way to do this is to put them in a large Ziploc bag, close it and shake the contents well until they are uniformly blended. Leave the flour mixture in the bag, since it makes it easier to coat the pork steaks without causing much of a mess.

Beat the eggs in a flat bottomed bowl and place the steaks into the beaten eggs, letting the meat sit in the eggs for a few minutes, turning the steaks periodically so they are thoroughly coated. They can soak while the oil is warming up in the next step.

Heat the olive oil in a fry pan, over medium-low heat. The oil should be hot enough to cook the meat but not so hot that it will cook it too quickly.

Put one steak at a time into the bag containing the flour, seal the bag and shake to coat the meat thoroughly. Place the steak in the pan and repeat this with the other steaks. 

Fry the steaks until they are browned on one side, about 10 minutes, and then turn them over. Cook the other sides until they are also browned. At this point, the meat should still have juices, but the fluid should be colorless.

Remove the steaks from the pan and put them on a cookie sheet or similar, placing them in a warm oven so the steaks don’t cool off too much. 

To the pan and the drippings that are left in it, add the milk and heat to barely a boil, stirring in enough of the flour mixture, stirring constantly, to make gravy. The amount of milk and flour can be varied to produce enough gravy for the steaks and for mashed potatoes, if spuds are going to be used to complement the meal.

To serve, put a steak on a plate and ladle the gravy over the top. A sprig of parsley is great for a colorful garnish.

Variations:

If you prefer spicier flavors, you can add chili powder to the flour or sprinkle it over the top of the steaks while they are cooking. Powdered ginger also makes an interesting variation with just a bit of a bite. For richer gravy, use half and half instead of milk.

Serving suggestions:

These breaded steaks go very well with both mashed and baked potatoes, with the gravy poured over the top. Steamed kale, chard or mustard greens are also good with these chicken fried steaks, as side dishes. 

Because pork is a sweet meat, these steaks go very well with sweet fruit, such as applesauce, peaches, pears or fresh pineapple. The fruit can be served as a side dish or as a dessert.

This meal is balanced if the side dishes are included, it is filling and it is extremely tasty. The above recipe should be enough for four reasonably hungry appetites, however the recipe can be easily expanded. Leftover suggestions probably aren’t needed with this one, because there aren’t likely to be any leftovers.

Get your family to eat more fish with this homemade tartar sauce

There are times when fish simply cries out to be accompanied by the extra tang that a good tartar sauce brings. Fried fish and chips, deep fried scampi, calamari and even oysters, marry perfectly with the taste of tartar sauce. Preparing homemade tartar sauce requires no culinary skills at all as the desired ingredients, which can easily be varied by personal preference, are simply blended into mayonnaise for perfect results.

For those not convinced, it is quite worth the effort to devise their own tartar sauce concoction may be persuaded after reading this list of the following ingredients typically found on store bought labels:

“Water, Spirit Vinegar, Vegetable Oil (18%), Sugar, Gherkins (contains Firming Agent – Calcium Chloride), Modified Cornflour, Salt, Capers, Egg Yolks (2%), Acetic Acid, Stabilisers – Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum, Preservative – Potassium Sorbate, Garlic Extract, Spice.”

Hardly appetizing.

Where, one may be wondering, does one purchase Xanthan gum and Guar Gum? Home cooks should not despair as these are the ingredients in store bought Heinz tartare sauce and are not absolutely necessary in a healthy homemade alternative.

Homemade tartar sauce can be prepared quite cheaply. The chosen ingredients can be added to store bought mayonnaise or homemade mayonnaise, although this does require a little expertise to perfect. If opting for the latter, one requires 2 egg yolks, ideally saved from the preparation of home made meringues or an egg white omelette; 300 ml of extra virgin olive oil, cheap indeed if one happens to have a handy olive grove; 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar; a teaspoon of French mustard and salt and pepper to taste. Simply put the egg yolks into a blender and slowly, slowly add the olive oil whilst the blender runs. When it begins to thicken, and patience here is required, add the other ingredients.

If the price of extra virgin olive oil precludes the homemade mayonnaise option, then opt for store bought. Those concerned about their cholesterol levels can choose Hellman’s canola cholesterol free mayonnaise as a healthy base.

Having selected one’s choice of mayonnaise the next step is to assemble the additional ingredients. 200 grams or 2 cups is the ideal amount of mayonnaise required. Here is a selection of recipes which all involve simply blending or beating the ingredients into the mayonnaise.

Recipe 1

4 tbsp chopped gherkins

4 tbsp chopped capers

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp chopped chives.

Recipe 2

1 tbsp capers

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

4 chopped shallots

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Recipe 3

2 tbsp horseradish sauce

1 tsp freshly pressed garlic

2 tbsp spicy pickle

2 tbsp chopped scallions

A dash of Tabasco sauce

2 tsp lemon juice

Recipe 4

1 chopped hard boiled egg

1 tbsp capers

1 chopped shallot

1 chopped dill pickle

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp chopped chives

Salt and pepper

Always taste test to check the flavors are working together. Confident cooks soon pick up the art of adding extras that work well as they taste. The addition of other fresh herbs is a matter of taste, with dill a popular choice, along with parsley and chives.

Once the tartar sauce is prepared, in a matter of minutes, store in an airtight jar and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. The finished sauce will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator and can be enjoyed with other dishes in addition to fish or as a handy dip.

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