Is Wu-Long Tea the Missing Piece of Your Weight Loss Puzzle?

By Marni Andrews

Do you know what a “superfood” is? The term has become common over the last decade and is defined as a food or beverage that is packed with nutritional benefits.

A few of the more well-known superfoods are blueberries, dark chocolate, almonds and red wine.

These types of nutrient-dense foods offer a lot of bang for the buck in terms of health. Typically, they are high in levels of a micronutrient called a polyphenol.

What is a polyphenol, you ask? Good question!

Polyphenols are phytochemicals. “Phyto” means “plant,” which describes where they are found. Polyphenols are abundant in foods such as fruits, vegetables, cocoa, herbs, spices, nuts, red wine and tea among others. They give the plants intense colors and they have antioxidant properties, which protect your cells from free radical damage and help slow down the aging process.

Polyphenols also help limit inflammation in the body, which is now recognized as the major cause of many diseases.

More than 8,000 different polyphenols have been identified and they are classified in four types: flavonoids, stilbenes, lignans and phenolic acids.

Thousands of studies have been conducted on polyphenols to determine how they affect our health. Some of the highest profile benefits are: Type-2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, immune strengthening and osteoporosis. It also helps with skin issues and weight loss, which are day to day struggles for many women.

The ten foods highest in polyphenols are almost all spices and herbs: cloves, dried peppermint, star anise, cocoa powder, dried oregano, celery seed, dried sage, dried rosemary, dried spearmint and dried thyme.

While most high-polyphenol items are foods, some beverages rank highly too; the best known are coffee and red wine, however, a sometimes overlooked high-polyphenol category is tea.

According to the Tea Association of the USA, more than 159 million Americans drink tea every day. Next to water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It contains more than 4,000 health-promoting compounds, among them epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and the amino acid L-theanine.

Tea is the only plant known to make L-theanine, which is very helpful in calming the mind and reducing stress. Those are two huge benefits of drinking tea right there!

The many varieties of tea are all derived from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. What determines a black, green or oolong (also known as Wu-long) tea, for example, is the level of fermentation that the leaves undergo after harvesting.

While black tea is fully fermented and green tea not fermented at all, it’s semi-fermented Wu-long tea with its incredible bouquet, complex character and range of flavors from fruity to woody that is rising in prominence with its growing reputation as a weight loss aid.

Wu-long tea is native to China and not yet as popular worldwide as black or green tea. While it represents 11% of tea production in China, worldwide it accounts for less than 2% of production. The majority of Chinese Wu-long production is from the mountainous regions of Fujian Province, home to the Anxi Tie Guan Yin and Wu Yi Yan Cha styles.

The mountains of Wu Yi are the birthplace of Wu-long. The history of Wu-long, which translates to “Black Dragon,” can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty, which began in the mid-1300’s. This is a tea with a long and distinguished history!

Wu-long contains both green tea catechins and black tea theaflavins. Compared to green tea, it has double the amount of polymerized polyphenols such as procyanidins due to its unique fermentation style.

Bioflavonoids, an antioxidant found in many fruits and vegetables, are found in large numbers in Wu-long tea, specifically, myricetin, kaempferol and quercetin. Quercetin is especially concentrated in Wu-long tea.

At last count, there were more than 37 scientific studies showing how Wu-long benefits your health and helps you burn twice as many calories as green tea.

In one of those studies from 2002, researchers in Japan studied the effects of Wu-long tea on 11 patients on energy expenditure (calorie burning) compared to green tea. Participants were tested after consuming Wu-long tea, green tea and water. The Wu-long tea drinkers increased their energy expenditure by 10% for two hours (120 minutes) after drinking the tea.

While Wu-long tea contains about half the caffeine of green tea, it has double the amount of polymerized polyphenols, which is what increased the calorie burning in what is known as a thermogenic effect.

Another study of Wu-long tea was conducted in 1999 at the School of Medicine, Ehime University, Japan. The ten-week study on mice who were fed a high fat diet plus Wu-long tea compared to mice who ate just the high fat diet showed that the Wu-long tea prevented the obesity and fatty liver disease that would be caused by a high fat diet.

According to traditional Chinese folklore, Wu-long tea is effective in controlling weight through boosting metabolism. A study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine in 2009 confirmed that drinking 8 grams (0.28 ounces) of Wu-long tea daily for six weeks helped 102 obese or overweight participants drop unwanted pounds. The vast majority of subjects lost weight, decreased their waist circumference and lowered their blood lipid levels.

Dr. Mehmet Oz has declared on his popular television show that Wu-long tea is proven to boost your metabolism, which encourages weight loss, lowers cholesterol, aids in digestion, can help stabilize blood sugar and increases mental alertness.

Wu-long tea is a beverage rich in history, culture and research. It helps your body produce more heat (thermogenesis), which increases your metabolism. Regular Wu-long consumption also suppresses the production of new fat cells.

While it is not a quick fix for weight loss (you really wouldn’t want it to be because “quick” results never last!), Wu-long tea is a great daily addition to your food and lifestyle plan. It tastes great and can be consumed hot or cold. Try a cup a half hour to an hour before your walk or workout session and enjoy the accelerated fat burning results! Drink it in the afternoon to ward off cravings for sweets or an energy slump.

So what are you waiting for? Our Wu-Long is 100% pure with no additives or preservatives and is grown without pesticides.

Call us today at 1-855-343-8832 to order your supply of Okuma Nutritionals’ Wu-Long tea and get started on a pain-free weight loss strategy that will change your life!

Restaurant Branding By Design

by Marni Andrews

When sisters-in-law Amreen and Seema Omar went from serving Indian street food at a Toronto farmers’ market to a 50-seat downtown restaurant, a trip to Mumbai with Toronto firm Jump Branding & Design helped inspire the decor for Bombay Street Food.

“The identity of the brand is no longer just the logo,” said Eric Boulden, president of Jump Branding. “The brand or the story is a better description of the experience projected to its guests. These stories do happen through signage, but can also be expressed through the way the bill is presented, the personality and tone of communication, the origins of the food, authenticity of the recipes or signature concoctions that make the space, brand and experience defensible.”

Another recent Jump Branding project is the flagship Basil Box location at the Ryerson University Student Learning Centre in Toronto. The fast casual concept also derives inspiration from exotic street food — in this case, the markets of Southeast Asia.

6 Anti-Aging Superfoods to Help You Look 10 Years Younger

by Marni Andrews

There may be no other period in our history that has been so focused on analyzing what we eat. And yet, the American population today is probably more overweight and less healthy than it has ever been. One way to alleviate these problems and return to a healthier way of life is to harness the power of superfoods.

Superfoods are generally foods in their natural, unprocessed state. Superfoods are full of powerful antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients that are good for the brain, digestive health, and various other anti-aging health benefits. Even if you are not following a weight loss diet plan, incorporating these superfoods into your diet is a quick, painless, and delicious way to start achieving your anti-aging nutrition and health goals.

Apples: Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) measured the antioxidant concentration in more than 100 foods, and ranked Red Delicious and Granny Smith apples as number 12 and 13 on that list. Antioxidants can help prevent and even repair oxidation damage that happens as a result of aging. Medium-sized apples also contain about 4 g of fiber. Plus, researchers at Cornell University identified one dozen compounds in the apple peel that either inhibit or kill liver, colon, and breast cancer cells.

What to Expect From Menopause

by Marni Andrews

There are a record number of North American women now entering a new period of their lives, menopause, which marks the official end of their reproductive period. Women are born with a finite number of eggs in their ovaries—by the time they reach their 50s, the number of fertile eggs has dropped significantly. When the remaining eggs are released, or hormones in the body can no longer stimulate their release, the body enters menopause. This generally happens between the ages of 45 and 55, with the average age being around 51.

When a healthy, middle-aged woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period, she is usually considered to be approaching menopause. There are several different stages that you need to know about. Perimenopause is the transition period into menopause, starting anywhere from two to 10 years before your last period. At this time, the ovaries start producing less estrogen. Postmenopause refers to the years after menopause, when your estrogen levels are lowest.

Some of the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause may include hot flashes, irregular or skipped periods, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, depression, irritability, headaches, changes in libido, anxiety, weight gain, mental confusion and difficulty concentrating, night sweats, reduced bladder control, and hair loss or thinning.

8 Essentials to Get Rid of Wrinkles Without Going Under the Knife

by Marni Andrews

Gorgeous, glowing skin is a great beauty asset, no matter how old you are. Skin is the body’s largest organ, so it makes sense to take good care of it, as you would any other part of your body.

It’s never too late to start incorporating good anti-aging skin care habits. Even if you already have some fine lines and wrinkles, there is no reason why you need to accumulate any more—with the right technique, you can prevent new wrinkles from surfacing, and can even improve wrinkles that have already started appearing. Getting rid of wrinkles is as simple as finding the right anti-aging skin care regime that you can do at home, and making small lifestyle changes to improve your skin’s health. Incorporate these simple tips to banish wrinkles and look younger.

  • First of all, to fight wrinkles naturally you need to get very serious about sun protection. Sun damaged skin may be common, but it’s never attractive. Get into the habit of applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (higher if you are fair skinned) half an hour before you go outside. Don’t forget hands and exposed skin on the chest or neck area. Try to avoid being in direct sunlight for prolonged periods, especially when the rays are strongest (between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.).

GoodSkin Labs Blog 1: My Aging Concerns

(Beauty Blitz blog)
By Marni Andrews

Who, me? Never. You know what I’m talkin’ about. The dullness you’re getting way too used to seeing lately. That pesky — omg, yes, it’s actually the beginning of uh, ooh, a line? Oh no! This can’t be happening. But I think it is, because I just pinched myself and it hurts! Yes, I’m officially clocking in with, gasp, aging concerns.

You know, when I was 20 or even 25, I never thought about this stuff. I was having fun, I was carefree, I stayed up late all the time, I didn’t take off my makeup every night like I should have. But still my skin pulled through. Despite the repeated insults, the late night French fries, the one too many vodka martinis and not NEARLY enough green vegetables, Skin just showed up every day and looked fine.

So I can be forgiven for starting to take Skin for granted. An occasional breakout was about as bad as it got. Then it happened. I, uh, started to get a wee bit OLDER. Not a word I love but I’m a realist. The good thing (if there can be a good thing about getting older besides having better man radar) is that I’m discovering GOOD products!

For anti-aging, I really do love the wicked roller ball action of Sculptinex and the tightening wonders it can perform. Even better, it boosts my own natural collagen production. Nice. Gotta love that (and I do)! Getting older is not for sissies, but I intend to fight it every step of the way!

GoodSkin Labs Blog 2: Winter Skin Issues

(Beauty Blitz blog)
By Marni Andrews

If you’re anything like me (and a lot of my girlfriends), my skin has been changing over the last month or so. From beautifully moist and dewy for most of our long, hot summer this year, it’s now acting cranky. It’s throwing off dry little flakes and it’s lost some of that lovely healthy sheen it had in the summer and early fall.

What to do? I’ve started to exfoliate more often like a good monkey (one of my close friend’s favorite expressions and I use it whenever possible!), but it’s still not responding like it did. My other main problem is sensitivity. I’m very fair and my skin is fairly delicate, so any excess sun, wind, alcohol (both on the skin or drinking it) or harsh products shows up really quickly.

The best solution for me is  a longer term one — I’m super careful with my diet. It may sound boring but eating fresh, raw fruit and vegetables as much as possible, and as little processed food and red meat as possible, shows up almost immediately on my skin. Combine that with drinking lots of water, not so much coffee, and getting as much sleep as I can and it’s a winning combination.

GoodSkin Labs Blog 3: The Busiest Woman I Know

(Beauty Blitz blog)

I am the busiest woman in my life! All my family are out of town. My boyfriend is also out of town (120 km); I see him on weekends. So between phone calls to stay in touch and driving, and flying a few times a year to visit family, I log a lot of time. I have a pet and two jobs: an office-based director’s position and freelance work. Add laundry, groceries, exercise and errands and it’s busy!

Pampering? That would be nice!……………….. My tips are simple.

-Make lists and more lists and check things off!

-Walk and take the stairs to fit in more exercise.

-Carry a detailed appt book everywhere.

-Eat really well…. fruit and vegetables, no processed or fast food, lots of water and I never compromise on sleep! It’s too important.

-GoodSkin Lab products make it easy to keep my skin in shape, especially Exten-10 cream and Lumecin. Thanks GoodSkin Labs!

Ducking Holiday Credit Debt

(facebook promotion for college demographic)
by Marni Andrews

1. Be the Good Statistic

One in three people rely on credit cards for holiday shopping. Consciously make up your mind not to be a credit fatality if you use your card this season. If in doubt about buying something, use the “two-day plan.” If you see something you want, put it on hold for two days and consider whether you still want it.

2. Get With a Plan

Researchers point out that shoppers are much less likely to overspend if they start with an overall plan for holiday shopping. This might include setting up an account ahead of time that’s just for gifts. Save $20 a month and you have a good windfall at the end of the year.

3. May the Best Card Win

If you’re like many people, you have more than one credit card. Before you start spending for the holidays, review the different interest rates, any offers for interest-free months following the holidays, and the due dates for the cards. Then choose the card that best suits your situation.

4. Spread Out the Pain

If you start shopping earlier, say in October, you’ll be able to break up your holiday purchases over three credit billing cycles if you plan carefully. Just be sure you know when the billing cycle starts and ends. If you buy early in the billing period, you’ll be able to delay payment for almost two months if you’re sharp with the dates.

5. Go for Solvent

Instead of going for broke, decide you’ll pay off your entire credit balance each month rather than paying interest. Not only will you be more discriminating about what you purchase (knowing you’ll have to pay for it in a month), but you’ll save an incredible amount of money in interest over the long term.

6. Use the Free Gifts

Most credit cards offer some form of loyalty points. Along with those points comes a catalogue showing what you can “buy” by redeeming points. Electronics, decor and home-related items are typical. You should be able to buy a gift or three by tallying up your points and choosing goods from the catalogue. Make sure to order early enough to ensure holiday delivery.

7. SOS (Save on Shipping)

If you’re even reasonably organized, you’ll be able to avoid any last minute (aka “Dec. 20th and later” or “day before”) shipping charges, which can really up your balance for the month.

8. Note Your Due Date

Since missing a credit card payment is not only expensive because you end up paying more in the long run, it also does incredibly bad things to your credit. Even if you can’t pay off your entire balance, paying at least the minimum (or as much as you can throw at it) and submitting it on time will keep your credit record in the clear. Note the due date on a large calendar and send in your payment so it arrives on time.

9. Take Advantage of Online Payment

If you set up an account ahead of time, paying your card balance online can be a painless way to pay on time, save the postage and never have to leave the comfort of your dorm room. Note the due date on a calendar so you don’t miss it.

10. Consider a Short-Term Loan

If, despite your best intentions, you find yourself with too much credit card debt from the holidays, contact the bank that issued the card to ask about a few months of interest-free grace. If that doesn’t work, take out a short-term loan at a lower interest rate than that on the card. Pay off the card balance, and then throw everything you can at the loan till it’s paid off.

The 7 Best Foods to Prevent Memory Loss, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia

( article)
by Marni Andrews

An estimated five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia, according to 2013 statistics. One in every three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia in 2013. These are startling numbers.

While there are still many questions surrounding the disease, including clear details on causes and prevention—or even what Alzheimer’s is in some cases—there is some general consensus on foods that seem to help prevent memory loss or assist with maintaining a sharper memory.

Blueberries: Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries improved the learning and muscular function of aging rats. They also appear to protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals, which contributes to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, compounds that have great antioxidant properties. In one study, scientists used mice that were genetically programmed to develop Alzheimer’s disease, and treated them with flavonoids. The results showed a reduced amount of harmful amyloid-beta brain deposits that are commonly found in Alzheimer’s patients.

Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds contain high volumes of vitamin E. In a study involving 6,000 participants from Chicago, those who consumed the most foods with vitamin E had a 67% lower risk of Alzheimer’s, compared to those who consumed the least amount of vitamin E from foods. As an antioxidant, vitamin E can combat the brain oxidation that causes mental deterioration, and subsequent memory loss.

Fish: The same Chicago study showed that those who ate fish at least once a week were 60% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who rarely or never ate fish. Fatty fish, such as salmon and herring, have especially high levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

Whole Grains: A diet that is rich in whole grains can help lower your level of “bad” cholesterol, thereby reducing plaque build-up in the brain and enhancing blood flow to the body. In addition, whole grains are also good sources of vitamin E, mentioned earlier.

Beets: A study by scientists at Wake Forest University showed that when nitrates in beets are converted to nitric oxide in the body, they enhance blood flow, which can help brain health and prevent memory loss. The best way to consume this vegetable is freshly juiced or raw, as cooking it will deteriorate some of its nitrate value.

Eggs: Egg yolks contain choline, an essential nutrient that is a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which has an important role to play in memory. Alzheimer’s has been associated with acetylcholine deficiencies. Egg yolks also contain other healthy nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acid, folate, vitamin B12 and selenium. All of these are considered to be helpful in staving off Alzheimer’s.

While Alzheimer’s research is making continual advances, there are still questions around causes and treatments. Eating a healthy diet that includes these foods can be a strong preventative step.


“Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures,” Alzheimer’s Association web site;‌alzheimers_disease_facts_and_figures.asp#quickFacts, last accessed May 27, 2013.

“Foods That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease,” Rush University Medical Center web site;, last accessed May 27, 2013.

Lebel, M., et al., “Drugs, nutrients phytoactive principles improving the health span of rodent models of human age-related diseases,” The Journals of Gerontology 2012; 67: 140-151.

“Plants’ Flavanoids Have Beneficial Effect on Alzheimer’s Disease, Study In Mice Suggests,” Science Daily web site;, last accessed May 27, 2013.

Roberts, A., “Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults,” Wake Forest University web site;, last accessed May 27, 2013.

Shukitt-Hale, B., et al., “Berry fruit supplementation and the aging brain,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2008; 56: 636-641.

Terry, A.V., et al., “The cholinergic hypothesis of age and Alzheimer’s disease-related cognitive deficits: recent challenges and their implications for novel drug development,” Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 2003; 306: 821-827.