Green Tea originated in China, but is now grown in other countries across East Asia. The use of the plant is extremely important to Chinese history and is considered by many to have helpful properties. The history of Green tea in therapeutic practices is centuries old, with many uses being attributed to the drink. It also contains caffeine which may have aided its reputation as a useful and healthy plant.
Vitamin C’s history is extensive. Indigenous Canadians often consumed a drink created from tree bark (which includes Vitamin C). In 1747 James Lind (a British naval surgeon) conducted a study on 12 men onboard a ship suffering from a lack of Vitamin C. He discovered that citrus fruits helped the men, due to the fact that they contain Vitamin C. Albert Szent-Györgyi was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1937 for his discovery of the actual vitamin, having isolated the vitamin from plant juices and animal tissues in 1928.
Turmeric is extracted from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which grows in subtropical climates. Over the centuries it has been used in cooking, as a dye, and as a natural aid. As a dye it has been used to colour the robes of monks and priests. The root is cut, dried and powdered - which provides access to the active compound, Curcuma. Turmeric is traditionally used in therapeutic practices, particularly in Asia where it is known as the 'warming plant'.
Zinc has been used as material by the Greeks and Romans as early as 20 BC, but was only identified as an element in 1746 by William Champion. Zinc is essential for all living creatures as it forms the active site of over 20 enzymes. On average, we retain around 2.5g of Zinc, although men require 9.5mg Zinc per day and women need 7mg. Researchers have found that we absorb around 15mg Zinc each day through meat, shellfish, pulses, seeds, nuts, and dairy products.
Vitamin A occurs in foods of animal origin (fish, meat, butter, milk and eggs), but carotenoids can be converted to vitamin A in our bodies. Sources of carotenoids include yellow, red and green (leafy) vegetables, like spinach, carrots, and peppers. The myth that ‘carrots help you see in the dark’ happened partly because Vitamin A supports normal vision and carrots contain carotenoids. It was discovered in 1913.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be found in several forms, but alpha-tocopherol is the only form that is readily used by the human body. Vitamin E is exclusively obtained from the diet, as our bodies are unable to produce it. It is present in a variety of foods, including plant oils (such as rapeseed, olive, sunflower and soya oils), nuts, seeds and cereals. Once absorbed, it is stored in the liver. It was discovered in 1922, by scientists Katherine Bishop and Herbert Evans.
Oxidative damage: Vitamins E, C, and Zinc, play a role in the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
Immune function: Vitamins A, C, together with Zinc, support the normal functioning of the immune system.
Bone health: Vitamin C and Zinc support the maintenance of normal bones.
Metabolism: Vitamin C supports the normal energy-yielding metabolism. Zinc supports normal protein synthesis, and the normal metabolism of macronutrients.
Vision: Vitamins A and C, in addition to Zinc, contribute to normal vision.
Skin and Hair: Vitamins A and C, along with Zinc, play a role in the maintenance of normal skin. Zinc also supports the maintenance of normal hair.
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