Tea drinkers enjoy possible health benefits, study suggests – Arab News

WASHINGTON: A cup of tea just got a bit more relaxing.
Tea can be part of a healthy diet and people who drink tea may even be a little more likely to live longer than those who don’t, according to a large study.
Tea contains helpful substances known to reduce inflammation. Past studies in China and Japan, where green tea is popular, suggested health benefits. The new study extends the good news to the U.K.’s favorite drink: black tea.
Scientists from the U.S. National Cancer Institute asked about the tea habits of nearly a half million adults in the United Kingdom, then followed them for up to 14 years. They adjusted for risk factors such as health, socioeconomics, smoking, alcohol intake, diet, age, race and gender.
Higher tea intake — two or more cups daily — was linked to a modest benefit: a 9% to 13% lower risk of death from any cause vs. non-tea drinkers. Tea temperature, or adding milk or sugar, didn’t change the results.
The study, published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine, found the association held up for heart disease deaths, but there was no clear trend for cancer deaths. Researchers weren’t sure why, but it’s possible there weren’t enough cancer deaths for any effect to show up, said Maki Inoue-Choi, who led the study.
A study like this, based on observing people’s habits and health, can’t prove cause and effect.
“Observational studies like this always raise the question: Is there something else about tea drinkers that makes them healthier?” said Marion Nestle, a professor of food studies at New York University. “I like tea. It’s great to drink. But a cautious interpretation seems like a good idea.”
There’s not enough evidence to advise changing tea habits, said Inoue-Choi.
“If you drink one cup a day already, I think that is good,” she said. “And please enjoy your cup of tea.”
Among a cluster of indistinct commercial shops, there is a cafe with a decorative feature running across the top of the door and window. Perhaps fringe is the right word. It also resembles an unfinished traditional woven basket, that provides entry into what seems like someone’s living room.
Except that it’s a coffee shop named Alhaql where you can find a brew made from tiny red beans that are indigenous to the area and known for its energy giving properties. The place was opened in the fall of 2019 by sisters Khawla, Norah and Nawal Johali, and has since become a popular spot to stay both caffeinated and connected with friends and family.
On the day of our visit, customers were seen sipping away quietly: One person was tapping away indistinctly on a humming laptop, while another was glued to his phone, perhaps catching up with friends on Snapchat. It’s not unusual to find male customers entering the space adorned with the local headdress, a halo made of fragrant local plants and flowers. It’s a spot that feels both traditionally homely but with a modern vibe. And very Jazan.
Their logo seems reminiscent of a popular coffee chain from Seattle but with locally inspired branding. The illustration looks to me like a faun, that mythological creature that is part human, part goat, which graces every cup, and is a symbol of peace and fertility. The faun’s human arm holds aloft a branch of coffee beans, proudly.
Legend has it that a long, long time ago, a young herder named Khaldi in the southern tip of what has since become part of the Saudi nation, realized that his goats were suddenly energized after nibbling on what looked like tiny beads of cherry. He decided to try it out and was himself given somewhat of a boost. And that’s the story of how those little red coffee beans became an addictive addition to Saudi diets.
The cafe had to press pause when the pandemic shut down everything, but as soon as it was safe, customers were herded back to the little nook in which mellow music, plentiful seating and strong refreshment is abundant.
Abeer Madkhali, who manages the social media channels for the cafe, told Arab News she started out as a customer. “I used to come to the cafe during my first years in college since it was so close. It became our first choice to read and study. It also became the top choice to meet up with friends since it has a comfortable feel — almost like a family environment.”
Madkhali said the cafe already had a stellar reputation in the area for having a traditional look but with a modern feel. Her favorite thing at the cafe is the freshly baked cookies that are made daily — an ooey gooey circle of goodness.
One of the most popular drinks is a classic favorite with a local twist. Since cardamom is so prevalent in Saudi coffee, they decided to create a cardamom latte in which the spice is the star of the cup.
They also offer every visitor water which has been vaporized with charcoal and mastic. The aroma is strong and it feels like it slides to the back of your throat and tingles a little. The aftertaste lingers but not in a terrible way. It is said to provide health benefits and is frequently consumed in the country’s south. The cafe counter has a water cooler in which customers can help themselves to a little of this southern tradition at no extra cost.
Visit them on Instagram @Alhaql_sa. Locals can order via the delivery apps.
DUBAI: Things could have turned out very differently for acclaimed Indian chef Himanshu Saini, who runs the kitchen at Trèsind Studio in Palm Jumeirah’s Nakheel Mall. Right now, he’s one of the hottest properties in Dubai’s dining scene: Saini basically has free rein to create his own tasting menus for the 18-seat Indian fine-dining restaurant (he changes the menu up every four months) and has established it as one of the must-visit venues in the city. Trèsind Studio was awarded a Michelin star in the prestigious dining guide’s first Dubai edition earlier this year.
But he very nearly didn’t come to the Middle East at all. In 2014, the Delhi native was working as an executive chef in Mumbai when he was offered what seemed like a dream job in New York.
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“I was looking forward to it. I’d had this offer from Dubai to open Trèsind, but New York is New York, so I’d decided I was going to go there,” Saini says. “But I was really struggling in America: I wasn’t happy with the team, I wasn’t happy with the concept of the restaurant, I wasn’t being given a free hand to work the way I wanted to work, so within a month I decided to come to Dubai and take the opportunity to launch Trèsind.”
He hasn’t really looked back since. Which is perhaps as well, because as Saini tells it, there has never been a Plan B for him.
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“Cooking was something I always loved. I grew up in a big family, living in my grandparents’ house with about 50 people — extended family. So even though it was a home kitchen, it was run like a professional kitchen where everybody has an assigned job. Growing up in those surroundings, and in Delhi — which is a big foodie hub with lots of unique street food — I was always surrounded by food.
“In India, being a chef — 10 or 20 years back — wasn’t really a career your parents wanted you to pursue,” he continues. “Everybody in India wanted their children to become a doctor or an engineer, or a lawyer. But I wasn’t good at anything else. This career wasn’t really a choice so much as a necessity.”
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Here, Saini discusses flavors, theater, and the importance of simplicity.
Q: What’s your top tip for amateur chefs?
A: When I cook, I try to maintain a harmony of flavors. I don’t shy away from using salt in desserts or something sweet in savory preparations. These are all mental blocks that cooks can have. A recipe is useful as a reference, but it’s always best to use your own palate. I always say to younger chefs that you should cook something you’d eat yourself a hundred times. If it’s tasty to you, then it’ll eventually be appreciated by others.
Is there a single ingredient that can instantly improve most dishes?
The generic answer would be salt. Like I said, I don’t shy away from using it in my desserts. But cooking isn’t about just one ingredient. And, for me, the humble ingredients in the kitchen are more important than any luxury ones: I don’t use expensive meat, I don’t use foie gras, or caviar — I’ll only use it if I can make better use of it than just serving it on top of a dish. The tomato is more important in my kitchen than truffle. The umami in the tomatoes is probably as good as the umami in the truffles; you just have to know how to respect that.
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What’s your favorite cuisine?
I always look forward to Indian or Thai food the most. They’re two cuisines which are very flavorful and full of aroma.
What’s your favorite dish to cook?
My menu will sometimes have three or four broth preparations. It’s something I always look forward to. I find peace when I’m cooking broths. It’s so harmonious: You can have so many flavors. It’s delicate and needs a deft hand, but at the same time it’s full of aroma and flavorful. It’s something that a lot of people get wrong, but a good hearty soup or a good bouillon is something that’s one of my strengths. I get all the flavors in the liquid, but it’s still delicate and flavorful. I find peace in simple things: A few spoonfuls of broth can make my eyes light up.
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When you go out, do you find yourself critiquing the food?
It depends. Sometimes I go out to eat because I want to see what other restaurants are doing. In that case, I try to pick restaurants that I look up to and my professional side kicks in. But it totally depends on my intentions. If the intention is just to relax with friends, then I don’t judge — I’m not thinking about how the sauce is seasoned, or how the pasta is cooked. My brain won’t work in the same way as it does if I’m going out to, say, Ossiano, when I want to know what thought process has gone into the dish, why certain combinations have been used, where the ingredients have been sourced from.
So you’re able to turn your chef’s brain off sometimes?
Yeah. When I’m having a good time with my friends, I keep my mouth shut.
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What request or behavior from customers most frustrates you?
Since we’re a tasting-menu restaurant, the experience can take up to two hours. We do it that way because, for every preparation, the temperature is important, the way it’s being eaten is important… So I do get frustrated when people say, ‘Can you bring everything together?’ If it’s all served together, it’s not the experience we want to give. We want to be sure we’re serving the dishes at the right temperature, with the right texture. These small details make a big difference on your palate. A dish that has been kept on the table for more than two or three minutes, for me, is not as it should be.
At home, if you need to cook something quickly, what’s your go-to dish?
I’d probably make a spaghetti al olio. It’s my kind of dish: Super-easy, super-quick. My house is pure vegetarian — no meat, no eggs. My wife is pure vegetarian, so I don’t cook eggs at home, otherwise I would’ve said an omelet.
As a head chef, are you a disciplinarian?
No. I’m the opposite. In Trèsind Studio we have a maximum of 18 guests at one time, and we turn around two seatings every evening. All the guests face the open kitchen. For me it’s like a theater. I really enjoy working like that, I can see every guest and whether they’re liking it or not. In the kitchen, everybody’s doing their job and enjoying it. It’s very peaceful. It’s not a busy kitchen with loud noise. For me, it’s like meditation. You get that kind of vibe; everybody’s calm. Everybody knows what’s expected from them and I trust my team and I’m super-proud of them.
RIYADH: Hovering a few feet above the ground, flying weightlessly and defying the laws of gravity is attracting women to practice the art of aerial yoga.
In an aerial yoga class, similar poses to yoga done on the mat are performed, but instead of using your body weight to support yourself, you use a silk hammock suspended from the ceiling.
Sarah Farhoud, a Saudi aerial fitness freelancer and yoga teacher, was introduced to aerial yoga classes while she was in medical school. “I used to go to do yoga and relax, and for a change, I decided to take an aerial class, and I never looked back,” Farhoud told Arab News.
She loved the sport so much that she became a freelance instructor in 2016 and has been taking aerial fitness classes in multiple studios across Riyadh.
The high demand was after 2017 when it was permitted to open licensed ladies’ gyms. I got the TOT (the Training of Trainers) from Cirque Fitness USA. Today, we have 508 certified instructors in aerial hammock, silks, and hoop by aerial arts in Saudi Arabia.
Roa Al-Sahhaf, Aerial yoga instructor
“Girls are interested, and they like the challenge. They trust the hammock, and they do not fear being upside down. They are encouraged to take harder poses and they trust their bodies. I think the new generation is more courageous and excited,” she said.
The hammock is designed to help you increase your flexibility and strength while enabling you to perform more difficult poses without putting additional strain on your shoulders, spine or head.
“If your life is stressful, try aerial yoga as a way to break up your routine and rediscover the joy of being upside down, using the fabric to lift you to the other side, or using it as a swing. I’ve attended many classes where everyone is laughing and giggling because they’re having a good time, and you can allow yourself to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment,” Farhoud said.
She believes that Vision 2030 will encourage more studios to open and make sports more inclusive and accessible for everyone by opening parks and community centers.
Roa Al-Sahhaf, an aerial yoga instructor, was in Paris when she was introduced to aerial yoga and decided to take it back home.
“I tried aerial for the first time in Paris, and when I came back to Saudi Arabia I couldn’t find it anywhere in Jeddah, so I decided to open one in Jeddah. It started as a home studio, and then I started giving classes to other gyms. Eventually, in 2018, I opened my own studio named Aerial Arts in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Sahhaf told Arab News.
Al-Sahhaf noticed that there was a high demand for the sport, but there were not enough instructors.
“The high demand was after 2017 when it was permitted to open licensed ladies’ gyms. I got the TOT (the Training of Trainers) from Cirque Fitness USA. Today, we have 508 certified instructors in aerial hammock, silks, and hoop by aerial arts in Saudi Arabia,” she said.
Al-Sahhaf said that many people enjoy trying new things and that aerial yoga can be more popular than traditional yoga due to its greater difficulty and the enjoyment people gain from it.
“Aerial is like a water sport. It’s good for people who are not flexible or who have roughness in the knees or fragility in the disc. It’s good for people who can’t do any kind of sport because the hammock lifts so much weight off them,” Al-Sahhaf said.
“It’s like doing an exercise with another person, and by the end of the session we always give a meditation (exercise) so they can be tangled around the hammock and meditate,” she said. “It gives them a great feeling.”
Yoga is gaining popularity as a fitness trend in Saudi Arabia, and the Ministry of Commerce approved the teaching and practice of yoga as a sport in the Kingdom in November 2017.
“The facilities have improved a lot in the fields of licensing, support, sponsorship, and we are happy with this,” Al-Sahhaf said.
Symphony Sweets is one of Jeddah’s most exquisite sweet shops, offering a unique fusion of treats inspired by many world cultures.
The shop offers an array of selections that will leave you mesmerized by their appealing presentation, including a cake served inside a chocolate and wafer biscuit plate, which comes in different sizes and flavors such as salted caramel, pistachio, mango and tiramisu.
Most of us might worry about writing on such good-looking desserts, but Symphony Sweets offers professionally scripted custom notes in Arabic calligraphy for your special occasions.
If you are planning to entertain guests, Symphony Sweets offers a giant celebratory chocolate mousse cake with cherries on top and a tiny chocolate fountain in the middle.
One of the shop’s most sought-after items is the cube croissant, which comes in a breakfast box of two sizes: One box offers 15 cubes and the other 24. Breakfast boxes come with two little jars of honey and strawberry jam to drizzle over the croissants.
Symphony Sweets also offers Saudi-inspired mini spiral trumbah with dry rose petals.
The Basque cheesecake, which does not have a crust at the bottom, is also a trending dessert.
Yes, desserts trend too! Last year, the Basque cheesecake was trending in Turkey, where it was served with a small jar of warm Belgium chocolate to pour over the cake.
Symphony Sweets is located in Al-Mohammadiyyah district, on Halima Al-Saadia street.
For more information, visit the Instagram page @symphonysa.
Bread Ahead is a bakery that has traveled straight from London to Jeddah, and takes the doughnut scene in the city to the next level. The doughnuts are displayed on their side, and the fillings ooze out in perfect peaks. 
The melt-in-the-mouth doughnuts are like little clouds that makes the tastebuds explode with happiness when you bite into them.
The blackcurrant cheesecake version, for example, creates an explosion of flavors that perfectly balance sweet and sour.
If doughnuts are the highlight, the rest of the goodies on offer are not far behind. The perfect croissants can be enjoyed plain or with flavors such as pistachio chocolate and almonds.
Their bread and buns can be taken home, or you can order sandwiches and French toast from their sourdough or brioche selection.
They also serve pizza made in the authentic Italian way. They have kept the flavors simple but have perfected the taste of each.
The business not only aims to spread happiness through baked goods but also to spread knowledge through its baking school. You can register for the baking school through the website.
They hold small master classes that focus on just one kind of skill.
You can attend the classes regardless of where you are in your baking journey: beginner or an expert, there is something for everyone.
The classes are sometimes specific to a certain region, such as the eastern European or the Greek baking workshops.


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