Tag Archives: Harvard University

Goodness Gracias Green Tea

By Tahira

green tea 2

Consumption of tea originated in China nearly 4000 years ago and as far as Green Tea is concerned, it was first brewed in 2737 BC, during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Chen Nung. Over the ages, Green Tea has been known and extensively used for its medicinal purpose long years together. But what makes Green Tea so popular and endearing. Lets take a look.

Green Tea and Weight Loss
Wondering that consumption of a liquid can actually do such a wonder? Well, yes it does. Regular consumption of green tea increases the rate of metabolism. The substance named polyphone present in green tea works towards intensifying the levels of fat oxidation. It also intensifies the rate at which our body burns calories.

Green Tea and Cancer
Consumption of Green Tea is known to reduce the risk of oesophagus and breast cancer. However, the cancer fighting abilities of green tea is not only limited to these two. Flavinoids present in green tea helps reducing cancer risk. The antioxidant in green tea has been proved to be 100 times more effective than Vitamin C and nearly 25 times better than Vitamin E.

Moreover, Catechins found in green tea help deactivate certain carcinogens, prevent cell mutation and reduce the formation of tumors. Drinking as many as four cups of green tea in a day can help reap the benefits.

Green Tea and Cardiovascular Diseases
The lowering risks of heart diseases and stroke has long been associated with Green Tea. According to Harvard Health Publications, regular Green Tea consumers develop lower risks for heart diseases. The presence of the strong antioxidants in green tea, blocks the oxidation of bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol thereby improving arterial functions. A Chinese study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed nearly 50% reduction in hypertension risks in those who consumed Green Tea on a regular basis.

Green Tea and, Oral and Bone Health
Presence of flavinoids, natural fluorides, catechins and polyphenols are known to kill bacteria that are responsible for causing tooth decay, gum problems and bad breath. A study published by the European Journal of Nutrition, found that those who consumed at least two cups of Green Tea everyday, developed less risk of tooth decay. However, it is advisable that you consume Green Tea without sugar or honey.

green tea 1Though researches are still being undertaken about the Green Tea’s association of promoting bone health, but some studies have found that routine consumption of Green Tea for more than five years can help in reducing the risk of diseases such as osteoporotic fractures. Green Tea is also thought to reduce bone loss through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. It is believed that Green Tea also helps in bone building cells.

How to Reap the Benefits
In a cup of  hot boiled water, add one or two teaspoons of green tea leaves. Keep for five minutes and strain. You can add ice if you want to have this beverage cold. But, always remember to be able to reap the benefits of Green Tea to the fullest, have it plain, without sugar or honey.

The Great Debaters: Inspiring and Uplifting


As I watch The Great Debaters, I feel the real need of filmmaking classes for the filmmakers elsewhere. So basically when someone tells the audience that films are made to suit the demographics, they bullshit us because films like The Great Debaters break the notion and the thought on its very base. 

The Great Debaters, though itself inspired from a real story, is like one of those sports films in which one team which is the underdog gets inspired and wins the trophy from the favorite,  a team which looks way beyond its reach. Denzel Washington, the lead, and also the Director of the film makes sure he creates a cast that look exact replicas of anyone suited in the roles. Thus, when this team (Wiley College) wins against Harvard, you feel a sense of victory inside you, something that all such films create, if made from the right senses.

Washington himself plays Mel Tolson, a professor at Wiley College. He builds a school debate team and works hard to make sure they are best with great difference from the rest. The auditions that he takes are a treat to watch and Washington himself, polite yet aggressive, humorous yet serious, makes sure he captures your attention as he so easily does. Finally, after rigorous auditions, he gets ready his team.

The team constitutes Henry Lowe (Nate Parker), someone with great intellect coupled with great looks but easily sway able,  Samantha Booke (Jurnee Smollett) who is at Wiley to learn debating and in the future become the state’s third-ever black female lawyer and finally James Farmer, Jr. (Denzel Whitaker), the 14-year-old son of another Wiley professor (Forest Whitaker) and also Hamilton Burgess (Jermaine Williams), a superb debater who eventually leaves the team for reasons of not being able to handle Tolson’s political pursuits.

There are two parallel stories which go on for a while. As this debate team starts winning and winning pretty easily against other black schools, Tolson and his rebel ways of acting as Labor organizer for local farmers provide a glimpse of the problems of those times. These were the same times when a black man could be lynched for no mistake of his. These were the bad times in the history of America. This team also found its share of threatening when they actually drove into a mob which was lynching a black person. Thankfully for the script, they could drive away.

Although the film touches on Tolson’s rebel ways, what is concealed is that he is one of America’s best poets. Tolson’s poems got published in magazines such as the Atlantic Monthly and in 1947 was actually named poet laureate of Liberia.

I would recommend this movie to not be seen for how they beat the best, but for how the entire black community in this film is seen to believe that education is their only way out to successfully be equals in a country, otherwise proud of its White culture. India, I feel somewhere needs to understand the same and work and we have examples to prove that with education has come affluence and with it misery often ends. The film is about being proud of your color and culture and not just being subservient to a lead. This team actually shows that they are black, proud of it and focused to win at something they are the best at, debating.

The Great Debaters is definitely one of the best I’ve seen and in it has a lot to learn from for filmmakers. Denzel Washington in himself is an institution. The movie does play around the facts a little as the in the great finale the real Wiley team does beat the national champions but they did not come from Harvard, and had actually were from USC. In the end though these things hardly matter because the idea of the film was well take care of.

the great debaters


The Happiness Advantage

This post has been written by Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore. Ms. Andrew believes that happiness increases business outcome in several ways. Read on to find out.


Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Advantage makes the case for the fact that “the single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce”.  His research of a decade shows that happiness raises nearly every business outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as countless health and quality of life improvements.

Happiness-AdvantageIn an experiment to test the ROI of investing in happiness at a Big 4 accounting firm, he found that a brief 3 hour training on positive psychology and a non-mandatory invitation to create a positive habit for 21 days created a high ROI not only in the short-term, but in the longer term as well.

He suggests that we can begin to do two things on our own.

First, to recognize that happiness is an advantage at work. This will encourage us to seek happiness in the present instead of waiting for a future success. As a result, our brain will have more resources necessary to accomplish work.

Second, we can literally train our brain for higher levels of happiness at work by creating habits. These change the pattern through which our brain views work.

  • Gratitude Journal – to write down 3 new things that we are grateful for each day;
  • Positive Experience – to write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience that we’ve had in the past 24 hours;
  • Exercise – for atleast 10 minutes a day;
  • Mediate – for atleast 2 minutes every day, focusing on the breath going in and out;
  • Random acts of kindness – to write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on the team.

We can take the time to be grateful, focus on positive experiences, exercise, meditate and do random acts of kindness in order to create The Happiest Workplace.

The UP Experience

Shawn Achor is a lecturer at Harvard University, where he has studied with pioneers in the field of positive psychology. He is the co-designer of Harvard’s ‘Happiness’ course, one of the most popular in Harvard history. This article is adapted from his blog The Happiness Dividend, HBR Blog Network, June 23, 2011.