Addicted to Coffee is Healthy.

March 6, 2011

I came across this article on Yahoo’s Shine written by Kerri-Ann Jennings, Associate Nutrition Editor at EatingWell Magazine. As a former barista and a caffeine addict, I couldn’t resist posting this so here’s 5 healthy reasons why you should stick to coffee:

I really like coffee. The morning ritual of brewing a cup, the smell that perks me up before I take a sip and, of course, the flavor all make it my favorite beverage aside from water (water’s delicious!). As a registered dietitian and a nutrition editor for EatingWell Magazine, I know that coffee is fine in moderation. It has lots of antioxidants and is low in calories if you don’t load it up with cream and sugar. Nonetheless, I always feel slightly guilty about drinking it—you know, in a “it’s so good, it must be bad” kind of way.

Which is why I’m always delighted to hear of new reasons that coffee is good for your health…and there are plenty! Over 18,000 studies on coffee have been published in the past few decades, revealing these benefits, many of which Joyce Hendley wrote about in the March/April issue of EatingWell Magazine:

1. It protects your heart: Moderate coffee drinkers (1 to 3 cups/day) have lower rates of stroke than noncoffee drinkers, an effect linked to coffee’s antioxidants. Coffee has more antioxidants per serving than blueberries, making it the biggest source of antioxidants in American diets. All those antioxidants may help suppress the damaging effect of inflammation on arteries. Immediately after drinking it, coffee raises your blood pressure and heart rate, but over the long term, it actually may lower blood pressure as coffee’s antioxidants activate nitric oxide, widening blood vessels.

2. It diverts diabetes: Those antioxidants (chlorogenic acid and quinides, specifically) play another role: boosting your cells’ sensitivity to insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar. In fact, people who drink 4 or more cups of coffee each day may have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to some studies. Other studies have shown that caffeine can blunt the insulin-sensitivity boost, so if you do drink several cups a day, try mixing in decaf occasionally.

3. Your liver loves it: OK, so the research here is limited, but it looks like the more coffee people drink, the lower their incidence of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. One analysis of nine studies found that every 2-cup increase in daily coffee intake reduced liver cancer risk by 43 percent. Again, it’s those antioxidants—chlorogenic and caffeic acids—and caffeine that might prevent liver inflammation and inhibit cancer cells.

4. It boosts your brain power: Drinking between 1 and 5 cups a day (admittedly a big range) may help reduce risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease, studies suggest. Those antioxidants may ward off brain cell damage and help the neurotransmitters involved in cognitive function to work better.

5. It helps your headaches: And not just the withdrawal headaches caused by skipping your daily dose of caffeine! Studies show that 200 milligrams of caffeine—about the amount in 16 ounces of brewed coffee—provides relief from headaches, including migraines. Exactly how caffeine relieves headaches isn’t clear. But scientists do know that caffeine boosts the activity of brain cells, causing surrounding blood vessels to constrict. One theory is that this constriction helps to relieve the pressure that causes the pain, says Robert Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of neurology and director of the Headache Clinic at the University of Vermont Medical School.

Now, that’s not to say that coffee doesn’t have any pitfalls—it does. Some people are super-sensitive to caffeine and get jittery or anxious after drinking coffee; habitual coffee drinkers usually develop a tolerance to caffeine that eliminates this problem (but they then need the caffeine to be alert and ward off withdrawal headaches). Coffee can also disturb sleep, especially as people age. Cutting some of the caffeine and drinking it earlier in the day can curb this effect. Lastly, unfiltered coffee (like that made with a French press) can raise LDL cholesterol, so use a filter for heart health.

But if you like coffee and you can tolerate it well, enjoy it…without the guilt.


Watch Out For That Theater Food.

February 24, 2009

The Oscars have passed, which means I have the urge to watch more movies in theaters. On the top of my list, I need to watch Slumdog Millionaire, Milk (for the fourth time!), Confessions of a Shopaholic, the Reader, and He’s Just Not That Into You. I want to see a majority of these movies. But there’s the dreaded food trap that mostly everyone falls into. I mean, if you’re going to watch a movie for over 2 hours, you need to snack on something. Arguably, theater food isn’t the best, but I picked up this analysis-survey that come in quite handy if you need to snack on something. So the lesson be is portions!

You want to see all the nominated films before the Oscars. Admirable goal. Just use our guide to find the smartest snacks at the Cineplex so you don’t gain 10 pounds doing it!

CANDY

Sweet ‘n’ sour stuff tends to be lower-fat than chocolate, but it’s still dessert. Size counts too!

Worst: Skittles (7.2 oz.) 826 calories, 9.7 grams fat

Better:Twizzlers (6 oz.) 606 calories, 3.8 grams fat

Best: Sour Patch Soft & Chewy Candy (3.5 oz.) 375 calories, 0 grams fat

Serve up these low-Calorie Super Bowl Foods for game day!

POPCORN

Yes, it’s a whole grain, but a large has close to the number of calories many women need in a day!

Worst: Large buttered popcorn 1,640 calories, 126 grams fat (That’s almost two days’ worth of fat!)

Better: Small, no butter 400 calories, 27 grams fat

Best: Kid size, no butter 300 calories, 20 grams fat

COLD TREATS

Frozen fruit? Always a winner. (7 fruits to eat this winter.)

Worst: Toll House chocolate-chip cookie ice cream sandwich 490 calories, 23 grams fat

Better: Butterfinger Loaded ice cream bar 290 calories, 19 grams fat

Best: Edy’s strawberry iced-fruit bar 120 calories, 0 grams fat

CHOCOLATE

Unfortunately, most concession stands offer only one size (and who isn’t going to eat the whole box?). So go for something in a smaller package to keep portions in check.

Worst: Peanut M&M’s (5.3 oz.) 786 calories,39.3 grams fat

Better:
Junior Mints (4.75 oz.) 595 calories,10.5 grams fat

Best: Milk Duds (3 oz.) 371 calories,13.1 grams fat

Did you know that chocolate along with these other foods can boost your mood?


HOT SNACKS

In general, beware of anything with glow-in-the-dark cheese.

Worst: Nachos with cheese 894 calories, 52.5 grams fat

Better: Hot dog with ketchup 315 calories, 19 grams fat

Best: Soft pretzel 310 calories, 4 grams fat


Have A Healthy Lifestyle With A Healthy Fridge.

January 22, 2009

Here’s a neat article from AskMen.com. It provides a wonderful way to healthy by eliminating temptations. Start by stocking your fridge with all the good stuff! I eat most of these anyways, so it is very useful.

Despite what some of you may think, the refrigerator is not just a place for Coke, beer and last night’s leftovers. It’s also the appliance responsible for storing a lot of the healthier things that we eat. In an age where our cupboards and pantries are filled to the brim with junk food and preservative-packed delicacies, your tall appliance should be a haven for healthy fridge staples.

It isn’t hard to stock up on healthy fridge staples. The key is to pick out the essentials and make sure they’re always on hand. The items your fridge should never be without are those that should be consumed regularly to ensure the right nutrients make their way into your body. These are foods that should, and need to be, bought fresh.

1. Water

Plain and simple, your body needs water. It helps clean out toxins and it channels nutrients to all your needy cells. Without enough water, you’ll dehydrate, get headaches and find it more difficult to function. Water really is essential to your well-being.

Daily serving: Bottled water might be nice on the go, but save some cash and get a jug that filters water to keep in your fridge at all times. The average person should consume at least eight glasses a day.

2. Orange juice

This is one of the most nutrient-rich fruit juices you can buy, hence why it’s a great healthy fridge staple. Studies have credited it with more health benefits than you can count. These include everything from boosting your immune system to keeping your blood pressure in check. Orange juice is also chock-full of vitamin C, which can help combat common colds.

Daily serving: You should stock your fridge with pure orange juice. Remember that orange “flavored” drinks aren’t the same. Serve yourself 8 oz a day and try to drink it in the morning.

3. Eggs

Eggs are not only cheap, but they also tend to keep for a decent span of time as well. They are a great source of protein and though they are high in cholesterol, it’s the kind your body will put to good use. Eat in moderation and remember that eggs aren’t just a breakfast food — you can have eggs for lunch and even supper.

Daily serving: Eggs are great because they’re quick to make and there are dozens of ways to make them. Some say that an egg a day is healthy; this is debated, but having at least a few servings a week will definitely do your system good.

4. Milk

Milk is rich in protein. It also has a lot of calcium, which, as the commercials have been telling us for years, is great for the bones. Pay attention to the percentage of milk you take in though. As children, we need whole, 3.25% milk, but as we get older that fattier milk tends to be more detrimental than beneficial. As an adult, consider 1% or even skim milk (if you dare) instead of whole milk. You’ll still get all the nutrients milk has to offer without all the nasty, fatty side effects.

Daily serving: You should have at least three cups of milk a day. This can include other milk products, like cheese. Its naturally high protein count also makes it a great post-workout drink.

5. Non-fat yogurt

Yogurt is a great healthy fridge staple because it stays fresh for a good couple of weeks. It can also be a treat on its own or used as an ingredient in a number of recipes. Plus, it’s a key ingredient to healthy, tasty smoothies. As a dairy product, yogurt is loaded with calcium, protein and lots of vitamins.

Daily serving: A yogurt a day is a good idea. If nothing else, you should at least keep it around as a handy alternative to unhealthy snack foods.

6. Lemons

Lemons are a versatile citrus fruit that can be used to flavor your daily glasses of water, replace salad dressing and so much more. Lemons are a diuretic, a source of vitamin C and can be used as a home remedy for halitosis (bad breath) and hangovers. Make sure to have this healthy fridge staple stocked at all times.

Daily serving: Add a squeeze of lemon juice to your food whenever you can. Try steaming salmon with lemon wedges or add a wedge to your next bottle of water before you run out. Using lemons to add some flavor is convenient and healthy.

7. Carrots

Carrots: The other vegetable. They aren’t green but they are healthy. Thought to help reduce cholesterol, , carrots are loaded with vitamin A and have many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart attacks and fighting the effects of macular degeneration. They stay fresh for a long time in the fridge and are easy to chop up for an on-the-go snack anytime of the day.

Daily serving: A carrot a day will do you good. Of course, this counts toward your recommended daily serving of fruits and vegetables. And try eating your carrots without dressing as often as possible — they have all the nutrients they need without extras added in.

8. Mixed greens

Not all green vegetables are created equal, and some are definitely more health beneficial than others. The idea, however, is to keep a nice variety stocked in your fridge at all times. The nutrients in fresh greens are essential to keeping the body healthy. And with a wide selection of veggies included in your healthy fridge staples, you’ll ensure that every meal you make has a healthy side dish to accompany it.

Daily serving: You should have about three cups of green vegetables a day. Eating them raw in a salad is the healthiest choice, but lightly cooking them or steaming them still leaves in most of the nutrients. Some nutritionists promote the half-plate rule: For each meal, have a half a plate of any vegetables/greens, while the remaining half is split into a quarter starch and a quarter meat/protein. But this rule can be dangerous depending on the size of your dinner plates.

9. 100% natural peanut butter

Best kept in the fridge, natural peanut butter is a great source of protein and contains high levels of antioxidants. It lasts for a very long time, so you don’t have to fear it ever going to waste. The reason this peanut butter is kept in the fridge is due to it’s lack of preservatives — it tends to be more liquid in consistency than regular peanut butter. If you prefer your peanut butter warm, just make sure you stir natural peanut butter before spreading it on whole wheat toast or crackers. Also, keep in mind that there are alternatives to standard peanut butter, such as almond butter and cashew butter.

Daily serving: Use your 100% peanut butter as an alternative to actual butter on your toast. Put it on your celery stick while filling up on your daily veggie needs. Basically, it’s good to simply put peanut butter into your regular routine. But, don’t forget that even natural peanut butter has fat (just think about the layer of oil you’ll be stirring into the peanut butter if you keep it in the cupboard), so try and keep your intake to one serving a day, which could vary per individual.

10. Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is loaded with potassium, fiber and vitamins like C, A and B. This healthy fridge staple is proven to fight several kinds of infections and helps your body promote healthy blood flow. It is also known to help with kidney function and can ward off kidney infections and maintain urinary tract health, helping to keep you functioning regularly. Be careful about sugar content though. While you might be tempted to get the sweeter version — cranberry juice can be quite bitter — know that the benefits of all-natural cranberry juice are worth the tangy experience.

Daily serving: It’s recommended that you drink at least a glass of cranberry juice daily so as to take full advantage of its health benefits. Morning, afternoon or night, this stuff is just good for you.

happy and healthy snacking

Even if you live a fast-paced, on-the-go kind of life, it’s still possible to eat well by stocking up on healthy fridge staples. And it’s important to make sure that the foods you have in your fridge promote healthy eating. As a society, we are driven by the instant-gratification desire, and our snacking and eating habits tend to reflect that. But, take the time to research healthier foods and your body is sure to thank you for it. Just because it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it can’t taste good or fill you up.


Coffee Can Make You Too Wired.

January 17, 2009

According to a survey done by psychologists at the Durham University, people who drink more than seven cups a day tend to hallucinate more than the average consumer. So supposedly too much coffee can make a person hear voices. Now, I haven’t gone to that point, but now I’m wondering about all the regular customers at Starbucks. What do they hear? I would like to ask, but they probably would be bothered by another voice. If you want to know more, check out this article.


Wake Me Up For A Workout.

January 4, 2009

A common question amongst exercise- fiends is which is the best time to workout: morning or night? I previously exercised at night. But with social activities and lethargy, I sometimes forget about my daily routine. Now, I’m strictly a morning exerciser. It’s a lot simpler since you get your workouts out of the way and you feel energized afterwards. My workout goes into three intervals through the day (and it‘s been going strong every SINGLE day since July). I usually do my ab workouts immediately when I wake up, my chest workouts before I leave the house, and I run on the treadmill before two in the afternoon. Now, if I doesn’t persuade you to work out for the new year, here’s a helpful site on the pros and cons of working out in the mornings and the evenings. Where do you fall under?

The Source!

Forget the chicken or the egg, the age old question is sunrise or sunset…regarding exercise, that is. If I didn’t have to be a productive member of society, I would say that early afternoon is the most optimal time to exercise, but since the world at large does things during the day I am bound by societal pressure to be a sheep–baaaahhh. Therefore I must choose the crack of dawn, or the social-life-crushing evening. If only typing were considered exercise.

The experts say that a.m. workouts are beneficial because people are more likely to stick to a routine that won’t be sidelined by social plans. Old wives’ tales say that you burn more fat in the morning because you (theoretically) haven’t eaten yet. Talking heads also say that evening workouts are more effective because your body is already warmed up, your muscles can work harder and you can last longer. You know what, enough of other peoples opinions on the workout conundrum, here’s my beef:

A.M. Pros:

  • I like that I don’t have to fight for machines, I have my pick of  threadmills, and no one is taking up space in the TreadClimber
  • I’m more likely to eat healthy the rest of the day
  • I don’t have this overwhelming feeling of guilt when I get home from a hard day of sitting in front of a computer
  • There is a drop in the “sketchy dudes trying to pick up sweaty women” quotient
  • My nights are free for friends, cocktails,  flirting, and movies

A.M. Cons:

  • Waking up early and actually doing something besides drinking coffee and watching the news SUCKS
  • I am starving all day; I don’t know if it’s psychological or physiological, but my appetite will not quit when I workout in the morning.
  • There aren’t many ” classes” offered in the a.m., and I’m big fan of group fitness
  • My morning prep time is seriously diminished and I end up looking like a cross between Charlize Theron in Monster and Pee Wee Herman for the rest of the day

P.M. Pros:

  • Classes. I love classes!
  • I’m never quite hungry post night-time workout, so dinner is generally lighter
  • Sleep: I get to do it in the morning, which is when I like it most
  • Energy: I have more of it in the evening, which is helpful for doing productive things

P.M. Cons:

  • I’m just going to go ahead and say it: it’s hard to blow off your friends for a treadmill
  • Sometimes (most of the time) there are things I’d rather do in the evening than wear spandex and mop up my own sweat
  • It’s so easy to talk myself out of exercise at night
  • These are all the same con aren’t they? I think that just goes to show that it’s a really, really big con.

So, what do you do? When do you work out and why? Will you call me in the morning to get my rear end out of bed? Please? I’ll send you some sort of baked good–or would that be counter-productive?


7 Ways to Use Green Tea.

December 22, 2008

One of the best ways to live a healthy lifestyle is to drink water. Or for a great substitution, drink green tea. Tea has antioxidants and it has cancer-free and weight loss benefits. And considering the modern age, here’s information from a site that has 7 new ways to work with tea:

1. It can reduce puffy peepers: Stayed out too late last night? Soaking a cotton pad in green tea and placing it over eyes for 10 minutes can reduce the puffiness of tired eyes, making you look revitalized and refreshed.

2. It can soothe skin: Spent a little too much time in the sun? Use the naturally calming properties of green tea to soothe sunburned skin. Place green tea in a spray bottle and mist on sunburned areas for all-natural relief. Because it has anti-bacterial qualities, green tea can also be used as an antiseptic to spray on skin blemishes or irritations.

3. It’s great for teeth: Green tea has fluoride in it, making it a superstar for keeping gums and teeth healthy. Green tea can even be used as a mouthwash to maintain breath.

4. It can soothe sore throats:
The anti-viral effects of green tea make it an excellent remedy to help prevent the effects of a cold or flu. In fact, you can gargle with green tea to soothe a sore throat.

5. It’s good for the bones: Naturally high in minerals, green tea aids in strong bone density, which is important for maintaining good posture.

6. It’s a room deodorizer: Green tea leaves have traditionally been used to naturally absorb odors in a room. Place tea leaves in a bowl to help absorb unpleasant odors or leave some in the fridge in place of baking soda.

7. It’s good for the feet: Soaking tired feet in green tea can prevent unpleasant fungal infections.

The source!


My Cardinal Rules for Healthy Living.

October 9, 2008

As I was watching a movie in my Film and Society class, I started writing random notes to improve my lifestyle or jotting down notes of rules I live by. For fun, I’ll post them cause it keeps me going after 3 months of consistency (and improvement!):

My Mantras

  • No fast food
  • Eat healthy as much as possible
  • Fruits everyday
  • Use iPod music as biggest motivator
  • Workout at least 3 times a week, if possible everyday
  • Do pushups when first wake up
  • Do a form of cardio everyday

Some New Rules

  • contract abs throughout the day (at least 20 seconds)
  • need to bench press again
  • have 4-6 smaller meals a day (for faster metabolism) every 2-3 hours
  • 1 gram of protein helps build muscle
  • 45 minute to 1 hour a day of workouts
  • first best time to workout: immediately after wake up, before breakfast (20 minutes)
  • second best time to workout: either in the afternoon or in the evening (10-15 minutes)
  • need at least 20 minutes of ab (side crunches, crunches, leg raises)
  • focus on core workouts: squats, deadlifts, pullups, chinups, bench
  • split 3-4 workouts throughout the whole day