Why are Coffee & Tea Amazing For You?

Why Coffee & Tea Are Amazing for You

There’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee or tea to start the day. Some may go as far as to say they can’t function without their daily dose of caffeine! While some studies celebrate these beverages, others claim they’re bad for us. So should you toss your favorite drink or ignore the naysayers? Let’s find out.

Coffee vs. Tea

There are 80-185 milligrams of caffeine per cup of coffee versus 15-70 mg of caffeine per cup in tea. Coffee comes from the berries of an evergreen plant and tea comes from a variety of plant leaves. But how much do we actually drink? 52 percent (or 100 million) American adults drink coffee daily. The average coffee drinker has 3.1 cups per day, or 70 gallons a year, enough to fill a bathtub. 30 percent of coffee drinkers enjoy specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. 274 million pounds of tea were imported in 2010, the same as a large cruise ship. The average American drinks 155 cups of tea annually, or 10 gallons a year. 78 percent of tea consumed globally is black, which is preferred by North Americans. 20 percent is green and 2 percent is oolong.

Health Benefits of Tea

There are so many different types of tea that you’ve probably heard some are good for you and some aren’t. Studies on rat fat cells shot that brewed tea of any kind increases insulin activity by up to 15 times. Green tea is full of antioxidants that may help prevent many forms of cancer, including breast, lunch, and stomach. Green tea may also help prevent arterial clogging and reduce the risk of stroke. Green tea might also reduce neurological damage due to oxidation, which in turn prevents Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It can burn fat and improve cholesterol levels. Ninety percent of tea consumed in the U.S. is black. It is made from fermented leaves and is the highest in caffeine. Due to the fermentation process, black tea is lowest in monomeric catechins, which have been linked to cancer prevention. This tea may protect you from have a stroke or developing heart disease by helping blood vessels dilate correctly. It has also been linked to preventing lung damage from smoking. White tea is unfermented and made from young buds and leaves. It offers the most powerful antioxidants of all the teas. Oolong tea has many different forms, which is fermented and may prevent weight gain and promote weight loss. It may also help to prevent tooth decay.

Health Benefits of Coffee

Chances are, you’ve heard ideas like coffee will stunt your growth or give you heart disease or stomach cancer, but fortunately, none of these are true. In fact, it can actually be good for you. Coffee has been linked to improved memory recall. It may also help prevent Alzheimer’s, heart disease, gout, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s. The caffeine in coffee can help ease asthma attacks. Coffee drinkers are 50 percent less likely to get liver cancer than those who avoid the beverage, though the exact reason has not been pinpointed. It may also lower the risk of breast, rectal, and colon cancers. Caffeine can increase energy expenditure (calorie burning). One study showed that those drinking caffeinated liquids burned 67 calories more than those who drank water, the equivalent of a medium-sized apple.

Too Much Caffeine?

While a little caffeine can be good for you and help keep you awake, too much isn’t a good idea. It may cause restlessness, insomnia, and anxiety. Experts recommend limiting your daily caffeine intake to 400 mg for men and 300 mg for women. That’s roughly 4 cups of coffee/6 cups of tea for men and 3 cups of coffee/4 cups of tea for women. Caffeine provides many healthy benefits, too. It helps increase endurance during workouts and may blunt pain and tiredness, letting you work out longer. It may enhance muscular contractions during exercise. As with any health advice, people should drink coffee and tea in moderation, as too much of a good thing can be…well, dangerous. While researchers have dispelled many common myths surrounding these beverages, it’s still a good idea to drink tea and coffee in small doses.

Get health and fitness tips at Greatist.com

“Clean Eating” – What Does It Really Mean?

Clean Eating GuideIt’s become the latest buzz word amongst fitness and nutrition enthusiasts and professionals.  But what the heck does “Clean Eating” really mean?!  Most people seem to be in agreement that it means whole, unprocessed foods. That is great, but there is a ton of grey area there.  Everyone seems to have there own take on it:

  • Milk isn’t processed, if it’s raw and unpasturized, but most people claim this isn’t a part of “clean eating”.
  • What about wheat and gluten? I see people label recipes “clean eating” just because their 3-tier cake is gluten free.
  • How about beans, corn, or rice? Paleo people seem to think that is a really bad idea, but all other people deem these “clean” foods.
  • That bowl of oats? Yes or No?
  • What if your meat is loaded with hormones and antibiotics? Is that still “clean”?
  • If your eggs come from a chicken that has been trapped in a cage, never seen sunlight, and doesn’t even have the strength to stand up on it’s own – is that still considered “clean”?
  • Pastured organic bacon is “clean”, right? What about eating one pound of bacon in a day. Still “clean”?
  • Almonds are good for us! What about half jar of almond butter in one sitting? Is that “clean” eating?
  • That salmon – is it wild caught?

Ahhhh! Nobody can agree, yet everybody is obsessed with “clean eating”.

Let’s not obsess about it and get all worked up, it’s food after all!  It’s meant to be enjoyed!  Do your best to clean up your eating habits one step at a time, and stick to it.  Small changes can bring big results.

Here’s a short read to help us get started with the basics of clean eating:



The Not-So-Sweet Side of Sugar

ImageWe all know that excess sugar in our diet can cause weight gain and lead to diabetes.  But the latest research now reveals more serious effects of added sugar.  Here’s the latest article by IDEA Health & Fitness Magazine

Now there’s another reason to encourage clients to limit their sugar intake: Eating added sugar is associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study published February 3 online in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study focuses on sugar added in the processing or preparing of foods, not naturally occurring sugars in fruits and fruit juices.

Recommendations for added sugar consumption vary, and there is no universally accepted threshold for unhealthy levels. For example, the Institute of Medicine recommends that added sugar make up less than 25% of total calories, the World Health Organization recommends less than 10% (but in March 2014 proposed a further reduction to below 5% for additional benefits), and the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to less than 100 calories daily for women and 150 calories daily for men, according to the study background.

Quanhe Yang, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, and colleagues used national health survey data to examine added sugar consumption as a percentage of daily calories and to estimate association between consumption and CVD.

How Much Sugar Are We Eating?

Study results indicate that the average percentage of daily calories from added sugar increased from 15.7% in 1988–1994 to 16.8% in 1999–2004, but decreased to 14.9% in 2005–2010.

In 2005–2010, most adults (71.4%) consumed 10% or more of their calories from added sugar, but for about 10% of adults it made up 25% or more of their calories.

The Risks of Too Much Sweetness

The risk of heart-related death increases 18% for people consuming an average American diet with about 15% of daily calories from added sugar, compared with those whose diets contain little to no added sugar, the study authors found.

The risk is 38% higher for people who receive 17%–21% of their calories from added sugar, and more than double for people who get more than 21% of their daily diet from added sugar, Yang said.

Laura A. Schmidt, PhD, who wrote commentary on the published research, says, “Yang . . . shows that the risk of CVD mortality becomes elevated once sugar intake surpasses 15% of daily calories—equivalent to drinking one 20-ounce Mountain Dew soda in a 2,000 calorie diet. From there, the risk rises exponentially as a function of increased sugar intake, peaking with a [400% higher] risk of CVD death for individuals who consume one-third or more calories in added sugar.”

Another key point: The study found that the added sugar that Americans consume as part of their daily diet can—on its own, regardless of other health problems—more than double the risk of death from heart disease.

“[This] new paradigm [that Yang’s research falls within] hypothesizes that sugar has adverse health effects above any purported role as ’empty calories’ promoting obesity,” notes Schmidt. “Too much sugar does not just make us fat; it can also make us sick.”

Guideline for Better Health

So what is a good general guideline for sugar consumption? “Until federal guidelines are forthcoming, physicians may want to caution patients that, to support cardiovascular health, it is safest to consume less than 15% of total calories as added sugar,” says Schmidt.

IDEA Fit Tips, Volume 12, Number 3
March 2014