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Green Tea on a Wintry Day Provides More Than Warmth!

What’s more comforting than a cup of tea on a frosty day? Sure, it’s nice to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee or steamy cocoa occasionally. There’s nothing wrong with that; anything’s fine in moderation! But  some experience the guilt of loading on plenty 0f additional goodies like whipped cream and cookies when trying to maintain control during the holiday season too.

A piping cup of green tea however provides so many healthy benefits, like great mental and physical health, you might offset your snack cravings.

Let’s look at Green Tea’s Benefits:

  1. Green tea is steamed rather than fermented. What that means to you is that it maintains it’s potency properties to heal quickly.
  2. Green tea protects brain cells from deteriorating and has proven to even restore cells, lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementia challenges.
  3. It contains bioflavonoids which is a powerful immune system booster, reducing the risk of cancers and other infections. Scientists and doctors have tested it on those suffering from stomach, lung, breast, bladder, colon, liver, prostate, skin and intestinal cancers with great success.
  4. Its potent antioxidants (called catechins) build immunity against cancer-causing toxic nitrosamines formed from nitrates. (Bacon, cold cuts, salami and other cured meat contain nitrates.) 90% of nitrates are considered carcinogenic but surprisingly fruits and vegetables which also contain nitrates, are the 10% that aren’t. Why? Because all meat is acidic and vegetables are alkaline. More proof that cancer cells can’t exist in an alkaline environment which God knew it all along! (Please use my search engine to read my posts on the pH scale)
  5. Green tea is a detoxifier. That means that energy producing nutrients are absorbed quickly and begin to burn calories without having to battle against other toxic chemicals first within the intestines or bloodstream.
  6. It will kill the unhealthy bacteria in the mouth and on your teeth and gums. The Japanese routinely consume green tea after dessert and have far fewer cavities than western cultures. Less bad bacteria = better health overall.
  7. Green tea can lower LDL (the bad) cholesterol in your bloodstream.
  8. And of course what is good for your heart and circulatory system is also beneficial for your brain. Green tea boosts  memory retention and improves alertness.
  9. It stabilizes blood sugar. Therefore you won’t feel as hungry and it will assist with blood sugar challenges and diseases such as diabetes and hypoglycemia.
  10. Green tea contains an element which has proven to be helpful in preventing blood clots. Therefore if your family history is prone to strokes, arterial sclerosis or deep vein thrombosis, ask your doctor if this would beneficial for you.
  11. Bonus:  Drinking green tea stimulates your metabolism and burns about 100 calories daily. It transports the type of fat called triglycerides throughout your bloodstream which releases beneficial polyphenols, which in turn activate certain enzymes, burning fat.

One necessary precaution, if your physician has cautioned you against imbibing in any form of caffeine, it is best to avoid all types, even those in tea, coffee (and colas, which one should avoid anyway) until the condition improves or science proves it’s not a safety issue.

Isn’t God amazing? No wonder He placed Adam and Eve in a Garden! Some diet gurus might discount the benefits of green tea, but will quickly sell you a fad diet program or pill. Don’t be fooled. Listen to the Great Physician first.

“Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you,” (Exodus 23:25)

 

Caffeine and the Coffee Balancing Act

Becoming healthy a personal choice. I’ve often stated that I can’t make anyone healthy. Someone must want a healthy lifestyle more than I want it for them. I attempt to encourage, lead in the right direction, explain physiology, warn against nutritional fallacies and set a good example but ultimately it’s a personal decision as to what one’s diet consists of.

It seems something “new” comes out weekly. A recent study stated that coffee was now the panacea to good health. It’s actually good for us! scientists declared.

Well of course it is good for us – it was already in the Garden of Eden when God told Adam:   “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”  (Genesis 1:29)  The coffee bean comes from a seed-bearing plant, (which depending on the type, grows anywhere from 5-18 feet tall.)

Be careful however. Human nature, being what it is, perceives if something’s good, more has to be even better.This pertains to that “new” eye-opening scientific report on coffee too.

What we choose is not always beneficial to or health. He encouraged us to eat in moderation for He would never encourage us to consume something that would harm us. That’s our Choice!

One of my patients drank 30 cups of coffee per day. That’s certainly not “moderation.” To her it became a very unproductive choice. By consuming that much caffeine it depleted her B vitamins. So what you ask? Well the most important function of B vitamins is to convert fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy.

Therefore, no B vitamins, no metabolic function. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and her B vitamins were lost through urination.  She was spinning her wheels, going nowhere and didn’t realize why.

When metabolic nutrients are lost, the body hungers for extra food to regulate and energize its system. Everything she consumed went directly to caloric intake without outgo; therefore she was gaining weight. No diet plan would help until she got her coffee addiction under control.

A quick withdrawal from coffee addiction wasn’t an option.  Caffeine is a drug and with any drug there are side effects. A cold-turkey approach would leave her shaking, jittery, cranky and downright unpleasant to be around. A gradual reduction was the only alternative. It took months to re-establish her metabolic functions to normal; then she could begin to lose weight.

Imbibing caffeine above normal consumption depletes calcium from bones. I happen to be small boned and am very susceptible to osteoporosis. Therefore, based on my size and weight, I usually limit my coffee intake to 2 cups per day.

Then why do experts say it’s good for us? Because it is in moderation.

Coffee contains many beneficial nutrients including some 50 cent words such as tocopherols, (antioxidants which protect against cell damage) chlorogenic acid (which protects against tumor growth.)

Coffee contains two chemicals, kahweol and cafestrol, which seems to provide some cancer protection as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

Anything extracted from the soil contain valuable nutrients. Coffee beans contain magnesium,  calcium, phosphorus and antioxidants.

Coffee invigorates your brain’s cognitive function which is why we prefer this drink as our morning wake-up call.

It’s a safe stimulant for the bowels and assists the digestive system. It’s a natural diuretic removing excess toxins from the kidneys and liver.

But jumping on the bandwagon thinking, “Great, coffee’s good for me so now I can drink all the coffee I want” is ludicrous.

There must be balance!

 

 

 

 

Caffeine, Friend or Foe?

caffeine addictionCaffeine is in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate and other items but how does it affect us and is it good or bad?

As in any food, moderation is the key. Caffeine is a drug and like any drug can change body chemistry. So here’s the good, the bad and the ugly on caffeine:

The Good:

  • Caffeine affects two brain transmitters called adenosine and acetylcholine. These are stimulants which wake us up, begin to jumpstart our metabolism and regulate our day.
  • Caffeine helps prevent cognitive impairment and recent studies have shown it can ward off Alzheimer’s as well as Parkinson’s disease. I truly hope that helps overcome those debilitating diseases!
  • Taken while studying or before a test, it can boost memory recall.
  • A little caffeine improves our mood.
  • Caffeine can dilate your bronchial tubes and therefore open our airways. This is helpful if we have a lung disease such as asthma or COPD.
  • The stimulant affect of coffee can lead to a more regulated digestive system.
  • Caffeine by itself contains no calories (but also has no nutritional value.) Chocolate, coffee and teas do contain many beneficial nutrients and are fine in moderation.
  • I believe the coffee bean was found in the Garden of Eden and therefore, like anything created by God was originally “very good.”

The Bad:

  • Caffeine is a natural diuretic and interferes with vitamin absorption.  By washing away valuable B vitamins, one cannot convert food into energy. If you find yourself gaining weight, cut down on your caffeine intake, but do so gradually to lesson withdrawal symptoms.
  • Caffeine is extremely addictive. One patient of mine consumed thirty cups of coffee each day and it took months to wean her off it.
  • Caffeine will remain in your system three to twelve hours. If I consume a cup of coffee or iced tea at noon, I won’t be able to sleep until midnight. My husband on the other hand can fall asleep immediately after drinking caffeinated products.
  • Too much caffeine dehydrates and ages, causing wrinkles and dry skin.
  • And how many can actually sit down and have a cup of coffee, cola or tea without having something to go with it like cake, cookies or potato chips?

The Ugly:

  • Caffeine is a stimulant which if taken in excess can cause sleep disturbances, rapid heartbeat, mood changes, migraines and tension headaches.
  • Since caffeine is a drug, it psychologically affects the mind. Coupled with its diuretic effects it can even be dangerous if consumed in excess. Thiamine and Niacin, two B vitamins influence the calming aspect of our personality. Do you know that people have actually gone crazy after niacin depletion occurred?  Yes food is that powerful! Which makes me question whether young people who consume so many caffeinated energy drinks today, are unknowingly influenced by that fact when school violence occurs today.
  • Caffeine depletes water soluble minerals, magnesium, potassium and calcium which regulate heart rhythms. Too much caffeine causes heart palpitations, increases blood pressure and weakens the heart muscle. It can also cause jitters and nervousness.
  • By depleting calcium, it affects bone loss, creating dangerous osteoporosis.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.”  (1 Corinthians 6:12)

My husband can drink caffeinated products and fall asleep easily. If I consume coffee at noon, I’m awake past midnight. We all have different chemical make-ups.  Today we live under grace and anything is fine in moderation. Choose what is good for you. Drink caffeinated products sensibly and in balance.

“Why Do I Crave Cokes?”

Although we live under Grace in this age and can pretty much do as we please with our physical bodies, we would do well to note that bodies are NOT our own. We were bought at a price.

Don’t you know that your body is a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own for you have been bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthian 6:19,20)

Christians prefer not to be a slave to any idol, even food. So why do some crave colas and other sugary drinks while others won’t touch the stuff?

thAN5J2C0SIt is a scientific fact that God designed each of us with a slightly different chemical make-up. It’s called DNA. Due to the fact that were are all chemically unique, our brains crave different nutrients. That’s why some crave saltier items like pretzels or potato chips while others crave chocolate and sweets.

Physically speaking, some crave food for needed energy. If you’ve been overworked or overstressed, your body wants instant energy and the sugar and caffeine would restore that energy level quickly. Sugars are released in your body in about 15 minutes. (Green tea would be a good energy substitute.)

Caffeine is also a drug and although okay in moderation, is addictive and washes away valuable B vitamins and other valuable nutrients. Lacking nutrients, you are hungry again. it’s a vicious cycle.

If you consume a nutritionally balanced diet, you’re naturally more energetic and derive your chemical energy from whole foods. Therefore craving junk food isn’t a desirable practice.

But why do some become addicted to Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) and Sucralose (Splenda) drinks?

These products change body chemistry, raising blood sugar levels and producing miserable side effects. Personally, having experienced adverse reactions, I totally avoid them. And I’m not alone as many of my patients have complained of shakiness, heart palpitations, skin rashes, stomach and kidney pains after consuming any product containing these artificial sugars.

Artificial drinks also tend to make one hungrier. There seems to be a connection between the ghrelin – leptin hormonal metabolic insulin response. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you you’re hungry while Leptin shuts off the “I’m hungry” response. Recent scientific studies have shown that  these chemicals can interfere with the leptin cut off lever, leaving a person desiring more food. artificial sugars

So if artificial sugars defeat the purpose of losing weight, then why risk additional health concerns by using these chemically produced items you can’t pronounce? The body doesn’t recognize these chemicals as food, therefore it cannot detoxify them so they remain in your liver forever.

Still crave cokes? It could be a comfort response too. We all eat for emotional reasons as well as physical. That’s why certain foods such as chocolate, ice cream and mac and cheese are called “comfort” foods. If you shared sodas with friends when younger, you might miss those friendships. Drinking a coke brings back a great memory! Or it simply makes you feel happy – and who wants to give up THAT feeling? By the way, I create my own sodas with carbonated flavored water (without artificial sweeteners) with a good quality fruit juice. Refreshing and it contains a few nutrients.

Bottom line: I urge you not to believe false advertising which only benefits the manufacturers of these products. These people don’t care about your body as God does. Aspartame and Splenda were created by chemists. My food was created by God. Before you purchase, research the ingredients.  If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it!

 

 

 

The Benefits of Green Tea

As much as I post, I was amazed that I hadn’t written anything on the benefits of green tea!   thX2JS1LC8

As a nutritionist, I maintain a healthy weight and hardly ever weigh myself, so I was puzzled to discover that I had lost 5 pounds and an inch and a half around my waist over the winter. My yearly physical was perfect, so I was curious as to how I could have lost weight while being cooped up all winter in Ohio’s bitter cold. Oh sure, I had lifted a few weights but not nearly as much as when I had resided in Arizona.  Nor had I routinely walked two miles daily.

The only difference was that I climbed 11 stairs and drank a whole lot of tea this winter. I surmised that it had to be the tea! So if you are curious to discover if green tea will work for you, I urge you to try it for yourself. Just remember that green tea contains caffeine so don’t drink close to bedtime if caffeine affects you. And don’t fall into the trap that “if some is good, more is better” – it’s all a matter of physiological, godly balance. Green tea is not a god to be worshipped – 2 cups per day is best.

“Danger, Danger Will Robinson, Energy Drinks Ahead!!”

Checking out of a Safeway, a young woman moved her 8 Monster Drinks toward the cashier, giving me more room for my groceries. I thanked her and she smiled, starting a conversation, “These aren’t actually for me of course because I only use a couple at a time, but I’m buying these for my friends who asked me to buy them actually because they really enjoy them too, but they really don’t do much for me but I just like them and they are actually quite good for people you know.”

Wow. If I hadn’t known better, I’d actually met Minnie Mouse on steroids. Nope, those energy drinks didn’t affect her at all . . . nope, not at all. It might have seemed humourous, but it’s not.  I always caution people to act sensibly around these caffeinated energy drinks. A little goes a long way.

I Corinthians 10:23 “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive.”

Energy drinks aren’t new. They were created in 1905 by a Scottish inventor and the Japanese went on to perfect them. Today they are a multi-billion dollar industry, targeted primarily toward the young.

Important: Caffeine a drug and all drugs have side effects.

Caffeine affects everyone differently because each of us has a unique chemical makeup. My husband can drink a cup of coffee and fall asleep instantly. I have a cup at 1pm and I’m awake until midnight. Caffeine takes 5 minutes to enter and 15-35 hours to clear your system. Limit caffeine to 240 mg. per day. An 8 oz. coffee equals approximately 80-110 mg.

Caffeine elevates your blood pressure and heart rate, artificially stimulating your system. A little is fine, but more is not better! Too much caffeine and your brain will go into its protection mode when overloaded.  The body will demand more to acquire the same effect.

I once had a patient who was addicted to 30 cups of coffee per day. This was the main reason she couldn’t lose weight.  Caffeine washes away valuable B vitamins – whose purpose is to convert proteins, fats and carbohydrates into energy. All that caffeine deplete the product’s extra vitamins, thus defeating its purpose. It took months to withdraw her dependency from it. So if you’re on a diet and have been consuming energy drinks, stop now!

The more caffeine you consume the more bone loss you’ll endure, increasing your chances of osteoporosis. Caffeine, especially ones as potent as Monster, Rock Star, Red Bull, AMP, deplete valuable nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium which strengthen your bone structure.

Some mistakenly equate energy drinks with sports drinks, (Gatorade, Powerade) which is a dangerous misconception! Energy drinks do not replace electrolytes, contain very little (or none) and are diuretics. Consuming an energy drink and exercising afterward is a dangerous practice!  Sweat and you’ll become dehydrated quickly. Water is the best energy drink you can consume while exercising.

What’s the purpose of aerobic exercise but to increase your heart rate, right? Guarana, found in many energy drinks, is a powerful stimulant, which increases the heart rate even more. Exercising on an energy drink could over-stress the heart muscle, causing arrhythmia, heart palpitations, nausea, anxiety, headaches and agitation. You might look good but no one will want to be around you!

At a recent Home Show, one booth passed out 5-hour Energy samples. It contained various nutrients and 138 mg. of caffeine per 2 oz. serving  As I’ve told you, vitamins and minerals only work in conjunction with food, so within hours they are simply washed away.  What’s even more troubling, I tasted the product and instantly knew it contained Splenda, that dangerous artificial chemical. (See Splenda isn’t So Splendid, Oct. 22).  Read labels and use common sense.

Bottom line: We live under grace and must act responsibly. Use caution if consuming these products. Honor God, Live Responsibly.