5 Reasons To Drink More Tea

5 Reasons To Drink More Tea

Based on last week’s blog on coffee I decided to discuss another great beverage. I get a lot of questions about what people should drink and the only options I ever recommend are the choices I adhere to myself in coffee, tea, water, unsweetened almond milk, and yes occasionally alcohol.  So lets talk about tea and all the great benefits that come along with it’s consumption.

Tea Statistics
Pounds of tea imported to the U.S. each year 519 million pounds
Total amount of tea consumed in the U.S. every day 1.42 million pounds
Number of men and women who drink tea every morning 2 billion
Total projected sales of tea for U.S. in 2012 $15 billion

Although not as popular as coffee in the US, tea is still widely consumed and is a staple for many americans. Lets look at some of the benefits.

1. Tea Is Loaded With Antioxidants

  • Tea is loaded with phytonutrients such as antioxidants.  Antioxidants in black and green tea, called flavonoids, may help to maintain healthy cells and tissues as well as contribute to healthy cardiovascular function. Antioxidants are natural plant based biochemicals that prevent oxidation or “rusting” of living tissues.
  • Tea can also help strengthen your immune system because its attack on bacteria, free radicals, viruses, and fungi.
  • A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School found that people who drank five cups of a tea were able to beat a cold five times faster than coffee drinkers were.

2. Tea Is Calorie-free And Helps Promote Fat Loss

  • So many people “watch what they eat” but ruin there otherwise healthy diets with sodas, loaded coffees, juices, shakes, smoothies, and energy drinks.
  • Tea is naturally calorie free and gives you your flavor fix while not costing empty calories found in most other beverages
  • Research indicates that substances found in green tea known as catechins and EGCG may trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and decreasing body fat.
  • Recent research in animals show that catechins and EGCG found in green tea may also affect body fat accumulation and cholesterol levels.

3. Tea Increases Your Metabolism.

  • Drinking green tea or oolong tea offers the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins, substances shown to rev up the metabolism for a couple hours.
  • Research suggests that drinking two to four cups of either tea may push the body to burn 17% more calories than normal during moderately intense exercise for a short period of time.

4. Tea Reduces Risk of Stroke, Cancer, and Heart Disease

  • One study shows that Eight hundred elderly Dutch men consuming 3.4 cups of tea per day decreased their risk of death from coronary heart disease by 58 percent compared to those who consumed lesser amounts of flavonoid rich foods.
  • Flavonoids in tea may also decrease the tendency of platelets to stick together that cause heart disease and stroke.
  • Studies suggest that both black and green tea may help prevent or delay the formation of tumors-specifically in the skin, lung, esophagus, stomach, and colon.
  • Green tea, according to Harvard Health Publications, has cancer inhibiting components called catechins. Specifically, studies have shown it to reduce the risk of skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal and bladder cancer.

5. Each Variety Contains a Unique Blend Of Health/Nutritional Benefits.

  • Green tea’s role in lowering cholesterol, burning fat, preventing diabetes and stroke, and staving off dementia.
  • Black tea a potential heart tonic,cancer blocker, fat buster, immune stimulant, arthritis soother, virus fighterand cholesterol detoxifier.
  • White tea is the least processed tea and has the highest antioxidant levels, protects against cancer, heart disease, and stroke, strengthens the circulatory and immune systems as well as bones and teeth, and builds healthy skin.
  • Red tea contains magnesium, which is necessary for a healthy nervous system,  increases the absorption of iron in the body, contains potassium and copper minerals that are necessary for several metabolic functions, helps nervous tension and mild depression as it makes a relaxing sedative.

Conclusion

While I am a big proponent of caffeiene and specifically its impact on health and performance, tea offers a lower caffienated alternative to coffee with the typical cup containing about 10-60 mg of caffiene. Besides the obvious health benefits tea is versatile in that you can drink it both hot (winter) and cold (summer) and reap all its benefits. Like I stated earlier, anytime you can substitute a beverage that contains numerous health benefits for a sugar loaded juice, pop, or sports drink, is a no-brainer.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin
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Is Peanut Butter Healthy?

Is Peanut Butter Healthy?

Peanut butter is a household staple in the typical American diet. It is most commonly used on bread, fruit, vegetables, and crackers as a convenient and “healthy” spread. However, is peanut butter actually healthy? The short answer is yes, with shades of grey.

Important Things to Consider

1. NEVER buy peanut butter with fully or partially hydrogenated oils. This “ingredient” is in about 90% of commonly consumed peanut butters and is an immediate red flag that should be avoided.

2. There should never be more than 2 ingredients in your product. Peanuts and salt (preferably no salt added is the best option). Look for products with one ingredient, peanuts.  If no products have just one ingredient than opt for the product with 2 ingredients, peanuts and salt.

3. Always buy natural peanut butter with the oil on top. Yes, it is a little bit inconvenient to stir, but this is peanut butter in its natural/unprocessed state.

4. Dont be duped by marketing slogans such as “reduced fat” or “smart balance”. The only thing you should be looking at is the ingredient list.

5. Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts.

6. Peanut butter is full of vitamins, minerals, and potassium and a great source of protein and calories. With that being said, if you are watching your total calorie intake keep in mind 1 serving of peanut butter (2 tbsp) has ~200 calories.

7. According to research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, people who eat a diet high in foods like olive oil, avocados, and peanut butter are more likely to lose weight and keep it off than people following a more regimented, lower-fat diet.

Which Products To Avoid

Any peanut butter with more than 2 ingredients such as hydrogenated oils.

What To Choose

Natural Peanut Butters With Oil On Top And Contains Less Than 2 Ingredients

Notice the ingredients.  Peanuts… That’s it!

or

Natural, Raw, Almond Butter

  • The same principle applies to almond butter. Look for products where the ingredients listed are just almonds. Any unnecessary oils, sugars, or salts, should tell you to avoid that particular product which has gone through more processing with artificial additives to increase taste and shelf life.

Conclusion

Yes peanut butter is healthy. I use natural peanut and almond butter on broccoli, celery, half an apple, or half a banana.  Peanut butter paired with a fruit or vegetable can make for a great snack or side dish. Where people start to run into trouble is when they start mixing peanut butter with sugary jams and processed bread. 99% of Jam is fake/artificial sugar and when you couple that with 25-45 grams of processed carbohydrates from bread the once “healthy” peanut butter it can be transformed into a sugar and carb loaded nightmare. But to answer the question of the article,YES, 1 serving of natural peanut butter or almond butter is healthy as long as you are mixing it with the right foods.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any comments or questions.

From South Bend,

Kevin

Balance Your Day With These Great Meals

Balance Your Day With These Great Meals

According to MayoClinic.com, eating more frequently reduces your risk of obesity by decreasing the blood insulin response to long fasts that increase fat storage and weight gain. It’s important to plan your grazing to ensure you eat the right amount of calories and get the vitamins and minerals you need over the span of 14-18 hours.

16 ounces of cold water

  • The first thing I do when I wake up is have 16 ounces of cold water. Water is the most important nutrient for your body and sleeping 6-10 hours without fluid intake induces mild dehydration.
  • Studies show that drinking cold water can increase metabolism as much as 25% for 2 hours after finishing.

 Breakfast

Half a grapefruit- Grapefruits are high in enzymes that burn fat. They have high amounts of water content which helps boost metabolism as well as containing numerous antioxidants.

  1. Calories- 40
  2. Carbs- 9g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1g
  5. Sodium-0g
  6. Sugar-5g

2 eggs scrambled & chicken breast- Eggs and chicken are great sources of lean protein that are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Studies show that a breakfast high in protein will keep you feeling full throughout the morning. 

  1. Calories- 300
  2. Carbs- 0g
  3. Fat- 13 g
  4. Protein- 37 g
  5. Sodium-270g
  6. Sugar-0g

Vegetable mix broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, & hummus- Vegetables in the morning allow you to get a good balance of vitamins and minerals to start of your day. Vegetables mixed with the healthy fats from the hummus can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

  1. Calories- 180
  2. Carbs- 25g
  3. Fat- 3 g
  4. Protein- 8 g
  5. Sodium-250g
  6. Sugar-9g

100% Organic arabica black coffeeCoffee beans are loaded with antioxidants that help combat cancer and prevent type 2 diabetes. 

  1. Calories- 5
  2. Carbs- 0g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 0 g
  5. Sodium-0g
  6. Sugar-0g

Mid Morning Snack 

Plain greek yogurt with whey protein/flaxseed – With twice the protein of normal yogurt and no preservatives or artificial flavors, greek yogurt paired with flaxseed and whey protein is a great source of probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids.

  1. Calories- 300
  2. Carbs- 12g
  3. Fat- 4g
  4. Protein- 38 g
  5. Sodium-100 g
  6. Sugar-11g
Kiwi-Kiwi fruits are rich in many vitamins, flavonoids and minerals. In particular, they contain a high amount of vitamin C (more than oranges), as much potassium as bananas and a good amount of beta-carotene.
  1. Calories- 50
  2. Carbs- 11g
  3. Fat- 0g
  4. Protein- 1 g
  5. Sodium-0 g
  6. Sugar-7g

Lunch

Steel cut oats/quinoa with walnuts/chia seeds/mixed berries/cinnamon- This oatmeal blend is a great source of slow digesting carbohydrates that can be used for energy. The walnuts/berries/cinnamon provide healthy fats and potent antioxidants. For more info see on this meal see http://www.builtlean.com/2012/03/14/steel-cut-oats-recipe/

  1. Calories- 390
  2. Carbs- 35 g
  3. Fat- 5 g
  4. Protein- 11 g
  5. Sodium-60 g
  6. Sugar-10g

Edamame- Soy beans are a great alternative source of protein and dietary fiber superstar. 

  1. Calories- 120
  2. Carbs- 10 g
  3. Fat- 5 g
  4. Protein- 11 g
  5. Sodium- 5 g
  6. Sugar-2 g

Post Workout

10 g of Branch Chain Amino Acids (during workout)BCAA’s support everything from anabolic muscle-building to high intensity endurance training and are among the 9 essential amino acids that help fuel muscle repair and recovery. 

100% Whey isolate protein (unflavored/no additives) with glutamine– A great source of protein with no added sugars or artificial flavors you get with most products. Glutamine helps minimize breakdown of muscle and improve protein metabolism

  1. Calories- 120
  2. Carbs- 1 g
  3. Fat- 0 g
  4. Protein- 25 g
  5. Sodium- 30 g
  6. Sugar-1 g

Banana-Eating food rich in carbohydrates, like a banana, between 15 and 60 minutes after a workout is most advantageous to your muscles and glycogen recovery. The nutrition-rich fruit contains potassium, carbohydrates, protein and vitamin C.

  1. Calories- 100
  2. Carbs- 27 g
  3. Fat- 0 g
  4. Protein- 1 g
  5. Sodium- 0 g
  6. Sugar-14 g

Mid Afternoon Snack

Broccoli with natural almond butter- Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse with noteworthy nutrients including vitamin a, c, beta-carotene, calcium, folic acid, and fiber. Pair this with healthy monounsaturated fats and the protein you get with almond butter makes this combination a great snack.

  1. Calories 210
  2. Carbs- 12 g
  3. Fat- 16 g
  4. Protein- 10 g
  5. Sodium- 80 g
  6. Sugar-3 g

Tea (Chinese oolong)-Tea is loaded with catechins which is essential in aiding your immune system and can reduce the risk of four of the major health problems: stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes.

Dinner

Wild Atlantic Salmon-Salmon is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B and D as well as the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus and selenium. This is also an excellent source of lean protein. 

  1. Calories 300
  2. Carbs- 0 g
  3. Fat- 20 g
  4. Protein- 35 g
  5. Sodium- 100 g
  6. Sugar-0 g

Brussels sprouts/mushroom/onion mix-Brussels sprouts are  high in protein, accounting for more than a quarter of their calories. The sprouts are very high in fiber and belong to the disease-fighting cabbage  family.

  1. Calories 120
  2. Carbs- 10 g
  3. Fat- 0 g
  4. Protein- 10 g
  5. Sodium- 10 g
  6. Sugar-4 g

Spinach salad with tomatoes/mixed peppers/avocado/flaxseed- Spinach is another super-food that should be apart of everyone’s daily regimen in combination with antioxidant loaded mixed peppers/tomatoes and the healthy fats from avocado and flaxseed make this a great side.

  1. Calories 150
  2. Carbs- 7 g
  3. Fat- 10 g
  4. Protein- 10 g
  5. Sodium- 30 g
  6. Sugar-10 g
Nightime Snack
Cottage CheeseCottage cheese before bed gives you an excellent source of casein protein which is a slow absorbing protein that will help your muscles recover over night. 
  1. Calories 100
  2. Carbs- 0 g
  3. Fat- 2 g
  4. Protein- 15 g
  5. Sodium- 400 g
  6. Sugar-5 g

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

From South Bend,

Kevin

 

Cheat Day

Cheat Day

A wake up call statement before we get started. The FDA makes no serious effort to control the use of the word “natural” on nutrition labels. Case in point: 7UP boasts that it’s made with “100% Natural Flavors” when, in fact, the soda is sweetened with a decidedly un-natural dose of high fructose corn syrup. Be careful of misleading food labels.

The concept of a cheat meal or cheat day has been around since the inception of diet’s themselves. Staying disciplined for 7-14 days in a row can be both physically and mentally challenging. Whether you are trying to gain muscle or lose weight, eating a disciplined diet that is filled with protein, healthy complex carbohydrates, and adequate caloric intake can be become monotonous. This is where the “cheat meal” or “cheat day” comes into play. Most of the issues people have with dieting are mental and not physical. Cravings are powerful and can be taxing on the physical and mental side of humans. The good thing is cheat days or cheat meals can actually have physical benefits for your metabolism as well as giving you a mental break

Physically

Cheat meals keep the body guessing. Similar to when your muscles adapt to the same exercises and rep range from routine and repetitiveness, your metabolism adjusts based on your calorie levels in the same fashion. Just when your body starts to think it has things figured out you surprise it with a radical change in your diet. If you eat the same thing everyday within a few weeks your body will adapt to the caloric intake. You have to spice things up and keep the body confused.

The Science

Leptin is a protein hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including appetite and metabolism. Leptin signifies a slowing metabolism. Whenever you are on a diet for an extended period of time, your body will begin to adjust its metabolic functions in an effort to ‘make due’ with the amount of fuel that it is being given. Your goal is to periodically kick your leptin levels back up so as to avoid the intense physical hunger and the slowed-to-a-crawl metabolism.

Psychologically

The cheat meal can provide a mental break even more so than as a physical break. Mid-week cravings can be pushed aside knowing that you have an awesome reward in the form of a meal coming on the weekend. Allowing yourself this mental break can inhibit future cravings in the weeks to come.

Sunday Brunch; My Cheat Meal

 

Recommendations

Leptin is highly responsive to glucose metabolism. So, when eating a cheat meal,  you will benefit much more if the majority of your excess calories are coming from good sources of carbohydrates that will turn into glucose.  One day a week increase your caloric intake by 25 to 50% in any way you want but preferably in the form of healthy carbohydrates. The sudden spike in your calories will keep the body guessing and force your metabolism to readjust following the meal along with giving you a mental break.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

From South Bend,

Kevin