Tag Archives: healthy

Java Buzz

9 Mar

pantherHow about some morning coffee talk?  Scores of studies have investigated the health benefits of coffee and while none truly promote picking up the java habit (if you haven’t already), some certainly give java drinkers a reason to perk up. I’m a coffee

drinker- just one cup in the morning but it’s non-negotiable. Since it’s something I do religiously, I thought

I’d do a little research and blog about it.

One promising area of research is focused on coffee’s effect on type two-diabetes. Coffee seems to slow the absorption of carbohydrates into the intestines slowing the progression and maybe even preventing the onset of diabetes.

The relationship between cancer and coffee is another important area of research. While there may be a negative effect on some cancers (leukemia and stomach) there seems to be a potential protective effect on liver, colon, and rectal cancer. Its been suggested that the rapid transit of coffee and fast passage of stool aids in eliminating carcinogens from food as well as bile acids.

Like green and black tea, coffee has its share of antioxidants that show promise towards protection against certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. (Antioxidants are components in food that protect cells from damage caused by oxidation). One study found that coffee may be the leading source of antioxidants in the American diet.  Not because it’s the best source of antioxidants, but because we’re drinking so much of it.

Nutritionally speaking, a coffee cup label would look like a bunch of zeros. No fat, calories (too little to mention), cholesterol, sodium, or carbohydrates. There are trace minerals in coffee, for example, potassium, magnesium, manganese, thiamin, and niacin, all essential in varying amounts.

Coffee today is a mere shadow of what we were once filling in our travel mugs. The specialty drinks we now call coffee are loaded with extras like excess sugar, cream (including whipped) and any of the plethora of syrups at your request. Often closing in at 500-700 calories (not to mention the saturated fat) per drink and negating any possible health benefits. Dieters beware.

Coffee has almost as many terms attached to it as eggs do. Fair trade-certified coffee ensures environment sustainability and that the farmers were paid fairly benefiting their community and local environment. Organic coffee is grown with out pesticide, herbicides or any other chemicals.  Shade grown coffee is grown under existing trees protecting the environment and uses little to no chemicals.

Before you set your coffee machine on a 24-hour auto drip remember that caffeine is not advised for pregnant women and caffeine may exacerbate the effect of certain medications. Check with your doctor.

Americans love affair with coffee may turn out to be beneficial, but it’s definitely not a health tonic, despite health claims. Feel free to enjoy your morning buzz, in moderation of course.

Grill Love

4 Jun

As a dietitian, I’m totally down with the grill. There are just too many positives, and the few potential negatives can easily be rectified (see previous post).

Among the advantages of grilling: it adds unique intense flavors without fat. In fact, the high, dry heat of the grill helps remove excess fat. How many foods can you say that about? Grilling and barbecuing (the first involves direct dry heat; the latter, indirect moderate to low heat and a lot of wood smoke) both make extensive use of rubs, herbs and spices—all three intense providers of flavor without fat.

For most of us, barbecue means animal proteins, but don’t stop there, grill vegetables and starches. The high dry heat caramelizes the plant sugars, making vegetables like corn, asparagus, peppers and eggplant (my favorite) taste even sweeter than normal. You can also grill those healthy, nutrient- rich greens, like broccolini and kale. (I like to brush them with a mixture of sesame oil and sea salt).

Here in the U.S., we’re a country of carnivores, but not in other countries where it means grilled seafood, cheese, breads, soy products, and even desserts. Fruits, like peaches and sliced pineapples make a healthy dessert either by themselves or over frozen yogurt.

Grilling is also fast—ideal for people who claim they have no time to cook. If I haven’t sold you yet… there’s little clean up. No pots and pans to scrub—just a few swipes of a stiff wire brush over the grate before and after grilling to make sure you grill is ready for next time.

RX: Grill on.

Recipes to follow.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 221 other followers