FITANDWELLDAILY: Newsletter – July, 2014

FITANDWELLDAILY

July in Bangkok: 

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A reminder of why I love Bangkok: The energy in this vibrant city never stops, constant openings and closings. New friends made and the transition of  people coming and going; always new things to explore, the place is certainly never dull.

In this issue, I have noted a couple of  little spots that are new to me to add some variety to your list of places to visit for a coffee or casual meal. I am also happy to see so many people reach their personal goals and be successful in their healthy endeavors over the past few months: Keep up the good work! Let’s set the bar high and challenge yourself by setting a new goal and trying new activities this month.

Here’s to a successful July!

Coffee Talk:

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Coffee is good! … No, it’s bad!……. I know people that drink loads of coffee all day and have no issue with it, while others cannot sleep, get shaky and completely hyper, so in their case it is probably best to find another drink of choice. So, what is the right approach? With most things in life, the right answer is how the works for you. What might be great for me, may be entirely wrong for someone else. Simply: It truly depends on you. Here are the facts:

There are many misperceptions about caffeine. For starters, the most common sources of caffeine are coffee and tea leaves. But did you know kola nuts and cocoa beans are also included among the most common caffeine sources? Also caffeine content varies greatly from food to food. Turns out it’s quite a lot actually, depending on the type and serving size of a food or beverage and how it’s prepared.

Caffeine content can range from as much as 160 milligrams in some energy drinks to as little as 4 milligrams in a 1-ounce serving of chocolate-flavored syrup. (not that you should eat that 🙂 ) Even decaffeinated coffee isn’t completely free of caffeine. Caffeine is also present in some over-the-counter pain relievers, and cold medications. These products can contain as little as 16 milligrams or as much as 200 milligrams of caffeine. In fact, caffeine itself is a mild painkiller and increases the effectiveness of other pain relievers.

Is caffeine addictive? 

Studies indicate, that there may be  some truth to this statement, depending on what you mean by “addictive.” Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system, and regular use of caffeine does cause mild physical dependence. But caffeine doesn’t threaten you in the same way that addictive drugs can.

 Though, if you stop taking caffeine abruptly, you may have symptoms for a day or more, especially if you consume two or more cups of coffee a day. Symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine include:

  • headache
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • depressed mood
  • difficulty concentrating

No doubt, caffeine withdrawal can make for a few bad days. However, caffeine does not cause overly severity of withdrawals and for this reason, most experts don’t consider caffeine dependence a serious addiction.

Does Caffeine cause insomnia? 

Your body quickly absorbs caffeine, but also gets rid of it quickly. Processed mainly through the liver, caffeine has a relatively short half-life. This means it takes about five to seven hours, on average, to eliminate half of it from your body. After eight to 10 hours, 75% of the caffeine is gone. For most people, a cup of coffee or two in the morning won’t interfere with sleep at night.

Consuming caffeine later in the day, however, can interfere with sleep. If you’re like most people, your sleep won’t be affected if you don’t consume caffeine at least six hours before going to bed. Your sensitivity may vary, though, depending on your metabolism and the amount of caffeine you regularly consume. People who are more sensitive may not only experience insomnia but also have caffeine side effects of nervousness and gastrointestinal upset. Drink according to your level of comfort and enjoy!

Does Caffeine have dehydrating effects? 

The bottom line is that although caffeine does act as a mild diuretic, studies show drinking caffeinated drinks in moderation doesn’t actually cause dehydration.

Does caffeine have health benefits?

Caffeine has few proven health benefits, but the list of caffeine’s potential benefits is interesting. Regular coffee drinker may tell you that caffeine improves alertness, concentration, energy, and clear-headedness. Some even have a ritual of starting each day with their favorite brew. Many scientific studies do support the claim that there are benefits; one French study even showed a slower decline in cognitive ability among women who consumed caffeine.

Other possible benefits include helping certain types of headache pain and asthma. However, while these research findings are intriguing, they still need to be investigated further.

Limited evidence also suggests caffeine may also reduce the risk of the following:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • liver disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • dementia

Despite its potential benefits, don’t forget that high levels of caffeine may have adverse effects. More studies are needed to confirm both its benefits and potential risks, so again you choose what the appropriate level of caffeine intake for you.

To divert slightly from the topic, coffee is here to stay. As an example, Starbucks recently opened its 200th store in in Wang Noi in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Who knew that a simple coffee drink could expand into a concept that has reached people around the world. This successful notion has lent to many shared stories and laughs among friends, business meetings, work/study spots and truly become a part of our daily lives. Fascinating!

ok, now back to healthy ideas: My piece of advice is to keep your coffee in its true state. Don’t compromise any potential benefits by adding sugar, syrup and fatty substances and Enjoy!

Spots Around town in Bangkok:

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Yesterday, I visited two interesting spots around town: Zorse in Phrom Phong and Counting Sheep Corner in Ekkamai on soi 61. These two places definitely worth checking out and adding to your rotation of cafe meeting spots if you haven’t already.

 Zorse is great for an Americano, and you can find a few healthy plates if you order suspicious dressings on the side. But more than the menu, I like the atmosphere. Tastefully put together in an industrial meets european style. Also, this quiet little place is just behind the Emporium and along Benjasiri Park. 

Counting Sheep Corner in Ekkamai was great as I found that there were many  healthy options. I chose the Grilled Mediterranean Sandwich with whole grain bread and they even put the pesto sauce on the side for me! The vegetables were really grilled and not dripping in some strange substance. They also have a lot of nice omelet options, so this will definitely be added to my rotation of frequent spots!

wine Are there health benefits of drinking wine ?

While obviously excessive and binge drinking is best avoided, moderate drinking: 1-2 glasses a day can have some benefits for heart health. As a health advisor, alcohol is always an interesting issue but truth be told, the Europeans have been enjoying their wonderful varieties for years and they do not seem to have issues. That being said, I will always stick with the everything in moderation approach.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the risks and rewards that drinking wine has on your health. So what’s true . Studies have shown that a glass or two of wine does seem to protect against heart disease – but primarily for men aged over 40 and post-menopausal women. There is little evidence that drinking wine or other alcohol will improve the health of younger people, who are less at risk of heart disease in the first place. According to the British Heart Foundation, drinking more than two units a day may be harmful.

Again, apply moderation and it will be unnecessary to avoid your wine collection as wine – particularly red wine – does contain several antioxidants,such as quercetin and resveratrol, which may play a part in helping to prevent heart disease and cancer. Cheers to that!

Scientists have found that red wines have higher levels of polyphenols, antioxidants and, in general, the darker the wine, the higher the antioxidant content – in tests, cabernet sauvignon grapes were shown to contain the most polyphenols. It has also been noted that other red grape varieties with medium to high levels of antioxidants are merlot, zinfandel, syrah and petit syrah.

Also, wines from milder regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rioja and California’s Napa Valley, may have higher antioxidant levels than wines from hot regions such as Languedoc in France and southern Italy. Some research suggests that white wine has health benefits too. Winemakers have created a chardonnay called Paradoxe Blanc, which is four times higher in polyphenols than red wine.

Do beware of imbibing too much! Studies have shown that at least one in four men and one in seven women drink more than the guidelines. This can make you more vulnerable to heart disorders, including high blood pressure and stroke, even if you are not in a high-risk group. It has also been said that women in their twenties, drinking heavily can contribute to osteoporosis later on.  While, alternatively, other reports argue that moderate wine drinkers have fewer coronary diseases and cancers than those who prefer other alcoholic drinks. So, there are all of the facts!

Looking for a crunchy snack without all the processed ingredients?  Try Spicy Roasted Chickpeas:

chickpeas

What You’ll Need: 

1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

What To Do:

Heat oven to 450 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Drain and rinse chickpeas and put them in a bowl.

Add oil, salt, and pepper to chickpeas and mix well. Spread them on baking sheet in one layer.

Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.

Remove pan, shake around to ensure that the chickpeas brown evenly, and return to oven for another 15 minutes until brown and crunchy.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature!

Activity Tips:

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1) Stay active: It’s easy to be lazy and just wait for the elevator or escalator  with everyone else, walk up that staircase at the BTS, walk up the escalator at malls.

2) Using pedometers like the Fitbit for extra motivation is a helpful resource to help you track your activity level. There are even apps you can download to help with this.

3) The weather is cooling down (finally!) Pack your umbrella and go for a walk around the various parks around town.

4) Try a new class. There are many group classes offered here in Bangkok. Sampling different flavors of workouts will help you learn new techniques and new fun ways to stay active.

5) Sight see once you have lived in a place for a while, it is easy to take the place for granted. Get out and try new museums, walk around the temples, take photos and enjoy the environment while burning calories. Make a list of places that you have not visited and go today!

6) Keep moving and most importantly have FUN!