I promise not to make this blog all about diabetes, but you have to allow me a few posts to get it out of my system.
As I said before, I never EVER thought I would become diabetic. There is no diabetes in my family. Plenty of weight problems and other assorted issues. And we're all a little bit crazy, but there's not one diabetic in the bunch.
Hence, I barely noticed the research about coffee helping to prevent diabetes. Sadly, all the coffee I drink didn't help me. It's good news - hopefully others who love the java like I do will be heartened by it. But I'm on the other side of the percentages, the side that gets it anyway.
You now how it is when you have something on your mind and suddenly you see similar things everywhere? You're thinking of buying a new Honda and suddenly there are new Hondas all around you. Not really, but perception is funny that way.
Well all of a sudden information on diabetes seems to be everywhere. In my face.
I'll sure keep drinking lots of coffee, in hopes that it might help. But I'm also heartened by the research that shows tea is beneficial for diabetes. Yay! A good reason to keep drinking one of my favorite beverages!
Apparently tea, in addition to helping reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and maintaining healthy blood pressure, can improve insulin sensitivity.
"Teas such as black tea, green tea and oolong tea contain polyphenols which researchers believe may increase insulin activity."Tea & Diabetes
Tea aficionados will tell you that the hundreds of teas available on the market today fall into one of six main categories: Green tea, White tea, Scented tea, Oolong tea, Black tea, and Puer tea.
There is one very rare tea in a class all by itself, and you almost never hear of it -- yellow tea.
These categories are defined by how the teas are made / processed. According to Seven Cups:
"the process for making yellow tea is time consuming and difficult. Thus for the thousand kinds of green tea, there are only three kinds of yellow tea that survive today."
And apparently, because of the time and cost involved, many yellow teas are now being produced using green tea processing techniques. So how to know if you're actually drinking a TRUE yellow tea? And why bother?
Like white tea, yellow tea is very lightly oxidized. It has all the health qualities of green tea - and possibly better than green tea because yellow tea is felt to be easier on the stomach than green tea - but doesn't have the green "grassy" taste of green tea. The taste is milder, and is often described as being somewhere between white and green tea with a flowery, fresh aroma.
This I have to try.
The Seven Cups website has a tea shop with several yellow teas. I like a website that offers a ton of good information along with hard to find teas. Trust factor goes up, willingness to part with dollarettes goes up.
This week's Chocolate Friday offering is healthy stuff.
Personally, I've taken a Vow of Indulgence. I follow the advice of one of my favorite quotes: "Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I hear it I wash my mouth out with chocolate" -- Charles M. Schultz
But I know there are others who occasionally need to be relieved of guilt, and/or given a healthy alternative to the decadence of choco-indulgences. I did this once before for our buddy D who was trying hard to keep his girlish figure. This time I'm doing it for KeeWee poor KeeWee who is counting every ... whatever it is you count when you're on Weight Watchers. Note: pic stolen from Kelly's Iblio site
Firstly, I just gotta note that chocolate isn't bad for you. It's the fats and sugars that chocolate is usually bundled with that cause all the problems. But chocolate has lots of good stuff in it: antioxidants and polyphenols and flavanoids. Research has shown that chocolate and cocoa can help your heart, keep your cholesterol down, keep you young, boost your sex life, and even help you grow new hair.
Good quality chocolates are made with cocoa butter, which is comprised of about one-third oleic acid, a fat like that found in olive oil. Oleic acid has been shown to lower both total and LDL cholesterol.
It's important to read the labels, though, because not all chocolate is made with cocoa butter.
Chocolate is also rich in antioxidants. Studies have shown that flavonoids, which are found in cocoa, lower the risks of heart disease, lung and prostate cancer and type- 2 diabetes.
And of course, dark chocolate is the way to go, says What's Cooking America: "a study by market research publisher Packaged Facts titled Market Trends: The U.S. Market for Gourmet Chocolate reports that the higher cocoa, lower sugar content and antioxidant properties of premium dark chocolate are making it a more attractive treat for health-conscious Americans, especially those counting carbs.
S'wenyway, if you're trying to keep your fat and sugar intake down but still want your choco-fix, here are a few "healthy" recipe sources for you:
Whew! That's all I can manage. Too much healthy stuff and my eyes start to roll back in my head. You all can live long and healthy. I think I'll make chocolate pancakes for brekky this morning. With chocolate syrup. Yeah, that's the ticket!
* Orlando Bloom's Bad Back 'Tea' - There's something not right about this newsblip. Orlando Bloom had to quit drinking green tea because it made his back hurt. What?
* And from the Groaner File: Im-peach-mint Tea: described as "a zesty blend of high-quality black teas, infused with the aromas of ripening peaches and cool, dewy mint leaves. Brewing instructions: If the Bush Administration is bringing you to a boil, add one teaspoon and visualize impeachment. That's it; mission accomplished! I'm not making a political statement here, so don't yell at me. I just thought it was funny. In a groaning sort of way. Found via growabrain
Good news for coffee drinkers (especially oldster coffee drinkers like me) - a new study shows no connection between coffee drinking and coronary heart disease. From NewsfactorMagazine Online:
Data on more than 120,000 participants in two U.S. studies that followed people for as long as two decades found no link between heart disease and a daily intake of six or more cups of coffee. In fact, the risk was the same as for people who had less than one cup of coffee or tea a month.
How-some-ever, the study doesn't apply to french press coffee. "Studies have consistently shown that drinking a lot of French-press coffee increases low-density lipoprotein, the bad cholesterol," says van Dam, research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the report.
And of course, if you like those fatty coffee-ish drinks then you're asking for cholesterol trouble.
I guess the answer is ... drink espresso, and drink it black!
Before this day ends, marking the LAST DAY of National Caffeine Awareness Month®, I feel it behooves me to explain why I haven't paid more attention to it. You'd think, on a blog about coffee, tea and chocolate, I would have mentioned it more than once, but the fact is, this particular "campaign" is ANTI caffeine.
The phrase "National Caffeine Awareness Month®" is actually trademarked by these folx, and that means you gotta use the little R behind it, lest you get yer butt in trouble. I notice hardly anybody does, but that's what it says on the Caffeine Awareness website. The campaign has been sponsored by a soy-based coffee producer, Soy Coffee, which they recommend we switch to in lieu of the badbad (but oh-so-good) caffeinated products.
Whatever. Here are some previous posts and interesting links about caffeine:
Caffeine Calculator - from the same Caffeine Awareness website. It'd be interesting to compare their results with other lists online, for instance
Man I've been having such a busy week. I really thought today was Chocolate Friday (wishful thinking .... please, please, hurry up and be Friday) so I was going to post this link I found about cocoa. What the hey, nothing wrong with multitudinous choco-blogging!
Cocoa has been linked to cardiovascular health benefits since at least the 18th century, but researchers are just beginning to collect scientific evidence for these claims, according to background information in the article. Cocoa is now known to contain chemicals called flavan-3-ols, which have been linked to lower blood pressure and improved function of the cells lining the blood vessels.
However . . .
The link between chocolate and overall lower risk of death suggests that other mechanisms also may be involved. "Because cocoa is a rich source of antioxidants, it may also be related to other disease that are linked to oxidative stress (e.g. pulmonary diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and certain types of cancer) ," the authors conclude. "However, this merits further investigation."
I'll volunteer for research duty! Where can I sign up???
That chocolate acts as a stimulant doesn't surprise anybody I'm sure, but the main stimulating chemical isn't caffeine. The real choco-high mostly comes from theobromine, a stimulant with physiological effects similar to those of caffeine, but ... different. Theobromine takes longer to effect the nervous system, and lasts longer in the system, than caffeine. Wikipedia says
Theobromine has very different effects on the human body from caffeine; it is a mild, lasting stimulant with a mood improving effect, whereas caffeine has a strong, immediate effect and increases stress.
Most coffee-heads would argue the stress point, but ... whatever.
I'd heard so much associating caffeine and chocolate that I wanted to know the truth of it. Is there caffeine in chocolate? Apparently there is, although it's very small doses, and what's there, is there by human intervention. Chocolate doesn't naturally contain caffeine.
The confusion may come from the similarity in their chemical makeup. Or maybe it's the fact that there's sugar in most of the chocolate stuff we eat, which gives a false sort of "high" that can seem like the effects of caffeine. The actual amount of caffeine in hot cocoa or chocolate candy is pretty small.
The average cup of hot cocoa contains about 10 mg of caffeine but over 200 mg of theobromine. A 3 1/2 ounce chocolate bar contains approximately 12 mg of caffeine and 155 mg of theobromine.
Compared to an average cup of drip coffee (60-120 mg) and black tea (45 mg), that's not much, caffeine-wise. Most of the comparison charts I found on the net identified just the caffeine content, and ignored the theobromine content. Except for this one, from foodreference.com:
White chocolate 3ounce bar or 1 cup chips
Baking chocolate, unsweetened 1 ounce
Semisweet chocolate 1 ounce (chocolate chips)
Milk Chocolate 1.55 ounce bar
Cocoa mix 1 envelope/3 heaping tsp
Cocoa powder, unsweetened 1 tbsp
What about the caffeine content of your favorite chocolate products?
Ben & Jerry's Coffee Fudge Frozen Yogurt (8 oz) -- 85 mg of caffeine Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar (1.5 oz bar) -- 31 mg Perugina Milk Chocolate Bar with Cappuccino Filling (1/3 bar, 1.2 ounces) -- 24 mg Hershey Bar (milk chocolate) (1.5 oz bar) -- 10 mg Coffee Nips (hard candy) (2 pieces) -- 6 mg Cocoa or Hot Chocolate (8 ounces) -- 5 mg Cadbury Chocolate bar (1 oz, 28 g) -- 15 mg Chocolate Jello Pudding Pops, (47 g) -- 2 mg
IMO, chocolate AND coffee is the best of all possible stimulant combinations. You get both the quick and the delayed lift. You get the long lasting effect of the chocolate, which counteracts the fall from the caffeine high. You get the increased sense of well-being that comes from theobromine, as well as the increased alertness from coffee. Now I ask you, how much better can it get?