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Inside Out

Coffee, chocolate, milk, wine–what’s good, what’s bad

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Q: Perhaps I am addicted to coffee. I can’t seem to start my day without my usual two-cup regimen. By 5 p.m., I would have consumed 6 cups. What should I do?

A: Do you know that the usual daily maximum for coffee is three cups? You are way over your limit. Think about this—if you need a stimulant to give you a quick pick-up, then most probably your fat-burning system that generates energy may not be working well.

Chances are you may not be addicted to coffee as you are to caffeine. Too much caffeine can affect the adrenal, liver and nervous system. A quick test is to observe your hands if they shake involuntarily, or an elevated pulse with mild heart palpitations.

Cut back now. Alternate your coffee excesses with green or black tea. They both have caffeine, but contain as well antioxidants and phtyonutrients. If you are strict about your health, take organic tea or coffee. If you are sensitive to caffeine but enjoy coffee, try whole-bean coffees that are water-processed. About 1/3 of the caffeine remains. There is, of course, always decaf coffee and tea. But if you wish to avoid caffeine altogether, substitute with herbal teas.

Here’s a tea booster:

Lemongrass upper: Take 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass (they grow wild in the garden). Tie them together. Place in a pot of boiling water. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Drink up and enjoy its golden goodness and pungent aroma.

Optional: Raw wild honey—1 tsp

I am a confessed chocoholic. Is this good or bad?

It’s very good if you avoid confections laced with excessive sugar. There is growing evidence that coco is a potent therapeutic food. Eating this treat will do more than just satisfy the most powerful of cravings.

Cocoa may improve your health. It helps lower blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. Flavorols found in cocoa, purple grape juice and tea directly act on the processing of nitric oxide. Polypherols in cocoa, just like in red wine, provide maximum protection against heart disease.

However, cocoa should be taken thick and diluted with minimal water and sugar in order to derive its optimal benefits. Cocoa found in candy bars is loaded with sugar and additives.

Make it a habit to have a cup of cocoa once daily. It should minimize your craving for candy bars. But if you cannot help yourself, go for dark chocolate instead of the milk-choco variety, because the former’s oxygen-radical value is higher.

Because they are havens of health, I welcome choco-inspired cafés like Tablea in Cebu, and Xocolat, Chocolate de Batirol and Cacao in Serendra, Global City. Here’s a cup of cocoa for your well-being!

Every time I drink milk, I experience stomach discomfort. Why is that?

It’s true, milk is a good source of calcium and many have lived with the habit of drinking milk with great satisfaction. However, there are those who are lactose-intolerant. In certain people, milk can cause gastrointestinal stress, skin problems and a compromised immune system.

Cow’s milk is 80-percent casein and 20-percent whey. Human milk is the reverse—20-percent casein and 80-percent whey. Any milk allergy means a sensitivity to casein. Lactose intolerance is sensitivity to milk sugar. Those who are lactose-intolerant lack an enzyme called lactase to digest lactose.

If you have problems with cow’s milk, switch to goat and sheep milk whose composition and nutrient content are closer to human milk.

At the end of the day, I find that a glass of wine is soothing to my spirits. Is this a good habit?

Truth be told, wine is not only the oldest alcoholic beverage in the world, but also an ancient medicinal remedy. Wine dates back to more than 6,000 years, and its use has been hailed by doctors, poets and the public in general.

There is nothing wrong with having a wine-drinking habit for as long as you are faithful to the maximum code—two glasses for men, one glass for women.

Know the following: Drinking wine with meals can help the digestive process. (This is because the PH level of wine is low just like the stomach.) Wine taken in moderation can significantly lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Some experts believe that people who drink one to two glasses of wine or any alcoholic beverage a day are more likely to extend their life expectancy by three to four years, as compared to those who don’t drink.

Red wine may be a powerful cancer inhibitor. Grape skins are used to make red wine (unlike white wine), where resveratrol is rich.

Wine contains vitamin B1, B2, B6, niacin and iron.
Warning: Wine should not be taken with other drugs or by pregnant women and people with health conditions. And never drive under the influence of alcohol, as it impairs your senses.

Beauty aid

If you run out of astringent, get 1 tsp of white wine and dip a small piece of cotton ball in it. Lightly wipe the grime off your face. Rinse after. It works wonders!

Affirm today: “I am in the best of spirits!”

Love and light!


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