Considering myself to be a reasonably healthy adult, but I would like to lose a little bit of weight, or I sometimes feel overloaded and anxious about how much I have to do, or worry that my relationships with family, friends or colleagues are not as happy as I’d like them to be!
Sometimes we have to make simple the everyday decisions we often face. We are making choices since we get up from bed in the morning to last thing in at night. Shower or bath? Do a piece of work or delegate to a colleague? Go for a run or a swim? Wine or gin and tonic? Pizza or pasta? Argue with your partner or bite your tongue?
But we are drowning in healthy-living advice already, I hear you say.
Of course, the advices are changing day to day since the medical research is evolving all the time.
One of my aims is to demystify the confusing messages sent out to us by the food and drink industry. Combined with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, it’s no wonder 60 per cent of us are now overweight. Poor diet is raising our risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, but this can be reduced, or even reversed, by changing how we eat, drink and exercise.
So, let’s make some changes with little food and drink swaps that can make a big difference to calorie intake, as well as fat, sugar and salt levels – food groups that can really tip the balance towards ill health if we don’t keep an eye on how much we are eating.
Sometimes it’s the first choice you make in the morning: tea or coffee? It’s a personal decision, but here are a few facts to help.
Caffeinated OR decaffeinated drinks?
Too much caffeine can give you the jitters and stop you sleeping: it raises your heart rate and may even give you palpitations. But as anyone who can’t get out of bed in the morning without a cuppa knows, it also stimulates the central nervous system: coffee or tea (black, green or white) will give you a little boost that can help you stay alert at the start of the day. A study published by Harvard scientists in September 2011 found that women who drink two to three cups of coffee per day are less likely to suffer from depression. There are no official guidelines for caffeine consumption except that pregnant women should stick to 200mg a day because a high caffeine intake has been associated with miscarriage.
Those who suffer from high blood pressure or anxiety should also steer clear. How much is right for you is, of course, up to you, but diet experts suggest four or five caffeinated drinks per day, and that you should have the last one in the afternoon.
But do remember to bear in mind the different strengths of caffeinated drinks. Caffeine levels in drinks ranged from 1mg for the weakest tea to 254mg for the strongest cup of ground coffee. Don’t forget drinks like cola and chocolate or guarana all contain caffeine.
Did you know?
. . . how much caffeine is in each of the following?
one mug of instant coffee 100mg
one mug of filter coffee 140mg
one mug of tea 75mg
one can of cola 40mg
one can of energy drink 80mg
one 50g bar of dark chocolate around 50mg
one 50g bar of milk chocolate around 25mg
I choose to start my day with one mug of filter coffee 140 mg !
to be continued….