I enjoy a cup of coffee, which surprisessome people, but the evidence is nowheavily stacked in favour of it being ahealthy drink, so I don’t plan givingup my morning pick-me-up anytimesoon, and neither should you.The most recent support for coffeecomes from a Stanford University School ofMedicine study, which reported thatcaffeine consumption counters the chronicinflammation responsible for more than 90per cent of many cardiovascular and otherage-related diseases such as cancer,Alzheimer’s and other dementias.Since caffeine is a stimulant, I do tend tokeep my coffee consumption to morningonly. If you find yourself needing more than acouple of strong coffees a day to function, oryou’re feeling tired and wired at the sametime, cut back to a couple of cups a day,which is the optimal amount. Coffee couldalso temporarily hike your blood pressure ifyou’re sensitive to it. Test it within 30-60 minutes of drinking your usual-strengthcoffee. If it spikes – even slightly – restrictyour intake. For everyone else, your morningflat white or espresso could have healthbenefits. Studies show coffee drinkers havea lower risk of conditions ranging fromdepression to Parkinson’s disease.If you’re an instant coffee fan, Beanies+has added vitamin D – one cup gives yourRDA. New flavours include Vanilla Bean(£3.49 for 50g; beaniesflavourco.co.uk).
NUTRITION EXPERT CARRY ON WITH COFFEE Photo Gallery
SUGAR-FREE SURVIVAL TIPS
Q I’m trying to cut out refined sugar, but I really crave it. Whatemergency snacks can I eat when I want chocolate or cake?
A One of my favourite snacks when I’m craving something sweet is twodates (pitted) and stuffed with nut butter. It’s sweet and satisfying but,because of the balance of sugars and protein, won’t spike your blood sugaras most sweet snacks would. A bowl of berries is also a good choice – andthey’re packed with healthy antioxidants and phytochemicals that are goodfor cognitive function and lowering blood pressure. It can take a while for asweet craving to fade, but things will improve. To prevent the cravings asmuch as you can, eat regular meals and include protein such as tuna, eggs,tofu or chicken – and fibre, to help keep blood sugar levels stable.
Manuka honey is famed for itsantibacterial and anti-inflammatoryqualities, both when consumed fromthe spoon and dabbed on the skin.But manuka fakes have alwaysbeen out there as the proper stuff isexpensive to produce, so I’m pleasedto report that scientists have gottogether and worked out a properchemical identity test so that you canknow you’re getting the manuka youpay for. Their work has resulted in thelaunch of the new UMF® quality mark,which only honeys that have passedstringent chemical testing will beable to use.UMF stands for unique manukafactor and I’d recommend that youonly choose jars that show thistrademark on the label. The trademarkwill be used on manuka honeys ofvarious strengths from 5+ to 25. Formore information on strengths andgradings, visit umf.org.nz.