drinking for HEART health.

no, i do not have a drinking problem. except when it comes to coffee, that is.  okay, and maybe wine.  and nothing makes my HEART more happy than knowing that sipping them can be good for my health too.  but is there a catch?  yes. yes, there is.  the headlines may read “coffee heart benefits maybe be greater than thought” and “red wine and reservatrol: good for your heart“, but as all news that flitters about, there’s always a flipside. a catch, if you will.  and trust me, i’m not one to want to burst anyone’s bubble – especially about two of my liquid loves, but here’s my insight on enjoying the heart-healthy benefits, sans the weighty side-effects.

coffee + cream + calories…oh my!coffeeheart
let’s get the facts straight first: coffee does have heart healthy benefits! (amen, hallelujah)  in fact, drinking 1-2 cups per day may lower your risk of heart disease by as much as 11%. other studies have found that your risk of diabetes lowers by 9% for every cup of coffee you consume.  and here’s what i want to know: what kind of coffee? like are we talking black coffee or espresso, or do the lattes and “cup-accinos” (as my sweet great grandma used to call them) count to? i’m going to guess that the heart health benefits wane a bit when you indulge in a grande vanilla latte that may only have 250 calories, but hello 32g of sugar!  go skinny, you say? well calories may drop to 120 and sugar to 16g, but the downside of that is that taking in artificial sweeteners actually TRICKS your body into thinking its taking in calories that it doesn’t receive, so you actually consume MORE calories later on! ouch.  all that said, let’s say you enjoy a special bev from the ‘bux once a week. no big deal, enjoy. but if you want the heart healthy benefits, which means consuming a cup-o-joe every day, you’ll want to reconsider what you’re sippin daily.  this one hit home for me.

truth is that so often we (and by we, i mean me) set these big pie-in-the-sky goals and yet we’re unwilling to make the daily changes that are required to get there.  case in point: i gave up cream in my coffee. yes, i’ve been “clean” now for almost 4 weeks. i didn’t want to. i love my cream. and we’re not talking half-and-half or almond milk, it’s cream – as in the good stuff.  but what i realized is that while i’m all about enjoying most things (in moderation), this one daily habit was standing between me and my goals.  so i went black. no sugar…cream…nada.  except cinnamon.  i’m no calorie counter, but i did the math: there are 50 calories in 1 tbsp. and i do not use 1…more like 4…on a good day.  that’s 250 calories in my daily coffee…that’s 1400 calories a week.  that meant that making NO other change to my daily habits, i would lose 1 lb in 2 weeks.  so, news break: i’ve lost 3.  yep, one small change. one daily habit…a small tweak that is a little sacrifice that to be honest, doesn’t even phase me now. i’ve actually learned that i like the flavor of coffee. and this is coming from a recovering cream addict!  the beauty of it: i get the heart health benefits of coffee, sans the guilt.

my love for wine is live and well (in moderation), however consumption dwindles when my sights are set on reaching health goals.  don’t get me wrong, i love my vino – and after a few weeks of indulging in italy i had to dial it back a bit to lose my souvenir 5lbs i brought home on my backside.  don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful thing.  a glass of pinot grigio with lunch overlooking the arno river…a bold brunello while gazing at the vineyards…and maybe a late night chianti in a wine bar on some street in florence. *sigh*  but, as with all things, too much of a good thing is well, too much.  cue the super-snug jeans.  and aside from the new-found love handles you might find when imbibing daily, research has found that drinking too much red wine (or alcohol in general) can have a negative effect on your health. go figure!  yes, the reservatrol…the flavenoids…the antioxidants – they are a beautiful thing.  in fact having 1 glass a day can improve heart health by as much as 30% over non-drinkers. specifically, it increases your HDL (good cholesterol), lowers your LDL (bad cholesterol), and reduces the formation of blood clots.  however, drink too much and research shows you risk increasing your blood pressure and developing cardiomopathy, which is basically a weakened heart.  that’s what the doctors say, anyway.  and i’m not doctor but i’m smart enough to figure out that too much wine makes my pants tight. which makes me cranky. and well, that’s just no good for anyone! (ask my boyfriend)

so as i continue to BLOG MY HEART OUT to spread the word about heart disease, hopefully you find one tidbit of useful info. like, how to drink for heart health.

sip up (in moderation)!


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February 2013

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