Think about what you drink Drinking the right drinks is a crucial part of the BluePrint for Life. It goes hand-in-hand with eating the right food and living the right way. It can have a strong impact on your health. The main drink in the Hot Spots is water – fresh, pure and clear. Other popular drinks are herb tea, green tea, modest amounts of wine, and, in Costa Rica, modest amounts of coffee.
Sodas Carbonated drinks are high in sugar – a can of Coke has the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup (which is debatably even worse for health than sugar). Most sodas are high in sugar. We should not have more than 2 teaspoons of glucose (liberated from healthy foods) in our system at any one time. 10 teaspoons is a major assault. Sugar-free sodas are likely to contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame which are linked with health problems (over 92 bad effects on health have been listed) including cancer.
Sodas Sodas contain phosphoric acid which causes loss of minerals from bones and can lead to osteoporosis. Switching to water can be an effective way to lose weight – one can of soda daily can cause an extra 15 pounds of weight annually; it also causes sugar cravings and insulin problems leading to excess weight. One soda daily increases the risk of diabetes by 85 percent, according to studies.
Coffee Coffee gives us a temporary buzz, followed by a low, leading to a desire for more caffeine. Thus, giving up coffee should actually give you MORE energy. Coffee can cause headaches and migraines. Coffee prevents the body from absorbing important minerals such as iron and zinc. Coffee halves the amount of vitamins and minerals absorbed with a meal. Coffee contributes to high blood pressure. Coffee impairs insulin function. Coffee is a diuretic, causing loss of water from the body.
Are you addicted to coffee? Try having fewer cups of coffee – Nicoyans have just one daily. Try having just one, and really enjoy it. Try having smaller, weaker cups. Try gradually replacing coffee with tea (1 or 2 cups daily), green tea, herb teas, and water. Coffee substitutes made from roasted barley or chicory are a good alternative to coffee. Roasted barley drink is popular in Campodimele, where it is drunk in the mornings instead of coffee.
Spirits Alcoholic spirits such as vodka and gin are high in alcohol which is damaging to the liver and linked with cancer, including cancer of the mouth and esophagus. If you want to drink alcohol, try replacing spirits with the odd glass of organic red wine, as is drunk in the Hot Spots.
Beer Beer has some health benefits, such as vitamin and mineral content, but is high in sugar and contains alcohol, so enjoy in moderation only.
Fruit juice Fruit juice does contain fruit, so has some health benefits, but is high in fructose which is a form of sugar. Some studies suggest that fruit juice lowers heart disease risk, but others suggest the opposite due to the effect of concentrated fruit sugar on LDL cholesterol, blood glucose, and insulin levels. Eating whole fruit is better. If you drink fruit juice, dilute it with water.
Fruit juice Vegetable juices are lower in sugar than fruit juices. Fruit and/or vegetable smoothies containing the whole fruit or vegetable are preferable to juice. However, acidic fruit smoothies such as those made from berries, or very sweet fruit smoothies, may be damaging to teeth, so limit intake. Adding healthy fats and proteins to your smoothies will make the smoothie less acidic.
Water Water has been the main drink for mankind ever since humans have existed. Today, many people almost never experience the pleasure of a simple glass of fresh, clean, cool, hydrating water. Around 60 percent of our total body weight consists of water. The brain is 70 percent water.
Water We need water for circulation, to transport nutrients into and waste out of cells, to prevent constipation, and to keep our organs and tissues hydrated. Water is a natural appetite suppressant. Water helps keep our skin clear. In the Adventists Health Studies in Loma Linda, drinking water was found to be linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Hot Spot water In Hunza, people drink clear water which trickles down from the glaciers. Hunza water has low surface tension, making it extra-hydrating to body cells. In Bama, people drink water from the Panyang River. This water is high in beneficial negative ions. In Okinawa, water filters through calcium-rich coral, making it alkalizing and good for bone health. In Nicoya, water filters through calcium-rich limestone bedrock. In Sardinia, locals fill their water jugs with mountain spring water from taps installed on the roadside.
Our drinking water Our tap water is high in chlorine and other substances which may not be good for health. Bottled mineral water can be good, but is expensive and creates a lot of plastic waste. Try filtering tap water to remove chlorine and other heavy metals. There are jug filters available these days which also add antioxidant, alkalizing minerals to tap water, and reverse osmosis systems which can be installed to improve tap water quality. Some water purification systems ionize the water, making it closer to the natural mountain stream waters found in nature.
How much should we drink? We need approximately six to eight glasses of water daily, although this will vary depending on where else you are getting liquids from (fruit and vegetables, for example, contain water, or you may drink a lot of soup or herb tea) and how much you perspire that day. If you havent been in the habit of drinking water, and you dont tend to feel like drinking it, try drinking a few glasses daily and you may soon find that you start to notice your own thirst for it. As a rule of thumb, consume at least one-half ounce per pound of body weight per day; more if you are losing water through, for example, exercise, heat, or breastfeeding.
How much should we drink? A good way to tell how hydrated you are is by checking the color of your urine. Too yellow means it is too concentratedbut too clear means that it may be too diluted. Try keeping a bottle of water near you to sip from throughout the day – you can fill an old glass bottle with water from the water filter if you dont want to buy bottled water. Avoid drinking all of your water at once, since hyper-hydration can be dangerous. Water is best absorbed when it is drunk at room temperature. Try to drink water mainly away from meals so as not to dilute your digestive juices.
Healing herbal tea Herbal teas are popular in the Hot Spots and can have many health benefits. Okinawans drink large amounts of turmeric tea which is anti- inflammatory and has anti-cancer properties. Try mixing turmeric, lemon and honey with hot water as a remedy for inflammatory conditions. Hibiscus, mugwort, thyme, ginseng, astragalus and other herb teas are all regularly enjoyed in the Hot Spots. There are many good-quality herbal teas available to us today with a huge range of different healing properties.
Healing properties of herbal tea Ginger: for nausea, morning sickness Valerian: can help insomnia Raspberry leaf: helps menstrual complaints; relieves colds Lemon: helps sore throat Mugwort: for respiratory problems Turmeric: anti-inflammatory Chamomile: alleviates tension Cinnamon: aids digestion Dandelion: reduces water retention Elderflower: relieves cold symptoms Lemon balm: relieves anxiety and indigestion Peppermint: aids digestion, relieves headache Fennel: aids digestion Ginseng: stimulates vitality
Green tea Japanese green tea workers have extremely low incidence of cancer. Many studies suggest that drinking four or more cups of strong green tea a day lowers the risk of cancer, particularly cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, lung, skin, bladder, stomach and esophagus. Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin- 3-gallate (EGCG) which kills cancer cells and prevents tumor growth. EGCG can also get into our brain cells to protect them from free radical damage. Green tea also contains B vitamins for energy and immunity, E vitamins for heart health, and has more vitamin C than an orange.
Green tea Green tea reduces levels of bad LDL cholesterol and it is also anti-inflammatory. Green tea is antibacterial and antiviral and can help kill Helicobacter Pylori. Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine so can be a good drink to wean yourself onto from coffee. Green tea improves insulin use so that glucose is burned for energy rather than being stored as fat. It also enhances fat-burning enzymes in cells. Scientists have found that these two effects work together to make green tea a potentially very effective weight loss aid.
Green tea For good-tasting green tea, use good-quality loose leaf varieties. Add water which is not quite boiling and steep for just a short time. If you feel nauseated after having green tea, this is thought to be because of the combination of polyphenols and caffeine, which can stimulate the production of gastric acid. Try drinking it after a meal so as to avoid any nausea. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, it may be best to limit your intake of green tea, since EGCG is thought to block an enzyme required to use folic acid in cells. Pregnant women are advised to avoid drinking it during the first trimester and limit intake to one or two cups daily thereafter. Decaffeinated green tea is contained in Akea Essentials.
Black tea Black tea is the same as green tea except that the leaves have been oxidized. Black tea can help you relax – a study shows that the polyphenols it contains can lower blood pressure enough to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by ten percent. However, black tea is higher in caffeine than green tea, lower in antioxidants, and higher in tannins, which block the absorption of iron, so limit intake.
Alcohol is always drunk in moderation (one small glass) and with a meal. In Hunza, wine is made from fruit including grapes and mulberries. Red wine is believed to be the most beneficial of alcoholic drinks since it contains powerful antioxidants, including one called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been found to increase the lifespan of laboratory animals and it also has the power to prevent induced cancer in animals. It is also thought that red wine can protect against heart disease even when the diet is relatively high in saturated fat. This is a syndrome known as the French Paradox, due to the low heart disease rates among populations of cheese-loving, wine-drinking French.
Wine Red wine may also be able to help prevent Type II diabetes, since polyphenols in red wine have an effect on blood sugar regulation – in one study, a small glass of red wine was found to be as effective as a daily dose of a potent anti-diabetic drug. White wine has the same relaxing effect as red wine, but contains lower levels of resveratrol, while rosé wine is often made from both red and white grapes and can therefore is likely to have a higher resveratrol content than white wine. Some studies have shown that wine raises levels of estrogen and that it may raise the risk of a woman getting breast cancer by about 6 percent.
Wine In addition, all types of alcohol are linked with cancer even in small doses. An alternative to red wine is red grape juice which contains some resveratrol, although less than is found in red wine. Alcohol-free red wine extract and resveratrol are also in Akea Essentials. Pinot Noir from New Zealand and Cannonau from Sardinia are especially high in antioxidants. Organic wine does not contain sulfites so is a good choice; second best is wine made from organic grapes, which may contain sulfites but should not have pesticide residues.
ACTIVITY: Try to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day and include 2 of the items from the good drinks list daily. Suggestion: mix your daily Essentials with 3 oz. of red grape juice and 5 oz. of water!