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It seems like every other month, we read conflicting findings about coffee – whether it’s harmful or beneficial to our health. What’s certain, though, is that coffee has its pros and cons.

Let’s take a look at some of the results of these studies:

The pros of drinking coffee

  • It helps protect the liver – the risk of cirrhosis of the liver was found to be reduced by as much as 80% – especially in alcoholwoman drinking coffee drinkers and tobacco smokers
  • It protects against colon and rectal cancer
  • It stimulates the cardiovascular system and may increase blood pressure (beneficial for those with low BP only)
  • It has a generous supply of antioxidants which combat cell damage; one of its antioxidants may protect against Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and gallstones
  • It has been linked to better athletic performance and greater stamina
  • It contributes to improved mental acuity
  • Although it is a stimulant, it is not addictive in the manner that amphetamines and other drugs are
  • It is recognized by the US FDA as GRAS (“generally recognized as safe”)
  • It reduces the incidence of asthma by 25%
  • It improves memory
  • It gives greater energy and alertness
  • In studies, it was not linked to miscarriage, birth defects, premature birth, low birth weight, SIDS, or infertility; neither is consumption of coffee linked to cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, reflux (although recent research has proved otherwise), hypertension, and anxiety
  • It can lead to a slight increase in HDL (good cholesterol) levels

The cons of drinking coffee

Some of these downright disprove the findings about coffee’s advantages, but you be the judge:

  • It hasn’t been scientifically proven to cure hangovers
  • Although it isn’t on the same level of addictiveness as prohibited drugs, most people experience mild symptoms on coffee withdrawal, such as headaches
  • It causes a temporary and harmless rise in heart workload
  • Women with fibrocystic breast disease may be more sensitive at this time with caffeine
  • Coffee drinkers who are emotionally more sensitive than others could be more prone to anxiety attacks
  • It’s a myth that coffee could reduce your weight in the long term
  • Pregnant women consuming 300 mg of caffeine or more a day are two times more likely to have a miscarriage
  • Calcium loss has been detected in women who are regular coffee drinkers; to counteract this, one must consume a cup of milk or yogurt for every cup of coffee taken

It can be quite confusing to have our beliefs and ideas about coffee changed every so often.

These two sides are both backed by scientific studies, but there still are a lot more factors that could invalidate research findings.

In the meantime, we coffee lovers just have to use a little common sense and see what works best for us. The key term here is, and always will be, moderation.

M. Jamal

P.S. It’s ironic to be uploading this article while sitting at Starbucks, anyway…woman drinking coffee

Did you know that the USA is the world’s largest coffee consumer… it’s estimated that 4 out of 5 Americans drink coffee?

How about this one: it’s the world’s second most valuable commodity after petroleum.

Hard to believe huh?

Here’s more…

An ounce of chocolate – around 2 tablespoons – has about 20 mg of caffeine (almost the same amount in a can of Coca-Cola or Pepsi)… tea has twice that amount (40 mg)… while an espresso has twice the caffeine in tea (80 mg).

What about those decaffeinated drinks? Well, it’s not really caffeine free… it’s estimated to have about 3 mg.

Well, here’s an interesting link with more facts about coffee, click here.

Or how about this second resource, it adds an interesting twist to ‘pros of coffee’: “When shopping for perfume, take some coffee with you in your bag and have a good sniff in between smelling each perfume to refresh your nose!” you can check it out here.

Today… as I was done with my grocery shopping… I noticed one kid running up the escalators.

Then another image came to mind: my cousin’s children… (when they gather they’re like a small football team, all ages 4 to 11)… and what they’re always up to every time I’m around.

It’s like every time they meet at my uncle’s house all they do is play, run around and challenge each other. I mean it’s all physical movement – while use adults sit, talk and hardly move a muscle!movement is fun to kids

Then I thought about it some more and asked myself:

What Changes As We Grow Up?

How come all the fun-filled games (that usually involve putting our bodies to good use) get thrown aside?

Even worse, if you’re anything like me then most adults you know would probably do anything to avoid physical movement!

Here’s what’s interesting…

Is this shift due to the environment we live in (external factors). At least that’s what comes to mind when you speak to most people.

Things like having more responsibilities as you grow up… taking care of the kids, your loved ones and all kind of chores to sort out.

Or… could it be more of a mental state (internal factors). It’s that decision to go for a 15 minute walk 3 times a week… it’s that decision to grab a chicken salad instead of a Big Mac… it’s that decision to go up the stairs instead of taking the lift every time… and on and on.

As we grow up… what part of our brain starts to think “Physical movement is a burden rather than a pleasure”?

It’s amazing how to some people this whole “moving to stay fit” idea (and optimizing your nutrition) is considered a burden, or something to do quick to lose a few pounds then get back to their old habits… while to the select few determined women, it’s more of a lifestyle, a pleasure, a joy to feel great and look your best.

Whether you’re a Fun Lady Fitness subscriber or spend some time browsing this blog… chances are you’re one of the select few who take “moving to stay fit and healthy” as a lifestyle, as pure joy.

And it don’t matter whether you’re just getting started or been at it for 3 years… it’s an interesting journey that’s far more rewarding than sitting idle and enjoying the body you’ve been blessed with. So feel proud… take another step forward and reward yourself next weekend.

M. Jamal

P.S. It’ll be interesting to hear your thoughts on the ‘mental shift as we grow up’ and whether you’d think it tends towards external factors or your mental determination.

P.P.S. Here’s a fun clip I captured last holiday… a cute baby girl running around the fountain inside a shopping mall. How come we easily forget how fun it used to be to move our bodies when we were kids?

NOT EMBEDABLE

We’ve read about man’s quest for the Fountain of Youth in Literature as well as in history. It was rumored that the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon was actually searching for healing waters before reaching present-day Florida almost five centuries ago.

It was never found by Ponce de Leon, and today, we now know that despite advances in medicine, the best antidote to aging is still exercise. A physically fit septuagenarian will definitely score younger on aging tests than a teener who’s out of shape.

How Our Bodies Age Through the Years

The 20s: This is a great time in any young man or woman’s life.

All of our organs seem to function at their peak, the bones are completely hardened, and the body is well-toned. From the mid- to the late 20s, though, tiny wrinkles start to appear around the mouth and the eyes as collagenase is released, making our skin less supple.lady in the gym

The 30s: There are some whose muscle performances peak during this decade yet some individuals also experience a slowdown in metabolism.

Between the ages of 30 and 35, bone mass begins to plateau, after which there would be more bone destroyed than replaced. Likewise, the skin becomes drier and the natural oils are depleted.

By working out for half an hour three times a week, bone density can be improved before the age of 35 is reached.

By age 35, the chances of women becoming pregnant are significantly smaller. This is due to the increasing occurrence of non-egg-producing cycles as menopause approaches. Smoking and drinking also contribute to premature ageing, overloading the body with toxic substances that lower energy levels and make the skin dry and dull-looking.

To keep cholesterol levels down, as well as to protect against strokes, heart disease and cancer, exercise must be undertaken regularly.

The 40s: Some say this is when a lot of the effects of aging become apparent at a rapid rate.

Wrinkles become more prominent on the neck area especially for women. Crow’s feet become more visible around the eye corners and smoker’s wrinkles develop around the mouth. As your metabolism slows down, your strength and stamina fall short of their usual levels. Even your muscle mass will begin to shrink if you continue to lead a sedentary life.

It isn’t too late to reverse the effects of aging if you engage in exercise at this age. As you do your workouts, your muscles will regain their tone and the once saggy flesh in the arm, buttock, and tummy areas can again be firmed.

The 50s and up: Not only does your physical health deteriorate – so, too, would your mental health if you become inured to a sedentary life at this point.

When one exercises, the VO2max (your body’s maximum ability to take in and use oxygen) improves. To prove that even a 50-year old body can take rigorous exercise, Fred Wilt, an Olympian distance runner in the 1930s, can still manage a 2-mile run in less than 10 minutes – a feat that perhaps only a handful of high schoolers can achieve.

Each decade, people who don’t exercise lose 15% of their fitness. Exercising at low intensity would post a 9% fitness loss, while those undergoing intense exercises and sports hardly lose any fitness.

Despite aging, we can still improve our fitness by gradually increasing the intensity of our exercises. However, you need to always check with your doctor, just in case you have a medical condition that could be aggravated by more intense exercises.

M. Jamal

P.S. I’m always baffled by the roles society impose on your ‘clock age’. Then I look around and know it’s not true… like a man I used to see at the gym, probably in his late 40’s, yet trains harder than many 20-something young men of today. He even looked younger… I bet you’ve seen people like this who could slow down their ‘biological clock’. Have you?

Well, here’s an interesting video I came across by Salvatore Fichera (turn up the volume). Check out how the Japanese man celebrated his 100th birthday, amazing.

I just got back from Doha, Qatar last Saturday where Wakeboard World Championship and World Cup reached its peak with finals held on 2nd and 3rd November. Apart from catching a sun burn, it was sure exciting watching the most talented and daring athletes compete.

It’s one thing to see a talented athlete perform at their best… and, it’s even better when their enthusiasm, determination and passion for the sport rubs on you and inspires you.

One such athlete is Dallas Friday who won the ladies events in spectacular fashion.wakeboard ladies doha She’s truly amazing to watch and came top in 32 out of 34 events during 2003 to 2005.

Now what most people don’t know is that she broke her left femur (leg bone between pelvis and knee) during competition in Singapore 2006. Yet she came back to win 1st place a year later in 2007. Talk about sheer determination and passion for the sport.

Whether you’re into wakeboarding or not, I hope this gets you pumped up, excited… overcome your usual excuses… and start getting passionate about looking and feeling your best.

M. Jamal

P.S. Here’s a clip of Friday’s winning run…

 

NOT EMBEDABLE