Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Mark's Daily Apple

25 May

Healthy Tastes Great!

Tea Poached Salmon with Fruit Salsa

Here is a simple and unique way to cook fish. Try it with your favorite green or herbal tea!

25 May

Tea Time

SMART FUEL

Reader Donna suggested that we share information on the benefits of tea. Good idea, Donna! Tea is incredibly healthy and is an easy way to get a daily dose of beneficial antioxidants. While we’re at it, let’s discuss the types of tea, too.

Tea Types

There is only one tea species. White tea, black tea, green tea, oolong – they all come from a single plant (camellia sinensis for you Latin nerds). The basic difference boils down (get it?) to how processed the leaves are and the level of fermenting involved. White tea is the least processed and the “freshest”, so it is highest in antioxidants. Yes, there is something better than green tea!

Antioxidant Potency

The differences are really not as extreme as is believed. All tea is healthy for you. However, the more processed teas are lower in antioxidants and much higher in caffeine. A hierarchy:

1. White

2. Green

3. Oolong (Really difficult to make – not for you, for the artisans. You boil it like any other tea leaf.)

4. Black

Pictures:

pearls

Top: white tea

Lower: jasmine pearls green tea – yum!

greenoolong

Top: green tea

Lower: oolong tea

pureh

Top: black

Lower: the ultra-rare (and uber-snobby) pureh

Pureh is pretty special stuff. Though popular in China, it’s rare here – we haven’t tried it yet. Have you?

Prep

Of course, boiled water poured immediately over the leaves, and 3 to 5 minutes of steeping time, will yield the best-tasting and most nutritious pot. Microwave is sacrilege and will invoke the wrath of the tea gods, so don’t even think about it!

Shopping Time

We had a lot of fun trying out many different types of tea from a local purveyor of some pretty fancy drinkable foliage. If you’re looking for flavor and health, white tea is even more delightful than green, but it’s very grassy and greeny, and definitely leaves a pucker. Black is nice in that “I grew up on it” way, but since coffee offers more caffeine for you addicts and other teas offer more antioxidants, black seems like sort of a sad little compromise. Still, many people prefer it, and there’s arguably nothing tastier than black tea with a little cream and honey.

Green teas are more varied than you might think. Our favorite was a special hand-rolled blend of green tea and lavender and jasmine similar to jasmine pearls. It was soothing, herbaceous, floral, and tasted like drinkable perfume. That is, if you could drink perfume (please don’t do this). This was a handcrafted tea, so it isn’t available everywhere, but jasmine pearls are a popular and high-quality offering available in many stores.

We also had a blast (and bounced off the walls) with a chocolate and mint infused black and green tea mix. It tasted like a peppermint patty! This was pretty strongly caffeinated and very flavorful. It would make a great after-dinner tea if you are entertaining and you and your guests plan to stay up late talking or watching a movie. It tastes like dessert!

Herbal teas are not really teas at all, of course, but dried herbs and flowers. They offer their own unique digestive, immune-enhancing and stress-relieving health benefits (just to name a few). Herbal teas are really more like natural medicinal treatments. Hey, that would make another great shopping expedition! (Looks like we just gave ourselves an assignment.)

Despite being a single species, teas are incredibly varied by region and processing technique. Try them all!

What’s your favorite tea beverage?

Sources:

2BaSnob.com

Why Green Tea Is Great

Imperial Tea (photos and information)

24 May

Los Linky Links

Worker Bees’ Daily Bites

The best clicks from the world of health, Apples:

Mirkin Is Back with More Health Myths

You loyal readers know Mark (and your Bees) don’t buy into that whole “drink 8 glasses of water a day or else!” rule. While we’re big fans of drinking water, you don’t have to stress out about it. Drink when you’re thirsty. It’s a myth that by the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. If that were true, think about it: dogs and cats would sure be hurting. Thirst is the body’s completely proper and natural indicator that it’s time to replenish liquids, but it doesn’t mean you’re about to keel over from dehydration.

How about water intake and dehydration issues when you’re working out? Dr. Mirkin sets us straight. By the way: eating salty foods and processed foods will interfere with your sense of thirst, so the “myth” isn’t completely off-base.

water 1

This is Greg Cullen’s Photo on Flickr

Baby Boomers Have Baby Brains

And that’s a really good thing. You can teach an old dog new tricks - and when it comes to neural pathways, you can fire new ones no matter what your age. Anti-aging and brain-building are set to become mammoth trends as the Boomers hit retirement. Fortunately, there’s scientific merit to a lot of these techniques and products. Not all, mind you. We’ll keep you posted. Speaking of aging, want to know one of the best ways to halt it? Even reverse it? Click here to find out.

Web it out:

Vioxx, Avandia, what next? Exactly!

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Top Posts at Mark’s Daily Apple

24 May

3 More Fast Foods That Are (Sorta) Healthy

Because nobody’s perfect!

1. McDonald’s chef salad

Only 150 calories (choose the vinegar dressing). Some franchises refer to it as the garden salad.

sidesalad

2. Wendy’s small chili

Only 200 calories of protein, fiber and very little fat.

chili 1

3. Taco Bell’s chicken soft taco

Just 190 calories – leave out the sour cream for an even lighter meal!

chickensoft

These foods aren’t ideal by any stretch. The meat is not organic, and there are some carbs to be found. No “fast food” is going to be earning high marks for nutrition. So when we look for reasonably healthy fast food options to bring you, we aim for those that are lowest in calories and offer some vegetables and a small portion of lean protein. Those are reasonable parameters for food establishments that are typically anything but reasonable in the nutrition department! When you’re on the road and in need of a small meal to stave off a blood sugar crash, you could do much worse than these light choices. Just make sure to skip the fries, chips and soda.

We recently brought you some other sensible fast food choices for those road trips and hectic days. Better choices, better body!

Notes: All photos are from company websites. Source for this edition of Sorta Healthy: StopGettingSick.com!

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Best of MDA 

24 May

True Confessions of a Cardiac Nurse (Guess Who’s Getting in the Way of Health?)

First, let me introduce myself. My name is Kendra James and I have been a cardiac critical care nurse for many years. I also write Diabetes Notes and A Hearty Life for b5media. I have so much to say about health care, nutrition and being heart-healthy. Mark asked me to share some of the thoughts that I ponder frequently and that quite frankly, just get under my skin. Buckle up, ‘cause here we go!

Do you want to know what gets me all fired up?

Repeat offenders.

No, I don’t mean the kind that are convicted and thrown in jail (I have a pretty strong dislike for them also though). I am referring to the patients that frequent the hospital so much, I know their likes, dislikes and family members by first names. I am not speaking of the very sick, terminally ill, or justifiably admitted patients, but rather, my cardiac patients that just don’t get it. Well, to be totally honest, they choose not to get it! Ugh…

How many times in one month can you do dietary teaching for the same person? You go through the whole spiel. Print it out on paper, review it with their family members, address any questions they might have and do this all with a smile on your face just to repeat the whole process 12 days later. Does anyone else out there feel my pain? Low fat, low cholesterol, restricted salt diet equals success for the cardiac patient. Fast food 5 times a week followed by 14 cups of coffee a day, and no-holds-barred on the salt shaker equals a visit with this very irritated nurse yet once again.

I care about my patients, I mean truly care about their health and well being. I want to know I provided a service to them and gave them the tools they need to maintain their health outside the hospital. When I have a MI, myocardial infarction, or CHF, congestive heart failure, patient that is signing himself or herself out 6 times a day to go and smoke, I just don’t get that warm ‘n fuzzy. Would you?

I know that the majority of health care professionals, including doctors, feel the same way. Believe me, it is a common topic among the staff at any hospital. What could I do to get my point across in a more effective way for these “repeat offenders”?

I guess I could adapt the attitude that some of my fellow nurses and physicians have, and just not give a hoot. I could say, “I’m getting paid one way or another,” but that just isn’t me. I am one of the nurses with empathy and compassion who wants to make a difference. You thought there were none of us left, huh?

So, to answer my own question, I guess that is why I got into health care blogging. I want to provide education and resources to people who actually want it; people who are listening to what I have to say, even if not always agreeing. Being a diabetic and cardiac critical nurse, I feel I have something to offer patients and health care providers. My sites Diabetes Notes and A Hearty Life do just that. Check them out if you want to hear what else this very opinionated and caring nurse has to say on a daily basis.

Thanks for stopping by to give us the inside track, Kendra. It’s all too easy to place the entirety of the blame for our unhealthy problems squarely on the shoulders of Big Pharma, HMOs, or – in our view – unenlightened doctors and nurses. This is a prescient reminder that good health requires that everyone take responsibility – most importantly, you.

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