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Diabetes Diet

Spice Up Your Life

Some good things are also good for you. My wife claims that I eat all sorts of bad tasting things to control my diabetes. But it turns out now that some of the great tasting things that I love are also healthy.

Last month I wrote about “Living the Good Life with Diabetes”. Triple espressos at my favorite coffee shop on most mornings are one of the things that make me happy.

I’m even happier now to read that the caffeine in coffee and espresso has a positive “metabolic effect.” This is according to research to be published in the August 30 issue of Physiology & Behavior. Margriet Westerterp-Plantegena of Maastricht University’s department of human biology in the Netherlands and her colleagues writes about the “Metabolic effects of spices, teas, and caffeine.”

These effects are “greater thermogenesis and in some cases…greater satiety,” they write. I thought I knew what thermogenesis means, but I looked it up to be sure.

It means producing heat. One clear sign that what you are eating or drinking that thermogenesis is working for you is when you break out in a sweat from a spicy meal. Sweating is a good thing. It helps us to lose weight.

Unless the coffee or espresso is awfully hot, it won’t make you sweat. But it does contribute to satiety, the sense of feeling full.

The authors say that capsaicin, black pepper, ginger, and mixed spices are some good examples of thermogenic foods. Capsaicin is the active component of chili peppers. These wonderful plants sure make us sweat, particularly the habaneros, which are rated at 300,000 Scoville units and above.

The spices that I buy generally come from Penzeys Spices , because they are the freshest and in the greatest variety, as I wrote here earlier in a reply to a comment about “Which Cinnamon?”. They taste better so I will usually use more of them.

When I am not drinking espresso at a coffee shop, I will usually start each morning with a cup of wonderful black coffee from Peet’s. Alfred Peet grew up in The Netherlands and introduced America to excellent dark-roasted coffee when he opened his Berkeley, California, store in 1966. Starbucks followed and the rest is history.

The Dutch authors of the new research on these functional foods that can help us to lose weight also recommend green and black tea. These teas are something that I could well have included as contributing to living the good life.

I drink only the highest quality teas that I can get. For the past decade I have found them at Upton Tea Imports. I especially love those teas that I can drink straight (without milk, sugar, or lemon). My preference range widely from the most delicate white teas, which have the least processing of any tea, to lapsang souchongs, a black tea that has an intensely smoky flavor from drying their leaves over a smoldering pine fire.

These teas help me get through the afternoons without snacking. Like espresso and coffee they have great taste without calories. When we combine these drinks with spicy meals that add few calories, we get a winning weight loss combination that we can enjoy at the same time.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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