• The Terrifying Effect COVID Can Have on Your Fitness, Science Says

    You may know that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for causing COVID-19, can do some serious damage, even months after you've recovered from the worst of the symptoms.Post-acute COVID Syndrome, also known as Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), can result in lasting fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, and more for the so-called "long haulers" who continue to experience symptoms after they recover from the virus. (Related: The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone to Take Right Now).Now, a new study has bad news for people who have recovered from the virus. As it turns out, the virus can rapidly age you, at least, when it comes to your fitness levels. Researchers at the Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel found that recovered patients with an average age of 45 showed the fitness levels of an 80-year-old, according to the Times of Israel.A test that measured the distance these recovered patients could walk in six minutes found that they could only walk 450 meters (a little more than one lap around a track), compared to the 700 meters (about 1.75 laps around the track) covered in that time by healthy adults in the same age group. Participants were also asked to spend half a minute repeatedly standing up and sitting down.The average recovered COVID patient was only able to stand 14 times in that length of time, which is less than half what their never-infected counterparts are able to do. As the study's researchers told the Jerusalem Post, this decline in fitness can be seen in daily life in a number of ways—difficulty breathing, muscle pain, and heart issues, among others.For those who have not contracted the virus, these findings are just another reason to stay vigilant, following safety precautions to the best of your ability. The good news for those who have had the virus? This study only looked at 30 participants, a small sample size, and it only measured three months after recovery—there's no way of knowing yet how recovery will play out long-term.For more, be sure to check out Dangerous Side Effects of Low-Carb Diets, According to Experts.

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  • One Major Side Effect of Drinking Black Tea

    English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey, Chai—they all have one thing in common. While these popular versions of black tea are distinctly different, there is one particular side effect of drinking black tea that you should know about. Don't worry—it's all good news. Drinking black tea can decrease inflammation and reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions. Now if that doesn't get your tea kettle going, we're not sure what else will.Here's how drinking black tea can reduce your inflammation, and for even more helpful tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.Drinking black tea can reduce the risk of chronic disease.According to a study published by the International Journal of Health Sciences, black tea contains an antioxidant called polyphenols. These polyphenols include a group of catechins and flavonoids that have been scientifically proven to protect oneself from developing chronic diseases.Polyphenols also are key for reducing inflammation, according to the International Journal of Biomedical Science. They counteract oxidative stress in the body, which that stress has proven to be a major part of developing chronic diseases. The study states some of the most prominent chronic diseases polyphenols can help prevent including "cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases."Along with the antioxidants in teas, another study published by the journal Nutrition Research also showed how black tea can help improve blood cholesterol levels (increasing "good" HDL cholesterol and decreasing "bad" LDL cholesterol) which is key for reducing the risk of heart disease or obesity.How much black tea is too much?While science does show that drinking black tea on a regular basis can significantly improve the body through antioxidants and decrease the risk of chronic disease, it is important to note that black tea is a caffeinated drink. This means there should be a limit to how much black tea is consumed in a day. But don't fret—the limit is still pretty high.According to the Mayo Clinic, you are allowed up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day before the caffeine creates adverse effects on the body (increased heart rate, caffeine "jitters", etc). Typically a cup of black tea has around 50 milligrams of caffeine in it (depending on the type and how long you steep it for), which means you are allowed up to eight 8 oz. cups of black tea a day.Now, will you drink that much? Maybe not so. But it's still good to know that there is a limit to how much black tea you should be consuming.Another key thing to point out is how you prepare your black tea. While some people do enjoy drinking black tea without anything in it, others enjoy taking their tea with cream and sugar. It can be easy to overdo it on both of these things, so be sure to portion out what you add in your tea so you're tea will have you feeling energized instead of sluggish from the additives.So what's stopping you from brewing a pot right now? And don't worry, if you're more of a green tea drinker, there's some good news for you, too.More Tea Stories on Eat This, Not That!7 Best Teas to Support Your Immune System Right Now6 Ways to Make Tea for a Flat BellyOne Major Side Effect of Drinking Tea, Says New StudyThe Worst Tea You Shouldn’t Ever Drink, According to Dietitians15 Facts About Tea You Never Knew

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  • The #1 Worst Coffee to Drink, According to Dietitians

    Next to water, coffee is the most popular beverage in America. With so many people consuming this drink, and with so many different ways to make it, we want to know—what is the unhealthiest preparation of coffee? That's why we decided to ask registered dietitians what type of coffee they say is the one you should avoid whenever you can.The results are in, and dietitians all agree: the worst coffee you can drink is a specialty, blended coffee that's loaded with add-ins—especially sugars."The unhealthiest coffee is one with lots of unhealthy 'add ons'—whip cream, chocolate, cream, and/or sugar," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN registered dietitian nutritionist in private practice and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim.In fact, these sugary concoctions are nutritionally closer to a dessert rather than a caffeinated beverage: "Many coffee drinks are more along the lines of milkshakes: whole milk, half and half, heavy cream, whipped cream, sugar, syrups, flavored syrups can add a lot of added calories, fat, and sugar," says Lisa Hugh, MSHS, RD LDN, Founder&CEO of Single Ingredient Groceries. "Lots of people drink coffee thinking of it just as caffeine, not thinking of it as having as many calories as a meal or dessert," she adds.Katherine Basbaum, MS, RD, a registered dietitian with UVA Health's Heart and Vascular Center agrees with Hugh, and she explained to us exactly how these blended, sweetened coffee drinks are basically caffeinated milkshakes: "The average 16-ounce milkshake has about 500 calories, 14 grams of total fat, and 8 grams of saturated fat. The same goes for many blended coffee drinks. For example, a 16-ounce caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks contains almost 400 calories, 16 grams of total fat, and 10 grams of saturated fat,"Like Basbaum, the dietitians we spoke to weren't shy about calling out the worst culprit, which you probably won't be surprised to hear is the Starbucks Frappucino.The worst coffee drink you can order is a Starbucks Frappucino."The most unhealthy way of consuming coffee is a Frappuccino. Frappuccinos are high in carbohydrates and fats because of all the added ingredients such as syrups, purees, whipped cream, creams, and even cookie crumbles," says Kylie Ivanir, MS, RD, a registered dietitian with Within Nutrition.Ivanir explains that the specific combination of ingredients, which she calls "sweet fats," that are loaded into Frappuccinos make them a nutritional disaster."'Sweet fat' or a combination of sugars and saturated fats is harmful for two reasons. (1) 'Sweet fats' can actually overstimulate the brain's reward system which leads to increased sugar cravings later on. They literally hack our appetite control centers. (2) 'Sweet fats' also lead to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome," says Ivanir."Let's take the Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino as an example: it has 55 grams of carbs and 16 grams of fats. The carb content is coming from mostly added sugars and is over double the maximum amount of 25 grams that is recommended per day! These drinks will just lead you into a 'spike crash crave cycle," explains Ivanir.Drinking these sugary drinks can have some bad repercussions on your health.To put the amount of sugar contained in these drinks in context, the daily recommended intake of sugar is between 25-35 grams sugar for adult females and males, respectively, but "the average Frappe can run 70 grams or more of sugar for a large—well over double the recommended intake in just one drink," says Rachel Temple, RD, a Registered Dietitian at Life Time Frontenac.And all of that sugar can cause some very negative side effects. "Sugar, especially added sugar like we find in Frappuccinos, increases the risk of diabetes and high cholesterol, which then leads to more serious health concerns such as heart disease. Weight gain is also a common side effect of high sugar intake as drinks and foods high in sugar are typically also high in calories. Ultimately becoming overweight or obese also increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes, thus making sugary drinks one of the sneakiest and unhealthiest drink options out there," says Temple.Tips for healthier coffee drinks.If you're shopping or ordering coffee drinks, you should do a little research first.Watch out for sugar on the label: "When looking at nutrition facts labels, check the ingredients for words like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and anything ending in -ose, which means sugar. Opt for drinks that don't contain sugar, or contain very few grams for a realistic serving size. To get an idea of how much sugar is in a drink, divide the grams of sugar by four – the answer is how many sugar cubes worth of sugar it contains," says Diana Gariglio-Clelland, RD, CDE registered dietitian for Next Luxury.And if you want to stick with your go-to order, that's completely fine, as well. Just make some slight adjustments:Order a smaller size: "Your best bet is to think small (get the small instead of the large size) and stick with low-fat milk or unsweetened plant-based milk. The less sugar, the better," says Dr. Young.Of course, putting yourself in control of the entire process of making coffee is going to be your best bet for being able to drink the healthiest cup of coffee. Hugh has some recommendations for ingredient swaps and tips for crafting the perfect cup:Pick a better creamer&flavoring options: "Better creamer options may be: skim milk, plant-based milk of choice, or a small amount of organic half and half (a little goes a long way). Flavor enhancers include cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, pumpkin spice," says Hugh.Use sweeteners sparingly: "If sweetener is absolutely needed, I recommend it in the smallest amount possible. Caloric sweeteners raise blood sugar quickly and trigger more cravings and hunger later and also trigger insulin secretion which promotes fat storage in the body. Artificial sweeteners don't have calories but can trigger sweets cravings, hunger and disrupt the microbiome," Hugh adds.And before you brew your next cup, you should also read up on these 9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Brewing Coffee, According to Experts.For more healthy eating news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

  • This Key Ingredient in Red Wine May Help Weaken COVID-19 Symptoms, Study Suggests

    There are few things as satisfying as popping open a bottle of red wine and enjoying a glass (well, maybe two) at the end of a long workday. When enjoyed in moderation, this alcoholic beverage also offers a host of health benefits. Now, new research suggests that tannic acid, which is found in plants such as grape skins, may help suppress COVID-19.Published in the American Journal of Cancer Research, the study was led by a team of researchers at China Medical University in Taiwan. What exactly did they uncover? Tannic acid, which belongs to the tannin family, may help stop the replication of SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. (Present in red wine, tannins impact the richness of texture.)The team studied tannic acid and five other natural compounds to see how successful they were at suppressing viral activity. As it turned out, tannic acid was the most effective of the bunch. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now)"Among the six compounds tested, only tannic acid showed significant activity of inhibiting up to 90% of the enzymatic activity of SARS-CoV-2," the study reports.For context, in order for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to hijack human cells, its key protease (enzyme) known as Mpro must lock into a receptor in the human cell membrane so that it can replicate and spread. Another study yielded similar findings, revealing that certain chemical compounds in dark chocolate, green tea, and muscadine grapes can potentially inhibit Mpro's function.However, before you go to a liquor store to stock up on bottles of red wine or a grocery store to clear all of the dark chocolate bars off the shelves, it's important to note one key flaw in each of these studies. The findings only reflect what was found in a petri dish."Things that happen in a cell culture don't necessarily translate into a demonstrable human impact," Noreen Hynes, MD, MPH, and director of the Geographic Medicine Center of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins Medicine, says. "We don't have any evidence that people who drink red wine are less susceptible to the virus."Hynes—who runs inpatient clinical trials for COVID-19—also points out that the study doesn't tell us how much red wine would even be needed to have this effect on enzymatic activity. In fact, the amount of red wine that could be required may be toxic to humans. This is why preclinical studies (typically done on laboratory animals) are needed to evaluate safety."I do think it's very important that people remember the recommendation for wine is that men drink no more than two glasses a day and that women drink one," Hynes adds.She also points out that red wine isn't the only thing that's rich in tannins. Cranberries, for example, also provide a good source of tannins, as do both black and green teas.Ultimately, more research and human clinical trials are needed to see if red wine could stop the spread of COVID-19 in the body. Right now, the best thing you can do is keep your immune system strong by eating healthy, exercising, and getting plenty of rest. For more, don't miss the 7 Best Teas to Support Your Immune System Right Now!