1. How can I get rid of my sugar cravings?
Erin, W. Springfield
According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day. At least half of the sugar we consume comes from soft drinks, fruit drinks and sports drinks. The rest sneaks into our diets in ketchup, teriyaki sauce, chocolate milk and the obvious sweets like cookies, cakes, ice cream and even breakfast cereal.
We are not born with a sweet tooth but the more sugar we eat, the more sugar we need. In fact, a study in the journal Neuroscience shows sugar is as addictive as cocaine. So going "cold turkey" and giving up all sugar can feel like being in detox. The first 48 to 72 hours are tough. If that is not your style, wean yourself off gradually. Buy just 1 sweet item at a time rather than a whole package. Buy a less sweet version of your favorite treat like a vanilla wafer cookie instead of an Oreo or some dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Doing this makes your taste buds more sensitive to the sweet flavor and eventually fruit will taste really sweet to you and you can use fruit to satisfy your cravings.
Chewing gum can satisfy a craving. In addition, exercising can boost happy brain chemicals and take away the craving. Also be sure you eat when you are first hungry. If you go too long without eating you may grab a quick sweet.
2. I have high blood pressure. Do I need to stop drinking tea?
According to studies in Australia, Russia, and the Netherlands, you can still drink tea even though it has caffeine. In fact, the studies showed that black tea can lower blood pressure. Herbal teas with hibiscus can also lower blood pressure.