Healthy Living Without Really Trying (cont.)

KATZ: This is an instance where I don't consistently practice what I preach, and those are quite rare. I tend to drink coffee. And I confess I have to work at incorporating more tea, specifically green tea, into my diet. My wife is French, and unlike the English or the Asians, the French are quite dedicated to their coffee. So we enjoy a cup of French roast side by side every morning.

This is a case, though, where both options are quite acceptable. The caffeine in coffee is a mild stimulant that can help jump-start your day and enhance the clarity of your thinking. It has also been shown to have some appetite-suppressing effects and can assist with weight control. Coffee is also a moderately good source of antioxidants, a benefit most people know little about.

But the reason for recommending tea specifically is that green tea is a more concentrated source of antioxidants, while still providing a lower dose of caffeine.

Unlike coffee, green tea, in large studies, has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease and possibly cancer. So strictly on the merits of available science with health as the goal, the laurels must go to green tea. But again, it's nice to know that in this case the runner-up, namely coffee, is a perfectly acceptable alternative. As I noted, it tends to be my preferred choice.

ZELMAN: You appear to be a soy fan, recommending soy milk, soy butter, etc. throughout the book. Is there any reason why we should drink soy milk instead of cow's milk?

KATZ: I don't have strong feelings about replacing standard dairy products with soy products. However, many adults are intolerant of lactose, the sugar found in cow's milk. As a result, they avoid dairy altogether. In these cases, alternative products made from soy can substitute as good sources of high-quality protein and -- if fortified -- of calcium, as well.

I am more of a proponent of using soy as an at least an occasional alternative to meat. Soy is one of the plant sources of complete protein, meaning it provides all of the amino acids required for human health. Unlike meat of most varieties, soy is quite rich in a number of nutrients, low in saturated fats, and rich in healthful unsaturated oils.

So the overall health profile of soy makes it quite appealing. Add to that the benefit of what you are taking out of your diet, namely, meats that may be rich in saturated fat, and you have a strong argument to work soy into your dietary routine.

ZELMAN: You are a well-respected leader in the medical and nutrition community and I appreciate the fact that you continue to write books to dispel myths and help Americans become healthier. Stealth Health is a "must read" and I highly recommend it. Thank you kindly for taking out time to be with us today and shedding more light on how to sneak health into everyday activities.

KATZ: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the kind word. It was my pleasure.

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