Green Tea vs. Black Tea

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Tea is said to be the most popular beverage in the world. It’s been consumed for thousands of years by millions, perhaps billions, of people.


Tea has also been shown to have many health benefits. And some of these benefits are thought to be related to tea’s antioxidant properties. These properties are from its flavonoids known as “catechins.” Flavonoids are anti-inflammatory and have a range of health benefits that I talk about in this post.


Green tea vs. black tea - What's the difference?

What do green and black teas have in common?


First of all, they both come from the camellia sinensis shrub that’s native to China and India. Green tea contains slightly more health-promoting flavonoids than black tea. How is this?

The difference lies in how they’re processed.


If the leaves are steamed or heated, this keeps them green. The heat stops oxidation from turning them black. Then they’re dried to preserve the color and flavonoids which are the antioxidants.


Hence you have green tea.


If the leaves are not heated, and are crushed and rolled, then they continue to oxidize until they’re dry. This oxidation uses up some of the flavonoids’ antioxidant power, so black teas have slightly less ability to combat free radicals than green tea does.


PRO TIP: Adding almond or coconut milk to your tea reduces the antioxidant ability.


Both green and black teas contain about half of the caffeine in coffee. That translates to about 20-45 mg per 8 oz cup.


Green tea vs. black tea - Health Benefits

Tea drinking, in general, seems to be associated with good health.



For one thing, both green and black tea drinkers seem to have high levels of antioxidants in their blood compared with non-tea drinkers. Green and black tea drinkers also have lower risks of heart attacks and stroke. Drinking green tea, in particular, is associated with reduced triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL oxidation, all of which are risk factors for heart conditions.


Overall, drinkers of green and black tea seem to have a lower risk of heart problems. Green tea has also been shown to reduce risk factors (i.e., blood lipid levels) a bit more than black tea has.



Antioxidants also reduce the risk of many cancers. Studies show that both green and black teas can reduce the risk of prostate cancer (the most common cancer in men). Also, green tea drinkers have a lowered risk of breast and colorectal cancers. Black tea is being researched for its potential to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.


Overall, antioxidant flavonoids in tea seem to help reduce the risk of some different cancers. Green tea may have a slight edge over black tea, but both seem to be associated with lower cancer risk.



Both green and black teas can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They also reduce diabetes risk factors, like elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. For example, some studies have shown that both green and black teas can help reduce blood sugar levels. Other studies have shown that green tea can also improve insulin sensitivity.


Once again, green tea seems to have a slight edge over black tea, but both are blood sugar friendly (just don't overdo the sweetener).



Both green and black teas are from the same plant, but are processed differently. Green tea retains more of the beneficial antioxidants than black tea does; but both are associated with better health than non-tea drinkers.


Overall, both green and black teas are healthy drinks, and tea drinkers, in general, seem to have fewer health conditions than non-tea drinkers. Green tea seems to have a slight edge over black tea when it comes to measurable risk factors of some common diseases.


When you enjoy your tea, try to minimize or even eliminate adding milk and/or sweeteners; these reduce some of the health-promoting properties of tea.


I’d love to know: Are you a tea drinker? Which tea is your favorite? How do you like to enjoy it? Let me know in the comments below.


Recipe (Green tea): Matcha Energy Bites

Serves 6 (makes 12-18 bites)

1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

4 tbsp almond flour

1 tbsp matcha green tea

2 tbsp honey or maple syrup

1 tbsp or less of coconut oil



Add all ingredients into food processor and pulse until blended.

Shape into 1-1.5" balls.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: If you use sweetened coconut, then you can eliminate the honey/maple syrup.



Heartburn - Can I Help it with Foods and Lifestyle?

The odds are that you or someone you know experiences heartburn. Around half of North American adults experience it at least once per month. Somewhere between 10-20% have it at least once per week!Heartburn, also known as reflux, occurs when the strong acid in your stomach creeps up into your esophagus.


It can feel like a burning sensation; hence the name "heartburn." Other common symptoms include bloating, burping, difficulty swallowing, or a sore throat. Often there is a bitter or sour taste as well.Don't get me wrong, stomach acid is good! Stomach acid is essential for good health and optimal digestion.


We need the acid in our stomach to protect us against harmful microbes (i.e. bacteria) that lurk in our food and drinks. Stomach acid also helps us break down our food, and digest nutrients. But we need that acid to stay in the stomach, and not get up to our esophagus!


Stomach acid doesn't usually burn the stomach itself; this is because the stomach is protected by a layer of mucus.


But your esophagus doesn't have that same protection. It has a valve that is supposed to prevent things from going the wrong way (i.e. keep food, drink, and acid down; not allow it back up). And when your esophagus is exposed to stomach acid too often, it can cause the infamous burning, inflammation, and other potential issues.


I'm going to share a bunch of tips that may help you overcome your heartburn symptoms naturally.Of course, if symptoms last for a long time, or get worse, it's probably a good idea to see your doctor.


Tip #1 – Foods to eat (and avoid)

You may notice that when you eat or drink certain things, you get heartburn soon afterward. These triggers may be different for everyone; but often include onions, garlic, chocolate, citrus, tomato, mint, spicy foods, greasy foods, coffee, carbonated drinks, or alcohol. If any of these affect you, reduce them or even try cutting them out to see if it makes a difference.


Heartburn might also result from a sneaky food intolerance. Try eliminating grains, dairy, and processed foods for a few weeks and see if that helps. Now, you may be wondering: “If I eliminate these foods/drinks, then what can I put in their place?”


Try increasing fiber intake. Yes, this means more whole, unprocessed foods, especially veggies! In fact, potatoes may be a great addition to meals if you suffer from heartburn. Try getting at least five servings of veggies every day.


Tip #2 – How and when to eat Eat slowly. Use meal times to release stress. Chew your food very well. Don’t eat meals that are too big. And don’t eat too close to bedtime. You want to avoid lying down with a full stomach. We’re talking finishing eating 2-3 hours before lying down, so schedule your dinner or snack with this in mind.

Tip #3 – Lifestyle techniques

Sometimes strenuous exercise can make heartburn symptoms worse. If this happens to you, then focus on low-intensity exercises like walking and cycling.


If symptoms come on as you’re lying down to sleep, try adding a pillow or two so your head is a bit higher than your stomach.


Another interesting tip is to try sleeping on your left side. Lying on your left side works because the valve that prevents the acid from "leaking" into your esophagus is located on the right side of the stomach. So, when you're lying on your left, the acid is away from that valve.




Heartburn is a very common condition where stomach acid creeps up into the esophagus (where it’s not supposed to be).


If you suffer from symptoms of heartburn, there are many things you can do. There are foods and drinks to avoid and veggies to increase. You can eat slower, chew more thoroughly, and don't lie down within 2-3 hours of eating. Also, try low-intensity exercise and sleeping on your left side.


Try these simple, natural strategies. They can help prevent or relieve heartburn symptoms for you.


Recipe (Not Too Greasy or Spicy): Baked Potatoes

1 small bag of mini potatoes

4 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt 1 tsp black pepper



Scrub potatoes and boil them until they're soft. How long will depend on their size, so check them by feeling how easily they're penetrated with a fork or knife.

Drain the water and toss the potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Place in a roasting dish at 425F for about 15 minutes.


Serve & enjoy!


Tip: Don’t have mini potatoes? Use large potatoes or sweet potatoes and chop them to the size of mini potatoes.



January Rowing Challenge


Jan 1st - 31st row either a half-marathon (LEVEL 1) or full-marathon (LEVEL 2) on our Concept 2 "erg" rowers.

Have fun, make it a competition with others if you want, have fun, row for cardio, have fun, row with a buddy, have fun, burn TONS of calories, and most of all have fun!

BREAKDOWN: (1 kilometer = 1,000 meters on the Concept 2 Rowers) Row Half: 21 kilometers (13.1 miles) Row Full: 42 kilometers (26.2 miles)

Do it as your warmup, cool down, or come in just to row.

Chip away at your meters however you want. Each day row some more, add to your tally, and on Jan 31st have your half or full marathon row completed.

Take the challenge and let's step it up this month!!

How To Stay Fit During Christmas

This time of year is filled with fun, family, friends, and of course food. It can get pretty crazy too and among all this busyness we tend to completely abandon what we've worked for over so many months. This is also the time of year where people seem to allow their routines of fitness and healthy eating fade into the background. Why do we do this?  I think that answer is not as hard as we might think. 

It is, of course, because of the fun, family, friends, and food, BUT what do we need to do to not get swept up in this cycle that makes our fitness and healthy eating routines fade in the first place? I mean our physical goals still exist right? 

And we still are committed to them right? Well yes of course we are, but what is it that changes during this time of year that completely dissolves once January hits and we suddenly have a new rekindling of all passion and energy to go again after our goals like nothing can stop us?

The answer doesn't matter as much as does the solution

First what I recommend is definitely not beating yourself up when diet debauchery happens, and we know it will, or you miss a workout to keep watching a 4-hour Netflix binge because this is bound to happen and we all know it.

Instead, on the most craziest of days, when you cannot make it into the gym, carve out 20-30 minutes and get in some kind of activity that gets your heart rate up. Keep it simple. It doesn't have to be some elaborate workout. In fact, if you do a brief warmup, and then go hard for 10 minutes, that can be all the time you need to benefit yourself enough for that day.

Another recommendation is getting your workout in early in the day, if you can, before everything else you need to do. The holidays it might make our schedule nuts, but we can still find a block of time to fit in 10, 20, or maybe even 30 whole minutes a day to do something for ourselves that we will be proud we did and come January we won't have to start again from scratch.

Synergy Plank Challenge

Bob Garon Kettlebell Plank

3 Plank Categories To Win Prizes!

Challenge who you are and see who you will become!



1 min = 1 raffle entry Every minute you plank take one raffle ticket. Example: Plank 5 minutes you take 5 tickets.

TRY THIS... Day 1: 1 minute plank Day 2: 1 minute 10 second plank Day 3: 1 minute 20 second plank And so on adding at least 10 seconds every day for our entire challenge.

Choose your plank type below!





Now this one is cool! Who can plank the longest at one time???!!! To keep it 100% fair this Plank category must be performed on the forearms with feet together and knees off the ground. You must remain perfectly flat the whole time and you cannot raise your butt up in the air.

plank form

Watch an amazing demo by the current Guinness World Record holder.



Post a creative pic of you planking, at a unique location, on Synergy's Facebook Page. Examples below...





quad plank synergy kettlebell

Plank more for a #SynergyStrong core!

Melatonin: The Sleep Hormone

Few things are as beautiful as the rays of the morning sun. The first light of morning is energizing and motivating—unless you’ve been awake half the night. In this case, the morning light just means that you didn’t get enough sleep. Again.

As soon as those first rays hit your eyes, your stress begins to mount. You’re exhausted. How are you going to make it all day long on so little sleep? You feel emotional just anticipating the struggle to concentrate and stay alert—especially during the afternoon hours when the drowsiness really kicks in.

Does this describe you? If so, you are not alone. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 60% of Americans have sleep problems. That means more than half of us struggle to sleep. The reasons for sleep difficulties are many—from stress to caffeine to individual differences in body rhythms.

But whatever the cause, the bottom line is that if you suffer from insomnia or other even minor sleep issues, you need help. And one of the safest ways to get that help may be to take melatonin.

Help from a Hormone

You have probably heard of melatonin. It is a hormone produced by your brain in your pineal gland. Some of your melatonin is also produced in your gut. Mainly, melatonin helps to control your sleep and wake cycles. Normally, melatonin levels will begin to increase in the mid to late evening, stay high during the night, and then begin to decrease early in the morning. This helps you to sleep during the night and be ready to wake up in the morning.

When there are higher amounts of melatonin in your body, you feel sleepy. When the levels are lower, you feel more alert and awake. Your regular sleep and wake cycle is your own internal clock, and this clock is directly tied to how much or how little melatonin your body makes.

There are other things that affect the melatonin in our bodies. For example, as we age, our bodies produce less melatonin. Daylight plays a key role, too. When the days are shorter during the winter, the time of day that our bodies produce melatonin changes. Rather than producing melatonin during the mid to late evening hours, we may get a surge of it earlier in the day as the daylight begins fading earlier.

When the amount of melatonin or the production schedule of melatonin changes in your body, you may find yourself struggling with sleep patterns.

Without enough melatonin, you will have trouble sleeping. But even if you make enough melatonin, your internal clock may be off if the melatonin is being released at the wrong time of day. Nobody wants to get sleepy at 5:00 PM from a melatonin release! Not only is this inconvenient, but also, when the natural decrease happens several hours later (to help you wake up), you’ll be alert and ready for the day by 3:00 AM!

Fortunately, if your melatonin levels are low or simply off schedule, you can help yourself by taking a melatonin supplement. These are available without a prescription at drugstores and at health food stores. Just be sure to buy a reputable brand to ensure you get a quality product.

Doses range from 0.1 to 20 mg, depending on the reason you are taking it. Your doctor can help you choose the right dose, as well as help you determine the best time in the evening to take it. Timing is important, since the melatonin, once ingested, will run its course in your body—taking you from drowsiness to wakefulness on schedule. It’s a handy way to reset your internal clock and get the sleep you need.