Sake: Wine or Beer?

There’s nothing like a good sake. That’s why we stock our Japanese restaurant in Bellevue with a wide assortment of bottles, ready to make every night special with another take on the brew’s distinct, satisfying taste.

But what is sake, exactly?

Though liquors like sake are frequently referred to as “rice wine”, there is some ambiguity as to whether it is more of a wine or a beer. On one hand, being made from a fermented grain puts it in league with the beer family. It also doesn’t benefit from being aged the way many wines do, and is best enjoyed within as little as a year of bottling. On the other hand, its non-carbonated nature and its taste make it feel more like a wine, and its average alcoholic content of 17% is more akin to the wine family.

In the end, it’s probably best to accept that the labels we put on our drinks are not exactly hard and fast. Sake is part of a unique phenomenon all its own, and discussing the particulars of this phenomenon is best left to the spirit-addled minds of barstool philosophers. Should you ever feel the need to join in the debate, of course, you’re always free to take a seat and grab a glass at Flo’s Sake Bar!

How Sake is Made

At our Bellevue Japanese restaurant, there’s no better drink to accompany your sushi than a glass of real Japanese sake. But what brings the sake to our tables? From the rice grains to your glass, the production of Japan’s famous rice wine is a long and complex one:

  • First, the rice is milled and cleaned. This rice then needs to be steamed to achieve an appropriate consistency to be properly fermented. Half of this steamed rice is placed in a large fat and the other half is put aside to create the starter.
  • The rice set aside for the starter is seeded with a species of mold known as koji. This mold starts the fermentation process, converting the starches of the rice into sugars. This process lasts between three and four days.
  • When the koji starter is ready, it is mixed with the remaining rice. This is then combined with water and yeast. The resulting mixture then continues to ferment for the next few weeks.
  • Once the brewer deems the mixture to be ready, it is pressed to remove the fluids. This fluid is filtered and pasteurized.
  • The sake is aged about six months, then distilled with water to achieve the desired level of alcohol by volume. At this point, it is ready to be bottled, sold, and enjoyed!

Eat More Salmon!

Salmon: it’s everybody’s favorite fish! And if you love this delicious cut of seafood, then you’ve got a friend in Flo’s Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar. Not only is salmon a well-loved sushi ingredient, but our Bellevue sushi restaurant enjoys a special sort of relationship with the fish that comes from living in Washington. This is why we are happy to offer you the best salmon and salmon eggs in many of our sushi options.

Salmon is quite the exceptional fish. In fact, it is among the very healthiest foods you can include in your diet. As this fish both a fatty fish and a fairly low part of the food chain, it gives you a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids without subjecting you to a high dose of mercury. Additionally, salmon is a great, lean source of protein and many essential nutrients; a four ounce serving of salmon gives you more than your entire recommended daily value of vitamin D, as well as half of your daily requirement of both vitamins B2 and B12. If you’d like to reap these benefits for yourself, make salmon a bigger part of your diet with the delicious selections at Flo Restaurant!

Study: Protecting The Brain With Fish Diet

Neurotoxins In The Air

Published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, a study says that eating more than one to two servings a week of fish or shellfish may allow older women to consume enough omega-3 fatty acids to counteract the effects of air pollution on the brain. 

Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have been shown to fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in older brains. They have also been found to reduce brain damage caused by neurotoxins like lead and mercury. Air pollution has been found to contain neurotoxins that attack the brain. 

The study saw a link between food and brain health. Women over 70 who live in areas with high air pollution levels have the greatest brain shrinkage and they also had the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. Researchers determined the women’s 3-year average exposure to pollution where they live by calculating how much fish they ate and measured the omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. After brain scans, researchers found preserved volume of the white matter (help with signal sending) of the brain and size of the hippocampus (related to memory) as women age.

The research provided helpful insights on having a healthy lifestyle, like a healthy diet of fish, to reduce the adverse effects of air pollution. Fatty fish that’s baked or broiled (not fried), such as wild salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are some of the best sources for omega-3s. While brain volume and white matter loss occurs naturally in aging, environmental toxins can worsen  the problem. The fine particulate matter emitted into the air is a neurotoxin, detrimental to the brain. 

The particulates in air pollution are so small, they can penetrate the lungs, too. Previous studies found that after entering the lungs, the toxins from the air can be distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream. And though the brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier, air pollution can sip through and cause neuroinflammation and cognitive decline. Hence, it makes sense that an omega-3-rich diet can protect brain health. Nonetheless, more studies may be needed to further support these findings.


Healthy Fish For Healthier Brains in Bellevue

As we all grow older, the more should we be aware of our cognitive health. As far as omega-3 fatty acid- rich foods are concerned, for the sake of our brains, look no further than Flo Bellevue.

A Toss Between Coffee and Green Tea

Which Is Better For Caffeine Lovers? 

Did you know that, according to a survey, 64% of the country drinks at least one cup of coffee every day? But you see, a cup of green tea can also be one’s morning caffeine. Fresh tea leaves with steaming or gentle heating have less caffeine than black tea or coffee, but enough to perk your morning. They also have a host of other health benefits. If you’ve had enough of coffee or wish to try something for a change, green tea is a great option. 

There are many varieties of green tea, even those with added flavors like flowers or herbs. Some teas taste differently due to their method of production. All green teas have particular ingredients that can affect your health. If you’re switching over from coffee to green tea, here’s what to expect.

There’s less caffeine with green tea.

Actually, tea leaves contain more caffeine than coffee beans but once they’re brewed, the amount of caffeine in coffee exceeds that in tea. Matcha has a much higher caffeine content than leaf green teas, because a single cup contains many more ground-up leaves than a cup of leaf tea. Drinking matcha in the mornings rather than coffee, you’ll be ingesting more caffeine. But you stick to the non-powdered varieties of green tea, your caffeine intake will drop, which can cause withdrawal symptoms. If you drink a lot of coffee, you may get headaches when you try to cut back. Switching from coffee to green tea may not cause all the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, because green tea still contains approximately 20-30 milligrams of caffeine per cup. Give your body time to adjust if you’re switching from very strong double espressos to one cup of green tea, for you may experience headaches, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and lack of focus. 

Green tea may help lower anxiety and improve sleep. This is particularly so if you happen to be sensitive to caffeine. The higher caffeine content of coffee may negatively impact those who are sensitive to caffeine. They may experience anxiety, insomnia, and heart effects like increased heart rate or blood pressure. It might be helpful to lower your caffeine levels by switching to green tea. The change could help decrease your anxiety response and reduce symptoms of caffeine over-stimulation – while still giving you that caffeine boost in the morning.

Green tea will help you ingest more antioxidants. Green tea has a variety of antioxidants that have been shown to have health-boosting properties, and has a higher antioxidant content than coffee. The compounds in green tea can help the immune system, fight off infection, and lower risk of diseases. Coffee has antioxidants, too, but tea typically has a higher concentration. In particular, the compound catechins have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, lower cardiovascular disease risk, help prevent degenerative diseases, and assist with kidney and liver function. Catechins have also been implicated as a possible way to lower the risk of breast and other cancers.

Green tea may reduce inflammation. As we know, inflammation is the immune system’s response to threats and stress and it’s a healthy thing. Our bodies need inflammation to stay healthy. However, persistent low-grade inflammation has been linked to heart conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, degenerative illnesses and various cancers. Green tea has been found to have serious anti-inflammatory properties – reducing inflammation levels, stimulating the body’s anti-inflammatory responses and calming the immune system down. Coffee has lower capabilities to to reduce inflammation levels than green tea. Green tea is better than coffee in battling chronic low-grade inflammation.

Green tea may be better for oral health. Coffee can heighten the risk for periodontitis, a serious gum disease, plus the drink can stain teeth. Green tea, however, seems to have benefits. Due to its antimicrobial properties, tea  might reduce the risk of certain harmful bacteria building up in the mouth over time. Tea may also help the bacterial population in your mouth in general. Tea drinkers have a more varied microbiome in their mouths than coffee drinkers, complete with higher amounts of helpful bacteria. That could help prevent infections and general oral issues. 

Caffeine from either coffee or green tea have serious benefits, even in small amounts. Caffeine is an effective stimulant to help improve physical performance and mental alertness. A little caffeine a day may prove to be helpful to your health in the long run.


Relaxing with Your Caffeine in Bellevue

Whenever you are in this part of Bellevue, come by and pair your meal with a cup of green tea.