Many people are under the misconception that food is their enemy. However, you should not get sucked into that idea. In fact, if you eat the right foods, then you will be able to reach your weight loss goals much faster than you would if you were to just cut calories. Below are seven foods that nutritionists recommend that you eat if you are trying to lose weight:
You may be thinking to yourself, "Oats are a carb, aren't they?" The answer to that question is yes and no. Oats are a type of whole grain, and they help keep you full longer. Oats are also rich in soluble fiber, which means that they can lower blood pressure and blood fat. Oats are slowly digested by the body, so they will not cause your blood sugar to rise. Rolled oats and steel-cut oats both contain about five grams of fiber per serving. A serving of instant oatmeal has about three or four grams of fiber.
Eggs have received a lot of negative attention over the years because they contain a large amount of cholesterol. However, nutritionists have stated that the cholesterol in eggs is different from the cholesterol in humans. Studies have shown that people who eat an egg in the morning along with their breakfast lose more weight than people who eat a carb-filled breakfast.
Skim milk is filled with Vitamin D, calcium and low-fat protein. There have been numerous studies published in the Journal of Obesity that have shown that the combination of those nutrients can help build lean muscle and promote weight loss.
If you want to lose weight, then you should definitely consider eating one or two apples per day. Apples are an excellent source of fiber, which can help keep you feeling full. Apples are also filled with antioxidants that help prevent a condition called the metabolic syndrome. The metabolic syndrome is the combination of high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and high blood pressure. This condition is strongly correlated with excess fat around the midsection. Additionally, apples contain pectin. Pectin helps reduce the amount of fat that gets absorbed by the cells.
Are you surprised to see red meat on this list? Many people think that red meat is unhealthy, but a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that red meat can actually help promote weight loss. Red meat is rich in protein, which helps you maintain muscle mass. However, it is important to note that you will also have to exercise to build muscle.
A study done by the USDA has shown that cinnamon can help metabolize sugar. You can lower your blood sugar level and cut your cholesterol by up to 25 percent by eating 1/4 to 2 teaspoons per day. You should add some cinnamon to your cereal, smoothies or coffee.
Almonds And Almond Butter
Nuts and nut butters are two other foods that you may not expect to see on this list. Even though almonds are very high in calories, they can still help lower your triglyceride and cholesterol levels. In fact, there was one study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that showed that eating almonds can be just as effective as statins. You should spread some almond butter on your morning toast because that will give you a nice boost of protein.
A British meta-analysis published in the November 2012 issue of the journal Diabetologia shows strong indications that extended time spent sitting greatly increases a person’s risk of diabetes, severe heart issues, and death. Previous studies have found a link between extended television watching and poor health, but this is the first study to specifically research the connection between any extended sedentary behavior and health.
The analysts searched previous studies for terms involving health outcomes and sedentary lifestyles. They looked at data involving 794,577 participants across 18 different studies. The data was adjusted to account for differences in measurement frequency and study length and then sorted with a random effects model.
Dr. Emma G. Wilmot of the University of Leicester, one of the study’s authors, says the research showed a particularly strong link between a sedentary lifestyle and diabetes. Analysis of the data showed that people with the highest levels of sedentary activity included in the study had twice the risk of developing diabetes than did the people with the lowest levels of sedentary behavior. People in the highly sedentary group also had 2.5 times the chance of suffering a cardiovascular event, a 90% higher chance of suffering a death related to cardiovascular problems, and a 49% greater chance of death from any cause.
Deeper analysis of the data indicated that the predictive effects were significant for diabetes, but far less so for the other health issues, which suggests that the diabetes results will be the most likely to be reproduced in future studies.
The results of the research, Wilmot says, may cause some changes in the way we think about fitness. “We've traditionally been focused on making sure we meet the physical activity guidelines of 30 minutes per day, but with that approach we've overlooked what we do with the other 23 and a half hours in the day,” she explained. “If you sit for the rest of the day, that is going to have an impact on health, and that's essentially what our meta-analysis shows.”
The health dangers of extended periods of sitting were first noted in the 1950s. Researchers realized that London bus drivers, who spend most of their day in the driver’s seat, had twice the risk of suffering a heart attack as did bus conductors, who move around inside the bus frequently. Unfortunately, the implications of this finding was more or less overlooked until recent researchers started looking for connections between lifestyle and the growing number of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Wilmot and her colleagues estimate that on average, an adult is engaged in sedentary activities for 50% to 60% of each day. Modern lifestyles contribute to an increase in time spent sitting down. In a typical day, an adult might drive to work, sit at the office computer for hours on end, drive home, and spend the evening watching television or playing video games. "People don't realize that doing just small amounts of activity—it doesn't even need to be a proper walk—are important," she says. "If you are having a chat with a friend at your desk or the phone rings, stand up and chat. Just these small changes could make a big difference."
Sitting seems to have a negative effect on our body’s ability to metabolize glucose. Earlier studies have shown that people who sit immediately after eating have glucose levels 24% higher than do people who walk slowly after they eat. “When we sit, our muscles are not used, and we quickly become more insulin resistant," explained Wilmot. She also pointed out that people who have a genetic predisposition to diabetes may wish to be even more careful about prolonged sitting. Wilmot and her colleagues are not entirely certain of the exact mechanism by which extended sitting affects glucose metabolism.
Wilmot and her colleagues are currently undertaking a study of 200 young adults at risk for diabetes in hopes of increasing their evidence.
Journalists from around the world have been calling to ask Wilmot about the results of the study, indicating that these concerns are universal.
Future diabetes prevention programs might wish to use this evidence to start promoting less sedentary lifestyles along with traditional exercise and diet, Wilmot said. The possibilities include standing desks, treadmill desks, and alarms which can alert someone if they’ve been sitting for 40 minutes straight.
Wilmot was quick to add that physical activity is still very important to health and that people should not rush to give up their exercise programs if they start spending larger portions of the day standing. “There's a wealth of data showing that physical activity is important, but if people are spending a large percentage of their time sitting, they need to start thinking about how they can reduce this," said Wilmot.
People suffering from chronic pain have options besides rummaging around in the medicine cabinet or visiting a doctor to try to figure out which painkiller works best for them. Certain foods have the ability to diminish pain over time. Foods containing antioxidants can help reduce the damage the body goes through when food and oxygen react and create free radicals as byproducts. Some foods have the ability to reduce the inflammation causing the body’s pain response. Still other foods strengthen the immune system, which helps to prevent and reduce illness as well as to limit inflammation.
Beth Reardon, the director of nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine, claims that dietary changes are much healthier in the long term than the extended use of painkillers. “We get in the habit of taking Advil or Aleve to treat pain symptoms, without getting at the underlying cause of pain. Over time these medications, because of their side effects, can do more harm than good,” she explained. "Changing your diet...protects your cells from damage and reduces the number of inflammatory compounds the body produces."
Anti-inflammatory foods have also been linked to weight loss, which makes the pain reduction even more effective. A recent study published in the journal Cancer Research found that losing 5% of body weight eases joint strain and reduces inflammation.
Choosing more foods from the categories below can make a real difference in a person’s pain level.
Fish and plant protein
Protein from fish and plant sources provide far more omega-3 fatty acids than typical protein sources like beef and chicken. Fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and herrings are a good source of the long chain omega-3s which have been linked to reductions in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Protein-rich plants provide a good supply of essential short chain omega-3s. Vegetable sources of protein can include legumes, such as beans and lentils; seeds and nuts; and ancient grains like spelt and quinoa.
Salmon is by far the most omega-3 laden of fish, but fresh salmon can be pricy. Canned salmon, however, is less expensive and may even be healthier, since it uses wild-caught salmon instead of farm-raised salmon which may be contaminated with toxins.
Herbs and spices
Certain spices, including garlic, turmeric, dried tart cherry, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary, and curry, act to prevent inflammation by decreasing the body’s production of COX inhibitors and prostaglandins, a similar mechanism to the painkiller Celebrex.
Reardon particularly recommends turmeric as a pain-killing spice. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to decrease rheumatoid arthritis pain.
Certain oils, like olive, coconut, and grape seed, contain a high number of omega-3s, as do flaxseeds and nut butters, particularly almond butter and cashew butter. Most Americans have an unhealthy ratio of omega-3s to the unhealthy omega-6s found in processed foods and red meats. By replacing unhealthy fats with these healthy ones, the ratio can be reversed, which will help the body better regulate the hormones which produce and reduce inflammation.
Coconut oil has the added advantage of being a good food for the cells of the stomach lining, which aids in efficient digestion and keeps the immune system running well.
Fruits and Vegetables
A diet consisting primarily of unprocessed, plant-based foods creates antioxidant protection for your cell membranes and DNA. Processed, high-sugar foods are already well-known for increasing blood glucose and eventually leading to type 2 diabetes, but the extra insulin the body creates to try to deal with the extra glucose can also cause inflammation.
When looking for fruits and vegetables, it’s important to select a wide variety; good health requires a number of different nutrients from different sources to work in harmony. A good rule of thumb is to select food of different colors: green spinach, yellow squash, purple eggplant, red grapes, and so on. As a general rule, plants with more intense color have a higher number of antioxidants, but even naturally pale foods like cauliflower will provide many benefits.
Kale is one of the most beneficial vegetables around. This dark leafy green is full of fiber, nutrients, and beneficial flavonoids. It’s also easy to prepare; it can be chopped fine and included in soups or sauces, used raw in salads and pasta, or baked into crispy kale chips.
Probiotics are beneficial to the bacteria which live in the digestive system and help break down food. These good bacteria can lose population from stress, pollution, or poor nutrition. Antibiotics prescribed for illness kill the good bacteria right along with the ones causing infection, so additional probiotics can be useful once the infection has cleared. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as kimchee and sauerkraut and in yogurts which have live cultures; Lactobacillus acidophilus and L. bifidus should be listed on the label.
Greek yogurt contains all the probiotics of regular yogurt, but it also contains extra vitamin D and nearly twice as much protein as regular yogurt. Greek yogurt can be eaten plain, but it does have a sour taste so some people mix fruit or honey into it.
Plenty of Fluids
Plain water is an absolute necessity to the human body. The body’s organs and blood are comprised of nearly 90% water. The liver and kidneys need water to detoxify the blood of chemicals which shouldn’t be there. Even cellular processes require water. Good hydration is essential to keeping the body’s internal processes running smoothly.
Coffee, black tea, and green tea work against inflammation, and their caffeine content can help ease headache pain. Green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea or coffee. Powdered green tea, a finely ground version of the tea leaves, provides more benefit than regular green tea steeped from a tea bag. The steeped tea contains the tea’s water-soluble antioxidants, but consuming the powder provides the benefit of all antioxidants in the leaf. Green tea powder, or matcha, can be added to soups and baked goods or mixed in to beverages.
It seems like a horror story hearkening back to legends of the “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory, who reportedly bathed in the blood of slain maidens to keep her youthful complexion, but rumors persist that late North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il would inject himself with the blood of young people (presumably donated blood from still-living donors) to slow his aging process.
Surprisingly, scientists have found hints that Countess Bathory and Kim Jong Il may have been onto something. Researcher Saul Villeda of Stanford University presented a study done on mice to the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans. His results indicate that an older mouse injected with the blood of a younger mouse shows a reversal of some signs of aging. In fact, the older mice who received the treatment showed greater cognitive and memory abilities than did untreated mice of similar age.
Villeda's research involved connecting the circulatory systems of two mice by a technique known as heterochronic parabiosis, which is typically used to study immune systems. After the blood of the old mice and young mice had mixed, Villeda found that the older mice showed distinct signs of a slowdown or even a small reversal in the aging process. The brains showed an increase in stem cells, and the connections between neurons had increased by 20%. "One of the main things that changes with ageing are these connections, there are a lot less of them as we get older," Villeda explained. "If you have less connections, neurons aren't communicating, all of a sudden you have [problems] in learning and memory."
This new study, not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal, is a follow-up to a study Villeda and his colleagues published last year in Nature. The earlier study showed that young mice exposed to old blood showed brain deterioration, and old mice exposed to young blood showed an increased stem cell count. In the new study, Villeda and his team also tested the mice’s behavior.
Villeda injected small amounts of blood plasma, the liquid portion of blood, from two-month-old mice into 18-month-old mice eight times over the course of a month. The amount of plasma used was approximately 5% of a mouse’s total blood volume. Villeda then had the mice solve a water maze, an activity in which mice have to remember the location of a platform. Untreated older mice made mistakes as they attempted to solve the maze, such as swimming down blind alleys. Mice who had received the young plasma, however, often found the platform on their first try and performed similarly to mice four to six months of age.
Villeda thinks the plasma may have helped improve the older mice’s brain power by replenishing chemical factors which decrease during normal aging. "All of a sudden you have all of these plasticity and learning and memory-related genes that are coming back,” he said.
Much more research will be required before these findings can help develop an effective anti-aging treatment for humans, particularly because blood contains thousands of chemical factors and researchers were unsure of which ones helped rejuvenate the older mice. Villeda, however, believes that treatments based on factors found in youthful blood may eventually be able to help middle-aged people prevent some of the worst effects of age-related deterioration, possibly even Alzheimer's disease.
Andrew Randall, a professor of applied neurophysiology at Exeter and Bristol Universities, thinks these findings show potential for future treatments. “Temporarily plumbing teenagers' blood supplies into those of their great-grandparents does not seem a particularly feasible future therapy for cognitive decline in aging,” he said. “Instead this fascinating work suggests there may be significant benefit in working out what the 'good stuff' is in the high octane young blood, so that we can provide just those key components to the elderly."
University College London professor of regenerative medicine bioprocessing Chris Mason agrees. "Even if the finding leads only to a drug that prevents, rather than reverses the normal effects of ageing on the brain, the impact upon future generations will be substantial – potentially outweighing other wonder drugs such as penicillin."
Villeda says the results of his research have changed his opinion on how anti-aging treatments might be developed. "Do I think that giving young blood could have an effect on a human? I'm thinking more and more that it might," he said. "I did not, for sure, three years ago."