Give Hunger Pangs the Boot!

Appetite control is the Holy Grail for weight control.  Here are 3 simple and delicious ways to help you eat less.

Dig the Power of Protein

Protein is nature’s diet pill – providing longer lasting appetite suppression than either fats or carbs. Include some healthy (lean) protein at every meal.  The right dose(  around 12+ grams) should provide at least two hours of satiety. The healthiest protein choices are: fish (oily fish like salmon best), shellfish, poultry, beans/legumes, wild game, whole soy foods, omega 3 eggs, nuts, seeds and low-fat dairy products (plain Greek-style yogurt especially good).Be particularly vigilant in getting adequate protein at your breakfast meal.

Go Nuts!

Be sure to include an ounce (about 1 handful) of nuts in your diet each day.  Nuts provide the terrific trio of protein, fiber and fat that provides both quick (from the fat) and sustained (from the protein and fiber) hunger control. Choose from any variety: almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts and pistachios.A small handful of nuts makes the perfect snack for those 100% predictable mid-afternoon hunger pangs!

Make Dark Chocolate Your Dessert of Choice

Dark chocolate has been shown to be beneficial on many fronts – from boosting heart health to elevating mood. As “sweets” go, dark chocolate seems to be more adept at quieting our appetite centers.  Researchers speculate that dark chocolate’s bittersweet taste may convey stronger and more robust signals from the taste buds in the mouth to the brain’s satiety center. For many, dark chocolate’s intense flavor means less chocolate can do the trick. I recommend a prudent portion (1/3 to 1 ounce daily) of the highest % cacao your palate will accept (strive for at least 60%, but 85% is better!) I always have 1 or 2 squares from a large 86% dark chocolate bar after my lunch.

Build Muscle with Less

weight liftFor adults, especially those over the age of forty, resistance physical activity is essential to maintain health.  Resistance physical activities include lifting weights, yoga, and using bands.  Benefits are numerous and include maintaining metabolism (preventing weight gain), reducing cardiovascular risk, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, maintaining strength and functionality, increasing bone density and improving physique.

An “uplifting” report found that you can reap all of the benefits of weight lifting without lifting heavy weights.  Investigators determined that the key to building muscle (the ultimate goal of resistance exercise) is muscle fatigue, not the amount of weight you lift.  You can lift much lighter weights (in this study as little as  30% of max.) with the same benefits as much heavier weights (90% of max.) as long as  reps were continued to the point of muscle fatigue.  For most study subjects, it took at least 24 reps using the lighter weights to reach fatigue.  (PLoS ONE, Aug 2010) Engage in some form of resistance activity at least twice a week for best results.

 

Superstar Food: Shrimp

shrimpLike other shellfish, shrimp offers a delectable and highly nutritious alternative to meat proteins.  Shrimp is low in calories and saturated fats and brimming with nourishment including B vitamins, vitamin D and a very respectable dose of omega 3 fats.  They are rich in an array of important minerals including zinc, selenium, copper, iron and magnesium and contrary to popular belief, shellfish do not have adverse effects on overall cholesterol levels.  In fact, eating shellfish has been shown to actually benefit cardiovascular health, especially when eaten in lieu of fatty red meats.  Here is one of my all-time favorite shrimp recipes.

3 Foods that Totally Break the ‘Color is Better for You’ Rule

  • artichoke heartsArtichoke Hearts – Even right out of the can or jar, this drably colored veggie rivals berries with its supreme antioxidant power—providing 8 times more than oranges! They are also a great source of vitamin C and fiber, including a special form of fiber called inulin that nourishes the growth of the “good” bacteria in the gut.
  • White-fleshed peaches and nectarines – Like their yellow-fleshed cousins, these stone fruits are dripping with vitamins A and C, but where they really shine is on the antioxidant front. These fruits may be pale on the inside, but they provide six times more antioxidant oomph than the yellow varieties.
  • Cauliflower – This colorless veggie is a nutrition and anti-cancer powerhouse. cauliflower2Cauliflower is home to a big dose of fiber, vitamin C, and folate along with two families of plant compounds, glucosinolates and thiocyanates that are revered for their anti-cancer prowess.

 

The Evils of Salt

 

The perils of eating too much salt extend far beyond high blood pressure. That was the conclusion of a new, systematic review undertaken to assess the impact of diets high in sodium on key areas of bodily function. According to research noted in the study, excess salt (sodium) essentially functions as a toxin in several vital organ systems. The most notable risks from too much salt in the diet included the following:
  • Endothelial cell dysfunction: Endothelial cells are the all-important cells that line our arteries, which govern blood flow. Endothelial cell dysfunction is a primary driver of heart disease.
  • Thickening of the muscle of the heart: Also known as left ventricular hypertrophy, this condition can predispose us to heart failure.
  • Reduced kidney function
  • Over-activation of the sympathetic nervous system: This is the body’s “fight or flight” part of the nervous system and excessive sympathetic activity can have far-reaching adverse effects throughout the body.

Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2015; 65 (10)

The takeaway-keep your sodium intake to safe and healthy levels. Click here for my best guidance.

Even a Little Sleep Loss a Drain for Metabolic Health

sleep 2Losing as little 30 minutes of sleep during the weekdays can have major consequences for body weight and metabolic function. That was the upshot of a new study recently presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.For this evaluation, 522 patients recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes completed seven-day sleep diaries, and their weekday sleep debt was calculated. Participants also had their weight status along with a key blood marker for metabolic function periodically measured over the next 12 months.  At the beginning of the study, those who reported weekday sleep debt were 72 percent more likely to be obese versus those with no weekday sleep debt. At 12 months, for every 30 minutes of weekday sleep deficit reported, the risk of obesity increased by 17 percent, and the risk of poor metabolic function increased by 39 percent. These findings add to a rapidly mounting pile of published research that tells us that adequate sleep is essential for weight control and protection from metabolic diseases, like type 2 diabetes. Suffice to say; you should consider sleep sacred for all-over health! Click here to see the best science-based strategies for improving your sleep.

A Delicious Way to Slash Your Risk of a Heart Attack

grilled fishThe heart healthy credentials of the Mediterranean pattern of eating just received yet another scientific accolade. In a new study that carefully monitored the diet and health profiles of 2,500 Greek adults ages 18 to 89, those who most closely followed this delectable way of eating slashed their risk of having a heart attack by 47 percent. For this evaluation, the cardiovascular protection provided by the Mediterranean diet even exceeded that of physical activity!

This study underscores a fact that is a central theme in my mission. Namely, that eating for pleasure and eating for optimal health can absolutely go hand-in-hand. The hallmark foods of the Mediterranean Diet are fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains, nuts, fish, olive oil, and even a bit of red wine. Red meat, sugar, and refined white carbohydrates, on the other hand are notably low. (American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego, March 2015)

Coconut Water– Nature’s Sports Drink

Thanks to a new scientific analysis, it appears that coconut water can rightly claim its reputation as Mother Nature’s sports drink. Coconut water is the clear liquid harvested from young green coconuts and is now available at many grocery outlets and health food stores. Researchers analyzed the components in coconut water relative to those in comparable amounts of Gatorade® and PowerAde® and found that coconut water provides five times more potassium, equivalent amounts of magnesium and carbohydrates, and about one third less sodium. Additionally, coconut water contained high levels of beneficial antioxidants (not found in the other sports drinks) and fewer calories. The researchers did note that those engaged in prolonged, strenuous exercise accompanied by heavy sweating may need additional sodium to replace their losses. Coconut water is always my sports beverage of choice, and if I think I need more sodium– I add a pinch of salt.

(244th Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Philadelphia, August 2012).

Hold the Red Wine– In Your Mouth That Is!

red wine 2Resveratrol, the powerful antioxidant in red wine, has become somewhat of a wonder compound in the laboratory with new studies linking it with a host of remarkable benefits from cancer prevention to slowing the aging process.  Unfortunately, resveratrol is very poorly absorbed once it enters the gastrointestinal tract, but new research has shown that it can be absorbed readily through the mucous membranes lining our mouths leading to blood levels up to 100 times greater if slowly sipped and allowed to linger in the mouth a bit versus being gulped down. So sip and savor!

4 Delicious Foods to Improve Your Heart Health

The foods you choose to eat can have a profound effect on your heart for better or for worse. Click here for four tasty choices that have a rock-solid scientific reputation for boosting your heart health.

walnut heart