Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Top 3 Superfoods for Increased Energy, Stamina and Power

By: Maddy Lucier     July 29, 2011

Eating quality calories at every meal can be difficult, but for athletes it’s necessary to do so as often as possible to reap maximum performance benefits on the field and in the weight room. Getting adequate amounts of protein is important for gaining lean mass, but it’s not the only nutrient needed to build up muscle tissue. Your body’s largest energy supply comes from carbohydrates.

The following three superfoods—so-called because of their carb content and remarkable nutritional properties—are great sources of energy and extremely easy to incorporate into your diet, either in a carb-loaded meal before a workout or in a post-workout snack.

Quinoa
With 39 grams of carbs per cup, quinoa should be considered a staple. Commonly considered a grain, it’s actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa is high in fiber [eight grams per cup], iron [important in oxygen production and flow to muscles], zinc, vitamin E, selenium and even protein—containing all of the amino acids essential for muscle growth. Its nut-like protein protects against muscle fatigue, containing particularly high levels of the amino acid lysine [required for tissue growth and repair], riboflavin [essential for proper energy production and sturdy metabolic function in brain and muscle cells] and magnesium [relaxes the blood vessels and promotes cardiovascular health]. Bonus: quinoa also has high levels of manganese—a key nutrient and antioxidant that helps your body synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol.

Like rice, quinoa is quick and easy to prepare, taking only 10 minutes on the stove; and it can be eaten by itself or mixed with vegetables. Tasty tip: once cooked, sprinkle parmesan or shredded mozzarella cheese on top. It also makes a great breakfast food, mixed with a little milk, nuts, fruit and/or cinnamon.


Sweet Potatoes
The best Thanksgiving carbohydrate to eat all year round, one sweet potato will fill your “orange food” quota for the week, delivering approximately 41 grams of carbs, depending on size. Packed with calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin E [one of the few fat-free sources of this vitamin], sweet potatoes have more beta carotene than any other fruit or vegetable. With a remarkably low glycemic index, they are digested and absorbed gradually for sustained energy throughout a workout.
To prepare, simply pierce the potato with a fork a few times and pop it into the microwave for three to five minutes. Or for sweet potato fries, cut the potato into thin slices; place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt; and roast them in the oven at 375 degrees for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, until browned.
Other dark orange vegetable standouts include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash and orange bell peppers.

Watermelon
Berries pack an incredible amount of antioxidants in a small package, but watermelon, although it’s often overlooked, delivers more bang for your buck. Best eaten in its peak season of summer, watermelon is 92 percent water—great for hydrating and flushing impurities from the body—yet it supplies extensive amounts of nutrients, very few calories and 12 grams of carbs per medium slice. Possessing anti-inflammatory properties, watermelon has loads of antioxidants, as well as potassium, vitamins A, C and B. It’s most notable and concentrated nutrient, however, is the cartenoid lycopene, of which it contains 40 percent more than tomatoes. Lycopene is widely recognized as a cancer-fighting compound, and its antioxidant function helps protect cells [including muscle cells] from oxygen damage. Bonus: L-Citrulline in watermelon converts into another amino acid, L-arginine, which is partially responsible for increased blood flow and may play a role in making certain proteins and pumping them through the body.

source: stack.com
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10 Habits That Will Help You Become The Healthiest, Slimmest Version Of You

By Mary Vance

Looking to get in the best shape of your life this year? Here are 10 foods and habits to help you get there.

1. Eat protein. 

It’s essential because your body uses it for muscle and tissue repair, and it breaks down into the amino acids used to synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain responsible for good mood, sex drive, appetite control, sleep, and regulating cravings. 

Lack of quality protein is one of the most common factors I see with clients having difficulty with weight loss. They’re either eating too many grain-based foods for their physiology (and the lectins present in grains can cause inflammation that prevents weight loss), or they’re just not eating enough protein with meals, so they’re not satisfied. 

Examples of quality protein are: grass fed beef and lamb; organic poultry; cage free eggs, preferably from a local farm; and wild fish. For vegetarians, legumes are not a complete source of protein, meaning they do not provide all essential amino acids, so combine with quinoa or brown rice.

2. Eat good fats. 

If you are fat phobic, listen up: eating the right kinds of fat will not make you fat. You know what will? Sugar. Gluten. Processed foods (and yes, that includes your “healthy” morning boxed cereal). Good fats stoke your metabolism and encourage weight loss! Your brain is mostly fat, and your cell membranes need fat to stay permeable, allowing nutrients to enter. Good fats are coconut oil, olive oil, grass fed butter, avocado, and fats present in organic meat. Avoid refined vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats.

3. Get some cinnamon. 

This amazing and antioxidant-rich spice has a blood sugar and insulin balancing effect for stable energy and reduced hunger, and it may lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Add 1 teaspoon to your morning smoothie.

4. Drink green tea. 

It’s thermogenic, contains antioxidants, and is an all around miracle beverage as far as I’m concerned. Drink it in the mornings instead of coffee, which jacks your blood sugar and can leave you with a crash accompanied by wicked sugar cravings in the afternoon. Green tea gives you a pleasant boost and may reduce cravings. Have a cup after lunch to ward off the dreaded 3pm crash.


5. Drink more filtered water. 

It flushes toxins and helps regulate metabolism. We sometimes confuse thirst for hunger, so if you’re feeling hungry when you shouldn’t be, drink a glass of water. Add cucumber slices and lemon wedges to spice it up.

6. Do some burst training and yoga. 

Instead of pounding the pavement for hours (I can’t tell you how many marathon-training clients have come to me befuddled by the fact that they’re actually gaining weight), try medium to high intensity interval training. 

How it works: Walk for 1 minute; sprint for 30 seconds. Repeat this circuit for 15 to 20 minutes at whatever intensity is right for you. It’s a much more effective way to burn fat than running for hours. Alternate with yoga to elongate muscles and center yourself, and you’re golden.

7. Sleep 7 to 9 hours every night. 

Seven to nine hours of sleep is essential to maintain healthy body composition. Your body perceives lack of sleep as a stress, which raises cortisol, increasing sugar cravings and fat storage. Ever notice how you crave sugar and carbs the day after you haven’t slept well? Also, if you’re chugging coffee because you’re not sleeping enough, you’re burning out your adrenals and driving up cortisol. Unplug from your devices, and get to bed by 11pm latest.

8. Enjoy some dark chocolate. 

It may contribute to lower overall blood glucose levels; it makes you feel good; and it is chock full of antioxidant-rich dreamy deliciousness. Various studies show that dark chocolate eaters have lower body fat. Choose 70% or higher dark chocolate, which has far less sugar than milk chocolate, and doesn’t contain dairy.

9. Eat 35 to 50 grams of fiber daily. 

Fiber binds to toxins in the gut and helps to whisk them out of the body, scrubbing your colon clean in the process. I’ll spare you a lecture on insoluble and soluble fiber, but you need a certain amount of both because soluble fiber (fruit, legumes) makes you feel full and stabilizes blood sugar, and insoluble fiber (grains, leafy greens) feeds the good bacteria in your gut and fosters regularity.

10. Eat probiotic foods. 

Studies show that probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your gut, play a role in weight loss and help prevent weight gain. Probiotics are essential for synthesizing certain vitamins, good digestive function, and immune health. Get them from raw kraut, beet kvass or kombucha, or kefir if you tolerate dairy.



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9 Incredible Health Benefits of Bell Peppers

Shubhra Krishan    March 23, 2013

I simply love bell peppers, particularly the brightly colored ones.  Although they belong to the chili pepper family, bell peppers are mild and can jazz up a salad in an instant, lend a perky crunch to your pizza, and taste fantastic when roasted.

But the appeal of bell peppers goes way beyond their stunning good looks. Here’s a short list of the good things they can do for your health:

Bell peppers are low in calories! So, even if you eat 1 full cup of them, you get just about 45 calories. Bonus: that one cup will give you more than your daily quota of Vitamin A and C!

They contain plenty of vitamin C, which powers up your immune system and keeps skin youthful.  The highest amount of Vitamin C in a bell pepper is concentrated in the red variety.

Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids,  particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.


The capsaicin in bell peppers has multiple health benefits. Studies show that it reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, controls diabetes, brings relief from pain and eases inflammation.

If cooked for a short period on low heat,  bell peppers retain most of their sweet, almost fruity flavor and flavonoid content, which is a powerful nutrient.

The sulfur content in bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancers.

The bell pepper is a good source of Vitamin E, which is known to play a key role in keeping skin and hair looking youthful.

Bell peppers also contain vitamin B6, which is essential for the health of the nervous system and helps renew cells.

Certain enzymes in bell peppers, such as lutein  protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

So, pop some bell peppers into your shopping basket, and start reaping their rich health benefits!


source: care2.com


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The Remarkable Healing Properties of Pumpkin Seed

Pumpkin seeds, like all edible seeds, pack an immense nutritional and medicinal punch. After all, they contain future worlds within their compact structure. As Emerson said, “the creation of a thousand forests is within one acorn.”

In order to prepare their “babies” for survival outside the pumpkin, Nature equips these seeds with an extremely dense source of organically-bound nutrients, including exceptionally high levels of key, health-promoting minerals.

For example, a one cup serving (64 grams) of pumpkin seeds has 44% daily value (DV) of zinc, 22% of copper, 42% magnesium, 16% manganese, 17% potassium, and enough iron (17% DV) to improve iron-deficiency associated anemia.

But beyond the obvious nutritional virtues of the seed, re
cent scientific investigations have revealed that pumpkin seed meal, as well as its pressed oil, may have great value in alleviating the following conditions:

1. Prostate Growth

Pumpkin seed has been studied for its ability to inhibit testosterone-induced prostate growth, a common causative factor in benign prostatic hyperplasia. [i] [ii]

2. Postmenopausal Symptoms

Women supplemented with 2,000 mg of pumpkin seed oil over the course of 12 weeks were found to have reduced blood pressure, increased HDL cholesterol, as well as reduction in the severity of hormone insufficiency associated symptoms, e.g. hot flash, headaches and join pain.[iii]  Additional experimental research indicates that adverse cardiovascular changes associated with estrogen deficiency, such as blood pressure and lipid abnormalities, can be mitigated with pumpkin seed oil. [iv]

3. Calcium-Oxalate Kidney Stones

According to a study performed in 1987 and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, children with calcium-oxalate crystals in their urine responded favorably to the supplementation of their diet with pumpkin seeds. [v]

4. Cardiovascular and Liver Disease

A mixture of flaxseed and pumpkin seed was found to have heart-protective and liver-protective properties in an animal study from 2008 published in the Journal of Food Chemistry & Toxicology. [vi]

5. Drug & Chemical Toxicity

The protein isolate of pumpkin seed has been shown to alleviate acetaminophen (Tylenol) toxicity on the liver,[vii] and as methotrexate-induced small intestine damage in an animal model. [viii] It has also been studied to protect against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury. [ix]

 

6. Arthritis

Pumpkin seed oil was found to compare favorably with the NSAID drug indomethacin in an experimental model of arthritis, but without causing liver damage, in a study published in 1995 in the journal of Pharmacological Research. [x]

7. Hypertension:

Animals fed pumpkin seed oil were found to respond more favorably to conventional drug-treatment with Ace-inhibitors and Calcium Channel Blockers, likely because of its beneficial antioxidant properties. [xi]

8. Parasites

A preclinical canine study has shown that pumpkin seeds have significant activity against canine intestinal parasites. [xii]

9. Insomnia/Anxiety

Pumpkin seeds contain a high level of tryptophan (22mg/gram of pumpkin seed protein), the amino acid precursor to serotonin – which is itself converted to melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” in the evening. Research published in 2007 in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that when de-oiled pumpkin seed was taken in combination with glucose, a clinical effect similar to that of pharmaceutical-grade tryptophan was achieved. [xiii] A 2005 study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience found that pumpkin seed sourced tryptophan in combination with carbohydrate was as effective as pharmaceutical tryptophan in reducing awake time during the night.

These, of course, are only some of the experimentally confirmed beneficial properties of pumpkin seed. Like all foods, there are likely countless properties which within the right context, the right timing, and the right amount, fulfill Hippocrates’ age-old and timelessly true proclamation that food can be our medicine.

By Sayer Ji       Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Article References

[i] Inhibition of testosterone-induced hyperplasia of the prostate of sprague-dawley rats by pumpkin seed oil.  QJM. 2008 Mar;101(3):167-79. Epub 2008 Jan 25. PMID: 16822218
[ii] Pumpkin seed oil and phytosterol-F can block testosterone/prazosin-induced prostate growth in rats.  Urol Int. 2006;77(3):269-74. PMID: 17033217
[iii] Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric. 2011 May 5. Epub 2011 May 5. PMID: 21545273
[iv] Supplementation with pumpkin seed oil improves plasma lipid profile and cardiovascular outcomes of female non-ovariectomized and ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats. Phytother Res. 2008 Jul;22(7):873-7. PMID: 18567058
[v] The effect of pumpkin seeds on oxalcrystalluria and urinary compositions of children in hyperendemic area.  Am J Clin Nutr. 1987 Jan;45(1):115-21. PMID: 3799495
[vi] Hypolipidemic and hepatoprotective effects of flax and pumpkin seed mixture rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hypercholesterolemic rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Dec;46(12):3714-20. Epub 2008 Oct 1. PMID: 18938206
[vii] In Vitro antioxidative activity of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate and its In Vivo effect on alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase in acetaminophen-induced liver injury in low protein fed rats. Phytother Res. 2006 Sep ;20(9):780-3. PMID: 16807884
[viii] Protective effect of ellagic acid and pumpkin seed oil against methotrexate-induced small intestine damage in rats. Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2011 Dec ;48(6):380-7. PMID: 22329239
[ix] Effect of pumpkin seed (Cucurbita pepo) protein isolate on the activity levels of certain plasma enzymes in CCl4-induced liver injury in low-protein fed rats.  Phytother Res. 2005 Apr ;19(4):341-5. PMID: 16041732
[x] Effect of pumpkin-seed oil on the level of free radical scavengers induced during adjuvant-arthritis in rats. Pharmacol Res. 1995 Jan;31(1):73-9. PMID: 7784309
[xi] Pumpkin-seed oil modulates the effect of felodipine and captopril in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Pharmacol Res. 2000 May;41(5):555-63. PMID: 10753555
[xii] [Preclinical studies of cucurbita maxima (pumpkin seeds) a traditional intestinal antiparasitic in rural urban areas]. Rev Gastroenterol Peru. 2004 Oct-Dec;24(4):323-7. PMID: 15614300
[xiii] Protein-source tryptophan as an efficacious treatment for social anxiety disorder: a pilot study. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 Sep;85(9):928-32. PMID: 18066139 


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Top 10 Brain Foods

by Fiora Stevens on March 22, 2013

Boost your brain power and keep your cognitive processes running smoothly into old age with these top ten brain foods.

1. Olive Oil
Drizzling your salad with olive oil or using it to sauté veggies may help preserve your brain’s overall health and function as you age. A 2010 study found that diets rich in monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, can improve scores on test of overall cognitive function as well as verbal memory.

2. Avocados
Like olive oil, avocados contain monounsaturated fats, which also contribute to proper blood flow to the brain and lower blood pressure. Since high blood pressure is a significant contributor to cognitive decline, eating foods like avocados that lower your risk of hypertension is a great way to ward off age-related brain power shortages.

3. Sardines
Rich in Omega-3s, sardines give your brain the fatty acids it needs to build and maintain cell membranes. Diets containing high amounts of Omega-3s have also been associated with improved memory and focus, as well as a lower long-term risk of dementia.

4. Walnuts
These fiber and protein-rich nuts contain another type of Omega-3 not found in animal sources: alpha-linolenic acid, also known as ALA. Plus, just about every type of nut, including walnuts, is rich in vitamin E, which can improve blood flow and ensure that your brain is getting the oxygen it needs to work efficiently.

5. Spinach
Popeye may have had the right idea. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that women who consumed more green leafy vegetables over 25 years exhibited fewer signs of age-related cognitive decline than those who avoided veggies like spinach, kale, and Brussels sprouts.


6. Coffee
Women who drink coffee have a far lower risk of developing depression than those who don’t, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Although the effects haven’t been studied in men, it’s likely that this benefit translates to them, too.

7. Tea
If you’re not a fan of coffee, freshly brewed tea is an excellent alternative. Lower levels of caffeine may still protect the brain from depression and boost focus and memory without the risk of anxiety and jitteriness, while the antioxidants in tea improve blood flow to the brain.

8. Beans
Your brain runs on glucose, which means that maintaining steady levels of blood sugar help your brain to work better. Beans provide a steady source of energy to your brain, along with protein, fiber, and minerals that keep the rest of your body functioning well.

9. Blueberries
Since they’re frequently touted as an antioxidant-rich superfood, you may be getting somewhat bored of blueberries. But this little fact might reinvigorate your love for this fruit: a study in mice found that a blueberry-enriched diet can not only prevent, but can actually reverse memory loss related to object recognition.

10. Water
When it comes to immediate cognitive decline, dehydration is a serious culprit. In fact, when you don’t drink enough water, your brain actually shrinks. This means that your brain works far less efficiently than when it is hydrated, likely leading to impaired executive functions.


Sources: 
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S089990071000136X
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ana.23593/abstract
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3/
http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1105943
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20336685
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15852398
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/eat-smart-healthier-brain


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Whole Grains: Teff (Eragrostis)

by Karen Railey

Teff is an intriguing grain, ancient, minute in size, and packed with nutrition. Teff is believed to have originated in Ethiopia between 4000 and 1000 BC. Teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 BC.

The grain has been widely cultivated and used in the countries of Ethiopia, India and it’s colonies, and Australia. Teff is grown primarily as a cereal crop in Ethiopia where it is ground into flour, fermented for three days then made into enjera, a sourdough type flat bread. It is also eaten as porridge and used as an ingredient of home-brewed alcoholic drinks. The grass is grown as forage for cattle and is also used as a component in adobe construction in Ethiopia. At this time it is not widely known or used in the U.S., though it is cultivated in South Dakota and Idaho and is available in many health food stores.

The word teff is thought to have been derived from the Amharic word teffa which means “lost,” due to small size of the grain and how easily it is lost if dropped. It is the smallest grain in the world, measuring only about 1/32 of an inch in diameter and taking 150 grains to weigh as much as one grain of wheat. The common English names for teff are teff, lovegrass, and annual bunch grass.

Because the grains of teff are so small, the bulk of the grain consists of the bran and germ. This makes teff nutrient dense as the bran and germ are the most nutritious parts of any grain. This grain has a very high calcium content, and contains high levels of phosphorous, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition, with lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Teff is high in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It contains no gluten so it is appropriate for those with gluten intolerance.


The color of the Teff grains can be ivory, light tan to deep brown or dark reddish brown purple, depending on the variety. Teff has a mild, nutty, and a slight molasses like sweetness. The white teff has a chestnut-like flavor and the darker varieties are earthier and taste more like hazelnuts. The grain is somewhat mucilaginous. It is interesting that documents dated in the late 1800’s indicate the upper class consumed the lighter grains, the dark grain was the food of soldiers and servants, and cattle consumed hay made from teff.

Teff is a fine stemmed, tufted annual grass characterized by a large crown, many shoots, and a shallow diverse root system. The plants germinate quickly and are adapted to environments ranging from drought stress to water logged soil conditions. It is a reliable low risk crop. There are 250 known species of Eragrostis, or love grasses, but only a few are of significant agricultural value.

Teff is a very versatile grain. Teff flour can be used as a substitute for part of the flour in baked goods, or the grains added uncooked or substituted for part of the seeds, nuts, or other small grains. Due to it’s small size, only 1/2 Cup of teff is needed to replace 1 cup of sesame seeds. It is a good thickener for soups, stews, gravies, and puddings and can also be used in stir-fry dishes, and casseroles. Teff may be added to soups or stews in either of two ways: 1) Add them, uncooked to the pot a half-hour before serving time. 2) Add them cooked to the pot 10 minutes before serving. Cooked teff can be mixed with herbs, seeds, beans or tofu, garlic, and onions to make grain burgers. The seeds can also be sprouted and the sprouts used in salads and on sandwiches.

To cook teff place 2 cups purified water, 1/2 cup teff, and 1/4 tsp. sea salt (optional) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 to 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes.

Teff should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place in tightly covered containers such as glass jars. Cooked Teff can be kept in the refrigerator, but should be used within a few days.

This grain would be a worthy and healthful addition to your diet. Be creative, use your imagination, and enjoy this wonderful nutritious grain.

source: ChetDay.com


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7 Ways to De-Stress and Slim Down

Think back to the last time you felt pressure from your work, family, or friends — did you have the urge to reach for a candy bar? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. Stress is one of the major causes of eating poorly and eating excessively, so it’s no surprise that stress can lead to extra pounds around your waist. And it’s a red flag for risk factors associated with inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes. Finding ways to manage your stress is essential to healthy weight loss. Follow these 7 tips to recognize and manage your stress:

Eat Whole Grains 
Whole grains, a Sonoma Diet Power Food, promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain messenger chemical. The magnesium abundant in whole grains and almonds (another Power Food) promotes muscle relaxation. Emphasizing B vitamins from whole grains, vegetables, and other foods on the Top Twelve Sonoma Power Foods list is also very important for repairing the negative effects of stress. 

Choose Healthy Fats 
Since the brain is approximately 60 percent fat, the type of fats in your diet can make a difference in brain function. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can act as an antidepressant because they boost serotonin production. Serotonin improves communication between brain cells and can help prevent or fight depression. Salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Olives, olive oil, avocados, nuts, and canola oil are also packed with healthy monounsaturated fats. Limit your intake of saturated fat from animal fats and tropical oils, and eliminate trans-fatty acids, found in the partially hydrogenated oils used in processed foods.

Stop “Dieting” Diets that restrict carbs and dietary fats actually increase stress, anxiety, insomnia, and depression — not to mention set you up for failure. The correct approach to healthy eating is to choose a diet you can live with, one composed of healthy fats, lots of fruits and vegetables, and a daily intake of whole grains. The only way to feel full and satisfied is to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.


Get Some Sleep 
Stressful situations can often lead to a lack of sleep — which can be especially dangerous for a dieter. Lack of sleep throws off the body’s chemistry and can increase cravings for carbohydrates, sweets, and fats. Plus, sleeping less than 5 hours a night not only produces inflammatory compounds linked to heart disease but also hinders your weight-loss efforts. Two hormones, cortisol and ghrelin, are the main culprits — sleep deprivation can cause an increase in ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating appetite, and a decrease in cortisol, the hormone that signals the brain that you are full. The result is an inability to control your appetite — a situation that can lead to a diet disaster. So get some rest!

Vary Your Exercise 
Varying the type exercise you do — alternating from a high-intensity workout to one of a more meditative style, like yoga — can be restorative, relaxing, and essential for boosting your immune function and general outlook on life. It’s important to switch up an exercise routine to stave off boredom and keep challenging your body. Exercise also improves brain chemistry, increasing the level of feel-good endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. So the next time you feel overwhelmed by stress, take a break and get active. You’ll notice the difference!

Breathe 
Breathing slowly, deeply, and deliberately is a very simple and easy way to cope with everyday stress and exhausting schedules. Take a few moments to stop and breathe when stress rears its head. You’ll be able to relax your muscles and focus your mind, readying yourself for whatever obstacles lie ahead.

Recognize the Symptoms of Stress 
There are two kinds of stress: acute (intense but short lived) and chronic, or ongoing. It’s the chronic type of stress that causes health problems. We commonly suppress feelings of exhaustion, stress, and anxiety to the point that we can’t even recognize the symptoms anymore. This is when we get into trouble with weight gain and more serious health conditions. Pay attention to stress symptoms — for example, an increase in blood pressure, insomnia, body aches, feelings of anxiety or depression, or a general feeling of being overwhelmed.