Our Better Health

Diet, Health, Fitness, Lifestyle & Wellness


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Walnuts May Control Your Mind To Help Lose Weight

No nut is going to control me, you may say. You are your own person. You eat what you want, when you want. But science may say otherwise about walnuts.

What is up with deez nuts? Five researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston (Olivia M. Farr Ph.D., Dario Tuccinardi M.D., Jagriti Upadhyay M.D., Sabrina M. Oussaada, and Christos S. Mantzoros M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D.) conducted a study published in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism. The researchers first randomly assigned ten hospitalized patients with obesity five straight days of either a smoothie with 48 grams of walnuts or a similarly tasting and textured smoothie without walnuts. Then after one month of returning to their original diets, those who first got the walnut smoothie then got five days of the non-walnut smoothie and vice versa. One participant eventually dropped out of the study, leaving nine who completed the whole protocol.

At the beginning of the study, the researchers measured each of the study subjects’ brain activity using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. After the 5 day smoothie diet, study subjects then underwent another fMRI to see how things had changed.

Then there was the food porn. The researchers showed the study subjects different pictures while undergoing the fMRI. Pictures included those of “highly desirable foods” (high-calorie or high-fat images, e.g., cakes, onion rings), “less desirable foods” (low-calorie or low-fat images, e.g.,, vegetables and fruits) and “non-foods” (e.g., flowers, rocks, trees). Yes, you rock and flower eaters may say that everything’s subjective, but these were the designations by the researchers. Before and after each fMRI scan, study subjects completed visual analog scales (VAS) to measure how hungry or full they felt.

The study resulted in two major findings. First, after the walnut smoothie diet, study subjects reported feeling less hungry than after the non-walnut smoothie diet. Secondly, following the five days of walnut smoothies, study subjects had differences in their brain activity (as measured by fMRI) when shown food porn. Specifically, the right insula part of the brain seemed to be more active. Parts of the insula may be responsible for satiety and inhibition. In other words, something about walnuts may be telling your brain to simmer down when shown mouth-watering food. This could be some Vulcan mind meld-like stuff: walnuts may help you control your appetite and thus help with managing your weight.

 

Of course, this is a very small study with measurements taken only over a short period of time. It also does not prove that walnuts can actually control your appetite or if any of the findings will persist over time. Effects can wear off as the brain and body get used to eating a certain type of food. More, larger, and more complex studies are needed before drawing stronger conclusions. But these results are encouraging. Note that the California Walnut Commission (CWC) did provide funding for this study. However, they were not directly involved in designing, conducting, interpreting, or reporting the results for the study.

These findings are not completely surprising. There is increasing evidence that food and their ingredients don’t simply just provide calories and nutrients to your body like emptying a dump truck into a hole (with the hole being your mouth). Food and ingredients may interact and communicate with your body in many different and mysterious ways. For example, the work of Tim Moran, Ph.D., Director of Behavioral and Biological Research for our Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) and Paul R. McHugh Professor of Motivated Behaviors at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has shown how your gastrointestinal tract and brain are communicating back and forth with each other to help regulate your hunger, cravings, and metabolism. Even though your body may seem relatively quiet (although some people’s bodies may seem louder than others), there’s a lot of discussion and maybe even arguments going on inside you. Here’s a talk from Dr. Moran for the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine that begins to show just how complex these systems are:

How noisy your body and brain may be may vary compared to others, depending on you and all of the cues around you. For instance, a recent study published in the journal Neuroimage and led by Susan Carnell, PhD, another member of our GOPC and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, found that adolescents who are at higher obesity risk may have different brain activity patterns when presented with words representing different types of foods.

As Dr. Carnell explained, “When it comes to hunger and satiation, a calorie is not necessarily a calorie. Food with a high glycemic index, like pasta, are processed more quickly than those with a low glycemic index, like beans and nuts, so you may still feel hungry after consuming a large amount of mac and cheese.”

Thus, adding an ingredient here and there to your food, especially artificial ones, could change what your food is saying to you. For example, Alice Walton previously wrote for Forbes about how artificial sweeteners may even lead to weight gain by interfering with brain connections that usually associate the sensation of sweetness and energy intake. In other words, your brain may usually equate a certain amount of sweet food with a certain amount of calories. When this association is messed up (which is a scientific term), your brain may say something is screwed up, eat more food. That’s why the global obesity epidemic may be due in part to the content of our food having changed. Since the 1980’s more and more “manufactured” and highly processed food has entered our diets.

All of this reemphasizes how you, your surroundings, food, nutrition, health, and obesity really form very complex systems and how obesity is very complex problem. It also says that even when you are eating alone, you are not really alone. Your food is having conversations with your body and brain. You might as well say in your best Robert De Niro voice to your food, “you talkin’ to me?” The answer with walnuts is probably yes and maybe in a good way.

Bruce Y. Lee , CONTRIBUTOR       AUG 19, 2017       Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
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Signs of a Food Addiction

A lot of us eat a little more than we should and want to stop eating so much, but it’s not as easy as we’d like. Some of us have a food addiction. Did you know there are foods that make you hungrier, and other foods that can suppress your appetite?

For example, the following foods can make you hungrier:

  • White bread
  • Juice
  • Salty snacks
  • Fast food
  • Alcohol
  • White pasta
  • The flavor enhancer MSG
  • Sushi rolls
  • Artificial sweeteners

White bread and white pasta are considered simple carbs. When we eat these foods, our pancreas goes into overdrive, causing an insulin spike. A short time later, our blood sugar levels drop suddenly and as a result of this “crash,” we’re hungrier than ever.

When we look at fast food, it has a high salt content, and can make a person dehydrated. A person may think they are still hungry and eat more, when they are really just thirsty.

Do You Have A Food Addiction?

When people think of addiction, they may immediately think of drugs like cocaine, heroin, alcohol, or even cigarettes. What many may not realize is food can be addictive as well. In addition to making you hungry, some foods can make us crave them as well. The following foods are considered the most addictive:

  • Pizza
  • Chocolate
  • Potato chips
  • Ice cream
  • French fries
  • Soda
  • Cookies
  • Cake
  • Popcorn
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Cheeseburgers

 

Studies indicate these foods (and many others) release “feel good chemicals” in the brain like dopamine in a similar fashion to the brains of those who use alcohol or cocaine. Studies also indicate refined foods can lower the blood sugar and trigger the release of serotonin. Serotonin is believed to affect our mood, appetite, memory and other functions.

In other words, there could be more to you constantly eating or craving foods than you originally thought. So, instead of eating those foods, try break the cycle and eat foods that can suppress the appetite instead:

  • Nuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Apples
  • Spicy foods
  • Mint
  • Avocados
  • Greek yogurt
  • Water

If you notice, the foods that increase our appetites and have addictive qualities are not good for us. They are high in fat, sodium, and believed to cause a variety of health issues such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. On the other hand, the foods that suppress the appetite are considered foods that are good for our overall health.

This is very important information for all of us to know, but it’s especially important for parents. It’s critical we instill good eating habits in our children and avoid feeding them foods that are addictive and could be detrimental to their long-term health.

The foods we eat can either help us or hurt us. Make an effort to avoid minimize foods that taste good but aren’t good for you. Next time you’re hungry, resist the urge to eat the processed foods and junk foods that are high in salt and artificial ingredients and eat something healthy instead. Your body will thank you. Or, just drink water. You may not be hungry after all!

source: holisticlivingtips.com       JULY 21, 2017


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Fun Fact Friday

  • Coffee has been found to reverse liver damage caused by alcohol.
  • The brain naturally craves 4 things: Food, Sex, Water and Sleep.
  • Studies show that by eating a big breakfast, you won’t feel as hungry the rest of the day, which can lead to more nutritional food choices.
  • 70% of people pretend to be okay simply because they don’t want to annoy others with their problems.
Tomatoes
Eating tomatoes helps prevent sunburn.
  • The average woman smiles 62 times a day. The average man smiles only 8 times.
  • Self-discipline better predicts success than IQ, according to research.
  • Eating tomatoes helps prevent sunburn.
  • Women are twice as likely to suffer from insomnia than men. This is mostly due to the hormonal changes that women often experience.
Happy Friday  🙂
 
source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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Fun Fact friday

 

Billions of souls have inhabited Earth, 
but there have only been about 500 original human templates
to choose from throughout human history. 


A sleeping human brain can still understand
 the words being spoken around it.


Lack of sleep can cause weight gain of 2 pounds 
(0.9 kg) in under a week. 


Beauty sleep is real – 
scientists found that faces of well-rested people 
look younger and are more attractive 
than sleep-deprived people.

meow

Cats only meow to communicate with humans 
not other cats.


People see you as 20% more attractive 
than you think you are, according to one study.


Fast food restaurants use yellow, red, and orange 
because those are the colors that stimulate hunger.

When a man see their infant in distress, 
their testosterone levels drop, 
making them more nurturing.


Research has found that everyone is able to sing well 
— it is a learned skill that gets better with practice 
and worse with disuse.


Depression can cause you to dream 
up to 3 to 4 times more than you normally would. 


Socially anxious people can lessen their anxiety 
by performing small acts of kindness, a study found.

 
Happy Friday  🙂

source:       factualfacts.com       https://twitter.com/Fact       @Fact


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5 Tricks to Avoid Being Hungry All the Time

July 11, 2014    By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD

Once, one of my clients half-jokingly requested an exorcism from the demon possessing her body: hunger. Kind of a gruesome analogy but, truth be told, it’s fairly accurate considering how out of control she felt. When my clients struggle like this, I often say I wish I could wave a magic wand to make it all better, which of course I can’t. But what I can do is offer some tried and true advice to effectively rein in appetite and help regain a sense of balance. The five strategies below are tops for doing just that, and each also has the power to enhance your overall health. Win-win!

Make sweating fun

Have you ever found yourself hungrier after working out, and then “ate back” more calories than you burned exercising? It’s a common phenomenon, and the trick to breaking the cycle may just be choosing ways of being active that feel like fun. In a recent Cornell University study, researchers asked two groups of adults to take a two kilometer walk before lunch or a snack. Those who were told they had been on an exercise walk wound up eating 35% more chocolate pudding for dessert at lunch and 124% more M&Ms at snack time than those who were told they had been on a fun, scenic walk.

Other research shows that intense exercise—sweat sessions that are perceived as work—can lead to eating more overall. In other words, a “no pain, no gain” mentality may wind up wreaking havoc with your appetite. If you’re in a similar boat, try mixing things up. Trade grueling workouts for activities that get your heart rate up but seem like play. Think dancing, hiking, roller skating, and swimming. Many of my clients find that even if they burn fewer calories, engaging in recreational activities often helps them lose more weight, because they don’t experience rebound hunger spikes.

Get enough sleep

Catching too few ZZZs is notorious for not only ramping up hunger, but also increasing cravings for junk food. One study from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that too little sleep triggered excessive eating and weight gain, and getting more sleep slashed the consumption of carbs and fat, leading to weight loss. Another from the University of Chicago found that getting 4.5 hours of sleep (rather than 8.5) ups hunger and appetite, especially in the early afternoon.

In addition to causing appetite craziness, sleep deprivation has been tied to a number of health problems, including weakened immunity, and a greater risk of type 2 diabetes, depression, and heart disease. For these reasons, in my opinion, making sleep a priority may even be more important than exercise for weight loss. If you’re falling short like most people, read up on ways to improve your slumber.

Drink more water

Research backs what I find to be true for myself and my clients: drinking plenty of water can help manage appetite. One study found that people who drink about seven cups of water per day eat nearly 200 fewer daily calories compared to those who gulp less than one glass. Another found that when adults drank two cups of water right before meals, they ate 75 to 90 fewer calories. A second study by the same researchers showed that when two groups of people followed the same calorie-limited diet for 12 weeks, those who downed two cups of water before meals lost about 15.5 pounds compared to about 11 pounds for the water-free bunch.

Finally, a German study showed that a 16-ounce dose of water resulted in a 30% increase in metabolic rate within 10 minutes. The effect peaked 30 to 40 minutes after consumption, but was sustained for more than an hour. To take advantage of the benefits, drink about 16 ounces of H2O four times a day. If you dislike the taste of plain water, spruce it up with wedges of lemon or lime, fresh mint leaves, cucumber slices, fresh grated ginger, or a bit of mashed fruit.

Eat on a schedule

Your body loves consistency, which is why in my own personal experience, as well as my clients’, eating at the same times every day can go a long way in regulating appetite. Try eating breakfast within one hour of waking up and spacing your remaining meals about three to five hours apart. In addition to consistent meal times, strive for a steady meal structure in terms of the foods and proportions you include.

For example, I recommend always including: produce, lean protein, plant-based fat (like avocado), and a small portion of a healthy starch. I’ve seen that mixing up the foods you choose within these categories, while keeping the types and quantities comparable, can have a huge impact on regulating hunger, supporting sustained energy, and creating a predictable return of hunger, almost like clockwork. In other words, when your meals are all over the place, it’s much easier to feel hungry all the time or confuse true hunger with boredom or other emotions.

Learn how to deal with stress

For most of my clients, stress is the number one eating trigger. And research backs the old adage: “stressed is desserts spelled backwards.” One recent animal study found that female monkeys chronically exposed to stress overate calorie-rich foods, unlike their calm counterparts. They also ate more throughout the day and evening, while the chilled-out chimps naturally restricted their noshing to daytime hours only. This behavior parallels what I see in so many people, and until they find effective ways to reduce stress, emotional eating is a difficult pattern to break.

The best place to start: stop beating yourself up. Instead of berating yourself for not having enough willpower, acknowledge that when your stress hormones are surging, you’re programmed to reach for chips or chocolate. Speak kindly to yourself, and shift your energy toward testing out positive ways to cope, like listening to guided meditation, venting to a friend, spending time outdoors, reading, stretching, drawing, or whatever gives you a mini-vacation from the intensity of your emotions. That strategy, rather than “dieting,” is a much better way to set yourself up for successful weight control and better overall health.


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An Excerpt from “What Are You Hungry For?” by Deepak Chopra

Margaret Manning

In his new book What Are You Hungry For? The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being, and Lightness of Soul bestselling author Deepak Chopra discusses how overeating is really just a symptom of a much larger problem – an inability to find true fulfillment in our lives. Since living a healthy life after 60 is a goal of many members of our Sixty and Me community, I reached out to Deepak and his team to see if they would be willing to give us a sneak peek at his new book. I am delighted to let you know that they have given me permission to publish the following excerpt, so that you can be among the first to benefit from the insights in this important book.

Eating, Weight, and Hunger

If you want to return to your ideal weight, two choices face you. You can go on a diet or do something else. This book is about that something else. Dieting involves the wrong kind of motivation, which is why it rarely leads to the desired goal. You are taking the route of self-denial and doing without. Every day on a diet involves struggling against your hunger and fighting for self-control. Is there a more unsatisfying way to live?

Weight loss needs to be satisfying in order to succeed—this is the “something else” that works after dieting has failed. If you bring the body’s hunger signals back into balance, your impulse to eat becomes your ally instead of your enemy. If you trust your body to know what you need, it will take care of you instead of fighting back. It’s all about getting the messages straight that connect mind and body.

Medically, I was trained to analyze hunger in terms of the rise and fall of certain hormones. Hunger is one of the most powerful chemical messages sent by the body to the brain. It shouldn’t happen that a person can feel hungry right after eating a meal or that having a snack in the afternoon should lead to a second snack or a third. But I’ve experienced these things—as have millions of people—which means that the experience of hunger can exist even when the need for food doesn’t.

It’s this experience of hunger that you need to change when you find yourself overeating. Cravings and false hunger aren’t the same as giving your body the fuel it needs. Your body isn’t like a gas-guzzling car. It’s the physical expression of thousands of messages that are being sent to and from the brain. In the act of eating, your self-image is involved, along with your habits, conditioning, and memories. The mind is the key to losing weight, and when the mind is satisfied, the body quits craving too much food.

A mind-body approach will work for you because it asks you for only one thing: Find your fulfillment. To be fulfilled is something that food alone can’t do. You must nourish

  •     the body with healthy food
  •     the heart with joy, compassion, love
  •     the mind with knowledge
  •     the spirit with equanimity and self-awareness

With awareness, all of these things become possible. But if you neglect them, they move further and further out of reach.

It sounds like a paradox, but to lose weight, you need to fill yourself up. If you fill yourself up with other kinds of satisfaction, food will no longer be a problem. It was never meant to be. Eating is a natural way to feel happy. Overeating isn’t. For centuries life has been celebrated at feasts, and some of these celebrations, such as wedding banquets and retirement dinners, can be the highlight of a person’s life. What child doesn’t brighten up when the birthday cake appears? But the delight that food brings makes overeating a peculiar and unique problem. Feeling happy, which is good for you, slides into something that’s bad for you.

At this moment you fall somewhere on the sliding scale that connects food with happiness:

Normal eating => Overeating => Cravings => Food Addiction

Eating normally feels good.

Overeating feels good in the moment but leads to bad results in the long run.

Giving in to cravings doesn’t feel good at all—remorse, guilt, and frustration set in almost immediately.

Being addicted to food brings suffering, declining health, and total lack of self-esteem.

The slippery slope to becoming overweight starts with something that’s actually positive: the natural goodness of food. (You can’t say the same about drugs and alcohol, which can be toxic substances even when a person isn’t addicted to them.) Food nourishes us, and when eating goes wrong, we are torn between short-term pleasure (such as a delicious bite of chocolate ice cream) and long-term pain (the many drawbacks of being overweight for years at a time).

woman-eating-ice-cream

An Excerpt from What Are You Hungry For? by Deepak Chopra

So why does normal eating start to slide into overeating? The simple answer: lack of fulfillment. You start overeating to make up for a lack somewhere else. Looking back on my medical residency, when I was still in my twenties, I can see now how bad eating habits insinuate themselves. I’d come home from a grueling shift at the hospital feeling stressed out. My mind was still filled with a dozen cases. Some patients were still in jeopardy. What awaited me at home was a loving wife and a home-cooked meal.

In terms of getting enough calories, sitting down to dinner met all the requirements. You had to look at the human situation to see the hidden problems. I had hit the coffee machine and grabbed snacks on the run at work. From lack of sleep I didn’t really notice what I was eating. The minute I walked in the door I usually had a drink, and there was a half-empty pack of cigarettes lying around somewhere.

In the seventies I was a normal working male following the same habits as every other young doctor I knew. I counted myself extremely fortunate to have such a loving wife and two beautiful babies at home. But the ravenous way I dug into a nourishing home-cooked dinner, combined with all the other signs of stressed eating, was setting a pattern that was desperately wrong. Ironically, even back then I considered myself pretty aware.

What turned the corner was becoming much more aware—the solution I’m proposing in this book. No matter how much it gets abused, the body can restore balance. The first rule is to stop interfering with nature. In its natural state, the brain controls hunger automatically. When your blood sugar falls below a certain level, messages are sent to an almond-sized region of the brain known as the hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating hunger. When it receives messages of decreased blood sugar, your hypothalamus secretes hormones to make you feel hungry, and when you’ve eaten enough, the hormones reverse, making you no longer hungry. This feedback loop between blood and brain operates on its own, as it has for millions of years. Any animal with a spinal cord (vertebrate) has a hypothalamus, which makes sense, because hunger is so basic.

But in humans, hunger can get interfered with quite easily. The way we feel emotionally can make us ravenous or unable to eat at all. We can be distracted and forget to eat, or we can be obsessed and think about food all day. However, we are always in search of satisfaction. There are lots of things you can fill up on besides food. Desire comes from need, starting with the most basic ones:

  •     Everyone needs to feel safe and secure.
  •     Everyone needs to feel nurtured.
  •     Everyone needs to feel loved and appreciated.
  •     Everyone needs to feel that their life is relevant and meaningful.

If you have filled these needs, food will be just one delight out of many. But countless people turn to overeating to substitute for what they really want. It becomes a game of switch-up, and often they don’t even see what’s happening. Is that the situation you find yourself in? Here are some common indicators.

  •     You don’t feel secure unless you are dulled by eating too much. Dullness brings a kind of calm that lasts a short while.
  •     You don’t feel nurtured except when your taste buds are overstimulated with sugar, salt, and fat.
  •     You don’t feel loved and appreciated, so you turn eating into “giving myself some love.”
  •     Your life lacks meaning, but at least when you eat, the emptiness inside can be ignored for a little while.

If you stop focusing so hard on diet and calories, the story of overweight in America is the story of missed fulfillment. We have the best foods in the world at our disposal, but we gorge on the worst. We have blessed opportunities to grow and evolve, but instead we feel empty.

My goal is to bring you to a state of fulfillment. Once that begins to happen, you will stop eating for the wrong reasons. The solution is simple but profound: To lose weight, every step of the way must be satisfying. You don’t have to psychoanalyze yourself; you can stop obsessing about your body and dwelling in disappointment and frustration. There is only one principle that applies: Life is about fulfillment. If your life isn’t fulfilled, your stomach can never supply what’s missing.

Reprinted from the book What Are You Hungry For? The Chopra Solution to Permanent Weight Loss, Well-Being, and Lightness of Soul by Deepak Chopra. Copyright 2013 by Deepak Chopra. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.