Category Archives: Flat-Belly Foods
by Carolanne Wright
(NaturalNews) Believe it or not, the holiday season is almost upon us – and with it, the usual overindulgence and weight gain. But we can take action to offset the damage. Armed with a simple daily detox drink and metabolism-boosting remedies, we can keep our waistlines in check and ensure all the festivities won’t dampen health.
Effortless weight management
Honey lemon detox
Many have heard of the famous detox with lemon juice and honey that is making the rounds over the Internet. There’s a good reason the recipe is such a phenomenal success: it’s easy and it works. Even using a scaled-down version of the cleanse is beneficial for enhancing metabolism. Each morning upon waking, drink eight ounces of warm water with two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey. With this daily ritual, the liver is given a supportive, cleansing boost. And when the liver is functioning properly, we can sustain a healthy weight more easily.
Cinnamon with honey
As simple as it may sound, drinking a mug of warm cinnamon tea with honey is one of the best ways to balance blood sugar, spur metabolism and shed excess weight. Since abdominal fat is sensitive to the compounds in cinnamon, it’s an ideal choice if you need to slim down in this region. To make the tea, dissolve half a teaspoon of organic, ground cinnamon in a cup of boiling water. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Next, stir in one teaspoon of honey and enjoy immediately. For optimal results, practice this habit first thing in the morning and away from food.
Who would have guessed that consuming honey before bedtime could melt away body fat while you sleep? According to British pharmacist Mike McInnes and his son Stuart, a nutritionist, the Hibernation Diet does just that. The duo believe that, when the liver is properly fueled with glycogen in the evening, recovery hormones can do their job during sleep – thereby speeding up metabolism and reducing fat-encouraging stress hormones. Woman’s Day magazine notes that, if you suffer from any of the following symptoms, your liver may not be properly primed with glycogen:
- Acid reflux
- Disrupted sleep
- Waking to urinate
- Dry throat in the morning
- Night cramps and/or sweats
- Early morning nausea and weakness
- Exhausted upon waking
The Hibernation Diet recommends ingesting a spoonful or two of pure honey before bedtime to rev up fat utilization, soothe stress response and support nighttime muscle and tissue regeneration.
Ginger tea in itself is a tremendous metabolism booster, but when combined with honey, it offers a potent elixir for efficient digestion. Drinking a glass of the tea with a teaspoon of honey twenty minutes before a meal will encourage stable blood sugar, optimum digestion and, in turn, favorable calorie utilization and fat burning. To make the tea, peel and grate a one inch chunk of fresh, organic ginger and simmer (covered) in two cups of water. Transfer to a mug and let cool until just warm. Dissolve one teaspoon of honey into the brew and drink promptly. Make sure to consume the grated ginger too for utmost benefit.
Although honey is an astoundingly versatile and beneficial food, it’s important to use discrimination when purchasing. Use only the highest quality honey – namely, one that is organic and raw with honeycomb, royal jelly, bee pollen and propolis included. Manuka honey is another excellent option, as it boasts remarkable healing properties.
Ten foods to prevent and stop diabetes
(NaturalNews) Diabetes is a disorder wherein the body cannot control its level of blood glucose or sugar. While many of the foods today contain high levels of diabetes-inducing sugar, there are ten amazingly healthy foods that can actually prevent diabetes from developing. Not only do these foods control blood sugar levels, but they are also packed with other nutrients and minerals that even those who do not have diabetes will benefit greatly from.
Preventing Diabetes through Diet and Exercise
A healthy diet coupled with a healthy lifestyle of exercise to maintain a normal weight is a sure-fire way to prevent diabetes type 2 or adult-onset diabetes. This is according to research as well as diabetes educators from the Healthcare and Education for the American Diabetes Association (ADA).
Christine Tobin, the president of Healthcare and Education for the ADA, said that, while there are a whole list of foods that can be considered as “superfoods” in terms of diabetes-prevention, her association recognizes the top ten of these foods that can help those with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. These foods contain vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C and E. These foods are also rich in fiber, which helps in suppressing cravings by keeping the blood sugar and the glycemic index low for longer periods. On top of that, these foods also control blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, keeping them at healthy levels.
These are all very important to those with diabetes, but even normal people can benefit from these foods too:
Black, pinto, navy, kidney or other beans might be high in calories, but they are also rich in fiber and other nutrients. Rich in fiber means that they will help people feel full for longer periods.
Dark, Leafy Greens
Spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, kale and others are not only high in nutrients but also low in carbohydrates. Greens are also very low in calories, so people can eat as much of them as they as want!
Grapefruit, oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits are good for the heart because of their high content of vitamin C. Whole fruits are better than juices, since the fruit contains the fiber, which slows down the body’s absorption of sugar.
Sweet potatoes are better than other types of potatoes, because they have a low glycemic index. This means that sweet potatoes will not cause blood sugar levels to spike. They are also high in vitamin A.
Fresh, whole strawberries, blueberries, cranberries and any other variants are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. Add fresh berries into salads or cereal, or make into smoothies.
Tomatoes can be eaten either raw or cooked, and they are low in calories too. They can be served in a variety of ways, as side dishes, mixed in salads and soups or as a base sauce for casseroles or stews. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins E and C and iron.
Salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, herring and halibut are all rich in omega-3, a kind of fatty acid that strengthens the heart and prevents diabetes. The best way to enjoy these fishes and their benefits is to serve them broiled or in soups. Frying them in batter and breading defeats the purpose.
Oatmeal, pearled barley and other whole grain products, like bread and pasta, all contain high amounts of fiber. They also contain essential nutrients like chromium, magnesium, omega-3 and folate.
Nuts are high in omega-3 and other good fatty acids. These kinds of fats protect and help the heart rather than burden it. However, one should not eat too much, as they are high in calories. A small handful, or roughly 1.5 ounces, is enough for a healthy snack.
Fat-Free Yogurt and Milk
Both are rich in calcium and vitamin D and are also good choices to help keep cravings under control.
It is quite easy to lose control and to splurge on food, but a good choice would be to splurge on these ten healthy foods rather than on sweets like chocolate.
Sources for this article include:
(NaturalNews) A flat stomach is a quest that has remained elusive for many people all over the world. Dieters often shy away from food to keep their slim figures. Food experts, however, have discovered several foods that actually help flatten the stomach.
These 20 foods help burn the fat away to reveal a sexy, flat tummy:
Green tea stimulates the body’s metabolism and can also suppress the absorption of fat. Drinking it daily aids in weight loss.
Olive oil has many benefits, but the main benefit is that it lowers LDL cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol – and raises HDL cholesterol – the “good” cholesterol. It is also rich in phenol, an antioxidant that protects the walls of the arteries from cholesterol or fatty buildup.
Weight-watchers should reduce their intake of sugar, and that means soda pop, alcohol and most bottled or canned fruit drinks. Try drinking lemon water instead. It is refreshing and bursting with vitamin C as well.
This white meat is more meat and less fat, making it a good source of meat protein.
Cinnamon can prevent diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. While it is packed with antioxidants, cinnamon can also prevent bloating.
Green Chai Tea
Chai tea is full of flavor from the spices but without the guilty calories. Homemade chai will also give healthier milk choices, and the addition of green tea will speed up the body’s metabolic rate.
Cucumbers are a great refreshing and crunchy snack. They are satisfying and low in calories.
Cereal is high in calories. Replacing it with bran will not only cut the excess calories but will also increase the body’s supply of fiber.
Yogurt is rich in protein, with three quarters of a cup serving 9 grams of it. Not only that, but yogurt is also rich in B vitamins and bone-strengthening calcium.
Legumes are a generally nutritious food packed with protein, B vitamins, potassium, iron and other trace minerals. Legumes are also a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber, which helps control optimum blood cholesterol levels. Legumes are ideal for dieters, since it is heavy on the stomach and controls cravings by controlling the body’s levels of blood glucose.
Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric also has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-cancer and antibacterial properties.
This whole grain is a wonderful alternative to other grains. Rich in protein, fiber, copper, B vitamins, magnesium and manganese.
Pears are incredibly rich in fiber, so much that a medium-sized pear can give 20% of a person’s daily need. The juicy flesh contains soluble fiber and pectin, which lowers the “bad” cholesterol previously mentioned.
Eating dark chocolate more frequently results in a lower body mass index, according to studies. As an added bonus, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, too.
Juicy, succulent berries are rich in fiber and vitamins. They are also home to some of the most powerful antioxidants in foods, which helps protect the heart and eyes and helps fight off cancer.
Leeks are rich in manganese, which is an essential mineral that was found to prevent mood swings and menstrual cramps in women who took high amounts of it regularly. Not only that, leeks also help prevent and relieve bloating.
Salmons of all kinds are rich in heart-friendly omega-3, as well as vitamin D. Bones in canned or processed salmon are also rich in calcium.
Miso has probiotics that aid in digestion and keep the colon and intestinal walls healthy.
Research by the Rochester Center for Obesity found that those who regularly eat eggs for breakfast tend to take in less calories throughout the day – by around 400 or more. This translates to at least three pounds less in weight in a month.
Leafy green vegetables contain carotenoids, which prevent degenerative eye disease. Spinach alone is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health. Greens are also rich in magnesium, potassium and folate, which lowers blood pressure.
These foods are great, not just because they aid in weight loss and burning fat, but also because they strengthen the body in many ways.
Sources for this article include:
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) What is a happy belly? Well, an unhappy belly will produce flatulence, bloating, nausea, cramps, and so called heartburn. You should be able to digest foods without any hassles, providing you don’t overeat. That’s a happy belly.
Considering that digestion begins in the mouth, it’s wise to chew your food thoroughly. In addition to reducing the food into smaller, easier to digest pieces, the saliva from chewing produces more digestive enzymes early in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
It’s also important to take your time and relax while eating. Rushed eating while stressed or hassled in any way will result in digestive stress that can create a very unhappy belly while depriving you of the food’s nutritional value.
Foods and beverages to help your belly’s happiness
As usual, organic food sources are the best choices. If you can purchase reliably clean raw milk for milk kefir, do so. Always use purified fluoride-free water.
Reverse osmosis is the best accessible system. Stations are available for filling containers in larger food markets. Make sure to re-mineralize with sea salt or some other mineral solution.
(1) Fermented foods provide probiotics that aid digestion and more. Having an intestinal flora microbial balance of 80 percent to 20 percent healthy bacteria to pathogenic bacteria is vital for even more than good digestion. It’s an important part of our immune system.
Without a well balanced intestinal flora stocked heavily with an abundance of healthy bacteria, Candida overgrowth is given a nice breeding ground. (http://www.naturalnews.com)
Fermented foods include sauerkraut, yogurt (unflavored and unsweetened) kimchi, miso, pickles, and tempeh or fermented soy, which is the only soy that’s consumable without digestive issues.
You can always add good honey or maple syrup to plain yogurts. Yes, you can make your own sauerkraut. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034788_sauerkraut_probiotics_recipes.html)
If you can get a good sourdough bread baked with sprouted grains without using bromide, that’s good for making your belly happy too. Sourdough is fermented. Sprouted grains reduce gluten’s harmful effects. Bromides block the enzyme that helps your thyroid produce adequate hormones for metabolism.
(2) Probiotic beverages can be as potent as some probiotic supplements, and a lot cheaper. Kombucha is a popular item that offers the same probiotic potential as fermented foods. Even more powerful are water and milk kefirs. You need starter grains specific to either purified water or milk, best to find raw milk.
Then you can make your own. (http://www.naturalnews.com/036419_probiotics_immunity_bacteria.html)
A woman who cured her really bad case of colitis with milk kefir showed this author how to make it. She didn’t even use raw milk, which is recommended. Here’s a good source for milk kefir starter grains with excellent instructions. (http://kefirlady.com/)
There are also several DIY kefir YouTube videos online.
(3) Prebiotic foods are essential for helping the healthy bacteria from probiotics flourish. They don’t contain healthy probiotic bacteria, but they provide the food energy to help probiotics maintain a GI tract stronghold.
Bananas, berries, artichokes, garlic, honey, legumes (beans) and whole grains such as brown rice are good prebiotic food sources.
(4) Apple cider vinegar is regarded as an excellent digestive aid by many alternative practitioners and nutritionists, but not so much by MDs and mainstream dieticians.
Us an apple cider vinegar that has not been pasteurized or filtered for best results. Before each meal, one or two tablespoons downed in a half glass of water can be beneficial. Water with meals should be room temperature for optimum digestion.
(5) When your stomach becomes unhappy, stay away from the Tums and try something healthier. Ginger root is one such choice. Only a few dare chew on a ginger root. It’s usually converted into a tea by peeling the root and cutting it into thin slices.
Make enough thin slices to cover the bottom of a pan, fill the pan with good non-fluoridated water from reverse osmosis. Simmer for 30 minutes after boiling. It can be refrigerated for several days. Ginger has been known to remedy queasy or cramping stomachs, and it’s good for general inflammation as well.
(6)The king of natural GI tract and stomach disorders is Aloe vera juice. Aloe vera juice needs to be shopped wisely. The cheap adulterated ones with preservatives or pasteurized stuff won’t cut it. Get only pure, whole unpasteurized aloe vera juice. Yes it’s pricier, but worth it.
Stomach ulcer sufferers swear by it. There have been many, many reports of Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease sufferers curing themselves with aloe vera juice, as well as some experiencing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
With a disease as intense as Celiac, Crohn’s or IBS, it takes several days to a few weeks of daily use to get results. (http://www.naturalnews.com/021858_aloe_vera_gel.html#ixzz25fIbagIM)
Pure aloe vera juice has many, many other curative capabilities and health benefits. It has been clinically tested successfully on AIDS and cancer patients. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034738_aloe_vera_cancer_AIDS.html)
By Robert Davis,
If you’re trying to eat a heart-healthy diet, figuring out what to believe can be overwhelming. The advice we get on everything from eggs to olive oil is often confusing and maddeningly contradictory.
Ironically, this growing confusion comes at a time when scientists who study nutrition know more than ever. Too often, though, we hear about only the latest study (which may be poorly designed) or research that’s cherry-picked to support an agenda. That’s like seeing one or two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and trying to determine what the entire picture is.
To know what the science really shows, it pays to look at all the evidence, assigning greater weight to studies that are more rigorous. In many cases, this can give us a reliable indication of what’s really good or bad. Based on a thorough review of research, here’s what’s believable — and what’s not — regarding some familiar claims about heart health.
Nuts are good for your heart
True. Once regarded as high-fat nutritional villains to be avoided at all costs, nuts are now touted as a health food that can ward off heart disease. And perhaps rightly so. Several large cohort studies (the type in which people are asked about their dietary habits and then followed for years or decades) have consistently found lower odds of heart disease and heart-related deaths among nut eaters, regardless of sex, age, location or occupation.
These findings are bolstered by results from clinical trials demonstrating that nuts lower LDL cholesterol levels, the kind associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Nuts also appear to decrease inflammation in arteries, which may contribute to heart attacks.
So which nuts are best for you? If you listen to producers of walnuts, almonds or peanuts (which, technically, aren’t nuts but legumes), each will tell you that its nut is superior because of some ingredient it contains. The truth is that it’s impossible to say which is best because no one has done a head-to-head comparison.
All nuts are relatively high in unsaturated fats, which are thought to be good for the heart. And all nuts are relatively high in calories, so it’s important to pay attention to portion sizes. About a handful a day is enough to reap health benefits. It may even promote weight loss by helping you feel full. But going nuts and overindulging can lead to extra pounds.
Oats lower cholesterol
TRUE. Oats contain a type of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan, which is also found in barley. It’s thought to lower cholesterol by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body. Bile acids are made from cholesterol, so when the body has to deploy more of its cholesterol to help replace the eliminated bile acids, there’s less of it in the blood.
The Cochrane Collaboration, an independent group that assesses the evidence for various treatments, conducted an analysis in which it pooled results from eight randomized studies involving people with elevated cholesterol and other risk factors for heart disease. Subjects assigned to eat oat cereal every day lowered their total and LDL cholesterol levels seven or eight points more than those on a diet of refined grains. The studies lasted only four to eight weeks, so we don’t know about long-term effects.
To see a benefit, you need three grams of beta-glucan a day, which you can get from 1.5 cups of cooked oatmeal, three cups of instant oatmeal or three cups of Cheerios. Unfortunately, oatmeal cookies don’t count.
Fish oil protects your heart
True. Decades ago, scientists discovered that Greenland Eskimos rarely died from heart disease despite a diet high in fat from fish. Researchers theorized that the fish fat was somehow protective, an idea that subsequent research has largely supported.
Several cohort studies show that people who regularly eat fish are less likely to die of heart disease than those who don’t eat fish. Randomized trials involving heart attack survivors have found that subjects given fish oil supplements were less likely to die of heart disease than those who didn’t take the capsules. And in a randomized study of people with high cholesterol, participants who took fish oil had fewer heart attacks and deaths from heart disease.
The key ingredients appear to be the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are found in most fish but especially in oily ones such as salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and tuna. Studies suggest that these fats may help relax blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, prevent abnormal rhythms and lower blood fats known as triglycerides.
While the evidence of benefits is strong for people who have heart disease or are at high risk for it, it’s less clear whether fish oil wards off heart attacks in those at low risk. Still, it seems reasonable to follow the American Heart Association’s recommendation and eat oily fish at least twice a week. People with heart disease are advised to get twice as much, or 1,000 milligrams per day of EPA and DHA combined.
Eggs cause heart disease
False. Researchers have conducted a number of long-term cohort studies on eggs and heart disease, which have collectively followed several hundred thousand people. In general, the research has exonerated eggs: Eating up to six a week was not associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (i.e. heart attacks and strokes).
So how can this be if egg yolks are high in cholesterol? Most of our cholesterol is made by the liver, which ramps up production when we eat saturated and trans fats. But cholesterol from food appears to have little impact on most people’s cholesterol levels. And in people it does affect — so- called hyper-responders — studies show there can be an increase in good (HDL) cholesterol along with the bad kind, which helps offset any increased risk. Further, dietary cholestrerol may also result in larger LDL particles, which are thought to pose less of a threat than smaller ones.
Eggs are relatively low in saturated fat, and they contain unsaturated fats, which may be beneficial. Plus, they’re a good source of protein and several vitamins and minerals. They can be a healthful and more filling alternative to high-calorie muffins, bagels and sugary cereals.
Olive oil is the most healthful oil
False. Olive oil is often singled out as an especially heart-healthy vegetable oil because it’s high in monounsaturated fat. But it’s also lower in polyunsaturated fat than other oils. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered good fats that may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Which of these fats is better for us is unclear. Some research suggests that polyunsaturated fats may have an edge when it comes to lowering LDL cholesterol, while monounsaturated fats may result in higher HDL cholesterol. One analysis called it a draw, concluding that replacing saturated fat with either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat has an equally beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Another found that substituting monounsaturated for saturated fat was associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, while polyunsaturated fat was linked to lower odds.
While these results aren’t necessarily an indictment of olive oil, they poke holes in the notion that its high levels of monounsaturated fat make olive oil more healthful.
Another theory is that olive oil antioxidants known as polyphenols make it more healthful than its rivals. Research suggests that virgin and extra-virgin oils, which are high in polyphenols, may be more heart-healthy than refined olive oil. But the evidence is preliminary and doesn’t shed much light on how virgin olive oils stack up against non-olive oils. The upshot is that other oils, such as canola, may be just as healthful as olive oil, possibly more so.
Coffee is bad
False. Cohort studies, which followed tens of thousands of people for many years, have found that coffee drinkers have no greater risk of heart attacks or strokes than those who abstain; indeed, they appear to have a slightly lower risk. Though coffee can temporarily increase blood pressure, there’s little evidence that it causes hypertension. Coffee drinkers appear to live just as long as abstainers, maybe even slightly longer.
One possible reason for the apparent benefits is that coffee is rich in antioxidants. Though some studies have found that as many as six cups a day are associated with benefits, that’s more than health authorities recommend because of the potential side effects of caffeine, which include insomnia, jitters and stomach upset. For many people, the biggest health risk from coffee is weight gain. Though a cup of black coffee has only two calories, that number can rise dramatically if you add cream and sugar or drink blended beverages, which can have several hundred calories.
Margarine is better than butter
Half-true. Margarine, which is made from vegetable oils, is lower in saturated fat than butter. But the process of converting those oils into solids can result in trans fats, which may be even more hazardous to the heart than the saturated kind.
Cohort studies have found that people who eat the most margarine have a higher risk of heart disease than those who use it only rarely. In other studies, researchers had subjects eat various types of spreads and then measured the effects on cholesterol levels. Compared with butter, margarine lowered LDL cholesterol, but it also reduced HDL, the good kind. The big loser in this face-off was stick margarine, which fared worse than butter. Semiliquid margarine, on the other hand, proved to have a more beneficial effect on cholesterol levels than butter.
Manufacturers have introduced some margarines that are low in saturated fat and virtually free of trans fat. That makes them a better option than butter. Still, margarine isn’t exactly a health food. Nor is butter. Your best bet is to minimize your use of both margarine and butter, going instead with healthful vegetable oils whenever possible.
Chocolate is good for your heart
Half-true. Cocoa, a main ingredient in chocolate, is high in antioxidants known as flavanols, which are also found in red wine, tea and certain fruits. Though the evidence overall is mixed, some cohort studies have linked high flavanol intake with lower rates of heart-related deaths. Generally, dark chocolate is higher than milk chocolate in flavanols.
Small, short-term experiments — many of them funded by the chocolate industry — show that chocolate (especially the dark variety) can lower blood pressure, improve blood vessel function, reduce inflammation in arteries and make blood less likely to clot. Even though it’s relatively high in saturated fat, studies show that chocolate doesn’t raise LDL cholesterol and may even lower it. One reason may be that some of the fat is a type known as stearic acid, which doesn’t adversely affect cholesterol levels.
Several European cohort studies of elderly men, middle-aged adults and heart attack survivors have linked greater chocolate and cocoa intake to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes and premature death. But since the chocolate consumed in Europe tends to contain higher levels of cocoa than the chocolate typically eaten in the United States, it’s unclear whether the findings apply to American chocolate eaters.
Many chocolate trials have fed subjects 31 / 2 ounces a day. To get that amount, you’d need to eat two or more standard-size candy bars, which add as many as 500 calories and lots of extra pounds. That’s hardly a formula for better health. Nor is consuming the large amounts of sugar that are typically added to chocolate. Look for products that list cocoa or chocolate liquor — and not sugar — as the first ingredient.
Reprinted from “Coffee Is Good for You” by Robert J. Davis, PhD, by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright 2012 by Robert J. Davis, PhD, MPH. Davis teaches health communications at Emory Unversity’s Rollins School of Public Health.
Magnesium is an important mineral for those looking to build a better body.
Now that’s one heck of an understatement. It’s not unlike saying that the quarterback is an important position on a football team or that Lindsay Lohan isn’t an ideal role model for young women.
Magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, many of which are directly related to muscle function and protein synthesis. Yet most Americans don’t get anywhere near enough magnesium, and the problem is amplified in hard training athletes and muscleheads.
To make matters worse, magnesium is slowly disappearing from the modern diet. Industrial agriculture and food processing methods literally strip magnesium and other valuable minerals right from our food supply, making it harder to consume enough nutrients from even a seemingly “healthy,” varied diet.
So what can we do about it? First, let’s take a closer look at why magnesium is so critically important.
Parathyroid Hormone, Vitamin D…And Atherosclerosis?
As stated, magnesium has many essential roles in human biochemistry. For one, magnesium deficiency is associated with hypoparathyroidism and low vitamin D production.
Magnesium deficiency has also been linked to disrupted bone metabolism. However, in several animal trials, supplementing with magnesium even inhibited the development of atherosclerosis!
Magnesium is known as the mineral of glucose control as it’s closely associated with insulin sensitivity, and a low intake has been linked with the development of type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, rat studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can mostly prevent diabetes.
Interestingly, high blood glucose and insulin levels seem to reduce magnesium status even more. It seemingly creates a vicious cycle where low magnesium levels lead to poor glucose control and insulin sensitivity, which again lowers magnesium status.
In healthy volunteers, those following a low-magnesium diet for only four weeks reduced their insulin sensitivity by 25%, suggesting that magnesium deficiency can lead to insulin resistance.
Magnesium supplementation in particular has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant subjects, both diabetics and non-diabetic alike. Let’s take a look at a few of these studies.
- A 16-week trial with type 2 diabetics found that magnesium supplementation improved fasting glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, and HbA1c levels (a form of hemoglobin which is measured primarily to identify the average plasma glucose concentration over prolonged periods of time). HbA1c levels were improved by 22%, which is an incredible number. That would take a diabetic with an HbA1c level of 8% (not good) down to 6.2% (very good) in only four months.
- A recent study showed that magnesium supplementation, even when levels are normal, could have positive benefits. Six months of magnesium supplementation in obese people who were insulin sensitive and had normal blood levels of magnesium led to further improved insulin sensitivity, as well as a 7% improvement in fasting glucose levels.
- A study on magnesium supplementation in insulin resistant but non-diabetic volunteers who had low blood levels of magnesium showed incredible results after only 16 weeks. Participants reduced their insulin resistance by 43% and fasting insulin by 32%, suggesting that their magnesium deficiency may have been one of the main reasons why they were insulin resistant in the first place.
Magnesium supplementation also improved subjects’ blood lipids. Total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides were all decreased, while HDL increased. The triglyceride improvement (of 39%!) makes the most sense, as improved glucose control will keep the liver from cranking out more TG’s, but the rest of the improvement is remarkable, too.
What About Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease?
Recent reviews have concluded that magnesium deficiency can lead to increased LDL levels, endothelial dysfunction, increased inflammation and oxidative stress, and constriction of coronary arteries (decreasing oxygen and nutrients to the heart). Well, that doesn’t sound all that appealing.
Magnesium supplementation and repletion has been shown to decrease LDL levels (as well as improve the other blood lipids), restore endothelial dysfunction in people with coronary artery disease, and decrease inflammation.
Enough Already! Where Do I Get Me Some Magnesium?
The best sources of magnesium are fish, nuts, seeds, beans, leafy greens, whole grains, and some fruits and vegetables. In particular, salmon, halibut, spinach, almonds, cashews, potatoes, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, and brown rice are all good whole sources of this precious mineral.
It’s important to note that magnesium content is dependent on soil quality, so buying most of these foods from organic or sustainable farms might provide you with greater levels of dietary magnesium. While this argument is still considered speculative, there is no dispute that conventionally grown foods are being raised in depleted soils. You can’t expect to grow nutrient-rich food from nutrient-stripped soil, so it might be worth the cost to go organic or sustainable.
It should also be noted that foods like whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds are also rich sources of phytic acid. Phytic acid may provide some independent health benefits, but it’s also an anti-nutrient that binds to magnesium (among other nutrients), preventing its absorption.
Historically, healthy non-industrial cultures that consumed significant amounts of grains also soaked or fermented them. This process would greatly decrease the phytic acid content while increasing nutrient bioavailability and improving digestibility. They might not have known why it worked; they just knew it did work.
For this reason, I recommend most of your grains be sprouted (like Ezekiel products) to reduce (but not eliminate) phytic acid and other anti-nutrients. It would also be a good idea to soak your beans for at least 24 hours, as well as roasting or buying roasted nuts, as these preparation methods may reduce phytic acid as well.
Finally, a very simple, convenient, not to mention effective option is simply to buy a high quality magnesium supplement like BIOTEST EliteproTM Minerals. One serving of EliteproTM contains 400mg of highly absorbable magnesium glycinate chelate, along with zinc, selenium, chromium, and vanadium, key minerals for blood sugar management, protein synthesis, and hormonal status.
Taking EliteproTM once a day along with choosing as many organic magnesium-rich whole foods as you can comfortably afford would be a near foolproof strategy.
Magnesium is, well, kind of a big deal. It’s vital for proper bone metabolism, vitamin D metabolism, parathyroid function, insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance as well as proper blood lipid levels and prevention of atherosclerosis, not to mention cardiovascular disease. It even helps you chill out after a stressful day and sleep like a baby.
But we also know that most Americans don’t consume enough magnesium, and that the industrialization of our food production has further decreased levels of this critical mineral. While consuming a diet based on real, whole, minimally processed foods should provide you with adequate levels, a high-quality mineral supplement like BIOTEST EliteproTM Mineral Support makes things a whole lot easier.
Consuming foods rich in magnesium along with proper supplementation will ensure adequate levels and provide you with more health benefits than you could possibly remember.
Or maybe you could? I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it was discovered that magnesium assisted in memory and cognitive function.
What’s the Best Way to Boost Fat Loss?
Strategy #1: Drugs
Strategy #2: Cardio
Strategy #3: Food Restriction
Strategy #4: More Weight Training
Calories: How Low is Too Low?
The Exercise Factor
The 1200 to 1600 Calorie Rule
The NEPA Factor
The Supplement Edge
So What Have We Learned?
References and Further Reading
2. Boschmann, M., et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Dec;88(12):6015-9.
3. Bray, G. Lancet 1969; 2:397.
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By: Brian Good
The shortcut to losing weight? Fast food. Not the kind the clown and the King try to shove down our throats, but rather, edible amphetamines-foods that act like speed for the fat-melting motor known as our metabolism. Eat these foods and you’re guaranteed to burn more calories…just by sitting there and listening to yourself digest.
Only one catch: Like any good buzz, this boost is temporary. “The only way to alter your resting metabolism permanently is to gain or lose weight, or to build extra muscle,” says Janet Walberg-Rankin, Ph.D., a professor of exercise physiology at Virginia Tech. But look at it this way: If you have a few of these supercharged snacks and drinks throughout the day, for enough days, you will lose weight.
And that’s if you’re doing nothing. Imagine if you were to stop listening to your stomach serenading you and actually begin exercising, too? The blubber-busting possibilities are endless. So grab a fork; it’s time to add fuel to the fire.
And for more great ways to and lose weight and stay slim for good, pick up a copy of The Men’s Health Diet today! It combines the latest findings in exercise and nutrition with practical how-to-advice that will transform your body into a fat-burning machine.
Milk, Whole Grain Cereal, Oats
Secret Ingredients: Calcium, complex carbohydrates, and fiber
How they work: Complex carbohydrates and fiber pump up metabolism by keeping insulin levels low after you eat. That’s good, because spikes in the production of insulin send a signal to the body that it’s time to start storing fat. And in order to stockpile fat, your body has to slow down your metabolism, causing you to burn fewer calories, says Margaret McNurlan, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Since oatmeal breaks down slowly in the stomach, it causes less of a spike in insulin levels than foods like bagels, she says.
Besides helping to keep insulin production down, eating breakfast can also help stoke your daily calorie burn. When the U.S. Navy studied the metabolisms and eating habits of a group of its personnel, it found that eating breakfast helped raise the men’s metabolisms by as much as 10 percent. “By skipping meals, you slow down your metabolism and prime your body to store fat,” says McNurlan.
The calcium in milk is a metabolic trigger as well. A University of Tennessee study found that dieters who consumed between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams (mg) of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as dieters getting less calcium.
Jalapenos, Habaneros, Cayennes
Secret Ingredient: Capsaicin—the chemical in peppers that gives them their bite
How it works: By speeding up your heart rate.
A study from the late ’80s found that eating a single spicy meal can boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent, with the spike in calorie burning lasting for up to 3 hours after you finish eating. More recently, a study from Laval University in Quebec found that men who consumed coffee plus red pepper-packed snacks and meals were able to burn nearly 1,000 more calories a day than a control group.
Small snacks can also help keep your body from running out of fuel-preventing those 3 p.m. office blahs. “When you restrict the number of calories your body has for fuel, your metabolic rate can drop temporarily,” says Susan Roberts, Ph.D., chief of the energy-metabolism laboratory at Tufts University in Boston. That makes it easier to pack on the pounds and harder to burn them off again.
Green Tea, Coffee
Secret Ingredients: Caffeine and a chemical in the tea called EGCG
How they work: Caffeine helps speed up your heart rate. The faster your heart beats, the more calories you burn. EGCG works in a similar way, but instead of revving up your heart, it causes your brain and nervous system to run more quickly-again helping you burn more calories.
In studies, researchers found that a combination of caffeine and a 90-mg dose of EGCG taken three times a day can help you burn an extra 80 calories a day. And that’s just when your body’s at rest. A study conducted by the Canadian government found that soldiers who consumed caffeine in the 12 hours prior to a physical-fitness test not only were able to work out longer before becoming exhausted, but also consumed more oxygen while working out. The body’s oxygen requirements are directly related to the speed of-guess what-your metabolism, so the more oxygen you use, the more calories you burn during your workout.
Lean Beef, Pork, Chicken, Turkey
Secret Ingredient: Protein
How it works: It takes more energy for your body to digest the protein in meat than it does for it to digest carbohydrates or fat, according to Doug Kalman, R.D., director of nutrition at Miami Research Associates, a nationally recognized pharmaceutical-research facility. “That means that the more protein you eat, the harder your body has to work to digest it, and the more calories you’ll burn in the process,” he says.
When researchers at Arizona State University compared the benefits of a high-protein diet with those of a high-carbohydrate diet, they found that people who ate a high-protein diet burned more than twice as many calories in the hours following their meal as those eating carbs. Even better, researchers in Denmark found that men who substituted protein for 20 percent of the carbs in their diets were able to boost their metabolisms, increasing the number of calories they burned each day by up to 5 percent.
Salmon, Tuna, Sardines
Secret Ingredient: Omega-3 fatty acids
How they work: By altering levels of a hormone called leptin in your body. Several recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism, determining whether you burn calories or store them as fat.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that mice with low leptin levels have faster metabolisms and are able to burn fat more quickly than animals with higher leptin levels. The best way to lower your leptin? Eat fish.
Mayo Clinic researchers studying the diets of two African tribes-one of which frequently ate fish and one of which didn’t-found that fish eaters had leptin levels nearly five times lower than the levels found in tribes that primarily ate vegetables.
The good news, if you don’t like fish: Fish-oil supplements may work just as well as the stuff with scales. French researchers found that men who replaced 6 grams of fat in their diets with 6 grams of fish oil were able to boost their metabolisms and lose an average of 2 pounds in just 12 weeks.
By: Carolyn Kylstra
Some foods just aren’t taken seriously.
Consider celery, for example—forever the garnish, never the main meal. You might even downgrade it to bar fare, since the only stalks most guys eat are served alongside hot wings or immersed in Bloody Marys.
All of which is a shame, really. Besides being a perfect vehicle for peanut butter, this vegetable contains bone-beneficial silicon and cancer-fighting phenolic acids. And those aren’t even what makes celery so good for you.
You see, celery is just one of six underappreciated and undereaten foods that can instantly improve your diet. Make a place for them on your plate, and you’ll gain a new respect for the health benefits they bestow—from lowering blood pressure to fighting belly fat. And the best part? You’ll discover just how delicious health food can be.
This water-loaded vegetable has a rep for being all crunch and no nutrition. But ditch that mindset: Celery contains stealth nutrients that heal.
Why it’s healthy: “My patients who eat four sticks of celery a day have seen modest reductions in their blood pressure—about 6 points systolic and 3 points diastolic,” says Mark Houston, M. D., director of the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas Hospital, in Nashville. It’s possible that phytochemicals in celery, called phthalides, are responsible for this health boon. These compounds relax muscle tissue in artery walls and increase bloodflow, according to nutritionist Jonny Bowden, Ph. D., author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. And beyond the benefits to your BP, celery also fills you up—with hardly any calories.
How to eat it: Try this low-carbohydrate, protein-packed recipe for a perfect snack any time of day.
In a bowl, mix a 4.5-ounce can of low-sodium tuna (rinsed and drained), 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup of finely chopped onion, 1/4 cup of finely chopped apple, 2 tablespoons of fat-free mayonnaise, and some fresh ground pepper. Then spoon the mixture into celery stalks. (Think tuna salad on a log.) Makes 2 servings
Per serving: 114 calories, 15 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates (3 grams fiber), 1 gram fat
While this algae is a popular health food in Japan, it rarely makes it into U. S. homes.
Why it’s healthy: There are four classes of seaweeds—green, brown, red, and blue-green—and they’re all packed with healthful nutrients. “Seaweeds are a great plant source of calcium,” says nutritionist Alan Aragon, M.S. They’re also loaded with potassium, which is essential for maintaining healthy blood-pressure levels. “Low potassium and high sodium intake can cause high blood pressure,” Bowden says. “Most people know to limit sodium, but another way to combat the problem is to take in more potassium.”
How to eat it: In sushi, of course. You can also buy sheets of dried seaweed at Asian groceries, specialty health stores, or online at edenfoods.com. Use a coffee grinder to grind the sheets into a powder. Then use the powder as a healthy salt substitute that’s great for seasoning salads and soups.
Despite the Cannabis classification, these seeds aren’t for smoking. But they may provide medicinal benefits.
Why they’re healthy: “Hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Cassandra Forsythe, Ph. D., a nutrition researcher at the University of Connecticut. What’s more, a 1-ounce serving of the seeds provides 11 grams of protein—but not the kind of incomplete protein found in most plant sources. Hemp seeds provide all the essential amino acids, meaning the protein they contain is comparable to that found in meat, eggs, and dairy.
How to eat them: Toss 2 tablespoons of the seeds into your oatmeal or stir-fry. Or add them to your postworkout shake for an extra dose of muscle-building protein.
Perhaps these mollusks are considered guilty by association, since they often appear in decadent restaurant meals that are overloaded with calories. (But then again, so does asparagus.)
Why they’re healthy: Scallops are more than 80 percent protein. “One 3-ounce serving provides 20 grams of protein and just 95 calories,” says Bowden. They’re also a good source of both magnesium and potassium. (Clams and oysters provide similar benefits.)
How to eat them: Sear the scallops: It’s a fast and easy way to prepare this seafood.
Purchase fresh, dry-packed scallops (not the “wet-packed” kind) and place them on a large plate or cookie sheet. While you preheat a skillet on medium high, pat the scallops dry with a paper towel and season the exposed sides with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. When the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of olive oil to it. Being careful not to overcrowd, lay the scallops in the skillet, seasoned-side down, and then season the top sides.
Sear the scallops until the bottoms are caramelized (about 2 minutes), and then flip them to sear for another 1 to 2 minutes, depending on size and thickness. Now they’re ready to eat. Pair the scallops with sauteed vegetables, or place them on a bed of brown rice.
Sure, dark meat has more fat than white meat does, but have you ever considered what the actual difference is? Once you do, Thanksgiving won’t be the only time you “call the drumstick.”
Why it’s healthy: “The extra fat in dark turkey or chicken meat raises your levels of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that makes you feel fuller, longer,” says Aragon. The benefit: You’ll be less likely to overeat in the hours that follow your meal. What about your cholesterol? Only a third of the fat in a turkey drumstick is the saturated kind, according to the USDA food database. (The other two-thirds are heart-healthy unsaturated fats.) What’s more, 86 percent of that saturated fat either has no impact on cholesterol, or raises HDL (good) cholesterol more than LDL (bad) cholesterol—a result that actually lowers your heart-disease risk.
As for calories, an ounce of dark turkey meat contains just 8 more calories than an ounce of white meat.
How to eat it: Just enjoy, but be conscious of your total portion sizes. A good rule of thumb: Limit yourself to 8 ounces or less at any one sitting, which provides up to 423 calories. Eat that with a big serving of vegetables, and you’ll have a flavorful fat-loss meal.
It’s no surprise that these hearty legumes are good for you. But when was the last time you ate any?
Why they’re healthy: Boiled lentils have about 16 grams of belly-filling fiber in every cup. Cooked lentils also contain 27 percent more folate per cup than cooked spinach does. And if you eat colored lentils—black, orange, red—there are compounds in the seed hulls that contain disease-fighting antioxidants, says Raymond Glahn, Ph. D., a research physiologist with Cornell University.
How to eat them: Use lentils as a bed for chicken, fish, or beef—they make a great substitute for rice or pasta.
Pour 4 cups of chicken stock into a large pot. Add 1 cup of red or brown lentils and a half cup each of onion and carrot chunks, along with 3 teaspoons of minced garlic. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the lentils until they’re tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the lentils from the heat, add a splash of red-wine vinegar, and serve.