Cinnamon for Weight Loss

Cinnamon is one of those spices that has many health benefits:

cinnamon

  • Helps prevent breast cancer
  • Has a high thermic effect on the body
  • Helps in prolonging the digestion process in the stomach
  • Relieves diarrhea and nausea
  • Aids in peripheral circulation
  • Enhances digestion
  • Promotes the metabolism of fats

Recent studies have shown that cinnamon also affects blood glucose levels. It does this by prolonging the digestion process of the stomach, which helps to reduce spikes in insulin levels after eating a meal.

This effect it has on blood sugar levels helps in weight loss as you feel fuller longer, so you’re less likely to give into food cravings and you won’t feel so hungry all the time. It also boosts your metabolism and helps to control blood sugar levels.

I use cinnamon on my oatmeal in the morning and on top of yogurt or in my protein shake. I often make a Chai Tea with almond milk and will add a cinnamon stick just for fun and flavor. All you need is just 6 g of cinnamon a day to improve overall health.

 

Advertisements

Eating Stress-Free Burns more Calories

Having trouble losing weight and can’t figure out why? You might be engaging in stressed-out eating.

eating on the runWhat is stressed-out eating?

If you eat on-the-go while you’re in a hurry or running between meetings or classes, then you’re setting yourself up for extra poundage. The slower you eat, the faster you metabolize the foods you ingest.

It’s time to slow things down, relax and enjoy your food.

Monitoring your eating speed can also help you identify your relationship to food and emotional eating. This is where diet journaling comes in handy. By keeping a journal of your eating habits, you can help re-establish a healthy relationship with food.

You’ve seen those people who just wolf down their food without even tasting it or perhaps, even chewing it. Well, not only do you put an incredible drain on your digestive system and lose some of the nutrients from your food, but you set yourself up for weight gain.

In the 1800s in England, there was a man who developed a dieting system that required its participants to chew each mouthful of food for 40 times before swallowing. Now, this is the extreme, but by chewing your food slowly and thoroughly, you start the digestive process and relax the stomach to receive the food. This helps in the breakdown of the food and ensures you’re getting all the nutrients you can from your meals.

It’s important to be relaxed when you’re eating, because when you’re stressed out, you stimulate the hormone cortisol which is responsible for unsightly and unhealthy midriff weight gain. To your body, stress is stress and when it senses something is wrong, it will secrete cortisol hormone, which slows down your metabolism and tends to store what you’re eating as fat. It senses danger and that means famine. Digestion can even come to a complete stop, resulting in bloating, discomfort and constipation.

Here are some pointers from the book Slow Down Diet from Marc David:

  • Worrying about fat increases fat. Anxiety about weight loss causes your body to put fat on and retain it.
  • Slow down, relax your mind! This will burn food more efficiently if you breathe in more oxygen. So relax and take deep breaths while eating.

Here are some additional tips to help you get in the mood for food:

  • Take a look at the French, who have turned dining into an art form and whose lunches usually last for hours and hours.
  • Try reading a book or sharing your meals with family and friends with some relaxed conversation.
  • Create a comfortable atmosphere by lighting candles, laying the table and maybe even placing a vase of flowers on the table to instil calm.
  • You don’t have to dine out at a fancy restaurant to create the ideal mood for dining, just a few simple things like lighting and music can make all the difference.
  • Avoid eating in front of the TV or computer. If you’re watching an intense show, that stress will transfer to your body and it will sense that stress and your metabolism will slow down.
  • Breathe and savor each morsel.

By employing a few of these tips, you will re-establish a healthy relationship towards food and develop healthy habits towards eating.

Combatting Diet Crabbiness

Dieting can wreck havoc on your nerves and cause mood swings, especially in those in-between-meal moments.

diet crabbinessThat is why eating several small meals spread out throughout the day is a good idea to help manage these mood swings and keep your blood sugars level.

Mood swings are caused by fluctuations in serotonin levels in the brain, which often occur when someone hasn’t eaten or is stressed out. Research out of the University of Cambridge is now showing that these same regions of the brain affected by serotonin levels are the same regions of the brain that control anger.

Although reduced serotonin levels have previously been implicated in aggression, this is the first study to show how this chemical helps regulate behavior in the brain as well as why some individuals may be more prone to aggression. The research findings were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Researchers altered the diets of the people participating in this study from serotonin-depleted days with no tryptophan to placebo days with normal amounts of tryptophan. This protein, tryptophan, is needed for the production of serotonin. Reactions to this manipulated diet were scanned via MRI images and notes were taken on behavioral changes, particularly in facial expressions.

“Using the fMRI, they were able to measure how different brain regions reacted and communicated with one another when the volunteers viewed angry faces, as opposed to sad or neutral faces.”

The MRI showed regions of the brain that were affected by low serotonin levels to experience weaker signals that control emotional responses to anger.

The subjects of this study were pre-screened to determine their normal response to anger and aggression. Those who exhibited higher levels of anger were affected worse by the lower levels of serotonin and the absence of tryptophan in their diets.

Dr Molly Crockett, co-first author who worked on the research while a PhD student at Cambridge’s Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (and currently based at the University of Zurich) said:

“We’ve known for decades that serotonin plays a key role in aggression, but it’s only very recently that we’ve had the technology to look into the brain and examine just how serotonin helps us regulate our emotional impulses. By combining a long tradition in behavioral research with new technology, we were finally able to uncover a mechanism for how serotonin might influence aggression.”

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Weight Loss

Limiting the amount of fructose you eat is one trick that will help you reach your weight loss goal.

Best fruits and vegetables for weight lossAs well as limiting fructose in the form of fruits and fruit juices, it is important to limit your carbohydrate intake and pay particular attention to the source of these carbs. All carbs in the form of sugar and grains promote insulin resistance and this can be harmful to your health and lead to diseases like diabetes.

You should keep your fructose intake between 15 and 25 grams

People who eat clean diets will use fresh vegetables for their optimum source of carbohydrates and will eat an abundance of fresh, leafy greens. However, that doesn’t include all vegetables. Obviously, starchy veg like potatoes and squash should be limited and sugary veg like carrots and beets should also be restricted for their high sugar content.

There are lots of fruits that are low in fructose like raspberries, cantaloupe, plums, apricots, passion fruit, limes and lemons.

Recommended vegetables include:

Best Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Weight Loss

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Beet greens
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chicory
  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Chives
  • Cucumbers
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Fennel
  • Green and red cabbage
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • All kind of lettuce and spring greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini

A healthy diet is one that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein. To make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet, include a whey protein isolate shake first thing in the morning and again immediately following your workout. You’ll notice more energy, better muscle tone and fewer food cravings.

 

Yoga Helps Physical and Emotional Pain

Some people turn to Yoga to burn calories and work up a good sweat when it’s hot Yoga, but Hatha Yoga has always offered a combination of strength conditioning and relaxation.

Yoga can help fibromyalgiaA new study out of York University published in the Journal of Pain Research found that Hatha Yoga can have a profound effect on physical pain and psychological symptoms of chronic pain in women who suffer from fibromyalgia.

The focus of this study was the stress hormone cortisol and how Yoga would affect these levels as it has been shown to stimulate cortisol. In women with fibromyalgia, cortisol levels can be quite low and this contributes to their symptoms like chronic pain, fatigue, muscle stiffness, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal discomfort, anxiety and depression.

These women were studied for a period of eight weeks and took a 75-minute Hatha Yoga class twice a week. After which their saliva samples were taken to test for cortisol levels and the results showed they were higher than before.

“Ideally, our cortisol levels peak about 30-40 minutes after we get up in the morning and decline throughout the day until we’re ready to go to sleep,” says the study’s lead author, Kathryn Curtis, a PhD student in York’s Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health. “The secretion of the hormone, cortisol, is dysregulated in women with fibromyalgia” she says.

Cortisol is part of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. As a steroid hormone, cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands in response to stress.

“Hatha yoga promotes physical relaxation by decreasing activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which lowers heart rate and increases breath volume. We believe this in turn has a positive effect on the HPA axis,” says Curtis.

As well as the saliva test, the study group women filled out a questionnaire rating their levels of pain before and after the eight-week study. The main areas of improvement after eight weeks of Hatha Yoga were:

  • Less pain
  • Fewer symptoms
  • Psychological benefits
  • Acceptance of their condition
  • Reduced anxiety and feelings of helplessness
  • Less likely to “catastrophize” over their condition

“We saw their levels of mindfulness increase — they were better able to detach from their psychological experience of pain,” Curtis says. Mindfulness is a form of active mental awareness rooted in Buddhist traditions; it is achieved by paying total attention to the present moment with a non-judgmental awareness of inner and outer experiences.

“Yoga promotes this concept — that we are not our bodies, our experiences, or our pain. This is extremely useful in the management of pain,” she says. “Moreover, our findings strongly suggest that psychological changes in turn affect our experience of physical pain.”

The study – Curtis’ thesis – was published July 26 in the Journal of Pain Research. It is co-authored by her supervisor, York professor Joel Katz, Canada Research Chair in Health Psychology, and Anna Osadchuk, a York University undergraduate student.

Curtis was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Canada Graduate Scholarship and a CIHR Strategic Training Grant Fellowship in Pain: Molecules to Community.

Source:

York University. “Yoga boosts stress-busting hormone, reduces pain, study finds.” ScienceDaily, 27 Jul. 2011. Web. 1 Aug. 2011.