Nutrition: Tips to live by!
Nature’s gastric bands: From cinnamon to seaweed, the foods that naturally curb your appetite and help you shed pounds
Last week, researchers revealed spicing up meal-times with red chilli peppers could provide a natural appetite suppressant and help you lose weight. Here, LAURA STOTT explains why — and gives some other fascinating tips on how to curb your appetite the natural way. . .
All fruit and vegetables are high satiety (or filling) foods that contain a lot of water, air and fibre to produce ‘full-up’ signals in the small intestine — but research has shown apples are particularly effective for weight watchers.
Once digested, they produce the hormone GLP-1, which sends signals to the brain to persuade you into thinking you are full up.
One U.S. study showed people ate 15 per cent fewer calories after having an apple before a main meal. Apparently, the trick is to eat high-satiety foods at the beginning of a meal so you feel fuller early on and don’t compensate later by eating more.
TIP: Eat one medium-sized apple 15 minutes before meals to help regulate your appetite.
Feeling the burn could be the best way to get bikini ready, but it doesn’t have to mean hours sweating in the gym. Recent research found that sprinkling just half a teaspoon of chopped-up red chilli peppers on meals can curb your appetite.
Scientists discovered Capsaicin — the element responsible for giving chilli peppers their heat — reduces hunger pangs, while increasing energy levels.
You won’t get the same effect just by taking a supplement, claim the researchers from Purdue University, Indiana — you have to taste the pepper.
And, if you normally avoid spicy food — even better. Those who did not regularly eat chilli experienced an even greater decrease of hunger, especially for fatty, salty and sweet foods.
TIP: Most dried and fresh chillies contain capsaicin. Sprinkle half a teaspoonful over main meals.
Starting your day with a seaweed shake could be the secret to keeping slim.
Dutch scientists have found that adding algae, a natural dietary fibre derived from seaweed, to a drink, suppressed hunger pangs by 30 per cent and kept dieters feeling full until lunchtime.
Researchers studied the algae in liquid form and found that, upon reaching the stomach, it becomes a gel, slowing down the emptying of food and mimicking the effect of eating solids.
The American Dietetic Association agreed that it may stop people feeling hungry between meals.
TIP: The algae-based meal replacement drink is still in development, but algae supplements are available from good health food shops such as Holland and Barrett.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has reported green tea contains catechins, a substance thought to stimulate the body to burn more calories, helping you to beat the bulge in double-quick time.
Drinking three to six cups of green tea a day speeds up the rate your body burns cellular energy by up to 40 per cent, and also increases the rate of fat burning.
Researchers found this effect is caused by the combination of caffeine and flavonoids found in the tea, whether it is drunk hot or cold. Green tea also contains certain antioxidants which are believed to have an effect on the hormone Leptin — responsible for controlling appetite.
TIP: Substitute other hot drinks for green tea, and consume regularly throughout the day for a figure-fixing beverage.
The quality of egg protein is the highest of any whole food product — second only to human breast milk — and according to a recent scientific review, this high protein content plays a role in weight management.
According to a report in the Journal Of the American College of Nutrition, eating two scrambled eggs for breakfast resulted in people eating fewer calories for the rest of the day — and, particularly, the next 36 hours.
TIP: Kick start the day with an egg to stave off hunger pangs until lunch.
Lemons contain pectin, a natural soluble fibre and gelling agent, which mops up fat stored by the body, and slows the digestive process so you feel full after eating less food.
U.S. researchers found that lemon acids and pectin can slow the absorption of sugar after a meal, and avoid those low blood-sugar dips which can result in snacking.
Vitamin C in lemons also helps us to produce carnitine — an amino acid to encourage the body to burn fat. Studies at Arizona State University found that volunteers with adequate vitamin C burned 30 per cent more fat during exercise than those with low levels.
TIP: Try to incorporate the zest and juice of a lemon in your diet daily, squeeze over salads, into sauces or simply add to warm water and drink.
We all know that drinking water before meals makes us feel fuller, but just how useful is it as a natural appetite suppressant?
A study published in 2010 concluded that drinking water just before meals can actually help people to lose weight. Researchers split 48 overweight adults aged 55 to 75 into two groups.
The first group was asked to eat a low-calorie diet but not to drink any extra water before meals. The second group was asked to eat the same diet but also to drink two glasses of water (500 ml) just before each meal.
After 12 weeks, members of the water drinking group had lost, on average, about 2kg more than the non-water drinking group — simply because they felt fuller during each meal and as a result ate less.
TIP: Drink a large glass of water prior to meals. Remember drinking excessive amounts can be dangerous, so be careful not to exceed the extra 500ml recommended.
Researchers in Israel recently discovered that not only can the humble garlic bulb prevent weight gain; it might also cause weight loss.
The key to garlic’s health-giving properties is a compound called allicin, also responsible for giving it that pungent smell. But the trial found the strong odour of garlic stimulates the satiety centre in the brain, reducing feelings of hunger.
It also stimulates the nervous system to release hormones such as adrenalin, which in turn speed up your metabolic rate so you burn more calories.
TIP: Add garlic routinely to all savoury dishes when cooking. Powdered supplements are also effective and help avoid garlic breath!
If you want to stay slim, get an early night. As you will have read above, leptin and another hormone, ghrelin, are both known to directly influence our appetite — when leptin falls, we crave crbohydrates, when ghrelin levels increase our appetite is stimulated.
U.S. scientists discovered those who slept less than eight hours a night not only had lower levels of leptin, and increased amounts of ghrelin, but also had higher levels of body fat.
So in a nutshell, those who slept the least, weighed the most.
TIP: Get at least eight hours’ sleep a night to prevent over-eating.
A Scandinavian study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when volunteers were given rice pudding with three grams of cinnamon, they produced less insulin after the meal.
Because insulin is the hormone that turns excess sugar into fat, this means less weight gain. As well as lowering blood sugar levels cinnamon may slow down the emptying of the stomach, meaning it can make you feel fuller for longer.
TIP: Sprinkle a teaspoon of cinnamon daily over cereals, yogurt or fruit, use to season puddings or even stir into coffee. It is especially effective if consumed directly after meals.
Don’t forget a healthy body is only one part of the equation. A healthy mind is just as important.
If you are into Asian culture or Martial Arts you will really like this! If you have an open mind(which is also important) read these:
1. Training the Samurai Mind: A Bushido Sourcebook by Thomas Cleary
2. The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to… by Takuan Soho
3. The Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of… by Yuzan Daidoji
4. Yojokun: Life Lessons from a Samurai by Kaibara Ekiken
The Dalai Lama in America: Training the Mind [Abridged] [Audible Audio Edition]by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
All Are Available at Amazon.com
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