Alcohol and weight have always seemed to have a bad relationship. A glass of your favorite wine after work or a nightcap with an old friend are usually the first things to go when we begin a diet. However, research as to why alcohol should stop during diets isn’t as clear as anti-alcohol diets make out.
Image Source: ehotelier.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Red-wine-e1426742972813.jpg
Obviously, there are clear negatives to alcohol:
It is not always common knowledge that alcohol is loaded with calories. We subconsciously assume it isn’t as bad because it’s so easy to consume as opposed to eating a big burger or a plate of fries, but alcohol is just as bad- if not worse. The human body targets alcohol calories before the other calories (calories from extra ingredients in cocktails mainly)- the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, which are stored in the body until needed. To balance out the calories, we need to exercise more or consume less of other calories.
Image Source: desiredreflections.com/content/uploads/measuring-tape-around-waist-386×270.jpg
On the other hand, it isn’t as simple as it seems. Studies show that drinking wasn’t associated with body mass index in men, and it actually had a zero to negative effect in women, meaning that some women who drank actually had less body mass index than women who didn’t. However, this study heavily relied on a specific age and drinking level. It relied on moderate drinking habits, meaning two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. It did not include heavy drinkers (four drinks a day for men, 3 drinks a day for women), who had a higher risk of obesity.
Through several studies and experiments, they found that two glasses of wine a night for men and one glass of wine a night for women did not increase weight gain. So maybe you can enjoy that glass of your favorite wine after work, after all!
Overall, the problem with studies on people is that everyone is different. It may be that for the majority of people, one to two glasses of wine a day will have no effect on weight gain, but for a minority, it might. It is all down to genetics, stress, eating patterns and exercise. In the end, it all comes down to alcohol and weight management. You just have to find what works for you, moderation is usually the answer.
It is easy to forget, with our busy lifestyles, the basic guidelines for healthy eating. A lot of the time, we are so busy that we don’t even manage to consume the 3 important square meals a day. However, there are certain foods that are considered to be ‘brain foods’ and can really help with the overall function of your brain and are really easy to fit in with even the busiest of lifestyles.
Image Source: simplesmartscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/brain-food.jpg
Here is a list of 8 super foods that are proven to help with memory, focus and keeping you feeling more energized throughout the day- which we can all admit, would be very helpful!
Being high in fiber, protein, unsaturated fats and a huge array of minerals and vitamins, eating a handful of nuts each day, may well keep the doctor away! Each type of nut offers a huge variety of nutrients. For example, Walnuts contain a high amount of alpha-linolenic acids, which is essential for our brain in keeping it healthy and active, as it is one of the three Omega-3 fatty acids that we need. Another example would be Cashew nuts. Cashews are high in iron, zinc, and magnesium, which is linked to helping the improvement of memory loss and memory related diseases.
Avocados are a heavily packed food, containing an incredible amount of nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D, E, K and all B vitamins, along with potassium and fiber. And if that isn’t enough, Avocados also are rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, also known as Omega-3 fatty acids. With Avocados containing so much goodness, they help with a wide range of things such as keeping your heart and brain healthy and reducing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Beets have been proven to increase blood flow to the brain. Not only that, they are also high in minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin C, folate, fiber, manganese, and potassium. They convert nitric oxide in your body which can improve your overall mental performance and brain function greatly because it helps you to relax and dilates the blood vessels in your brain, ultimately lowering your blood pressure.
It may be known to you that eating fish that is high in fatty acids is one of the best sources of protein and other nutrients which are essential for your brain and body. It is even more important that we eat foods like salmon because our body simply does not make the essential fatty acids we need. Salmon, along with trout, mackerel and sardines also contain high levels of EFAs and DHAs, which DHAs improve memory loss and can reduce the risk of memory related diseases.
5. Dark Chocolate
For all you dark chocolate lovers out there, it is proven that dark chocolate has the most brain health benefits out of all chocolates. Chocolate is used widely as a comfort food, but realistically chocolate does actually make you feel a lot happier because of its high levels of tryptophan, which is a neurotransmitter of feeling happy. The flavonoids in dark chocolate improve blood flow to the brain which in turn, increases your reaction time, your attention span, your overall memory and your problem-solving skills. That isn’t all, dark chocolate also releases endorphins into our brain, which reduces stress levels and pain.
Since we were children, it is always hammered into us that eating greens is important. But eating greens really has never been more important than for your overall brain health. Broccoli helps strengthen your cognitive brain functions and improve your memory because it is rich in Vitamin K and choline. It also contains a high amount of folic acid, which helps fight off depression and keeps you feeling happy. Not only that, the folic acid aids in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, broccoli benefits our most basic functions such as reasoning, thinking, remembering, imagining and learning, because of its high levels of lignans.
7. Whole Grains
There are a huge variety of whole grains such as pasta, whole grain bread, brown rice, and oats. Whole grains are low glycemic foods which will keep your blood sugar stable for a lot longer than when you eat refined or white grains. This is why whole grains are considered to contain magical energy for the brain. Whole grains also alter your glucose levels slightly and will slowly supply glucose to the brain and body over time, helping you concentrate for longer and stay focused more, throughout the day.
You might be relieved to know that many studies show that eating blueberries can help slow the aging process and age-related diseases! According to another study, from Tufts University, blueberries, if eaten regularly can also help with short-term memory loss. These magic berries can also help your motor functions and improve your learning abilities.
Ever wonder why Europeans have a lower heart rate and are more physically fit than their cross-ocean neighbors, Americans? Even though it seems as though European diets consist of intake that is seemingly through the roof in saturated fats, they still yield some of the most physically fit populations on the planet. Researches formerly attributed this to lifestyle practices and their penchant to indulge in wines. However, recent studies have shown that, you guessed it, cheese may also contribute a vital roll in the everyday healthy lifestyles of most Europeans. How can this be when many cheeses are high in fat content? Well, to counteract the high fat content, the healthy benefit stems from the potentially high metabolic rejuvenation within the cheese.
For the purpose of the study, scientists compared bodily fluid samples from a group of people whose diets consisted of higher intakes of milk or cheese as well as a controlled diet of butter but no other dairy was a part of their diet. Findings showed that those whose diet consisted of cheese had higher levels of butyrate in their bodily fluids as compared to other groups of people. Butyrate is a short chain of fatty acids that are produced by bacteria in your stomach. In a similar light, the increase in butyrate levels resulted in lower cholesterol. This makes the very valid argument that cheese could be a included in a diet geared toward to healthier lifestyle.
While science has not truly revealed exactly how butyrates contribute to a healthier lifestyle, other studies have shown butyrates improves insulin sensitivity, energy levels, all while reducing stress levels. A study conducted in 2009 that was presented in the journal of Diabetes, linked butyrates to a markedly reduced risk of obesity.
As much as some cheese has its health benefits, other cheese do not exemplify or promote as much of a healthy lifestyle as others. Aged cheeses will be your best shot at improving your healthy lifestyle and tackle the weight loss mission. Such cheese include aged cheddar, Parmesan and Greyere… among others. Butyrate can originate from two sources, mainly. I can be produced from cheese itself or from bacteria produced in the stomach after the consumption of certain foods. An expert in this study noted that in both instances, aged cheeses tend to result in an increased amount of butyrate than fresh cheeses.
As studies have shown, it’s something we should be aware of as it meshes well with earlier research showing that cheese can have the benefits of reducing cholesterol compared to other dairy products with similar fat content. With that in mind, consider adding aged cheese to your diet as it may prove to be a healthy move!