Wednesday, June 15, 2011

10 ways to stay healthy

1. Spice up your morning eggs. Cayenne and other forms of red pepper contain capsaicin, a substance that suppresses appetite signals, increases metabolism and decreases the desire for food later in the day. In addition, eggs are high in protein, which tends to induce feelings of fullness.
2. Consume fiber early in the day. Fiber increases levels of appetite-suppressing signals in the small intestine. Eating fiber early in the day makes people less hungry in the afternoon -- the time when most of us tend to eat snacks and other calorie-dense foods. Consume about 30 g of fiber daily in the form of high-fiber cereals, fruits and vegetables, and 100% whole grains.
3. Eat nuts. The monounsaturated fat in nuts stimulates the production ofcholecystokinin (CCK), a chemical messenger that slows the rate at which the stomach empties and reduces appetite without putting your body into starvation mode -- that is, the point at which it starts conserving calories, rather than burning them. Before lunch and/or dinner, have about six walnuts, 12 almonds or 12 hazelnuts.
4. Drink coffee instead of soft drinks. Coffee (caffeinated and decaffeinated) is a rich source of antioxidants, and Americans consume more of it than any other antioxidant-rich food. Coffee is much lower in calories (if you don't add a lot of sugar and/or creamer) than sugary soft drinks. Bonus: Caffeine stimulates the release of norepinephrine, a hormone that suppresses appetite and promotes calorie burning by increasing heart rate and metabolism. Green tea also is a rich source of antioxidants and caffeine.
5. Supplement with 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Related to the amino acid tryptophan and sold as a weight-loss supplement, 5-HTP increases brain levels of serotonin, a neurotransmiter that controls appetite. In one study, people taking 5-HTP for six weeks lost an average of 12 pounds, compared with only four pounds in a control group. Recommended dose:300 mg daily. (Check with your physician if you are pregnant, lactating, taking medication or if you have a health condition.) Bonus: 5-HTP has mood-enhancing benefits.
6. Turn up the thermostat. One reason that people tend to eat more during the cold months is that cold temperatures stimulate appetite. Also, people with naturally low body temperatures tend to have a slower metabolism and are more prone to weight gain. Staying warm may be a natural form of appetite control, particularly if you increase body temperature with exercise. Every one degree increase in body temperature increases metabolism by 14%.
7. Ask your doctor about Tagamet. The active ingredient (cimetidine) in this heartburn drug is thought to activate appetite-suppressing CCK. One 12-week study found that people taking a prescription form of Tagamet (400 mg, three times daily) had about a 5% decrease in waist size.Important: Tagamet is unlikely to cause significant side effects, but should be taken to aid weight loss only if you have heartburn symptoms.
8. Consider using nicotine. It's common for people who quit smoking to gain weight, probably because the nicotine in tobacco suppresses appetite, increases metabolism and damages taste buds, which makes food less appealing. Studies have shown that nicotine -- in the form of patches and gum, not from cigarettes -- when combined with small amounts of caffeine, can help some people lose weight.
If you've hit a weight plateau: Talk to your doctor about combining a nicotine patch with two cups of coffee daily. Even for nonsmokers, this approach can be used temporarily (to avoid possible addiction risk) to jump-start weight-loss efforts.
9. Smell grapefruit. Grapefruit oil, available from aromatherapy shops, emits an aroma that is thought to affect liver enzymes and help promote weight loss. In preliminary research, animals exposed to grapefruit scent for 15 minutes, three times weekly, had a reduction in appetite and body weight.
10. Control emotional stress. People who live with chronic stress (due to family pressures, a fast-paced job, etc.) produce high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that increases the propensity for the omentum -- a structure located near the stomach -- to store fat. Excessive fat in the omentum can significantly increase waist size.


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