Eight weeks of kimchi was found to improve the gene expression of metabolic pathways and immunity of obese subjects
Fermented kimchi may offer an interesting method of helping human metabolism, suggests a new study from researchers in South Korea.
Fermented kimchi may offer an interesting method of helping human metabolism, suggests a new study from researchers in South Korea.
Fermented kimchi contains lactobacilli, a helpful bacteria that is also found in yogurt, and has been found to positively affect a number of digestion problems and bacterial infections.
In a study conducted by researchers at Dongguk University and ChunLab Inc. at Seoul National University, scientists found that an eight-week diet of daily kimchi consumption was associated with a significant change in expression level of a number of genes “related to metabolic pathways and immunity,” according to the study published in the journal of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.
Fermented kimchi, more than fresh kimchi, was found to produce a significant drop in the ratio of two types of gut bacteria — Firmicutes to Bacteroides — in a population of 24 obese Korean women, and was shown to increase metabolic activity.
According to the study: “It is conceivable that consumption of fermented kimchi can either directly or indirectly influence human expression of genes related to metabolic and immunity pathways or indirectly influence human metabolism by altering microbial composition.”
Consumption of the fermented kimchi also yielded positive effects in gene expression linked to circulation, digestion, and blood pressure.
Dr. Travis Stork’s Revolutionary Weight-Loss Plan
T here’s a revolutionary new way to lose belly fat – and it starts in your gut. Travis Stork, MD, host of “The Doctors” TV show, has the 411 on how it works. Learn about his breakthrough “diet,” with recipe hacks to help you shed that spare tire for good!
Can’t lose weight? It’s time to recruit the army of bacteria living in your gut – also known as the microbiome. New research is revealing gut bacteria as a key player in the battle of the bulge, according to Travis Stork, MD, Emmy-nominated host of "The Doctors" TV show. And it’s changing the way doctors approach obesity and other chronic diseases. In his new book, The Lose Your Belly Diet: Change Your Gut, Change Your Life(Ghost Mountain Books), Dr. Stork explains how the trillions of “little buddies” living in our tummies may control weight gain or loss – and why traditional diets don’t always work.
“A lot of people think about their bellies purely in terms of weight,” he tells Lifescript. “That’s important, but it’s more important to lose weight the right way.” By following a few simple dietary rules, it’s possible to change your gut on the inside as well as the outside, says Dr. Stork, a board-certified emergency medicine physician and author of four New York Times best-sellers on weight loss. The benefits of eating a microbiome-friendly diet include:
- Weight loss
- Less bloating
- Bowel regularity
- More energy
- Better moods
Diet is the No. 1 tool [for good health]. Food is either your medicine or poison. Your diet will dictate how well – and how long – you live … more than any other decision you make. What is the gut microbiome?
We’re just beginning to learn about the impact of our gut microbiome on health and weight. We have potentially 100 trillion bacteria living in our guts, and weighing up to six pounds! There’s good and bad bacteria. It’s mostly beneficial bacteria doing all these little tasks [to keep us healthy]. [Editor’s note: Scientists in this rapidly growing field are finding connections between the gut microbiome and the immune system, chronic disease – even weight loss. Learn more in this recent Lifescript story on the microbiome.] The reason people are dealing with obesity or illnesses may be that we’ve been destroying all these good bacteria with our modern lifestyle.
How are we destroying our good gut bacteria?
The No. 1 reason: Most Americans don’t get enough fiber, which is needed for good gut bacteria to thrive. We’re noticing that whole species of bacteria are dying off [in the gut]. Why is fiber so important?
Fiber is a prebiotic. It’s food for the good bacteria in your gut. People who have more gut bacteria and more diverse species of gut bacteria seem to be healthier. In the book, I call [these good bacteria] my “little buddies.” Take care of your “little buddies” and they'll take care of you. Do things every day [through diet and lifestyle] to replenish the gut bacteria. You’ll be healthier, have more energy and lose weight. How does a healthier gut microbiome give us more energy?
It helps stabilize your energy levels. Our modern diet creates blood sugar spikes, followed by a trough, so your energy goes up and down all day long.
By drinking a soda, coffee or an energy drink, you get an artificial buzz for 15 or 20 minutes. Then you come down. There are also connections between your gut microbiome and how well you sleep, how much inflammation is in your body, your immune system response and more. All those things are tied together – that’s why it’s so important. How does eating well affect our moods?
Having more stable energy levels improves mood. When your mood is better, you’re more likely to go for a walk with your spouse, so your relationships are now better. [When you’re in a good mood] you’re more active during the day. When you put your head on the pillow at night, you sleep better, too. Again, you’re creating what I call a “virtuous cycle of good health.” How can we can replenish good gut bacteria?
Eat more fiber, more lean protein, and at least once a day include a food that’s probiotic.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are foods that have beneficial bacteria. We actually replenish bacteria by eating yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut and other fermented foods. [Editor’s note: Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of seasoned, fermented vegetables. Kombucha is made by fermenting sweet tea with yeast and bacteria. Kefir is a fermented milk drink.] That’s why it’s so important to include probiotic foods in your daily diet. But mix it up, because not all probiotic foods are the same. There are different bacteria – and different species. Do probiotic supplements work as well as eating probiotic foods?
The data is just not there. There's a big difference between eating foods with live, active cultures and taking a probiotic supplement. Maybe 10 years from now we’ll have a magic probiotic pill. Right now, unfortunately, just taking a supplement isn’t the answer.
How did you research your new book?
I focused on adding more fibrous foods to my diet at least once or twice a day and eating a probiotic-rich meal. It’s remarkable, the energy I now have – and there’s a lot less bloating. Almost every day I throw some fermented sauerkraut on a sandwich or snack, because fermented sauerkraut is loaded with probiotics. But it can’t be heated up. [Editor’s note: Heating sauerkraut and other fermented foods will kill the bacteria.] I had never tried kefir [before], but it’s a nice dairy alternative, and loaded with probiotics. So is Greek yogurt, which is also rich in protein. Are there foods we “should” eat but might not like?
Food should never taste bad. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods. Every ingredient I put in a meal, I’m thinking, “What’s going to taste great and give me a health benefit?” If there’s a health negative, I don't add it.
What are your top three tips for losing weight and still enjoying food?
1: You don’t have to give up grains – just go whole-grain. Experiment with new ones. Whole grains are an important source of fiber. 2: Always have a snack on hand, and never go to a party or meeting hungry. For me, it’s nuts – especially almonds. Nuts are high in fiber, protein and good fats. And they satiate us, so we’re not tempted to overeat later. 3: Don’t skip breakfast. If you’re in a hurry, don’t be afraid to use a microwave. Crack an egg and microwave it for a minute. Now you’ve got a quick, healthy snack. Are there other lifestyle changes that can protect our gut microbiome?
It’s OK now and then to get “dirty.” Don’t be so afraid of germs! If you have chickens in the backyard, let your kids go out and grab the eggs. Kids who grow up on farms have a more diverse gut microbiome. They have a lower risk of autoimmune illnesses. They have a lower risk of allergies and asthma. Don’t be afraid of a little dirt.
Also, don’t use harsh cleaning chemicals and antibacterial soaps – because over time, you’re destroying your microbiome. In your book, you talk about healthy food swaps. What’s your favorite swap?
One of my favorite dishes is “Split-Second Veggie Nachos.” It’s a quick, cheap meal that I eatonce a week. You’re probably making nachos with corn chips, loads of greasy meat, sour cream and a cheese sauce that might not even contain real cheese. But there are great alternatives made from lentils and beans that are high in protein and fiber. Start with bean-based chips. Layer on black beans – or your favorite beans. Sprinkle on real shredded cheese and microwave for one minute. Instead of sour cream, top with Greek yogurt. It’s loaded with protein . and yogurt has been proven in many studies to be a great weight-loss tool. Add guacamole or avocado, [which are] healthy fats for your heart. This helps satisfy you, so you’re not hungry later. And when you add salsa, you’re getting all the antioxidants, tomatoes, capsaicin [an active compound in chili peppers], etc. Suddenly, nachos have become a meal that’s actually good for you.
Healthy Recipes from Dr. Stork
Here are a few of Dr. Stork’s favorite healthy recipes, used with permission from his newly released book, The Lose Your Belly Diet: Change Your Gut, Change Your Life (Ghost Mountain Books, 2016). Quick-Fix Spinach Lasagna
This healthy recipe cuts up to 300 calories per serving from traditional lasagna but still tastes great, according to Dr. Stork. “Every single food we eat can be made tastier and healthier,” he says. Serves: 4 Ingredients:
16 ounces low-fat cottage cheese
1 bag (10 ounces) fresh spinach
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Olive oil cooking spray
8 ounces whole-wheat lasagna noodles, uncooked
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2.In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, spinach, egg and red and black pepper. Spritz a baking dish with cooking spray. Spread out half the lasagna noodles. Cover with the cheese-spinach filling top with the remaining noodles. Pour marinara sauce over the noodles sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. 3.Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.
10 g fat (4 g saturated)
67 mg cholesterol
797 mg sodium
55 g carbohydrate
8 g fiber
26 g protein
Quinoa Veggie Pilaf
Quinoa is a rich source of nutrients, with its own chewy, nutty, toasty flavor, but it also enhances the earthy flavors of the vegetables in this dish, Dr. Stork says. Serves: 4 Ingredients:
½ cup carrots, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup green onion, chopped
½ cup green pepper, chopped
½ cup red pepper, chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh or dried parsley
Dash of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked quinoa (prepared according to package directions and kept warm, or use frozen cooked quinoa)
1 cup almonds, sliced or chopped Preparation:
1.In a large skillet, sauté vegetables and garlic in olive oil until they start to soften. Stir in parsley, salt and pepper and cook for one minute longer. 2.Stir in cooked quinoa and mix well while heating through. 3.Remove from heat and sprinkle with almonds.
24 g fat (2 g saturated)
0 mg cholesterol
71 mg sodium
31 g carbohydrate
8 g fiber
11 g protein
Chicken with Peppers and Broccoli
This recipe is loaded with healthful ingredients. You can make it as quickly as it takes to get a less-nutritious take-out version. Serves: 4 Ingredients:
1 pound chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups bell peppers, any colors, cut into matchsticks
2 cups fresh broccoli florets (optional)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon chili paste
Optional: 2 cups cooked grains (quinoa, brown rice etc.) Preparation:
1.In a large skillet, sauté chicken, ginger and garlic in olive oil until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from pan. 2.Add peppers and broccoli in pan and sauté until tender. Add chicken back into pan. 3.In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and chili paste. Toss sauce with chicken and vegetables. Serve over brown rice or other grain, if using.
19 g fat (3 g saturated)
73 mg cholesterol
473 mg sodium
28 g carbohydrate
4 g fiber
30 g protein
Fruity Veggie Smoothie
Having a delicious smoothie for breakfast, packed with fruit, vegetables and protein, proves you don’t have to give up good taste for good health, Dr. Stork says. Make it with yogurt for the added probiotic benefit. Serves: 1 Ingredients:
1 serving dairy (choose one: 1 cup milk, 8 ounces yogurt, 5.3-ounce container of Greek yogurt or a cup of kefir)
1 cup frozen raspberries, blackberries or mixed berries
½ cup baby spinach or baby kale leaves (fresh or frozen)
1 teaspoon honey (optional) until you get used to the taste of greens in your smoothie
Sprinkle of spice, such as cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg (optional) Preparation:
Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend together until smooth. (If using Greek yogurt, add water, if desired, to adjust consistency.)
(Based on choice of 1 cup yogurt)
8 g fat (5 g saturated)
29 mg cholesterol
118 mg sodium
34 g carbohydrate
10 g fiber
10 g protein
What is weight loss resistance?
Weight loss resistance is a term used to describe the situation where people who, despite an appropriate diet and exercise program, can’t lose their excess body fat. A personal trainer’s worst nightmare. And no, these people aren’t lying about what they eat or how much they exercise. There are other variables that need to be considered.
Most of the reasons for weight loss resistance lead back to either hormone or digestive imbalances. This post is all about the latter the link between gut bacteria and weight loss resistance.
2. Eating Kimchi Daily Will Improve Your Immunity
Research have shown that seventy-five percent of our immune system exists in our digestive system due to the food we eat and the drinks we take. Because of this, some researches have linked probiotic rich foods like Kimchi can help increase our overall immunity. (4)
Improving our immunity through the food we eat will increase our defenses against all types of bacteria. This is because of the fact that the digestive system is our first defense from foreign objects that enter our body through our mouth.
Kimchi is also one of the ingredients of red pepper. Red pepper, just like any other peppers, is known to have anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant properties.
Cabbage, on the other hand, has been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that also helps boost our immunity. Cabbage in Kimchi is known to have biochemical such as sulfide and isocyanate which are known to have antimicrobial properties.
Key Takeaway: Our immune system is one of the most important parts of our body. Without it, we will be prone to a lot of diseases which would easily cause our death. Luckily, a lot of the ingredients in Kimchi can help boost and strengthen our immune system.
How do you get rid of menopausal belly fat?
Getting too distracted by everything else going on during menopause and paying less attention to your weight is totally understandable. There are also a couple diets that can melt those extra inches after you’ve finally finished menopause.
The Galveston Diet was created by Mary Claire Haver, MD, OBGYN, and is specifically targeted toward menopausal weight gain with a focus on inflammation-fighting food. This eating plan will have you consume high amounts of lean proteins and limit your intake of carbs. It adds in an intermittent fasting component as well, encouraging those following it to fast for 16 hours each day. That basically means you’ll pick an eight hour window in which you eat all your meals.
As for the food you eat during that window, Dr. Haver recommends anti-inflammatory options like lean, grass-fed protein from poultry, beef, and salmon. You can also have non-starchy vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, and zucchini on the side, plus low-sugar fruits like blueberries and raspberries.
If that doesn’t sound quite up your alley, another popular diet might be the way to go. Bret Scher, MD, medical director of Diet Doctor, explains that a ketogenic diet could be the best bet for post-menopausal women. “The keto diet lowers insulin levels, which can become elevated as we age,” says Dr. Scher. “And when insulin is high, it encourages the body to store fat rather than burn it.”
As you may know, keto diets focus on a low-carb, high-healthy fat intake in order to trigger ketosis. Ordinarily, our bodies burn carbohydrates to churn out energy, but ketogenic diets aim to shift things around to burn fat instead. To achieve this, you’ll need to eat only around 20 grams of carbs a day, or have it make up roughly five percent of your daily calorie intake. “Some may not notice a change in the scale, but your clothes will start fitting differently,” says Scher. “That’s because you’re burning fat around your waist, hips, and thighs, but you’re also building more muscles.”
And again, making sure to stay active is important, too! You can try easy strength training exercises to boost your muscles and bone health. We also recommend going on daily walks, hopping on a treadmill, or even just walking in place at home, to get in some good cardio.
Go with your gut: the secret to weight loss lies in our stomach's bacteria
It’s the variety of food you eat that dictates your health, writes Rosie King.
It’s the variety of food you eat that dictates your health, writes Rosie King.
One decade, we’re told to cut fat from our diets to lose weight. The next, we’re told to count calories. Then it’s all about ditching carbs. But could it be that we’ve had it wrong all along and the secret is actually already within us? More specifically, within our gut?
Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology and author of The Diet Myth [Hachette], says yes. “The more diverse your gut microbes, the more likely you are to be healthy and lean, and the more sparse your microbes, the more likely you are to be overweight,” Spector says. “This is knowledge that didn’t exist five years ago.”
Welcome to your microbiome
Each person has up to 2kg of microbes in their stomach and together these microbes make up their unique gut microbiome. The microbes, which include trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses, help the body produce vitamins and amino acids. They also play an important role in the digestive and immune systems, blood pressure and mental health.
Scientists first discovered that an unbalanced microbiome could lead to obesity in animals. In 2006, researchers from Washington University in the US looked at genetically engineered obese mice and identified that a class of gut microbes called firmicutes were consistently over-represented. These particular microbes were found to be too efficient at extracting energy from food and breaking down fibre, and also increased the absorption of fat.
To put their findings to the test, the team plucked firmicutes from the obese mice and tube-fed them to bacteria-free mice. The latter put on a significant amount of weight over two weeks, even though they ate less. Now there are numerous studies showing that not only are the microbiomes of obese humans lacking in diversity, they are swarming with firmicutes.
A recent study has taken it a step further with l transfers” from humans to mice, which are both gross and fascinating. The study published in the journal Science in 2013 revealed that healthy mice could be made obese by transferring faecal matter, teeming with gut microbes, from obese humans. The research team also found that transferring faecal matter from lean humans prevented mice from putting on weight.
There’s only one report of a human-to-human faecal transfer that resulted in weight gain. A 32-year-old woman in the UK underwent a poo transplant in 2011 after recurrent clostridium difficile, an infection that causes inflammation of the colon. The donor microbes came from her 16-year-old daughter, who was overweight, and the mother weighed 62kg with a BMI of 26 at the time of the transfer. Just over a year later, the woman weighed 76kg and had a BMI of 33. She’s still obese today, despite an exercise program and supervised diet.
What are we doing wrong?
A seemingly timeless weight-loss mantra is that in order to shed unwanted kilograms we need to burn more calories than we eat. Spector, however, argues that this approach fails to take into account one crucial fact: h person’s microbiome is unique, which means each of us responds differently to carbohydrates and fats and sugar.” It isn’t just calorie-controlled diets that he claims are bogus. He says that any diet plan that excludes whole food groups damages your microbiome and increases your likelihood of putting on weight.
𠇎xclusion diets may help you lose weight for the first few weeks because you’re eating less and selecting carefully what you do eat,” he says. 𠇋ut long-term, they’ll decimate your microbes by reducing their diversity and can end up making you fatter.”
Naturopath Savannah Daisley has been helping Sydneysiders lose weight by targeting their gut flora for 15 years, and she agrees with Spector. 𠇊n imbalance of gut flora stops our digestive system from working properly so our use of calories isn’t as efficient and our energy levels drop,” Daisley says. “The increased fatigue means the fat-storing stress hormone cortisol kicks in, leading to heightened blood sugar and insulin levels. Basically, weight gain is inevitable when there’s an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in our guts.”
Your gut craves variety
Spector wants us to forget thinking of our body as a temple and instead think of it as a microbe garden that requires a diverse diet of fibre-rich nutritious foods. 𠇊 garden with rich soil, plenty of species and change is always going to be fuller and healthier than a scant garden with weeds, few plants and packed with toxins,” he says.
Our much-slimmer ancestors 15,000 years ago enjoyed about 150 ingredients each week and no doubt had flourishing microbe gardens. Most people today have just 20 different foods in their weekly diet. Most worryingly, many are artificially refined and wreak havoc on the biodiversity of our microbiome.
What can we do?
For anyone looking to lose weight and restore gut health, Daisley says ditching sugar and alcohol is non-negotiable. “I𠆝 usually put them on a strict 14-day detox to overhaul their microbiota, which can see them lose up to 5kg. For people who don’t want something so drastic, I𠆝 encourage them to cut out sugar and alcohol for two weeks – they’re toxins that stop good bacteria from growing and feed bad bacteria, so getting rid of them will do a world of good for your gut, weight and energy levels,” she says.
Although fruit contains fructose, which is a type of sugar, it isn’t the enemy. Daisley says berries, in particular, are great for combating cravings, while Spector says whole fruit with the pulp is good for you and your microbes.
𠇏or high-fibre fruits, the fibre and polyphenols can balance out the effects of the fructose,” he says. “Strawberries are good as they contain a relatively high amount of fibre and more than 95 polyphenols, which the microbes feed off and which act as antioxidants.”
Spector agrees that while everyone can benefit from better gut health, overweight people may need a kick-start, such as a detox or intermittent fast, as their microbiome may be over-run by toxic bacteria. However, he generally takes a more balanced approach.
“No-one can go wrong if they enjoy a diet with as much diversity as possible and cut out processed foods,” he says. While he’s not a fan of diets, he adds: “The Mediterranean diet meets most of the criteria for a balanced, gut-friendly diet. It has variety – olive oil, yoghurt, dairy, nuts, seeds, veg, fruit, grains, legumes, fish and meat occasionally.”
But he says the most important shift we need to make is how we define a good diet: “We need to change our concept from thinking that fat is bad and sugar is bad and carbohydrates are bad – diversity is key.”
The 5 golden food rules
1. Eat as many different wholefoods as possible. The average person only has 20 different foods a week, which is way too low, considering our ancient ancestors would have eaten about 150, Spector says.
2. Eat fermented foods daily. Foods such as kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut and yoghurt have large amounts of good bacteria that our gut craves.
3. Cut sugar and alcohol to reset your gut. Daisley says these are the two biggest culprits in preventing the growth of good bacteria in your gut. Avoiding these for two weeks will make a huge difference to your gut’s performance, and desired weight loss.
4. Eat fibre-rich food after a junk meal. Plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholegrains will help replenish the good bacteria that the junk food has wiped out.
5. Spector says the Mediterranean diet is the best option for gut health – it meets the most criteria for a gut-friendly diet as it has the most variety, and includes a lot of olive oil, yoghurt, onions and red wine – all top gut foods.
Top gut friendly foods
These foods act like fertilisers for our microbe gardens by helping the growth of good bacteria and increasing the biodiversity of our microbiome, Spector says. Try to add fermented foods to your diet daily and make sure you incorporate the other foods on at least a weekly basis.
• Fermented foods, including sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and yoghurt
Level the playing field through taxes and regulation.
When public health took on cigarette smoking, starting in the 1960s, it did so with robust policies banning television ads and other marketing, raising taxes to increase prices, making public places smoke-free, and offering people treatment such as the nicotine patch. In 1965, the smoking rate for U.S. adults was 42.2 percent today, it is 16.8 percent.
Similarly, America reduced the rate of deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents—a 90 percent decrease over the 20th century, according to the CDC—with mandatory seat belt laws, safer car designs, stop signs, speed limits, rumble strips, and the stigmatization of drunk driving.
Change the product. Change the environment. Change the culture. That is also the policy recipe for stopping obesity.
Laws that make healthy behaviors easier are often followed by positive changes in those behaviors. And people who are trying to adopt healthy behaviors tend to support policies that make their personal aspirations achievable, which in turn nudges lawmakers to back the proposals.
One debate today revolves around whether recipients of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps) should be restricted from buying sodas or junk food. The largest component of the USDA budget, SNAP feeds one in seven Americans. A USDA report, issued last November, found that the number-one purchase by SNAP households was sweetened beverages, a category that included soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, and sweetened teas, accounting for nearly 10 percent of SNAP money spent on food. Is the USDA therefore underwriting the soda industry and planting the seeds for chronic disease that the government will pay to treat years down the line?
Eric Rimm, a professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition at the Harvard Chan School, frames the issue differently. In a 2017 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, he and his colleagues asked SNAP participants whether they would prefer the standard benefits package or a “SNAP-plus” that prohibited the purchase of sugary beverages but offered 50 percent more money for buying fruits and vegetables. Sixty-eight percent of the participants chose the healthy SNAP-plus option.
“A lot of work around SNAP policy is done by academics and politicians, without reaching out to the beneficiaries,” says Rimm. “We haven’t asked participants, ‘What’s your say in this? How can we make this program better for you?’” To be sure, SNAP is riddled with nutritional contradictions. Under current rules, for example, participants can use benefits to buy a 12-pack of Pepsi or a Snickers bar or a giant bag of Lay’s potato chips but not real food that happens to be heated, such as a package of rotisserie chicken. “This is the most vulnerable population in the country,” says Rimm. “We’re not listening well enough to our constituency.”
Other innovative fiscal levers to alter behavior could also drive down obesity. In 2014, a trio of strong voices on food industry practices—Dariush Mozaffarian, DrPH ’06, dean of Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and former associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics at Harvard and David Ludwig, professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan and a physician at Boston Children’s Hospital—broached the idea of a “meaningful” tax on nearly all packaged retail foods and many chain restaurants, with the proceeds used to pay for minimally processed foods and healthier meals for school kids. In essence, the tax externalizes the social costs of harmful individual behavior.
“We made a straightforward proposal to tax all processed foods and then use the income to subsidize whole foods in a short-term, revenue-neutral way,” explains Ludwig. “The power of this idea is that, since there is so much processed food consumption, even a modest tax—in the 10 to 15 percent range—is not going to greatly inflate the cost of these foods. Their price would increase moderately, but the proceeds would not disappear into government coffers. Instead, the revenue would make healthy foods affordable for virtually the entire population, and the benefits would be immediately evident. Yes, people will pay moderately more for their Coke or for their cinnamon bear claw but a lot less for nourishing, whole foods.”
Another suggestion comes from Sandro Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, and Abdulrahman M. El-Sayed, a public health physician and epidemiologist. In a 2015 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, they called for “calorie offsets,” similar to the carbon offsets used to mitigate environmental harm caused by the gas and oil industries. A “calorie offset” scheme could hand the food and beverage industries a chance at redemption by inviting them to invest in such undertakings as city farms, cooking classes for parents, healthy school cafeterias, and urban green spaces.
These ambitious proposals face almost impossibly high hurdles. Political battle lines typically pit public health against corporations, with Big Food casting doubt on solid nutrition science, deeming government regulation a threat to free choice, and making self-policing pledges that it has never kept. On the website for the Americans for Food and Beverage Choice, a group spearheaded by the American Beverage Association, is the admonition: “[W]hether it’s at a restaurant or in a grocery store, it’s never the government’s job to decide what you choose to eat and drink.”
Yet surprisingly, many public health professionals are convinced that the only way to stop obesity is to make common cause with the food industry. “This isn’t like tobacco, where it’s a fight to the death. We need the food industry to make healthier food and to make a profit,” says Mozaffarian. “The food industry is much more diverse and heterogeneous than tobacco or even cars. As long as we can help them—through carrots and sticks, tax incentives and disincentives—to move towards healthier products, then they are part of the solution. But we have to be vigilant, because they use a lot of the same tactics that tobacco did.”
Citrus fruits have always received good press (no pun intended) for their high levels of vitamin C, but they also pack fiber (helps with cholesterol and digestion), antioxidants (helps lower triglycerides), and potassium (helps flush out sodium). Vitamin C also aids against aging of the skin, the water content can keep you hydrated, and a 2018 study suggests citrus fruits may prevent macular degeneration, too!
14 Ways to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (and why you need to)
Chronic inflammation is now considered to be the cause or amplifier of most diseases. It’s never too early to check in and ensure that your body isn’t slowly being degraded by inflammation. (Watch the videos.)
I’M ALWAYS mulling about what blog topics I might research and write for the Subscribers and stop-by visitors to this site. That’s just what was happening when I was perched on my sister’s throne during a recent visit to her home.
Right there in front of the toilet sitting pretty on top of a heap of magazines nestled in a weaved basked was a Wellness Letter published by the University of California, Berkeley. The cover article: Why inflammation is a hot topic.
“Yep, inflammation is a darn good topic”, I muttered to myself. (I endeavor to be by myself when throne-sitting.)
The reason that inflammation is a good topic is that it’s now considered to be either an antagonist of many chronic illnesses or an amplifier of them.
So, inflammation was on my mind during the last few days, and as it happens with attentional control, I started bumping into articles about inflammation all over the place:
- Dr. Dave Best wrote about it an email, Whole Body Inflammation – A Bone to Pick
- Dr. Gabe Mirken wrote about it in an article called Osteoarthritis Linked To Inflammation
- Dr. Rhonda Patrick emailed me (a subscriber) a study about how the timing and frequency of eating may influence inflammation and insulin resistance associated with breast cancer
- And, of course, the one that started this inflammation focus, UC Berkeley’s Why inflammation is a hot topic.
I read these articles and want to synthesize them and the articles I’ve previously written about inflammation in order to show you why this is something you need to check out and attend to if you have inflammation in your body.
By the way, chronic inflammation typically increases as we age, and as you’ll see is part and parcel of many chronic health issues faced during the second half of our lives.
The graph below shows how ESR (“erythrocyte sedimentation rate”), a test of inflammation, increases with age:
The intent of this article is to help you not be on that upswing curve.
In this article, you’ll discover:
- How inflammation can cause and/or amplify chronic illness.
- The symptoms and signs of chronic inflammation.
- 14 ways to wipe out chronic inflammation.
- 2 anti-inflammation fighting recipes.
How Inflammation Can Cause and/or Amplify Chronic Illness
Before we can answer why inflammation can cause and/or amplify various chronic illnesses, let’s first identify what is inflammation.
It comes in two basic varieties: acute and chronic.
We need acute inflammation to help heal injuries. When you cut or bruise some part of your body, the area around it turns red, warms and swells. This is called an “acute inflammatory response”, because in response to the injury and infection, our immune system sends a complex array of immune cells to congregate in and around the site and release chemicals to handle the infectious organisms and debris from the injury, which then allows the tissue to repair. As the healing happens, the inflammation gradually subsides. This is all good and essential to life. (1)
Chronic inflammation is when inflammation persists irrespective of a localized injury, spreads throughout the body and affects various disease states. Unlike acute inflammation, the chronic variety is not needed at all in fact it’s very insidious, as it can affect us quietly, can be both the cause and effect of various disorders and — as the term suggests — is and remains chronic, unless specific and consistent lifestyle choices designed to alleviate it are made.
When we look at the diseases that plague our society — arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — we see that long-term lifestyle changes are needed. What might not be as obvious is the common denominator tied to all of them and more: inflammation is at the root of most diseases.
If you read a bit about chronic inflammation, you’ll see that last bit from Dr. Axe quite a lot:
“Inflammation is at the root of most diseases.”
- Arthritis is inflammation of the joints
- Heart disease is inflammation of the arteries and
- 20% of cancer cases are linked to inflammation. (2)
Researchers have found that chronic inflammation is involved, to varying extents, in everything from coronary artery disease, cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes to Alzheimer’s, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), allergic conditions such as asthma, and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. (3)
Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, writes that inflammation is now recognized as the “underlying basis of a significant number of diseases.” Long known to play a role in allergic diseases like asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease, Dr. Edwards says that Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson’s disease may all be related to chronic inflammation in the body. (4)
But how exactly is inflammation involved?
Does it cause chronic diseases, result from them, or simply accompany them (perhaps because the factors that contribute to the diseases also increase inflammation)?
Turns out, inflammation appears to play all these roles. It can be both a cause and an effect of some disorders—setting up a vicious cycle that helps explain their chronic nature.
For example, chronic inflammation plays reciprocal roles with obesity and insulin resistance. It contributes to the development of insulin resistance, which in turn may help promote obesity. Conversely, obesity worsens insulin resistance and increases chronic inflammation, partly because body fat (especially the type surrounding internal organs) releases pro-inflammatory compounds. (5)
In effect, inflammation, obesity, and insulin resistance reinforce one another and can thereby cause type 2 diabetes. Moreover, several lifestyle factors that promote inflammation, such as being sedentary and having an unhealthy diet, also promote obesity and insulin resistance.
A relatively new theory about chronic inflammation involves the human microflora—the trillions of bacteria and other organisms living in the colon, on the skin, and elsewhere in the body. Changes in the microflora caused by lifestyle and environmental factors (such as diet, antibiotic use, and air pollution) may play a role in the increase in inflammatory diseases in the industrialized world. (6)
Note that the ills above described by Dr. Edwards as being influenced by inflammation become more prevalent as we age, a situation that has coined the term, “inflammaging.” Chronic systemic inflammation is now viewed as a sort of “unified field” explanation for many, if not most, age-related chronic diseases. (7)
That hypothesis was put to the test in a 2013 study of 3,000 British civil servants published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal. A strong link was discovered between higher levels of chronic inflammation (as measured by blood levels of an inflammatory marker) and a decreased likelihood of “successful aging,” defined as optimal physical and cognitive health, and the absence of chronic diseases.
Get this — according to the study, elevated levels of inflammation:
- Reduced the odds of successful aging by half over the next decade, and
- Substantially increased the odds of cardiovascular disease and death. (8)
Click here for the link between inflammation and heart disease.
The following is from the Berkeley Wellness Report, Why Inflammation Is A Hot Topic.
For many years atherosclerosis was seen as a kind of plumbing problem—that is, merely a matter of plaque building up in the walls of coronary arteries and clogging them. But blood vessels are nothing like pipes—they are active tissue involved in complex processes. In simplest terms, cells lining the vessels absorb cholesterol (and other substances) from the blood, leading to the build-up of plaque. The body perceives this plaque as an injury and sends inflammatory cells into the vessel walls, where they set off a cascade of events that can ultimately cause plaque to rupture and a clot to form over it. If the clot breaks off or otherwise obstructs blood flow to the heart or brain, this can result in a heart attack or stroke.
It now appears that inflammation plays key roles in all stages of the development of cardiovascular disease. Bacterial or viral infection may also trigger the inflammatory process in blood vessels. Meanwhile, coronary risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, undesirable cholesterol levels, and smoking cause or worsen arterial inflammation. Having an inflammatory disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or inflammatory bowel disease, also increases coronary risk.
Some medications that help prevent heart attacks and strokes, notably statins, do so at least in part by reducing inflammation. The story is more complicated regarding aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). At the low doses used to protect the heart, aspirin has only a small effect on inflammation its heart benefit comes primarily from its ability to reduce the risk of blood clots. No other NSAIDs are good for the heart. In fact, some NSAIDs, notably celecoxib (Celebrex), increase the risk of heart attacks slightly.
Click here for the link between inflammation/cancer connection.
The following is from the Berkeley Wellness Report, Why Inflammation Is A Hot Topic.
As early as the mid-19th century, scientists found links between chronic inflammation (or its markers) and cancer. It’s now estimated that more than 20 percent of cancer cases are associated with inflammation.
Inflammation is involved with cancer development on many levels. Notably, it contributes to tumor initiation by inducing oxidative stress, DNA damage, and chromosomal instability. It promotes tumor cell proliferation and resistance to apoptosis (programmed cell death after a certain number of cell divisions, a good thing when it comes to cancer cells). Simply put, increased inflammation makes it easier for normal cells to transform into malignant cells.
The evidence is strongest concerning gastrointestinal cancers, including certain kinds of colon, liver, esophageal, and stomach cancer. It’s theorized that these organs are at high risk because they are exposed directly to pro-inflammatory dietary and environmental factors. Inflammation can also alter colonic microflora in ways that increase cancer risk.
On the positive side again, evidence is accumulating that aspirin, partly because of its anti-inflammatory effect, can reduce the risk of certain types of colon cancer and possibly certain other cancers.
The Symptoms and Signs of Chronic Inflammation
Do the following three things to determine if you might have chronic inflammation:
- Ask yourself if you over-consume sugar, saturated fats, trans fats, processed carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners and alcohol? All of these an fan the flames of chronic inflammation.
- Check to see if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and signs:
- Constant fatigue
- High blood pressure
- Ulcers or Irritable bowel syndrome
- Allergic reactions
- Unexplained weight gain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Water retention
- Food cravings
- Binge eating
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Joint pain
- Get a blood test.
You could check “yes, yes, yes” on most of the signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation and not have it. Each item presented above could be symptomatic of another underlying issue, not inflammation per se.
The value of the list is to step you toward a blood test. If you’re experiencing any of the above signs/symptoms, do yourself a favor and get tested for chronic inflammation.
Since it is so complex, chronic inflammation isn’t measured directly. Instead, various inflammatory chemical markers in the blood or tissue are measured, notably interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), C-reactive protein (CRP, see inset), prostaglandins, and leukotrienes.
Elevated levels of these factors are good indicators of disease activity for some conditions (such as inflammatory bowel disease). But it’s not clear whether measuring them adequately gauges inflammation and the resulting risks for some other disorders (such as cancer).
I got a simple C-reactive protein test a few years ago, which I wrote about here. My result was was 3.74 mg/L, which is above the “reference interval” of 0.0 – 3.0 mg/L. That’s not good, nor was it obvious why I would have higher than normal chronic inflammation given that I exercise, eat like a gorilla and supplement with anti-inflammatory supplements, such as fish oil and curcumin.
Since that C-reactive protein test, I’ve been adding anti-inflammatory supplements and foods to my diet, but have yet to retest.
Click here to see Dr. Weil's anti-inflammatory food pyramid.
In addition to the C-reactive protein test, you may also elect to take the Fibrinogen test. They’re inexpensive and can be used to detect the presence of chronic inflammation and monitor the success or failure of various anti-inflammatory regimens.
|Pro-Inflammatory Marker||Optimal Ranges|
|High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP)||Under 0.55 mg/L in men|
|Under 1.0 mg/L in women|
|Fibrinogen||200 – 300 mg/dL|
The following blood tests are expensive and help identify specific factors that are causing systemic inflammation.
|Cytokine Testing||Normal Ranges (LabCorp)|
|Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)||<8.1 pg/mL|
|Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β)||<15.0 pg/mL|
|Interleukin-6 (IL-6)||2-29 pg/mL|
|Interleukin-8 (IL-8)||<32.0 pg/mL|
Cytokine Panel blood test
The panel includes tests for interleukin-1 beta (IL-1ß), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), all of which are cytokines involved in inflammation that can induce damage when elevated.
This panel contains the following tests:
- Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) – One of the key mediators of the inflammatory response to physical stress. Higher levels are associated with anxiety, panic disorders, and cardiovascular risk.
- Interleukin-6 (IL-6) – Elevated IL-6 may occur in different conditions including chronic infections, autoimmune disorders, certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Interleukin-8 (IL-8) – Elevated blood levels of IL-8 are associated with rheumatoid arthritis, tumor development and Hepatitis C.
- Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) – TNF-α is a growth factor for immune cells and osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone. It may be elevated in chronic infections, certain cancers, and Hepatitis C.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Blood Test
This C-reactive protein (CRP) test indicates the degree of systemic/chronic inflammation occurring in your body. High CRP levels have been associated with cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and more.
Click here for more about the C-reactive protein test.
The following is from the UCB Wellness Letter, Time for CRP Testing?
C-reactive protein, or CRP, is produced by the liver in response to inflammation. Of all markers for inflammation, it has gotten the most attention because research has shown that elevated blood levels are strongly associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, even in people otherwise at low risk.
This was seen in the well-known JUPITER study a few years ago, which focused on people with desirable cholesterol levels but elevated CRP. It found that they greatly reduced their risk of heart attacks and strokes when they took a statin drug. Besides lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, statins have anti-inflammatory effects, as seen in reductions in CRP.
Subsequently the FDA approved rosuvastatin—the statin used in JUPITER—for people who have desirable levels of LDL but high CRP and at least one other coronary risk factor. And according to revised cholesterol guidelines released last year, in cases where there’s uncertainty about statin treatment, CRP level is one of several factors that doctors should consider in making the decision.
Most doctors do not routinely measure CRP, however. It’s not clear what cutoff should be used to define high CRP, nor is it certain that bringing down elevated CRP will, by itself, be beneficial. Still, if you’re at intermediate coronary risk, and you and your doctor are on the fence about starting drug therapy, you should consider CRP testing. A high result could tip the balance toward a statin.
14 Ways to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation
Wipe out chronic inflammation by eliminating or reducing the consumption of inflammatory foods, adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, supplementing with specific vitamins and herbs, reducing stress and exercising.
To help us with the particulars, I’m going to lean on Drew Canole’s article about inflammation hacks and Dr. Axe’s article about the top anti-inflammatory foods.
1. Eliminate/reduce inflammatory foods
Foods that are high in (refined) sugar and fat, wheat products and dairy are all big triggers for inflammation. Therefore, decrease or eliminate soda, refined carbohydrates and processed foods. Basically, anything that can contribute to weight gain can contribute to inflammation.
In a nutshell, EAT REAL FOOD!
Here’s a list of inflammatory foods to get off your plate:
- Processed foods
- Processed meats
- Trans fats
- Simple/refined carbs
- Corn and soybean oils
- Pasteurized dairy
- Deli meat or meat from animals fed hormones and antibiotics
2. Eat omega-3 fats
Think fatty fish, seeds and nuts these in particular:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Hemp seeds
All nuts and seeds contain antioxidants, which play an enormous role in the fight against inflammation by repairing the self-inflicted cell damage it causes. Nuts and seeds are a great sources of essentials vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, amino acids and healthy fats.
3. Eat leafy greens
- Swiss Chard
- Water Cress
Cytokines are a type of small protein that play a huge role in immune response and inflammation. Vitamin E, found in spinach and Swiss chard, helps reduce the amount of cytokines in our body.
Research studies suggest that the nutrients found in dark green leafy vegetables may prevent certain types of cancers and promote heart health.
Green veggies and superfoods are rich in phytochemicals, enzymes and nutrients. Taken on an empty stomach, these nutrients can bolster and repair your cells.
Tip: Begin your day with a glass of warm water and lemon to get those digestive processes going and follow it up with a glass of green juice. See the recipes and video below.
4. Eat beets
Another veggie super high in antioxidants, beets have been shown to fight inflammation and help thin the blood. It’s also a good source of vitamin C.
5. Eat Berries
A great source of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, berries also have more fiber than most fruit and are thereby don’t spike your blood sugar as, say, gulping down eight ounces of orange juice. Try blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.
6. Eat mushrooms
Those that have potent anti-inflammatory properties include:
- Reishi mushrooms
- Maitake mushrooms
- Almond mushrooms
- Lion’s mane mushrooms
- Caterpillar fungus
- Bamboo fungus
The Host Defense brand by mycologist Paul Stamets is excellent — see these. Click here for links to studies that evaluate the anti-inflammatory effects of these mushrooms!
7. Eat garlic
Studies have shown that garlic suppresses leukocyte inflammatory cytokine production, making it a potential treatment for inflammatory bowel disease and other similar disorders.
8. Eat raw tomatoes
They contain anti-inflammatory nutrients like carotenoids and bioflavonoids.
9. Drink Tart Cherry Juice
Montmorency cherries have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food. Research done at Oregon Health & Science University did research that says tart cherry juice may be a better and safer alternative to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals.
10. Consume these herbs:
- Turmeric — There are over 1000 different case studies showing turmeric as one of the most
11. Supplement with probiotics
Aim for ten strains or more per capsule, especailly L. acidophilus or B. bifidum, which are the most potent of all the strains available.
Anywhere from 1 to 100 billion will work. Given the ridiculous amount of toxins we’re exposed to every day, many people note feeling an improvement with 20-50 billion daily. The trick is to start slow and work your way up. The typical dose for beginners is between 10-20 billion CFU’s daily.
12. Eat fermented/cultured foods
Fermented foods feed the probiotics you get from supplements and other foods. Kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and miso are going to make those 100 trillion bacteria in your GI tract very happy.
The bottom line with exercise is to do what you’re willing to do.
Compliance is more important than being able to point to some praiseworthy regiment that you have to force yourself to do, and therefore do very little.
Try to move enough every day to make you winded. If you already walk, walk faster, or walk up hills.
If you jog, jog less and sprint more.
If you lift weights, make sure you perform compound movements, like squats, and rest less between sets so you get your ticker ticking faster.
Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise have shown to decrease C-reactive protein, that marker of inflammation mentioned above. Even being active once per week was enough to lower CRP in test subjects significantly, I read somewhere, but don’t have the reference handy.
You deserve deep, undisturbed, restful sleep.
You spent the day working hard, eating right and exercising — now it’s time to shut off all the gadgets, sip on a cup of herbal tea, brush your teeth (don’t forget to floss), darken the bedroom completely and drift off to na na land.
Make it a priority to get adequate sleep and try to find ways to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression.
By the way, you loners should know that social isolation can also increase chronic inflammation, as was seen in a study in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior last year, so increasing social activities may help. (9)
2 Anti-inflammation Fighting Recipes
Take a look at the two videos below to see how simple it is to consume anti-inflammatory foods via juicing.
#1 Dr. Axe’s Anti-inflammatory Juice
Anti-Inflammatory Juice Recipe
- 4 Celery Stalks
- ½ Cucumber
- 1 cup Pineapple
- ½ Green Apple
- 1 cup Spinach
- 1 Lemon
- 1 knob Ginger
#2 Drew Canole’s Anti-inflammation hack-a-juice
- 2 Leaves Collard Greens
- 2 Kale leaves
- 2 Green Apples
- ¼ Hemp Seed Oil
- 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Knuckles of turmeric
- 1 Knuckle of Ginger
- Prepare and gather all the ingredients.
- Make sure to properly wash and clean the produce.
- Prepare the Juicer.
- Add the Collard Greens, Kale, Turmeric and Ginger into the juicer.
- Pour the extracted juice into a glass.
- Add the Hemp Seed Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar into the juice and mix well.
- Sip and enjoy your anti-inflammation juice!
Remember (and do) these five things to rid yourself of chronic inflammation:
- Each week choose one inflammatory food to expel from your diet.
- Each week add one anti-inflammatory food to your diet.
- Choose two or more anti-inflammatory supplements to regularly consume.
- Try juicing at least thrice per week.
- Move often and at a sufficient pace to get winded.
Read More. Learn More.
Can You Reverse Aging In humans with Certain Anti-inflammatory Supplements?
Use DMSO Cream To Relieve Your Aches and Pains
How You Can Beat Chronic Inflammation (and Age Better) with Exercise, Food and Supplements
Chronic Stress and Inflammation: The Damage and What To Do About It
I help people live with more vitality and strength. I'm a big believer in sustainability, and am a bit nutty about optimizing my diet, supplements, hormones and exercise. To get exclusive Updates, tips and be on your way to a stronger, more youthful body, join my weekly Newsletter. You can also find me on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.
There is a need to address the the low level acidosis before taking antioxidants as costuming antioxidants can compound the chronic inflammation problem.
Can You Boost Your Metabolism for Weight Loss?
Your friend seems to eat and drink everything in sight — but always stays slim. You, on the other hand, diligently count calories but can’t get rid of those extra 10 pounds. What gives?
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Endocrinologist and obesity specialist Marcio Griebeler, MD, says the answer is (unfortunately) a bit complicated.
“If it were simple, I would have one solution for everyone — and be a billionaire,” Dr. Griebeler jokes.
Rather, understanding and changing your metabolism often seems more like rocket science. But armed with the right information, you can achieve your health goals. Dr. Griebeler explains how.
What is metabolism?
Your metabolism is a delicate, very personal, dance between your hormones, behavior and environment.
“Metabolism is a chemical process. It’s what the body will do to keep it going,” Dr. Griebeler explains. “It needs to capture, convert and burn energy. How efficiently your body does this depends on each person. Genetics play a critical role.”
Can you increase your metabolism?
The short answer? Yes. (High fives all around!) But instead of focusing on how to speed up your metabolism, Dr. Griebeler says you should work on changing your “weight set point.”
Think of weight set point like an internal thermostat. Your body wants to keep your weight at whatever number it’s set to — even if that number is higher than it should be.
“Your body is fighting to keep your weight as is. But over time, you can change that weight set point,” he says. Here’s how:
- Get the facts on eating healthy: Educate yourself about proper portions, plus which foods are healthy — and which aren’t. Then make gradual changes to align your diet with your findings.
- Make exercise a lifestyle: View exercise as a lifestyle marathon, not a quick-fix sprint. While exercise can help jumpstart weight loss, you get more bang for your buck in weight maintenance. “Do both aerobic exercise (calorie-torching and good for your heart) and resistance training (builds and maintains muscle mass, which in turn burns more calories) for 150 minutes each week.”
- Don’t let stress run your life: “I almost never see people losing weight if they are stressed,” says Dr. Griebeler. “Cortisol (a stress hormone) levels change, making it more difficult to lose weight. And then, stress often causes us to eat or drink everything in sight to cope.” Instead, cultivate stress-busting habits that don’t involve eating or drinking, such as deep breathing or making time for hobbies.
- Hit the hay: Lack of sleep causes cortisol to rise, which triggers your body to save the energy needed to get you through your sleep-deprived day. (Your body’s preferred fuel source for storage? Fat.) Not enough sleep also affects your brain’s decision-making abilities. Translation: Your willpower flies out the window. Aim for seven to nine hours each night to tame your temptations.
But remember: Much like Rome, your weight set point won’t change in a day. Most weight gain — and weight loss — happens gradually. The changes you make need to be sustainable to make an impact.
Will a cheat day (or week) affect my weight set point?
Not necessarily. While it may seem like you gained five pounds overnight after indulging, it’s simply not possible.
“For you to gain one pound of fat, you need to eat an extra 3,500 calories or so,” says Dr. Griebeler. “You may weigh more because you haven’t finished digesting your food. Or maybe you had a very salty meal and are hanging on to some water weight.”
Dr. Griebeler’s main message? Just be balanced. Enjoy that glass of wine or favorite dessert once in a while. And if you are going to have a period of not-so-healthy-eating (are the holidays looming?), make some adjustments. Compensate by exercising more or eating a little less at the meals you can control.
Are there such things as metabolism-boosting foods?
Unfortunately, no. While there is research that shows a connection between spicy foods and an increase in your metabolism, the boost is only temporary.
Does it matter when you eat for weight loss?
Research says yes. Typically, your body responds differently when you eat the same number of calories at different times of the day. The news is bad for all those late-night noshers: The earlier you eat, the better.
“We have enough evidence saying that people who work the night shift tend to gain more weight,” notes Dr. Griebeler.
To counteract your body’s natural tendencies, try to eat regularly throughout the day to curb hunger and prevent mindless snacking at night.
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Some scholars say the fermented tea was born circa 220 B.C. in China, where it was sipped for detoxification and dubbed the “tea of immortality.” Kombucha is bursting with good-for-you probiotics—the bacteria thrive during fermentation. FYI: Some kombucha drinks may contain more sugar than you bargained for, so look for brands that have 5 grams or fewer per serving, says Elizabeth Boham, MD, medical director of the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Mass.
The fermented cabbage dish is popping up on menus nationwide, with one analysis estimating that it’s offered on 1 in 50 menus at U.S. restaurants. Kimchi delivers a nutritional triple whammy: It’s made from a fiber-packed veggie, loaded with antioxidant-rich spices and, most importantly, teeming with gut-friendly probiotics. "Research has shown how the balance of microbes in your system can impact immunity, so eating probiotics is an important part of digestive health," says Janet Helm, RD, a Chicago-based nutritionist and author of the blog Nutrition Unplugged. Studies have found that eating kimchi can help ward off constipation and obesity and even strengthen the immune system.
3 Chia Seeds
Aztec warriors are said to have scarfed down spoonfuls of the energy-boosting seeds before heading into battle. Today, you can find them in everything from Greek yogurt to tea to fruit-infused squeeze packs. Chia seeds are rich in a form of omega-3 fatty acids that may help improve cholesterol and high blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. They also have 11 grams of fiber per ounce, so eating them can help curb your appetite—and keep extra pounds away.
4 Ancient Grains
Our ancestors began carbo-loading about 75,000 years ago. We call the grains they ate (such as quinoa, Kamut, and freekeh) "ancient" because they’ve remained largely unchanged over the last several hundred years, unlike modern types of wheat, which have been crossbred. Most ancient grains are nutritional powerhouses, boasting calcium (teff has the most of any grain), fiber (barley is full of it), and an amino acid called lysine, which among other things helps your body burn fat (amaranth is a top source). While "ancient grains" is a marketing term, not a scientific one, it does denote healthy whole, unrefined grains.
Seaweed has been a staple of Asian diets for thousands of years. "One of the biggest benefits is its iodine content you need sufficient iodine for your thyroid and healthy breast tissue," says Dr. Boham. Seaweed can also provide other key minerals, such as calcium and iron.
Watch the video: Η αντίδραση της φίλης μου στην φάρσα που της έκανα (December 2021).