Category Archives: Fitness

morning health habit

Morning Health Habits of the Experts

morning health habit

I can remember my parents sometimes saying, “Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed?” Sometimes maybe I should have gone back to bed and got up on the right side. Ever feel that way?

The choices we make after waking each morning can set the tone for our entire day and affect our health.  It is so easy, however, to get off track when we feel pulled in a million different directions as soon as that alarm goes off.  Creating healthy a.m. habits can pay off. We should always take time for a balanced breakfast that helps you stay at a healthy weight and can stabilize blood sugar levels.  Those a.m. workouts are great for our body and may burn more body fat and have less stress. Some top health experts take advantage of the quiet morning hours to set goals and practice mindfulness.  This can help in boosting your brainpower, increasing focus, handling stress better and improving relationships.

Here are 5 top ways the experts take care of their own physical and mental health every single morning:

1. They never skip breakfast

If they are running late a slice of whole wheat bread or one waffle with peanut butter will suffice.

2. They sweat first thing

Working out in the a.m. can give you time to think out your daily routine and problems. Challenge yourself to step up your workout.

3. They wake up early to have time for themselves

By waking early you can take care of your family and yourself and will be physically and mentally ready to care for your family, your clients and yourself.  “Me” time is important and can positively set the stage for the rest of your day.

4. They set goals

The night before try writing out an “action list” with 3 to 5 things as a goal.
This simplifies the morning and gives a clear headspace. Think of 3 things you are grateful for as soon as your eyes open in the morning.

5. They start each day mindfully—and gratefully

Just the process of the sound of beans in the coffee grinder and aromas of coffee brewing starts things off right.  The first hour of the day can set the precedent for rest of the day. Meditation might help to clear your mind and prepare you mentally for the day ahead.  It can also help to keep things in perspective with a few minutes of gratitude at the end of the meditation.

The five top health experts interviewed have given an insight into ways we can set our goals and receive peacefulness, mental clarity, and organization into our lives.  We may all have different ways of achieving what these doctors do, but it should always start with that first opening of the eyes in the morning! This advice comes from a cardiologist to an author and medical editor.  They can’t all be wrong, so try it! Seek a healthier and more grounded you! You deserve it.

Dr Fredda Branyon

blood pressure check-up

Misconceptions About High Blood Pressure

check_upDoes high blood pressure worry you? If so, your concern is well-founded. If we leave this condition untreated, hypertension can lead to a range of other health problems, including heart disease and stroke. By knowing more about high blood pressure it can help you to prevent this from damaging your health or that of someone you love.

The following are some misconceptions about high blood pressure to help you.

1. High blood pressure isn’t a big deal

Well, this can definitely kill you if you ignore the warnings. Your heart normally beats regularly, pumping blood through the vessels over your entire body. The blood pushes against the sides of your blood vessels as the blood is pushed by the heartbeat. These vessels are flexible and can widen or constrict as needed to keep the blood flowing. If your blood begins to push too hard against the vessels, this is high blood pressure that can cause the arteries to become stiff over time, leading to damage of your blood vessels, heart, kidneys and other organs. Heart disease and stroke are both caused by high blood pressure. You may not even know you have it.

2. High blood pressure can’t be prevented

Even if you are at a greater risk of high blood pressure, there are things you can do to prevent it. Keep our weight at a healthy level, eat a healthy diet, limit how much salt you eat, limit how much alcohol you drink, don’t smoke tobacco, get regular exercise and don’t let stress build up.

3. It’s OK as long as one number is normal

There is sometimes confusion with the two numbers. The top one is your systolic blood pressure and represents the force of blood through your blood vessels during your heartbeat. 119 or below is normal systolic blood pressure. If it is 120-139 it is prehypertension, 140 and greater is high blood pressure and 150 and greater is high blood pressure in those over age 60. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure and represents the force of blood through your blood vessels in between heartbeats, while your heart is resting. A number of 79 or below is normal, 80-89 is prehypertension and 90 and greater is hypertension. Experts say the heart can tolerate a high top number better than a high bottom number. Blood pressure does change throughout the day.

4. Treatment

Some things you might have heard as treatment and put fear in you are giving up your favorite foods or taking drugs with annoying side effects. Your doctor will work with you to come up with a suitable plan of foods and drugs for you. Some approaches might be using the DASH eating plan of less fat and saturated fat as well as eating more fresh fruits and veggies. Weight control will lower your risk of high blood pressure and decreasing the amount of alcohol you consume. Tobacco smoke can make blood pressure rise, so quit! Medications will likely be prescribed to control our high blood pressure as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, alpha-blockers and calcium channel blockers or beta-blockers.

5. Treatment doesn’t work

Your doctor can develop a comprehensive program for management of your high blood pressure. Check your blood pressure often, follow your treatment plan, see your doctor often, ask your doctor for information about meds and their side effects and reduce the in take of salt. You can remain healthy for years to come by following your treatment plans.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Girl and Her Dog

Science Says Walking Your Dog Is Good for Your Health

91% of pet owners consider their furry companion as a member of the family. However, did you know only half of owners walk their dog at least once a day? In fact, 50% of fur-baby moms and dads admit to rarely walking their dogs, not knowing it’s a two-way street.

People who live with at least one pet tend to have lower blood pressure. They also have a decreased risk of heart disease than those who don’t have pet animals. This health boost is due to the extra exercise that playing and walking a dog requires, along with the stress relief of having a dependable best friend on hand.

Here are three additional reasons you and your dog should enjoy daily walks:

Feel Less Lonely and Stressed 

Img c/o pexels

Quality walks with your four-legged friend can reduce feelings of loneliness and stress. Contact with pets (of with humans for dogs) seem to counteract stress responses by lowering stress hormones and heart rates. This contact also lowers anxiety and fear levels, as well as elevate feelings of calmness. Studies even show that dogs are crucial for helping seniors cope with stress and loneliness, as well as help calm pre-examination stress for students.

Improve Your Physical and Mental Health

Both humans and dogs have plenty of health issues that can be prevented or managed through routine exercise and a wholesome diet. Walking three times a week (at the very least) can improve your sense of well-being, lower your blood pressure, increase energy levels, and reduce your weight by 5% and your dog’s by 15%.

Exercise will also make your pup happy, which is evident in how much his or her tail wags whenever they see you holding their leash. Plus, since you are partly taking your dog out to relieve themselves, you will also see an improvement in their behaviors inside the house. Your dog also needs to ward off boredom, especially since he or she may be cooped inside the house all day. Just like you, dogs can suffer from obesity and poor health without proper exercise. Thus, heading out on a relaxing, long walk can help keep the extra pounds away.

Strengthen Your Bond Girl and Her Dog

Last but definitely not the least, daily walks provide quality time for you and your best friend. One-on-one time is extremely important to your dog’s behavioral development. It will also build a stable foundation for a trusting and loving relationship.

Though the studies are not as extensive, the benefits of walking your dog are impressive enough that many clinical establishments are opening their doors to animal-assisted interventions. Otherwise known as pet therapy, this protocol is often used alongside conventional medicine to treat various ailments.

If you are new to long walks, start slow with 15-minutes, then gradually work your way up to 30-60 minute daily walks. Just remember to keep your dog leashed; to keep him or her on the safe side of the road; and to always have paper bags and newspapers on-hand for potty breaks. Ready? Let’s go!


Standing for Our Health


The average U.S. adult spends up to 10 hours a day sitting.  This is a habit viewed as a normal integral part of daily life with working at a desk job or commuting long hours.  We aren’t doing our bodies any favors by sitting so much as it contributes to rising rates of overweight and obesity, chronic disease and even sometimes premature death.

Kelly Starrett holds a Ph.D. in physical therapy and is the author of “Deskbound: Standing Up to a Sitting World.”  He is a leader in the CrossFit movement and stresses the importance of having proper body mechanics both in and outside the gym.  He addresses biomechanical inadequacies that might increase your risk of injury. Kelly and Juliet are a husband-and-wife team and experts on movement and how it can make or break your health.  Their venture, is the product of their own role as parents to improve the health of kids across the U.S. This venture began when they volunteered at their daughters’ school and were disturbed to see the kids were having a hard time with the sack race at field day.  

They believe that sitting too much at a desk all day leads to decreased functionality and affects a child’s cognition.  The children attempting the sack race had decreased functionality as a result of this excessive sitting. Since the beginning of their non-profit organization, they have given about 35,000 U.S. school kids access to standing desks in the classroom.  This change is not only physical in nature but is linked to better learning in the classroom and improved productivity at work. The muscle activity acts as a stimulus to keep the brain alert.

It’s all about moving more and listening to what your body is saying.  Giving up that chair seems overwhelming to think about, but it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition.  Think of other ways to move more and include sitting on the floor can have moving advantages over sitting in a more confined chair.  Standing up does take you out of sedentary mode and you will likely stretch, lean, bend and pace. All movement counts toward your daily activity.

After sitting for six, eight or 10 hours a day it may take some time to adjust to standing and moving more and won’t happen over night.  The average student in the U.S. spends 4.5 hours a day sitting at school and an additional 7 hours sitting in front of a screen. Therefore, 85% of their waking hours is spent sitting.

Standup Kids has partnered with a number of corporations, giving children the much-needed opportunity to move more in school by installing standing desks, complete with fidget bars. The University of California Berkeley and the local county public health department have partnered to try to get more research done. There has been concern about “forcing” kids to stand all day, but this isn’t about standing still for long hours.  They do have access to stools, should they want to use them, but the teachers are saying they rarely do.

Interventions can help you avoid chronic diseases and orthopedic problems as neck problems, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee problems, lower extremity problems, shoulder dysfunction, poor diaphragm function, low back pain, hernias, pelvic floor dysfunction and hip dysfunction.  Do any of these symptoms sound familiar to you? They do to me! With age comes most of the above.

Standing is not only good for children as a prevention method against poor health, but as adults we could learn a lot about standing to help our own bodies as well.  Many suffer from sitting-induced range-of-motion problems and might increase the risk of injury and compromise long-term athletic and movement abilities.

Dr Fredda Branyon

Poor Carb Diets & Cancer Risk

breadAn article by EJ Mundell reported that even those people who’ve never smoked could get lung cancer.  A new study suggests their risk for the disease may rise if they eat a diet rich in certain carbohydrates.  These are high glycemic index diets that trigger higher levels of insulin in the blood and tend to be heavy in refined poor quality carbs, according to one expert.

Dr. Rishi Jain, a medical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, says that the glycemic load and index are methods to estimate the quality and quantity of dietary carbohydrates.  A couple of examples of these high glycemic index foods would be white bread and white potatoes.

As the rates of obesity and heart risk factors rise in the U.S., so does the number of Americans with insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes.  Insulin-linked disorders are often tied to high-glycemic diets and have been implicated as potential contributors to a variety of chronic conditions that include certain cancers.  Dr. Xifeng Wu, chair of cancer prevention at the university of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, conducted a new study to help answer the question “if lung cancer could be one of those malignancies.”

Dr. Xifeng Wu and her team looked at the health and dietary histories of more than 1,900 people with lung cancer and more than 2,400 people without the disease.  The intake of foods with a high glycemic index, such as the white bread and potatoes, were specifically looked at by the investigators. Those people who registered in the top 5th in terms of a high-glycemic diet had a 49% greater risk of developing lung cancer versus those in the bottom 5th.  The trend was stronger when the study focused on people who had never smoked.  Those who scored highest in terms of a high-glycemic diet had more than double the odds of lung cancer compared to never-smokers who had the lowest glycemic index scores.  The findings of this study was reported in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.  

Focusing on never-smokers is important as it eliminates smoking as a confounding risk factor showing the potential role of diet in lung cancer risk.  Smoking is a major factor for lung cancer but does not account for all the variations in lung cancer risk.

Stephanie Melkonian, a study co-author says that high-glycemic diets are linked to insulin resistance, which may encourage the activity of certain cellular growth factor chemicals that are known to play a role in cancer.  Their study can’t prove the cause-and-effect and also fails to take into account the potential role of other illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. The downstream effect of a high-glycemic diet on cellular growth factors explaining the link to lung cancer risk was agreed on by Jain.  He further stated that this association was more pronounced in nonsmokers, suggesting that increased intake of poorer quality carbs might be more detrimental in this group.

The study contributes to the growing evidence that poor dietary habits and obesity do play a critical role in cancer development.

Dr Fredda Branyon

healthy foods

Low Carb Food Swaps

healthy foodsCarbohydrates are mainstay for lots of people who say they love all those comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, donuts, white rice and bread.  These sure aren’t the foods for someone who has healthy eating on the mind. These carbohydrates are just plain bad for you.

Not all carbs are the same though.  A lot of the good ones provide nutrition, containing things like protein, iron, fiber and B-vitamins.  Simple and complex are the two types of carbohydrates. A good way to separate them is simply substandard and sinful or sketchy.  Just remember to avoid them, as they contain a lot of sugar. The complex carbs are the ones that are commendable, constructive and correct.  

Kim Larson, a registered dietitian from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, says that when it comes to carbs, the simple ones are composed of short-chain carbon molecules that basically head straight for your bloodstream and spike your blood sugar.  The complex carbs have longer chains of carbon molecules and take longer for your body to break them down, so the sugar isn’t dumped into our bloodstream.

As we have all learned, not all carbs are created equally!  Seven nutritionists were asked to submit their favorite low-carb “swaps” for those who want to lower their carb intake without giving up the flavor.  Some of their submissions were:

  • Sweet potato “toast”.  Skip the bread, peel the sweet potato, slice it up and pop the slices in the toaster.  Then you can top it with a number of flavors just to suit your own taste. Be inventive!
  • Mashed turnips.  They contain just 2/3rds of the calories and you get lots of fiber. Wash, peel and steam, or bake them like squash or traditional potatoes.
  • Fava bean flour.  These are known as broad beans and come in a pod similar to green beans.  Mature ones are bitter, so remove the pod and release the beans inside to use in many recipes, including salads. An excellent source of folic acid.
  • Lettuce wraps.  This process has been done for many years in restaurants, so individuals can do the same at home.  Cut down on the white bread and use the lettuce. Collard greens, kale, chard and lettuce leaves are a nutritious way to cut those calories on sandwiches.
  • Applewich.  Replace that bread with apple slices by cutting an apple so you have two circular slices ¼ inch thick, and spread each slice with nut butter.  Top with pumpkin seeds, cinnamon or cherries and press them together.
  • Whipped Cauliflower.  Potatoes have 2 grams of fiber, 1 gram of sugar and 21 grams of carbs.  Steamed cauliflower has 3 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar and only 5 grams of carbs.  This yummy alternate to potatoes is the only option now for that mashed, buttery goodness.
  • Carrot “noodles”.  Carrot noodles work well as an alternative dish for a pasta substitute.  You get fewer carbs and the texture is crunchy.
  • Spaghetti Squash.  Another pasta option like this can cut carbs and provide you with potassium, folate and fiber.  Slice the squash length-wise, place with cut side up in baking dish with ½” of water. Salt and butter and bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
  • Broccoli “rice”.  Toss broccoli florets into the processor then steam or sauté with a little salt and butter.  This brings a good serving of fiber, vitamin B6 and vitamin K to lessen your diabetes and heart disease risks.

Umm. Lets give it a try.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Jet Lag, Obesity & Pathways to Liver Cancer

Jet LagHepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, has nearly tripled since 1980, and obesity related liver disease is one of the driving forces behind the increasing number of cases.  Baylor College of Medicine researchers are now examining other lifestyle factors that may affect your health. By using mice, the scientists have shown that repeated jet lag increases both obesity related liver disease and the risk of liver cancer.  The Cancer Cell has published the study.

Liver cancer is rising worldwide and through human studies, we’ve seen that patients can progress from fatty liver disease to liver cancer without any middle steps such as cirrhosis, according to David Moore, a professor of molecular and cellular biology who led the study with Associate Professor Loning Fu, both at Baylor.  Studies in the Fu Lab found that chronically jet-lagged mice developed liver cancer in a very similar way as that described for obese humans.

Our bodies’ central circadian clock in the brain resets when we are exposed to light.  Traveling constantly through different time zones, working night shifts or pushing us to stay awake at the regular sleep time causes our central clock to be chronically disrupted.  This also extends to clocks in other tissues that are controlled by the central clock.

The researchers modeled the effects of chronic jet lag in normal mice who were fed a healthy diet by changing the times the lights went on and off during the night each week.  The mice gained weight and fat and developed fatty liver disease. This progressed to chronic inflammation and eventually to liver cancer in some of the cases.

Normal control of liver metabolism was lost on the jetlagged mice.  This included the buildup of fat and also increased production of bile acids, which are produced by the liver to help us digest our food.  Some studies linking high bile acid levels to liver cancer, in mice and humans, were done in earlier studies. Circadian clock disruption activated two nuclear receptors that help regulate liver bile acid metabolism.  A receptor called FXR, which keeps bile acid level in the liver within a normal physiological range in the jetlagged mice lacking the receptor, had higher bile acid levels and much more liver cancer. Those lacking a receptor called CAR, which regulates bile acid breakdown and known to promote liver cancer, did not get any liver tumors.

These receptors work in a similar manner in humans. The scientists did not directly study jetlag in humans, but there is evidence that sleep disruption increases both fatty liver disease and liver cancer risk in humans.

Studies show that more than 80% of the population in the U.S. adopts a lifestyle that leads to chronic disruption in their sleep schedules.  This has reached an epidemic level in other developed countries and coupled with the increase in obesity and liver cancer risk.

They hope to continue their research to further examine if drugs interacting with the nuclear receptors can help to prevent jet lag from affecting bile acid levels in the liver with a goal of using them as pharmaceutical strategies to prevent liver cancer in humans.

Bottom line results are that chronic jet lag was sufficient to induce liver cancer.  Results definitely show that chronic circadian disruption alone leads to malfunction of these receptors, so maintaining internal physiological homeostasis is very important for liver tumor suppression.

Dr Fredda Branyon


Broccoli May Slow Age Decline

BroccoliA foundational aspect of a healthy diet is to eat plenty of fresh vegetables.  A healthy diet can help to lower your risk for many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers.  This is especially ideal if you eat organic foods to avoid pesticides and GMO’s.

Vegetables contain antioxidants and disease-fighting compounds that you won’t find in other foods and are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber.  Inflammation can be reduced with phytochemicals and eliminate carcinogens. Others regulate cell reproduction, apoptosis and DNA maintenance. A potent anti-aging effect is in certain plant compounds.  Broccoli is probably best known for its anti-cancer activity that also contains an enzyme that researchers believe may slow age-related decline in health by restoring your metabolism to more youthful levels.  A basic premise of aging is that as you age, your cells’ ability to produce energy declines, and cell repair and maintenance declines as well. Degeneration then sets in.

The enzyme nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) plays a role in producing nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), which is a compound involved in mitochondrial health and energy metabolism.  Research has shown that your body loses its capacity to create NAD with age. When NMN is dissolved and administered in water, it takes 3 minutes for the compound to appear in the blood. There it is quickly converted into NAD in multiple tissues.

For health and longevity, eat your greens!  NMN is also found in cucumbers, cabbage, avocado and other green vegetables.  Studies have shown that people with higher vegetable intake has lower risks of high blood pressure and stroke, lower risks of certain types of cancer, reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss, higher scores on cognitive tests, higher antioxidant levels, lower biomarkers for oxidative stress, lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease, lower risk for eye diseases and fewer digestive problems.

Research has revealed the following list of health benefits associated with broccoli such as osteoarthritis, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases and allergies.  Water and nutrient rich veggies as well as broccoli also support healthy liver function, which in turn promotes optimal functioning of your natural detoxification systems. Broccoli also contains a good source of healthy fiber, which is broken down into short-chain fatty acids by your gut bacteria that has been shown to lessen your risk of inflammatory diseases.  

Broccoli is most well known for its anti-cancer activity, an effect attributed to a naturally occurring sulfur compound called sulforaphane.  Some researchers have suggested broccoli as a key part of an anti-cancer diet. A study recommended that 3 or 4 servings of broccoli per week was found to reduce men’s risk of prostate cancer by more than 60%, a higher intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli also lowered the risk of bladder cancer in men by as much as 50%.  Men with detectable amounts of isothiocyanates in their bodies had a 36% lower chance of developing lung cancer over 10 years. Also, eating broccoli 3 to 5 times per week has been shown to lower the risk of liver cancer, and to help prevent the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Research also shows that sulforaphane can kill cancer stem cells, thereby slowing tumor growth, helping to detoxify carcinogens, causes apoptosis in colon, prostate, breast and tobacco-induced lung cancer cells, reduces the number of reactive oxygen species molecules that cause cell damage by as much as 73%, plays a role in activating more than 200 different genes, and normalizes DNA methylation.  Sulforaphane may also benefit autistic children.

Other compounds found in broccoli that are health promoting are glucorphanin, phenolic compounds, dilndolylmethane, vitamins and minerals.

If you lightly steam your broccoli it will boost the sulforaphane content.  Ideally, try to use fresh broccoli. Adding a myrosinase-containing food such as mustard seed, daikon radishes, wasabi, arugula and cole slaw can further optimize the sulforaphane content.  So grab that broccoli and make it part of your diet. It’s your choice to delay that aging and those chronic health risks that accompany that aging.

Dr Fredda Branyon

The 7-Minute Fitness Routine

The 7-Minute Fitness Routine

Hitting the gym between family, social, and work commitments can be tricky to pull off, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If your main concern is time, you can bet on your abs that there are effective ways to workout in only seven minutes.

The Science Behind the Seven-Minute Workout

A study explains how to get the maximum results in a seven-minute workout with just your body weight, a chair, and a wall. The idea is to perform each exercise to target different muscle groups. This technique allows one primary muscle group to rest while you work on the next, which results in a highly efficient and effective routine. The best part is, you can do it virtually anywhere.

The Routine

Perform each exercise below at a high-intensity level for 30 seconds. For static exercises such as the Wall Sit and Plank, hold the position for 30 seconds. For exercises that target two sides of the body (or the legs), alternate each side for precisely 30 seconds. Between each exercise, rest for 5 seconds to reset.

First — Jumping Jack

Doing jumping jacks is a great way to boost your heart rate. An increased heart rate causes the body to burn more calories and fat, which results in weight loss. By breathing deeply while performing this exercise, blood circulation is improved and oxygenates your blood and muscles.

Second — Wall Sit

Wall sitting is harder than it looks. It builds your isometric strength and endurance in the calves, glutes, and quadriceps. Since this particular workout includes a blend of martial arts and yoga, it also helps the mind to focus.

Third — Push-Up

Push-ups are highly beneficial to the strength of your arms, abs, and lower body. Properly executed push-ups train your muscles to work together and become stronger.


Fourth — Crunch

As a core-training exercise, crunches help improve your balance by strengthening your abdominal muscles. Strong core muscles improve your posture, which helps you function efficiently in everyday life and in sporting events. A healthy posture also helps prevent lower back pain and muscle injury.

Fifth — Step-Up

Step-ups are excellent for training leg muscles, which also translates to a general increase in lower body strength. Other benefits include heightening your endurance, which makes you run faster and jump higher.

Sixth — Squat squat

Squats help in building your leg muscles, including your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. But they also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building. In a nutshell, squats do wonders for the body and can improve both your upper and lower body strength.

Seventh — Triceps Dip

Dips are a compound push exercise with a small range of motion that primarily works your triceps, while also engaging your forearms, shoulders, chest, and lower back.

Eighth — Plank

The plank is one of the best exercises for core conditioning. It also works to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings, while supporting proper posture and improving balance.


No More Excuses!

Time should no longer hold you back from working out. Maximize every second of your time with this simple plan. If desired, you can repeat the circuit up to three times to make it as effective as hour-long training sessions.

How to Lose the Holiday Weight with Food

Eat This: How to Lose the Holiday Weight with Food

There’s no question that the holidays are the best time to indulge your taste buds, but as the season changes — the weight gain stays.

It can be tough to reverse unhealthy eating habits, but if you’re determined to shed the holiday weight, it’s important to know that there’s a good and bad way to do it. Starving yourself will inevitably cause a calorific food binge, while a proper diet is about understanding balance and what kind of nutrients to feed your body.

Calories Are Not Always Equal to Fat

Just because an apple has the same amount of calories as two bacon strips does not mean they are equal. Different food types go through different metabolic pathways in the body. They can have varying effects on hunger, hormones, and the number of calories we burn.

Here is a list of products and ingredients that have the staying power to see you into a fit and healthy New Year.

1. Plant-Based Proteins — Not Red Meat

Beans, lentils, and soy are great plant-based alternatives to red meat. There are many wellness benefits to plant-based sources of protein — which is why vegetarians have lower rates of bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and body mass index. What’s more, vegan-friendly proteins are jam-packed with fiber and antioxidants and can be just as hearty as meat.

soy beans

2. Clever Carbs — Not All Carbs

Contrary to popular belief, carbs are a crucial part of a healthy diet. As long as you’re sensible about the carbs you choose, you have no reason to worry about its overall effects on health. Try zucchini noodles or ready-to-cook pasta made with lentils, chickpeas, and other high-fiber and lower-carb ingredients.

3. Friendly and Portioned Fats

One effective way to lower bad cholesterol is to consume a moderate amount of unsaturated fats through nuts, olive oil, avocados, and fatty fish. Additionally, flaxseed oil and canola oil are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have plenty of health-promoting perks. Fat, however, does contain more calories than protein or carbs, so be mindful of your portions.

4. Baked Chips — Not Deep Fried Potatoes

Just because you’re trying to lose weight, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good snack. Aside from potatoes, you can find a wide array of delicious baked chips made from nutrient-packed carrots and kale at any grocery store. Again, just be wary of your portions.

5. Not Just Any Vegetable — Choose Leafy Greens

With a bit of preparation, leafy green vegetables like spinach and collards can turn into healthy, filling, and delicious main cuisines. Greens have several properties that make them excellent for weight loss. For instance, they are low in both calories and carbohydrates, but are loaded with fiber. Eating leafy greens is a great way to increase the volume of your meals without increasing the calories. They are also incredibly nutritious and high in all sorts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and calcium — which aids in fat burning.

leafy veggies

Food: The Fuel Your Body Needs

Remember that your body needs fuel to function, and that primary source of fuel is food. If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t starve yourself! Restrictions not only deplete your energy levels and trigger eating disorders, but they also slow down your metabolism — which is crucial for burning fat. Instead, find the right balance of healthy and filling foods and you will be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.