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6 Tips to Help You Lower Your Carb Intake

6 Tips to Help You Lower Your Carb Intake

Almost all of us want to try to slim down every once in awhile, but often finding the right balance to shed a few pounds can be difficult. One way that you can shed those extra pounds is by cutting your daily intake of carbohydrates.

1. Understand how carbohydrates work.

Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients in the human diet, with fat and protein being the other two. Carbohydrates are essential to a number of functions in the body, including growth and your body’s metabolism. Carbohydrates are most often found in starchy foods such as breads, pastas and rice, but they can also be found in fruits and vegetables as well.

2. Know the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates.

You may have noticed these labels on some of the food you buy, but what do they really mean? Simple carbohydrates are made from refined grains. During the refining process, much of what makes them good for you is simply stripped away. You can often find these in your white breads or any heavily processed foods. Studies have shown that eating too much of these types of carbohydrates can lead to weight gain and other health problems such as diabetes and even cardiovascular conditions.

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Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, have not been through the refining process. This means that they retain much of the fiber and other nutrients that your body really needs. These are commonly found in whole grains. Studies have shown that eating a low carb diet that is rich in complex carbohydrates will help you lose weight and improve your health.

If you want to follow a low carb diet, you should eliminate as many of the simple carbohydrates as you can from your diet while at the same time including more complex carbohydrates in your diet.

3. Find out if a low carb diet is right for you.

Low carb diets were all the rage several years ago, with many people choosing to eat more protein and eliminating carbohydrates almost completely from their diets. But is this right for you? The answer depends largely on your lifestyle

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You see, your body takes the carbohydrates you ingest and turns them into glucose, otherwise known as sugar. It takes this sugar and then uses it as fuel to provide you with the energy you need each day. If you are active, enough all this fuel will be burned and you won’t store any for later. However, if you are not, your body takes this sugar and stores it as fat in your body causing you to gain weight. Reducing your intake of carbohydrates based on your activity level is the perfect way to keep your weight in check while also making sure your body still gets the fuel it needs every day.

4. Don’t eliminate carbohydrates all-together.

Carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates, provides several things that your body needs every day. These include starch, which is an easily-converted form of energy for your body; fiber, which aids in the digestion process; and other vitamins and minerals you need each day in order to maintain proper health.

What this means is you shouldn’t try to completely eliminate all carbohydrates from your diet. If you do, you will be denying your body many of the nutrients that it needs in order to maintain proper health. Just be sure when you do eat carbs that you choose whole grains and other sources of complex carbohydrates so you get the proper nutrition you need and not just the wasted calories and sugar that are found in simple carbohydrates.

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5. Avoid these foods.

When planning your low carb diet, most diets recommend limiting your carb intake to 50 to 150 grams per day. There are many foods that are loaded with simple carbohydrates that you should avoid if you are trying to eat a low carb diet. A few examples of foods you should avoid are:

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Pizza crust
  • Muffins
  • Biscuits
  • Pancakes
  • Hot dog and hamburger buns

6. Eat these foods.

Even if you are choosing a low carb diet, there are many foods that are perfectly okay for you to eat that are rich in complex carbohydrates. These include:

  • Beans
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Brown rice
  • Oats and other whole grains

Conclusion

Eating a diet that is low in carbs has been shown to improve your health and will help you lose weight over and over again. However, that doesn’t mean you have to eliminate carbs altogether. Instead, eat lower amounts of carbs and when you do eat carbs, choose the right ones. Avoid simple carbs that provide your body with almost no nutritional benefits and replace them with complex carbohydrates that are rich in whole grains. This will give your body both the fuel and nutrients it needs for you to live a much healthier life.

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Featured photo credit: Hot Dogs by Thomas Abbs via Flickr via flickr.com

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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