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Scientists Unlocked 8 Efficient Ways To Weight Loss

Scientists Unlocked 8 Efficient Ways To Weight Loss

We’re drowning in opinions about how to slim down. Your cousin thinks he’s a weight loss expert, your co-worker insists she’s a weight loss expert, perhaps even your spouse has started chiming in. With all these opinions swarming about, you’re probably aching for strategies actually backed by science.

If you’re looking for shortcuts that might actually work, here are 8 weight loss strategies backed by science.

1. Check your weight daily

When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be discouraging to step on the scale. You want to see a lower number, and you know it won’t happen overnight. Still, research says weighing yourself regularly could help you slim down. In one study, researchers from the University of Minnesota and Cornell University found that participants “who were weighing themselves daily lost significantly more weight than those who were not.”

2. Write down your weight loss goal

Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University found that people who wrote their goals down were 42% more likely to achieve them. This research study wasn’t specific to weight loss, but it certainly applies. If you need help setting a weight loss goal, this article will give you a framework.

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3. Limit liquid calories

Several research studies link liquid calories to weight gain and even cultural obesity. One study suggests this is partially because the calories in soda don’t fill you up like the calories in food, removing the natural instinct to stop.

If you decide to cut down your liquid calories, you can quench you thirst with our next strategy.

4. Drink more water before meals

A study published in the journal Obesity found that participants who drank 16 ounces of water before meals lost more weight than participants who did not. This is presumably because drinking the water helped them feel more full so they ate less during meals.

If you need a break from all this science, you might also enjoy learning that Khloe Kardashian says drinking more water was key to her weight loss.

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5. Start “crowding out” unhealthy foods by beginning your meals with healthy foods

This isn’t an actual research study, but New York Times bestselling author Kathy Freston has a fascinating article about what she calls “crowding out.” Basically, this involves eating healthy foods first in your meals so you’ll be less hungry for the other stuff. The beauty of this strategy is it lets your stomach tell you when to stop eating instead of putting that burden on your brain. Freston recommends eating more foods that naturally contain fiber to crowd out other foods, saying, “the one dietary component most associated with weight loss is fiber consumption.” Click here for a great big list of high fiber foods.

Speaking of fiber…

6. Consider eating more beans

“A 2013 study conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University found that ‘a high-fibre bean-rich diet was as effective as a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss.’ Another study revealed that ‘bean eaters weighed, on average, 7 pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts.’” That quote comes from the Lifehack.org article “10 Delicious Bean Recipes to Help You Lose Weight,” which is a great place to start if beans aren’t a regular part of your diet.

7. Sleep 7-9 hours every night

We all know we should get more sleep. We hear it so much the advice almost puts us to sleep. But do you realize just how much research shows getting enough sleep is important for weight loss?

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An article by Amy Paturel at WebMD drives the point home (bullets added for clarity):

  • “A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people were starved of sleep, late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high-carb snacks.”
  • “A second study found that sleeping too little prompts people to eat bigger portions of all foods, increasing weight gain.”
  • “And in a review of 18 studies, researchers found that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.”

By my count, that’s twenty studies that appear to encourage sleep for weight loss. Maybe we should all take the advice a bit more seriously.

8. Form healthy habits using the “Implementation Intention” strategy

Implementation intention might sound a bit obtuse, but just think of it as a handy way to form new habits. It revolves around setting goals using an “if/then” structure.

For example, if you want to start eating better, instead of just saying “I’m going to eat more beans,” you could say, “If I eat at a restaurant, I’ll order beans as my side dish” (Modified from Chapter 8, pages 137-138 of Then a miracle occurs: Focusing on behavior in social psychological theory and research).

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Can you see how an if/then goal is more powerful than just saying, “I want to start eating better”? This strategy helps you form habits by forcing you to set specific goals that have built-in triggers to remind you to take action. A meta-analysis of ninety-four research studies revealed that implementation intention can “improve the capacity of individuals to initiate and maintain behaviors that fulfill their goals in many domains.” Examples cited include eating healthy foods and exercising.

Which strategy will you try?

Hopefully this post has provided some peace of mind by reminding you there are still science-backed ways to slim down. Pick the strategy that speaks to you and give it a try. And please share this post with friends who might find it helpful.

Featured photo credit: Lose weight now/ Alan Cleaver via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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