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Lose Belly Fat Fast – Mind Your Hormones Too But Not Just Calories Intake

Lose Belly Fat Fast – Mind Your Hormones Too But Not Just Calories Intake

Gaining weight is always a frustrating thing — but it can be even more difficult when you find yourself putting on those extra pounds on your belly. Not only is it more unsightly, it is also worse for your health: the more weight you carry on your tummy, the more likely you are to also have fat deposits built up around organs like your liver that could eventually lead to disease.

When you are trying to lose abdominal fat, calories are not the only thing to think about: learning how to keep your hormones in balance is vital as well. These hormones communicate with the cells in your body to either make it easier — or harder — to lose that belly fat.

Let’s take a look at four of the most important hormones to think about when you are try to trim down your tummy.

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Hormone helps to regulate body fat

The hormone Adiponectin is produced by the fat cells but helps your body regulate body fat. Raised levels of this hormone make it easier to lose weight.

Hormone affects your eagerness for eating

The hormone Leptin is also made by your fat cells and is important because it sends signals to your brain that you are full and can stop eating. If you are not sensitive to this hormone, however, you are more likely to overeat.

The other hormone Cortisol is produced by the adrenal cortex, a gland that sits atop your kidneys, and is brought on by stress. Raised cortisol levels also signal to the body that it needs to pack on abdominal fat.

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Hormone helps to regulate the sugar level in your body

The hormone Insulin is made in your pancreas and it is the most important one to consider when it comes to losing belly fat!  This “master hormone” regulates how glucose (sugar) in used throughout the body. Fat cells are resistant to insulin and as you put on more weight, this insulin resistance grows. Increased insulin resistance will, in turn, increase the levels of insulin that your body needs to function. And these high insulin levels signal make it more likely that you will pack on more weight, especially in the area of your tummy.

Sound complicated? No worries! With simple lifestyle changes, you can help to balance these hormones in such a way that it becomes easier to lose belly fat!

1. Watch What You Drink

Watching your diet isn’t just about what you eat — what you drink is just as important.  Beverages with a lot of high fructose corn syrup in them (such as sodas) can raise levels of leptin and insulin in the body, while caffeinated beverages can raise levels of cortisol. Higher levels of these hormones signals to your body that it’s time to pack on weight.

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2. Add Greens, Seeds and Proteins to Your Diet!

There are certain foods you can add to your diet so that losing belly weight will be easier.  These foods include:

  • A green called purslane, which can be cut up fresh into salads and which is a rich source of both omega three fatty acids (which reduce inflammation naturally) and melatonin (which can help you sleep better and reduce cortisol levels naturally)
  • High-quality proteins — such as from fatty fish, pastured or wild meats and legumes — that can help decrease inflammation and increase your sensitivity to leptin.
  • Pistachios and pumpkin seeds. These healthy little snacks help to raise the levels of adiponectin, which makes it easier for you to burn fat. They are also fiber-rich and help stave off hunger pains when you are dieting.

3. Cut Fructose, Gluten and Dairy

There are also some foods which you should be avoiding in order to balance those hormones and lose that fat.  Some of the main culprits are:

  • Foods which contain high fructose corn syrup or are naturally high in fructose (like dried apricots). Fruictose increases insulin and leptin levels.
  • Gluten and dairy products can also be cut from the diet to reduce inflammation and insulin resistance.

4. Do High Intensity Exercise

While cardiovascular exercises such as running or bicycling have many definite benefits, they are not always so great when what you are aiming for is a tinier tummy. That is because these long workout can actually increase your cortisol levels. Brief, intense exercise lasting just a few minutes and broken up by periods of rest seem to work better for stimulating the body to burn fat.

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5. Sleep it Off!

Sleep deprivation, like cardiovascular exercise, can also raise levels of cortisol and, like the cardiovascular exercise, can actually make it harder to shed that tummy fat.  It is best to try to get between 7 and 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night if you are to avoid this stressor.

6. Manage Your Stress

It is not just the physical stress of exercise or sleep deprivation that’s that problem: emotional stress can also raise your cortisol levels. Learn to control this stress with a variety of “still” or “calming” activities that you can practice on your own or with friends and that will help you to tamp down on any feelings of worry or anxiety you might be feeling. Yoga, meditation, prayer, tai chi and breathing exercises are all great for this!

7. Consider Supplements

Some supplements appear to have a beneficial affect on balancing out your hormones — and fortunately, they are an easy thing to add to your everyday life. Zinc and magnesium, in particular, are supplements which can regulate your hormone levels. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting this or any supplement, however.

8. Do a Fast

A fast doesn’t have to last all day long in order for you to gain benefits from it.  Even one that lasts as little as 18 hours can help women re-adjust to the body’s metabolic clocks and gives it a little boost, making it easier to burn fat as well.  When you are fasting, however, be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and also try to rest to avoid stressing your body.

This might seem like a lot to remember, but if you can manage to incorporate the tips above into your dieting strategy instead of just counting calories, you will probably find it easier to begin shedding weight from that all-important abdominal area, just because you took the time to balance out your hormones.

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Brian Wu

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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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