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6 Weird Dieting Trends from the Past

6 Weird Dieting Trends from the Past

Nutrition has always fascinated mankind for various reasons: because it is something that accompanies us throughout our lives, because it has important cultural overtones, and because it influences our health and wellbeing.

With the amount of attention paid to the topic, it is only natural that over the course of human history, nutrition has seen some pretty unusual, surprising, and weird ideas that would look strange or outright insane to modern dieticians. Here are some of them.

1. The Vinegar and Water Diet

1024px-Lord_Byron_on_his_Death-bed_c._1826

    This diet is primarily famous today for having been introduced and popularized by Lord Byron in the 1820s. He had never been known for having excessive weight, yet the famous poet apparently believed there was plenty of room for improvement.

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    The diet was based on replacing most of the food you’d normally eat with vinegar, with one cup of tea and one raw egg daily to keep body and soul together. It wasn’t the only approach Byron attempted at weight loss; obsessed with his physical appearance, he was vegetarian for most of his life and sometimes spent weeks eating nothing but dry biscuits and white wine.

    2. The Cigarette Diet

    Nicotine is believed to possess some appetite-suppressing qualities (people often rapidly gain weight after quitting smoking). This was further popularized in the 1920s, particularly in the Lucky Strike ad campaign “Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet.” The idea was popular enough to be prescribed by doctors as a weight loss method.

    Lucky Strike

      3. The Tapeworm Diet

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        Ingesting tapeworms to lose weight sounds like a bit of an overkill — an astonishingly disgusting and insane overkill. However, in the beginning of the 20th century, it was a rather popular dieting fad — to the point that tapeworms were widely sold in pills exactly for these purposes until outlawed for their considerable health risks.

        Yes, they can actually help one lose weight, but they have a number of side effects ranging from the relatively innocuous, like nausea and weakness, to more drastic conditions like dementia and meningitis.

        Mad as it sounds, some people seriously consider it even today. There are organizations running “tapeworm farms” in Mexico and Africa, where tourists can get infected “scientifically.”

        4. The Chewing Diet

        Horace Fletcher introduced this tremendously popular diet in 1903 and it still has its proponents. According to the chewing diet (or Fletcherizing, as it is sometimes called), you have to chew each mouthful of food exactly 32 times and keep your head inclined forward. After that, you incline your head back and let the contents of your mouth slid down your throat, spitting out everything that doesn’t go down your throat naturally.

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        With a nice slogan “Nature will castigate those who do not masticate,” this diet turned Fletcher into a millionaire and allowed him to live in luxury to the age of 69 — apparently remaining a stalwart practitioner of his method until his dying day.

        5. The Arsenic Diet

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          The latter half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th saw an incredible rise in peculiar and sometimes outright horrible wonder drugs to treat everything from excess weight to old age. Needless to say, the majority of them were created by charlatans with little to no medical knowledge. At the very best, they were harmless; but many preparations included dangerous, sometimes lethally dangerous, ingredients — like arsenic.

          Advertising accompanying such medicines stated that arsenic speeds up metabolism and, in the long run, eliminates body fat. Doses were small, but arsenic has a tendency to accumulate in the body, leading to ever-worsening symptoms and eventually death. To make matters worse, advertisers often failed to mention at all that the pills contained such an ingredient.

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          6. The Sleeping Beauty Diet

          This approach to nutrition was fairly popular in the 60s and 70s — Elvis Presley is reported to have been one of its proponents. The main idea is that you don’t eat when you are not awake. So, the secret to staying fit is sleeping as much as possible. To achieve this, its practitioners sedated themselves for days at a time.

          1959, SLEEPING BEAUTY

            While some of these approaches are certainly a thing of the past, a surprising amount of people are ready to try out anything to control their weight — as long as they don’t have to exercise. But, of course, such experiments can lead to bad health. It seems much more logical to listen to modern dieticians and their up-to-date advice.

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            Melissa Burns

            Entrepreneur

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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!

            More About Boosting Brain Power

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

            Reference

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