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What Most People Get Wrong About Dieting

What Most People Get Wrong About Dieting

At one time in your life, you’ve probably been on some sort of diet – whether you’ve consciously reduced your carbohydrate intake, cut out dairy products or even tried surviving off miracle-promising nutrition shakes. In today’s day and age, diet trends are a dime a dozen and nearly everyone has encountered a fad that they’ve either tried or advocated.

While some diet trends are effective, others may actually strip your body of essential nutrients, leaving you with overwhelming cravings or the opposite effect of your desired results. The reality is that you don’t need an expensive trainer, fancy meal plan or miracle pill to lose weight. What you really need in order to successfully achieve and maintain a healthy weight is education.

With so many Americans dieting today, countless misnomers exist that are not only wrong but may also act as obstacles to your ultimate goal.

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Misconception #1: You Have to Starve Yourself to Lose Weight

One of the first steps people often take when starting a new diet is drastically reducing their food intake. While this is an obvious tactic that may prove effective if sustained over time, there is a catch. Depriving your body of food for a lengthy period of time – whether it’s several hours or several days – can actually have the opposite effect.

According to FitnessHealth101.com, starving yourself will help you drop pounds fast, but only in the form of water weight. Once your water weight is gone, your weight loss will slow down exponentially. In addition, because your body turns to muscle before fat as a source of energy, you will notice a decrease in muscle mass before you see a loss in body fat.

This will ultimately lead to decreased energy, lethargy, mood swings, and a slowed metabolism, which will hinder you from maintaining a productive diet and fitness regimen. Instead, eat healthy foods that are high in protein in small portions throughout the day to keep your metabolism working steadily and your energy levels high.

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Misconception #2: You Should Avoid Carbohydrates

This is a common misconception about dieting because many people believe that carbohydrates cause weight gain. Popular diets such as Paleo, Atkins, Ketogenic, and South Beach are all designed to decrease your carb load and help you shed pounds quickly.

While reducing the amount of simple carbohydrates (soda, fruit juice, cookies, etc.) in your diet will certainly make an impact, you do not need to cut out carbohydrates altogether in order to see results. In fact, according to Health.com, including certain complex carbohydrates in your diet may actually help you lose weight.

High-carbohydrate foods such as vegetables, beans, potatoes, and whole grains fill you up so you eat less throughout the day, help you control your blood sugar, speed up your metabolism, and reduce cravings.

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Misconception #3: You Can Eat Whatever You Want if You Exercise

Most people live under the guise that as long as you exercise regularly, you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Weight loss is contingent upon the ratio of calories consumed versus calories burned, so if your goal is to reduce your body weight, you need to keep track of the number of calories you are eating and those you are working off through exercise.

For example, if you burn 500 calories running on a treadmill, but eat a couple extra slices of pizza, you’re likely breaking even or even falling behind. Find a balance between the number of calories you eat (and the sources of those calories) and the amount of exercise in which you engage.

Aim for a manageable daily goal, such as reducing your food intake by 250 calories and increasing your caloric burn through exercise by 250 calories in order to attain a deficit. This may be as simple as trading your morning mocha for tea and taking the stairs instead of riding the elevator up to your office each day.

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Misconception #4: All Calories are Created Equal

When it comes to calories, 100 calories of pasta is the same as 100 calories of tuna, right? Wrong! Your body processes everything you consume in very different ways. According to AuthorityNutrition.com, your body uses much more energy to metabolize protein than fat and carbohydrates, providing a “metabolic advantage” that speeds your metabolism and burns more calories.

Foods that are high in protein are also known to keep you satiated longer so you eat less throughout the day. To ensure that you get the proper amount of protein each day, you can supplement your diet by adding healthy protein shakes. If you decide to go this route, be sure to properly research the best options available as there are many products that contain unnecessary fillers.

Alternatively, foods that are high in simple carbohydrates or fructose cause your blood sugar levels to spike, so you may feel full immediately after consumption, but you are more likely to feel hungry again just a short time later.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to succumb to fad diets or cheap gimmicks in order to lose weight. Instead, maintain a diet that encompasses a healthy balance of whole foods, proteins, and complex carbohydrates, while including regular exercise and plenty of water.

Making these effective lifestyle changes will provide lasting results instead of “quick fixes” that will only leave you frustrated…and hungry!

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Sara Jane Adkins

Blogger at Natural Healthy Living

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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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