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The Sad Truth: Poor People Are More Likely To Get Fat

The Sad Truth: Poor People Are More Likely To Get Fat

For centuries people have associated being overweight with being rich. And for centuries, this assumption was true. Being obese was a sign of abundance, it meant never going hungry and always having more than enough to eat.

Today, the opposite is true. People living in poverty are more likely to be overweight and obese. This is because low socioeconomic communities tend to lack access to nutritious food, live sedentary lifestyles, and eat large portion sizes that are high in fat.

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There are two main reasons why people with low incomes are more likely to be obese:

High-Fat, Processed Foods Are Cheaper

When an apple consists of only 1 ingredient and a package of cookies consists of more than 30, why is the apple more expensive per calorie? According to Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the cookies are made of corn, soy, and wheat based ingredients – 3 of the most heavily subsidised crops in the market. These subsidies allow the cost of fat, sugar, and processed carbohydrates to stay low.

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High fat, processed foods are the cheaper alternative thanks to subsidies. To illustrate this, let’s consider the following: the cost of fruits and vegetables increased by 40% (number adjusted for inflation) between 1985 and 2000. The cost of soda, on the other hand, decreased by 25%.

Unhealthy Foods Are Often More Filling And Seem To Be More Cost-Effective

As unhealthy foods are loaded with unhealthy fats contributing to high calories, they make people feel fuller. When a pack of salad has the same price as a fast food set, low income people are more likely to choose the latter one as it seems to be more cost-effective (in terms of level of filling and calories).

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Obesity researcher Dr. Adam Drewnowski conducted a study to see how many calories he could buy while comparing healthy food with the unhealthy ones.

Turns out, his dollar could get him around 1,000 calories in cookies and chips. That same dollar could only get around 250 calories in carrots. Since households with limited finances try to purchase cheap, filling foods, the choice becomes clear. Foods with refined sugar, processed grains, and added fat are a more cost-effective solution in the short term. Consequently, these same foods lead to an overconsumption of calories and weight gain.

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How to Eat Cheap and Healthy

Despite all of these obstacles, there are ways to avoid foods that are high in fat and low in nutrients. The trick is to look for nutrient dense foods to get more bang for your buck.

  1. Buy frozen and canned vegetables. Many people seem to think these options are not as healthy as fresh produce, but that simply isn’t true. In fact, some evidence indicates that frozen vegetables may have higher nutrients than fresh. This is because they are picked and immediately frozen, preserving their vitamins and nutrients. Add frozen and canned vegetables to soups, stir-frys, pasta dishes, and even sandwiches.
  2. Eat more eggs. Eggs are an excellent source of cheap protein and healthy fat. Prepare them for in an omelette for breakfast, hard-boiled on a sandwich for lunch, or scrambled with rice for dinner.
  3. Beans are often overlooked as a cheap and healthy food option. Refried beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans can often be found in cans in convenient stores. Not only are they loaded with protein, but also healthy fat and carbohydrates. Mix whole beans into soup or spread refried beans on whole-grain corn tortillas for lunch or dinner.
  4. Complex carbohydrates can be difficult to find, particularly in food deserts. Good choices for cheap, nutrient-dense options are oatmeal, brown rice, and corn tortillas.
  5. Don’t forget fruits. By saving money on some of the above ingredients, you should be able to stretch your dollar to include fruits in your diet. Watermelon and bananas are particularly cheap choices. Watermelons offer vitamin A and C, lycopene, and magnesium. Bananas are full of potassium. Both are pretty filling options.

Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

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Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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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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