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Last Updated on February 2, 2018

Is Eating With an Empty Stomach Bad for You?

Is Eating With an Empty Stomach Bad for You?

As humans, we tend to want food when we’re hungry. It makes sense, right? Our stomach growls and we reflexively look for something to eat. But what if I told you eating on an empty stomach was bad for you?

Think back to the last time you were hungry, I mean really hungry. Did you sit down with a balanced meal? Probably not. Once we get to the point of saying, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!” we are likely to overindulge in whatever food we can get our hands on.

When your stomach is empty, your blood sugar levels drop, sometimes rapidly. Because your body wants to take care of itself, it focuses on getting fed with whatever high-calorie foods it can find. Have you ever noticed your cravings for junk food tend to be highest when you’re ravenous? That’s why.

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    An empty stomach is likely to start your meal with all the wrong foods

    When you’re hungry, almost any food looks good. But even once you get the food and finish eating, you tend to feel the need to find more food because you don’t yet feel satisfied! The hungrier you are, the harder it becomes to resist unhealthy foods like burgers, pizza, ice cream, sweets, etc.

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      A research about shoppers going to the grocery store while hungry has shown that they’re a lot more likely to consume unhealthy food. Shopping while hungry can result in unhealthy meals for the rest of the week. Aner Tal of the Food and Brand Laboratory at Cornell University says,[1]

      “hungry people tend to think of more high-calorie foods that provide more energy, which affects the choice of foods they buy for the week. These foods may include red meat, candy and salty snacks, in contrast to lower-calorie foods like chicken breasts, vegetables and fruits”.

      Numerous reports all lead to the same conclusion, best summarized by Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at the NYU Langone Medican Center in New York City,

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      When the body is deprived of energy, it goes into survival mode. When that happens, the natural response is to reach for high-calorie foods to replace calories lost and store them in the body in case of another famine. It’s like hibernation, but it only leads to gained weight and ill health.

      Be Prepared

      If you know you have a bad habit of waiting until the last minute to eat, start by having a healthy snack around at all times. If you work at a desk, have some almonds or other high protein snacks in a drawer. When you feel yourself getting hungry, grab a handful of nuts to ward off that painful hungry sensation.

      If you feel you don’t know where to begin when it comes to stocking up on healthy snacks that aren’t just raw veggies, this article can provide some great suggestions! These snacks should not serve as meal replacements, necessarily, but rather a way to settle the hunger until you can have a balanced, healthy meal. When you have some form of backup food in reach, it makes it easier to eat well, even in a rush.

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      Snack on!

      So the next time you are making your grocery list, make sure to stock up on healthy snacks that are easily portable, as well as foods you can make into healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not only will you feel healthier and less stressed about finding something to eat when you’re hungry, but you’ll be so much happier with how you are treating your body.

      Featured photo credit: Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

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      12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

      12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

      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:

      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.

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      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.

      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.

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

      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!

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Reference

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