Advertising
Advertising

Holiday Damage Control

Holiday Damage Control

948463_red_current_pie

    Fat season.  That’s what we call it around my office.  It starts on Halloween, and it usually runs straight through January.  We are bombarded by holidays that require us to consume copious amounts of meats, pies, cookies, chocolates, and alcohol.  On top of that, for those of us living in the north, it gets dreadfully cold and painfully hard to do as much moving around as we would like to.  It is due to these conditions that it is not unlikely for an individual to gain between 5 – 10 lbs within this 3 month period.  And with that I would like to share some of my favorite tips for when it comes to coping with the inevitable “fat season”.

    Advertising

    At the Office

    Avoiding temptation at the office can be tricky.  There always seems to be extra bags of candy, and extra baskets of cookies strategically placed around your work area.  If your goal is weight loss, maintaining a steady doping of sugar into your blood stream is not going to make your efforts any easier.  

    If you can avoid the sweets, then good for you, you’re stronger than most.  However I don’t feel it’s absolutely necessary to be that guy/girl in the office who wants to avoid the break room at all costs.  You could be setting yourself up for even worse disasters, especially if you’re one who tends to get more stressed around the holiday season.  If I had to pick between what’s worse for your health: a couple of cookies or being the stressed out sociopath who avoids people at all costs fearing they might shove brownies in their face, I would have to go with the latter.  Stress is going to create much stronger repercussions than a few sweets will any day.  

    Advertising

    If you’re busy around this time of the year like I am, it will be hard to get normal workouts in.  The key is to make them brief, frequent and consistent.  Get good at the exercises that stress your entire body i.e. squats and deadlifts.  Doing a couple of sets will only take you 15 minutes and it’s much better than doing nothing at all right?

    Take it to the Party

    More often than not you’ll probably encounter a party or two this time of year.  Parties are another good place to find lots of fattening foods.  If you find yourself at one of these parties, my advice is to you would be to seek out the vegetable platter.  There is always one somewhere and rarely has it ever been touched.  Filling up first on fruits and vegetables is a good way to pack a little fiber into the stomach before consuming those delicious and fatty finger foods.  The fiber will not only help to fill you up, but it also soaks up some of the fat like a sponge preventing it from ever getting to those love handles.  

    Advertising

    As far as alcohol is concerned, try to be mindful of what types of mixtures you’ll be having.  Sure, alcohol itself packs calories, but combine it with sugary tonic water or coke and it becomes a real diet killer.  As an alternative, try soda water for a less calorie dense beverage.  Since it’s a party, keep yourself mobile.  Move around, dance and mingle.  After all, that’s what the party is for.  You’re not going to burn a heck of a lot of calories, but it’s much better than being a calorie-consuming wall flower.

    Around this time of year being uptight about your diet and weight is only going to cause you more trouble than it’s worth.  Beating yourself up over a couple pieces of pie or a few extra drinks during the week isn’t going to help your efforts in the long run.  The best piece of advice I can give to you is to relax and try to make a few smart choices here and there.

    Advertising

    More by this author

    A Shoeless Geek Your Body The Drug Dealer Genetically Challenged Your Metabolic Bank Account No Gym. No Problem

    Trending in Lifestyle

    112 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory 2How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine 38 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian 410 Amazing Health Benefits Of Beer 510 Surprising Benefits of Tequila You Never Knew

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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

    Read Next