10 Supplements to Help Lower Blood Sugar

-Scientists are testing many different supplements to determine if they help lower blood sugar.

Such supplements could benefit people with prediabetes or diabetes — particularly type 2.

Over time, taking a supplement alongside diabetes medication may enable your doctor to decrease your medication dose — though supplements likely can’t replace medication entirely.

Here are 10 supplements that may help lower blood sugar.

Blood Sugar Supplements

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon supplements are either made from whole cinnamon powder or an extract. Many studies suggest it helps lower blood sugar and improves diabetes control (12).

When people with prediabetes — meaning a fasting blood sugar of 100–125 mg/dl — took 250 mg of cinnamon extract before breakfast and dinner for three months, they experienced an 8.4% decrease in fasting blood sugar compared to those on a placebo (3).

In another three-month study, people with type 2 diabetes who took either 120 or 360 mg of cinnamon extract before breakfast saw an 11% or 14% decrease in fasting blood sugar, respectively, compared to those on a placebo (2).

Additionally, their hemoglobin A1C — a three-month average of blood sugar levels — decreased by 0.67% or 0.92%, respectively. All participants took the same diabetes drug during the study (2).

How it works: Cinnamon may help your body’s cells better respond to insulin. In turn, this allows sugar into your cells, lowering blood sugar (4).

Taking it: The recommended dose of cinnamon extract is 250 mg twice a day before meals. For a regular (non-extract) cinnamon supplement, 500 mg twice a day may be best (25).

Precautions: The common Cassia variety of cinnamon contains more coumarin, a compound that may harm your liver in high amounts. Ceylon cinnamon, on the other hand, is low in coumarin (6).

SUMMARYCinnamon may help lower blood sugar by making your cells more responsive to insulin.

2. American Ginseng

American ginseng, a variety grown primarily in North America, has been shown to decrease post-meal blood sugar by about 20% in healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes (7).

Additionally, when people with type 2 diabetes took 1 gram of American ginseng 40 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner for two months while maintaining their regular treatment, their fasting blood sugar decreased 10% compared to those on a placebo (7).

How it works: American ginseng may improve your cells’ response to and increase your body’s secretion of insulin (68).

Taking it: Take 1 gram up to two hours before each main meal — taking it sooner may cause your blood sugar to dip too low. Daily doses higher than 3 grams don’t appear to offer additional benefits (6).

Precautions: Ginseng can decrease the effectiveness of warfarin, a blood thinner, so avoid this combination. It may also stimulate your immune system, which could interfere with immunosuppressant drugs (6).

SUMMARYTaking up to 3 grams of American ginseng daily may help lower fasting blood sugar and blood sugar after meals. Note that ginseng may interact with warfarin and other drugs.

3. Probiotics

Damage to your gut bacteria — such as from taking antibiotics — is associated with an increased risk of several diseases, including diabetes (9).

Probiotic supplements, which contain beneficial bacteria or other microbes, offer numerous health benefits and may improve your body’s handling of carbohydrates (10).

In a review of seven studies in people with type 2 diabetes, those who took probiotics for at least two months had a 16-mg/dl decrease in fasting blood sugar and a 0.53% decrease in A1C compared to those on a placebo (10).

People who took probiotics containing more than one species of bacteria had an even greater decrease in fasting blood sugar of 35 mg/dl (10).

How it works: Animal studies suggest that probiotics may decrease blood sugar by reducing inflammation and preventing the destruction of pancreatic cells that make insulin. Several other mechanisms may be involved as well (910).

Taking it: Try a probiotic with more than one beneficial species, such as a combination of L. acidophilusB. bifidum and L. rhamnosus. It’s unknown whether there’s an ideal mix of microbes for diabetes(10).

Precautions: Probiotics are unlikely to cause harm, but in certain rare circumstances they could lead to serious infections in people with significantly impaired immune systems (11).

SUMMARYProbiotic supplements — especially those containing more than one species of beneficial bacteria — may help lower fasting blood sugar and A1C.

4. Aloe Vera

Blood Sugar Supplements Aloe

Aloe vera may also help those trying to lower their blood sugar.

Supplements or juice made from the leaves of this cactus-like plant could help lower fasting blood sugar and A1C in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes (6).

In a review of nine studies in people with type 2 diabetes, supplementing with aloe for 4–14 weeks decreased fasting blood sugar by 46.6 mg/dl and A1C by 1.05% (12).

People who had fasting blood sugar above 200 mg/dl before taking aloe experienced even stronger benefits (12).

How it works: Mouse studies indicate that aloe may stimulate insulin production in pancreatic cells, but this hasn’t been confirmed. Several other mechanisms may be involved (613).

Taking it: The best dose and form are unknown. Common doses tested in studies include 1,000 mg daily in capsules or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) daily of aloe juice in split doses (1314).

Precautions: Aloe can interact with several medications, so check with your doctor before using it. It should never be taken with the heart medicine digoxin (15).

SUMMARYCapsules or juice made from aloe leaves may help lower fasting blood sugar and A1C in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Yet, aloe may interact with several medications, most notably digoxin.

5. Berberine

Berberine isn’t a specific herb, but rather a bitter-tasting compound taken from the roots and stems of certain plants, including goldenseal and phellodendron (16).

A review of 27 studies in people with type 2 diabetes observed that taking berberine in combination with diet and lifestyle changes reduced fasting blood sugar by 15.5 mg/dl and A1C by 0.71% compared to diet and lifestyle changes alone or a placebo (16).

The review also noted that berberine supplements taken alongside diabetes medication helped lower blood sugar more than medication alone (16).

How it works: Berberine may improve insulin sensitivity and enhance sugar uptake from your blood into your muscles, which helps lower blood sugar (17).

Taking it: A typical dose is 300–500 mg taken 2–3 times daily with major meals (17).

Precautions: Berberine may cause digestive disturbances, such as constipation, diarrhea or gas, which may be improved with a lower (300 mg) dose. Berberine may interact with several medications, so check with your doctor before taking this supplement (1718).

SUMMARYBerberine, which is made from the roots and stems of certain plants, may help lower fasting blood sugar and A1C. Side effects include digestive upset, which may improve with a lower dose.

6. Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is considered a potential risk factor for type 2 diabetes (19).

In one study, 72% of participants with type 2 diabetes were deficient in vitamin D at the start of the study (20).

After two months of taking a 4,500-IU supplement of vitamin D daily, both fasting blood sugar and A1C improved. In fact, 48% of participants had an A1C that showed good blood sugar control, compared to only 32% before the study (20).

How it works: Vitamin D may improve the function of pancreatic cells that make insulin and increase your body’s responsiveness to insulin (2122).

Taking it: Ask your doctor for a vitamin D blood test to determine the best dose for you. The active form is D3, or cholecalciferol, so look for this name on supplement bottles (23).

Precautions: Vitamin D may trigger mild to moderate reactions with several types of medications, so ask your doctor or pharmacist for guidance (23).

SUMMARYVitamin D deficiency is common in people with type 2 diabetes. Supplementing with vitamin D may improve overall blood sugar control, as reflected by A1C. Be aware that vitamin D may interact with certain medications.

7. Gymnema

Gymnema sylvestre is an herb used as a diabetes treatment in the Ayurvedic tradition of India. The Hindu name for the plant — gurmar — means “sugar destroyer” (6).

In one study, people with type 2 diabetes taking 400 mg of gymnema leaf extract daily for 18–20 months experienced a 29% decrease in fasting blood sugar. A1C decreased from 11.9% at the start of the study to 8.48% (24).

Further research suggests that this herb may help lower fasting blood sugar and A1C in type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes and may reduce cravings for sweets by suppressing the sweet-taste sensation in your mouth (2526).

How it works: Gymnema sylvestre may reduce sugar absorption in your gut and promote cells’ uptake of sugar from your blood. Due to its impact on type 1 diabetes, it’s suspected that Gymnema sylvestre may somehow aid insulin-producing cells in your pancreas (626).

Taking it: The suggested dose is 200 mg of Gymnema sylvestre leaf extract twice a day with meals (24).

Precautions: Gymnema sylvestre can enhance the blood sugar effects of insulin, so use it only with a doctor’s guidance if you take insulin injections. It may also affect blood levels of some drugs, and one case of liver damage has been reported (27).

SUMMARYGymnema sylvestre may lower fasting blood sugar and A1C in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, though more research is needed. If you require insulin injections, it’s essential to consult your doctor before trying this supplement.

8. Magnesium

Low blood levels of magnesium have been observed in 25–38% of people with type 2 diabetes and are more common in those who don’t have their blood sugar under good control (28).

In a systematic review, eight of 12 studies indicated that giving magnesium supplements for 6–24 weeks to healthy people or those with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes helped reduce fasting blood sugar levels, compared to a placebo.

Furthermore, each 50-mg increase in magnesium intake produced a 3% decrease in fasting blood sugar in those who entered the studies with low blood magnesium levels (29).

How it works: Magnesium is involved in normal insulin secretion and insulin action in your body’s tissues (29)

Taking it: Doses provided to people with diabetes are typically 250–350 mg daily. Be sure to take magnesium with a meal to improve absorption (2930).

Precautions: Avoid magnesium oxide, which can increase your risk of diarrhea. Magnesium supplements may interact with several medications, such as some diuretics and antibiotics, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking it (31).

SUMMARYMagnesium deficiency is common in people with type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that magnesium supplements may help reduce your fasting blood sugar.

9. Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic acid, or ALA, is a vitamin-like compound and powerful antioxidant produced in your liver and found in some foods, such as spinach, broccoli and red meat (32).

When people with type 2 diabetes took 300, 600, 900 or 1,200 mg of ALA alongside their usual diabetes treatment for six months, fasting blood sugar and A1C decreased more as the dose increased (32).

How it works: ALA may improve insulin sensitivity and your cells’ uptake of sugar from your blood, though it may take a few months to experience these effects. It may also protect against oxidative damage caused by high blood sugar (32).

Taking it: Doses are generally 600–1,200 mg daily, taken in divided doses before meals (32).

Precautions: ALA may interfere with therapies for hyperthyroid or hypothyroid disease. Avoid very large doses of ALA if you have vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency or struggle with alcoholism (3334).

SUMMARYALA may gradually help decrease fasting blood sugar and A1C, with greater effects at daily doses up to 1,200 mg. It also exhibits antioxidant effects that may reduce damage from high blood sugar. Still, it may interfere with therapies for thyroid conditions.

10. Chromium

Chromium deficiency reduces your body’s ability to use carbs — converted into sugar — for energy and raises your insulin needs (35).

In a review of 25 studies, chromium supplements reduced A1C by about 0.6% in people with type 2 diabetes, and the average decrease in fasting blood sugar was around 21 mg/dl, compared to a placebo (636).

A small amount of evidence suggests that chromium may also help lower blood sugar in people with type 1 diabetes (37).

How it works: Chromium may enhance the effects of insulin or support the activity of pancreatic cells that produce insulin (6).

Taking it: A typical dose is 200 mcg per day, but doses up to 1,000 mcg per day have been tested in people with diabetes and may be more effective. The chromium picolinate form is likely absorbed best (63638).

Precautions: Certain drugs — such as antacids and others prescribed for heartburn — can reduce chromium absorption (35).

SUMMARYChromium may improve insulin action in your body and lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes — and possibly those with type 1 — but it won’t cure the disease.

The Bottom Line

Many supplements — including cinnamon, ginseng, other herbs, vitamin D, magnesium, probiotics and plant compounds like berberine — may help lower blood sugar.

Keep in mind that you may experience different results than what studies have found, based on factors such as duration, supplement quality and your individual diabetes status.

Discuss supplements with your doctor, especially if you’re taking medicine or insulin for diabetes, as some of the above supplements may interact with medications and raise the risk of blood sugar dropping too low.

In some cases, your doctor may need to decrease your diabetes medication dose at some point.

Try only one new supplement at a time and check your blood sugar regularly to follow any changes over several months. Doing so will help you and your doctor determine the impact.

7 Foods to Help Your Acid Reflux

Diet and nutrition for GERD

Acid reflux occurs when there is acid backflow from the stomach into the esophagus. This happens commonly but can cause complications or troublesome symptoms, such as heartburn.

One reason this happens is that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weakened or damaged. Normally the LES closes to prevent food in the stomach from moving up into the esophagus.

The foods you eat affect the amount of acid your stomach produces. Eating the right kinds of food is key to controlling acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a severe, chronic form of acid reflux.

Foods that may help reduce your symptoms

Reflux symptoms may result from stomach acid touching the esophagus and causing irritation and pain. If you have too much acid, you can incorporate these specific foods into your diet to manage symptoms of acid reflux.

None of these foods will cure your condition, and your decision to use these specific foods to soothe your symptoms should be based on your own experiences with them.

1. Vegetables

Vegetables are naturally low in fat and sugar, and they help reduce stomach acid. Good options include green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, leafy greens, potatoes, and cucumbers.

2. Ginger

Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s a natural treatment for heartburn and other gastrointestinal problems. You can add grated or sliced ginger root to recipes or smoothies or drink ginger tea to ease symptoms.

3. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a breakfast favorite, a whole grain, and an excellent source of fiber. Oatmeal can absorb acid in the stomach and reduce symptoms of reflux. Other fiber options include whole-grain breads and whole-grain rice.

4. Noncitrus fruits

Noncitrus fruits, including melons, bananas, apples, and pears, are less likely to trigger reflux symptoms than acidic fruits.

5. Lean meats and seafood

Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood, are low-fat and reduce symptoms of acid reflux. Try them grilled, broiled, baked, or poached.

6. Egg whites

Egg whites are a good option. Stay away from egg yolks, though, which are high in fat and may trigger reflux symptoms.

7. Healthy fats

Sources of healthy fats include avocados, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil. Reduce your intake of saturated fats and trans fats and replace them with these healthier unsaturated fats.

Finding your triggers

Heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux and GERD. You may develop a burning sensation in your stomach or chest after eating a full meal or certain foods. GERD can also cause vomiting or regurgitation as acid moves into your esophagus.

Other symptoms include:

Many people with GERD find that certain foods trigger their symptoms. No single diet can prevent all symptoms of GERD, and food triggers are different for everyone.

To identify your individual triggers, keep a food diary and track the following:

  • what foods you eat
  • what time of day you eat
  • what symptoms you experience

Keep the diary for at least a week. It’s helpful to track your foods for a longer period if your diet varies. You can use the diary to identify specific foods and drinks that affect your GERD.

Also, the diet and nutrition advice here is a starting point to plan your meals. Use this guide in conjunction with your food journal and recommendations from your doctor. The goal is to minimize and control your symptoms.

Common trigger foods for people with reflux

Although doctors debate which foods actually cause reflux symptoms, certain foods have been shown to cause problems for many people. To control your symptoms, you could start by eliminating the following foods from your diet.

High-fat foods

Fried and fatty foods can cause the LES to relax, allowing more stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. These foods also delay stomach emptying.

Eating high-fat foods puts you at greater risk for reflux symptoms, so reducing your total daily fat intake can help.

The following foods have a high-fat content. Avoid these or eat them sparingly:

  • french fries and onion rings
  • full-fat dairy products, such as butter, whole milk, regular cheese, and sour cream
  • fatty or fried cuts of beef, pork, or lamb
  • bacon fat, ham fat, and lard
  • desserts or snacks, such as ice cream and potato chips
  • cream sauces, gravies, and creamy salad dressings
  • oily and greasy foods

Tomatoes and citrus fruit

Fruits and vegetables are important in a healthy diet. But certain fruits can cause or worsen GERD symptoms, especially highly acidic fruits. If you have frequent acid reflux, you should reduce or eliminate your intake of the following foods:

  • oranges
  • grapefruit
  • lemons
  • limes
  • pineapple
  • tomatoes
  • tomato sauce or foods that use it, such as pizza and chili
  • salsa

Chocolate

Chocolate contains an ingredient called methylxanthine. It has been shown to relax the smooth muscle in the LES and increase reflux.

Garlic, onions, and spicy foods

Spicy and tangy foods, such as onions and garlic, trigger heartburn symptoms in many people.

These foods won’t trigger reflux in everyone. But if you eat a lot of onions or garlic, make sure to track your meals carefully in your diary. Some of these foods, along with spicy foods, may bother you more than other foods do.

Caffeine

People with acid reflux may notice their symptoms acting up after their morning coffee. This is because caffeine is a known trigger of acid reflux.

Mint

Mint and products with mint flavoring, like chewing gum and breath mints, can also trigger acid reflux symptoms.

Other options

While the lists above include common triggers, you may have unique intolerances to other foods. You might consider eliminating the following foods for three to four weeks to see if symptoms improve: dairy, flour-based products like bread and crackers, and whey protein.

 

Making lifestyle changes

In addition to controlling reflux symptoms with diet and nutrition, you can manage symptoms with lifestyle changes. Try these tips:

  • Take antacids and other medications that reduce acid production. (Overuse can cause negative side effects.)
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Chew gum that isn’t peppermint or spearmint flavored.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Don’t overeat, and eat slowly.
  • Remain upright for at least two hours after eating.
  • Avoid tight clothing.
  • Don’t eat for three to four hours before going to bed.
  • Raise the head of your bed four to six inches to reduce reflux symptoms while sleeping.

What the research says

No diet has been proven to prevent GERD. However, certain foods may ease symptoms in some people.

Research shows that increased fiber intake, specifically in the form of fruits and vegetables, may protect against GERD. But scientists aren’t yet certain how fiber prevents GERD symptoms.

Increasing your dietary fiber is generally a good idea. In addition to helping with GERD symptoms, fiber also reduces the risk of:

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether certain foods should be a part of your diet. Foods that help improve acid reflux for one person may be problematic for someone else.

Working with your doctor can help you develop a diet to control or lessen your symptoms.

What’s the outlook for GERD?

People with GERD can usually manage their symptoms with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications.

Talk to your doctor if lifestyle changes and medications don’t improve symptoms. Your doctor can recommend prescription medications, or in extreme cases, surgery.

Eggs and Cholesterol — How Many Eggs Can You Safely Eat?

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.

In fact, a whole egg contains all the nutrients needed to turn a single cell into an entire chicken.

However, eggs have gotten a bad reputation because the yolks are high in cholesterol.

But cholesterol isn’t that simple. The more of it you eat, the less your body produces.

For this reason, eating a few eggs won’t cause a high rise in cholesterol levels.

This article explains this process and discusses how many eggs you can safely eat per day.

How Many Eggs Should You Eat?

How Your Body Regulates Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is often viewed as negative.

This is because some studies have linked high levels of cholesterol with heart disease and early death. However, the evidence is mixed (12).

The truth is that cholesterol plays a very important function in your body. It’s a structural molecule that is essential to every cell membrane.

It is also used to make steroid hormones like testosterone, estrogen and cortisol.

Given how important cholesterol is, your body has evolved elaborate ways to ensure that it always has enough available.

Because getting cholesterol from the diet isn’t always an option, your liver produces enough to meet your body’s needs.

But when you eat a lot of cholesterol-rich foods, your liver starts producing less to keep cholesterol levels from becoming excessively high (34).

Therefore, the total amount of cholesterol in your body changes only very little, if at all. What changes is its source — your diet or your liver (56).

Nevertheless, you should still avoid eating excessive amounts of cholesterol if your blood levels are raised. A high intake may cause a moderate increase in blood cholesterol levels (789).

SUMMARYYour liver produces large amounts of cholesterol. When you eat cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs, your liver compensates by producing less.

What Happens When People Eat Several Whole Eggs per Day?

For many decades, people have been advised to limit their consumption of eggs — or at least of egg yolks.

A single medium-sized egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, which is 62% of the recommended daily intake (RDI). In contrast, the white is mostly protein and low in cholesterol (10).

Common recommendations include a maximum of 2–6 yolks per week. However, scientific support for this limitation is lacking (11).

A few studies have examined the effects of eggs on cholesterol levels.

These studies divided people into two groups — one group ate 1–3 whole eggs per day while the other ate something else, such as egg substitutes.

These studies show that:

  • In almost all cases, “good” HDL cholesterol goes up (121314).
  • Total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels usually remain unchanged but sometimes increase slightly (15161718).
  • Eating omega-3-enriched eggs can lower blood triglycerides, another important risk factor (1920).
  • Blood levels of carotenoid antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin increase significantly (212223).

It appears that the response to eating whole eggs depends on the individual.

In 70% of people, eggs had no effect on total or “bad” LDL cholesterol. However, in 30% of people — called hyper-responders — these markers do go up slightly (24).

Although eating a few eggs per day may raise blood cholesterol in some people, they change the “bad” LDL particles from small and dense to large (1225).

People who have predominantly large LDL particles have a lower risk of heart disease. So even if eggs cause mild increases in total and LDL cholesterol levels, it’s not a cause for concern (262728).

The science is clear that up to 3 whole eggs per day are perfectly safe for healthy people.

SUMMARYEggs consistently raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. For 70% of people, there is no increase in total or LDL cholesterol. Some people may experience a mild increase in a benign subtype of LDL.

Eggs and Heart Disease

Multiple studies have examined egg consumption and heart disease risk.

Many of these are observational studies in which large groups of people are followed for many years.

Researchers then use statistical methods to determine whether certain habits — like diet, smoking or exercise — are linked to either a decreased or increased risk of certain diseases.

These studies — some of which include hundreds of thousands of people — consistently show that people who eat whole eggs are no more likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t.

Some of the studies even show a reduced risk of stroke (293031).

However, this research suggests that people who have type 2 diabetes and eat a lot of eggs have an increased risk of heart disease (32).

One controlled study in people with type 2 diabetes found that eating two eggs per day, six days a week, for three months did not significantly affect blood lipid levels (33).

Health effects may also depend on the rest of your diet. On a low-carb diet — which is the best diet for people with diabetes — eggs lead to improvements in heart disease risk factors (3435).

SUMMARYMany observational studies show that people who eat eggs don’t have an increased risk of heart disease, but some studies show an increased risk for people with type 2 diabetes.

Eggs Have Several Other Health Benefits

Let’s not forget that eggs are about more than just cholesterol. They’re also loaded with nutrients and offer various other impressive benefits:

  • They’re high in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that reduce your risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts (3637).
  • They’re very high in choline, a nutrient that plays an essential role in all cells (38).
  • They’re high in quality animal protein, the benefits of which include increased muscle mass and better bone health (3940).
  • Studies show that eggs increase feelings of fullness and help you lose weight (4142).

What’s more, eggs are tasty and incredibly easy to prepare.

The benefits of consuming eggs far outweigh the potential negatives.

SUMMARYEggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They contain important brain nutrients and powerful antioxidants that protect your eyes.

How Much Is Too Much?

Unfortunately, no studies have fed people more than three eggs per day.

It is possible, though unlikely, that eating more than that could negatively impact your health. Consuming more than three is uncharted territory, scientifically speaking.

However, one case study included an 88-year-old man who consumed 25 eggs per day. He had normal cholesterol levels and was in very good health (43).

Of course, the way one individual responds to extreme egg consumption can’t be extrapolated to the whole population, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

It’s also important to keep in mind that not all eggs are the same. Most eggs at the supermarket come from factory-raised chickens fed grain-based feeds.

The healthiest eggs are omega-3-enriched eggs or eggs from hens that are raised on pasture. These eggs are much higher in omega-3s and important fat-soluble vitamins (4445).

Overall, eating eggs is perfectly safe, even if you’re eating up to 3 whole eggs per day.

Given their range of nutrients and powerful health benefits, quality eggs may be among the healthiest foods on the planet.

6 Popular Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has been very trendy in recent years.

It is claimed to cause weight loss, improve metabolic health and perhaps even extend lifespan.

Not surprisingly given the popularity, several different types/methods of intermittent fasting have been devised.

All of them can be effective, but which one fits best will depend on the individual.

Here are 6 popular ways to do intermittent fasting.

1. The 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours each day.

The 16/8 Method involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours, and restricting your daily “eating window” to 8-10 hours.

Within the eating window, you can fit in 2, 3 or more meals.

This method is also known as the Leangains protocol, and was popularized by fitness expert Martin Berkhan.

Doing this method of fasting can actually be as simple as not eating anything after dinner, and skipping breakfast.

For example, if you finish your last meal at 8 pm and then don’t eat until 12 noon the next day, then you are technically fasting for 16 hours between meals.

It is generally recommended that women only fast 14-15 hours, because they seem to do better with slightly shorter fasts.

For people who get hungry in the morning and like to eat breakfast, then this can be hard to get used to at first. However, many breakfast skippers actually instinctively eat this way.

You can drink watercoffee and other non-caloric beverages during the fast, and this can help reduce hunger levels.

It is very important to eat mostly healthy foods during your eating window. This won’t work if you eat lots of junk food or excessive amounts of calories.

I personally find this to be the most “natural” way to do intermittent fasting. I eat this way myself and find it to be 100% effortless.

I eat a low-carb diet, so my appetite is blunted somewhat. I simply do not feel hungry until around 1 pm in the afternoon. Then I eat my last meal around 6-9 pm, so I end up fasting for 16-19 hours.

 

BOTTOM LINE:The 16/8 method involves daily fasts of 16 hours for men, and 14-15 hours for women. On each day, you restrict your eating to an 8-10 hour “eating window” where you can fit in 2-3 or more meals.

2. The 5:2 Diet: Fast for 2 days per week.

The 5:2 diet involves eating normally 5 days of the week, while restricting calories to 500-600 on two days of the week.

This diet is also called the Fast diet, and was popularized by British journalist and doctor Michael Mosley.

On the fasting days, it is recommended that women eat 500 calories, and men 600 calories.

For example, you might eat normally on all days except Mondays and Thursdays, where you eat two small meals (250 calories per meal for women, and 300 for men).

As critics correctly point out, there are no studies testing the 5:2 diet itself, but there are plenty of studies on the benefits of intermittent fasting.

BOTTOM LINE:The 5:2 diet, or the Fast diet, involves eating 500-600 calories for two days of the week, but eating normally the other 5 days.

3. Eat-Stop-Eat: Do a 24-hour fast, once or twice a week.

Eat-Stop-Eat involves a 24-hour fast, either once or twice per week.

This method was popularized by fitness expert Brad Pilon, and has been quite popular for a few years.

By fasting from dinner one day, to dinner the next, this amounts to a 24-hour fast.

For example, if you finish dinner on Monday at 7 pm, and don’t eat until dinner the next day at 7 pm, then you’ve just done a full 24-hour fast.

You can also fast from breakfast to breakfast, or lunch to lunch. The end result is the same.

Water, coffee and other non-caloric beverages are allowed during the fast, but no solid food.

If you are doing this to lose weight, then it is very important that you eat normally during the eating periods. As in, eat the same amount of food as if you hadn’t been fasting at all.

The problem with this method is that a full 24-hour fast can be fairly difficult for many people.

However, you don’t need to go all-in right away, starting with 14-16 hours and then moving upwards from there is fine.

I’ve personally done this a few times. I found the first part of the fast very easy, but in the last few hours I did become ravenously hungry.

I needed to apply some serious self-discipline to finish the full 24-hours and often found myself giving up and eating dinner a bit earlier.

BOTTOM LINE:Eat-Stop-Eat is an intermittent fasting program with one or two 24-hour fasts per week.

4. Alternate-Day Fasting: Fast every other day.

Alternate-Day fasting means fasting every other day.

There are several different versions of this. Some of them allow about 500 calories during the fasting days.

Many of the lab studies showing health benefits of intermittent fasting used some version of this.

A full fast every other day seems rather extreme, so I do not recommend this for beginners.

With this method, you will be going to bed very hungry several times per week, which is not very pleasant and probably unsustainable in the long-term.

BOTTOM LINE:Alternate-day fasting means fasting every other day, either by not eating anything or only eating a few hundred calories.

5. The Warrior Diet: Fast during the day, eat a huge meal at night.

The Warrior Diet was popularized by fitness expert Ori Hofmekler.

It involves eating small amounts of raw fruits and vegetables during the day, then eating one huge meal at night.

Basically, you “fast” all day and “feast” at night within a 4 hour eating window.

The Warrior Diet was one of the first popular “diets” to include a form of intermittent fasting.

This diet also emphasizes food choices that are quite similar to a paleo diet – whole, unprocessed foods that resemble what they looked like in nature.

BOTTOM LINE:The Warrior Diet is about eating only small amounts of vegetables and fruits during the day, then eating one huge meal at night.

6. Spontaneous Meal Skipping: Skip meals when convenient.

You don’t actually need to follow a structured intermittent fasting plan to reap some of the benefits.

Another option is to simply skip meals from time to time, when you don’t feel hungry or are too busy to cook and eat.

It is a myth that people need to eat every few hours or they will hit “starvation mode” or lose muscle.

The human body is well equipped to handle long periods of famine, let alone missing one or two meals from time to time.

So if you’re really not hungry one day, skip breakfast and just eat a healthy lunch and dinner. Or if you’re travelling somewhere and can’t find anything you want to eat, do a short fast.

Skipping 1 or 2 meals when you feel so inclined is basically a spontaneous intermittent fast.

Just make sure to eat healthy foods at the other meals.

BOTTOM LINE:Another more “natural” way to do intermittent fasting is to simply skip 1 or 2 meals when you don’t feel hungry or don’t have time to eat.

Take Home Message

There are a lot of people getting great results with some of these methods.

That being said, if you’re already happy with your health and don’t see much room for improvement, then feel free to safely ignore all of this.

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. It is not something that anyone needs to do, it is just another tool in the toolbox that can be useful for some people.

Some also believe that it may not be as beneficial for women as men, and it may also be a poor choice for people who are prone to eating disorders.

If you decide to try this out, then keep in mind that you need to eat healthy as well.

It is not possible to binge on junk foods during the eating periods and expect to lose weight and improve health.

Calories still count, and food quality is still absolutely crucial.

14 Best Foods to Increase Blood Flow and Circulation

Poor circulation is a common problem caused by a number of conditions.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD), diabetes, obesity, smoking and Raynaud’s disease are some of the many causes of poor circulation (12345).

Reduced blood flow can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as pain, muscle cramps, numbness, digestive issues and coldness in the hands or feet.

In addition to those with poor circulation, athletes and active individuals may want to increase blood flow in order to improve exercise performance and recovery.

Although circulatory issues are often treated with medications, eating certain foods can also improve blood flow.

Here are the 14 best foods to optimize blood flow.

Foods That Increase Blood Flow

1. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper gets its spicy flavor from a phytochemical called capsaicin.

Capsaicin promotes blood flow to tissues by lowering blood pressure and stimulating the release of nitric oxide and other vasodilators — or compounds that help expand your blood vessels (6).

Vasodilators allow blood to flow more easily through your veins and arteries by relaxing the tiny muscles found in blood vessel walls.

Research indicates that ingesting cayenne pepper increases circulation, improves blood vessel strength and reduces plaque buildup in your arteries (7).

What’s more, these spicy peppers are frequently included in pain-relieving creams because they can encourage blood flow to the affected area (8).

2. Pomegranate

Pomegranates are juicy, sweet fruits that are particularly high in polyphenol antioxidants and nitrates, which are potent vasodilators.

Consuming pomegranate — as juice, raw fruit or supplement — may improve blood flow and oxygenation of muscle tissue, which could especially aid active individuals.

A study in 19 active people, found that ingesting 1,000 mg of pomegranate extract 30 minutes before working out increased blood flow, blood vessel diameter and exercise performance (9).

Another study demonstrated that daily consumption of 17 ounces (500 ml) of pomegranate juice during or before weight training reduced soreness, muscle damage and inflammation in elite weightlifters (10).

3. Onions

Onions are an excellent source of flavonoid antioxidants, which benefit heart health.

This vegetable improves circulation by helping your arteries and veins widen when blood flow increases.

In a 30-day study in 23 men, taking 4.3 grams of onion extract daily significantly improved blood flow and artery dilation after meals (11).

Onions also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can boost blood flow and heart health by reducing inflammation in veins and arteries (12).

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a warming spice that has many health benefits — including increased blood flow.

In animal studies, cinnamon improved blood vessel dilation and blood flow in the coronary artery, which supplies blood to the heart.

Rats fed 91 mg per pound (200 mg per kg) of body weight of cinnamon bark extract daily for eight weeks exhibited better heart performance and coronary artery blood flow after exhaustive exercise compared to rats in the control group (13).

Plus, research shows that cinnamon can effectively reduce blood pressure in humans by relaxing your blood vessels. This improves circulation and keeps your heart healthy (14).

In a study in 59 people with type 2 diabetes, 1,200 mg of cinnamon per day reduced systolic blood pressure (the top number of a reading) by an average of 3.4 mmHg after 12 weeks (15).

5. Garlic

Foods That Increase Blood Flow

Garlic is well known for its beneficial impact on circulation and heart health.

Studies suggest that garlic — specifically, its sulfur compounds, which include allicin — can increase tissue blood flow and lower blood pressure by relaxing your blood vessels.

In fact, diets high in garlic are associated with better flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD), an indicator of blood flow efficiency.

In a study in 42 people with coronary artery disease, those who consumed garlic powder tablets containing 1,200 mg of allicin twice daily for three months experienced a 50% improvement in blood flow through the upper arm artery compared to a placebo group (16).

6. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

These fats are especially beneficial for circulation because they promote the release of nitric oxide, which dilates your blood vessels and increases blood flow (17).

Omega-3 fats also help inhibit the clumping of platelets in your blood, a process that can lead to blood clot formation (18).

What’s more, fish oil supplements are linked to reduced high blood pressure and improved blood flow in skeletal muscle during and after exercise.

For example, in a study in 10 healthy men, high doses of fish oil — 4.2 grams daily for four weeks — significantly improved blood flow to the legs after exercise (19).

7. Beets

Many athletes supplement with beet juice or beet powder to help improve performance.

This is because beets are high in nitrates, which your body converts into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow to muscle tissue.

Beet juice supplements improve oxygen flow in muscle tissue, stimulate blood flow and increase nitric oxide levels — all of which can boost performance (20).

Aside from assisting athletes, beets improve blood flow in older adults with circulatory issues.

In a study in 12 older adults, those who drank 5 ounces (140 ml) of nitrate-rich beet juice per day experienced significant decreases in blood pressure, clotting time and blood vessel inflammation than those who consumed a placebo (21).

8. Turmeric

Increased blood flow is one of turmeric’s many health benefits.

In fact, both Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine have utilized turmeric since ancient times to open blood vessels and improve blood circulation (22).

Research suggests that a compound found in turmeric called curcumin helps increase nitric oxide production, reduce oxidative stress and decrease inflammation.

In a study in 39 people, taking 2,000 mg of curcumin daily for 12 weeks led to a 37% increase in forearm blood flow and a 36% increase in upper arm blood flow (23).

9. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach and collard greens are high in nitrates, which your body converts into nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator.

Eating nitrate-rich foods may help improve circulation by dilating blood vessels, allowing your blood to flow more easily.

In a 27-person study, those consuming high-nitrate (845 mg) spinach daily for seven days experienced significant improvements in blood pressure and blood flow compared to a control group (24).

What’s more, research has observed that people following a traditional Chinese diet high in nitrate-rich vegetables like Chinese cabbage have lower blood pressure and a significantly decreased risk of heart disease than those who consume a typical Western diet (25).

10. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruit are packed with antioxidants, including flavonoids.

Consuming flavonoid-rich citrus fruits may decrease inflammation in your body, which can reduce blood pressure and stiffness in your arteries while improving blood flow and nitric oxide production (26).

In a study in 31 people, those who drank 17 ounces (500 ml) of blood orange juice per day for one week had significant improvements in artery dilation and large reductions in markers of inflammation such as IL-6 and CRP compared to a control group (27).

Additionally, regular consumption of citrus fruits, such as lemon and grapefruit, has been associated with reduced blood pressure and a decreased risk of stroke (2829).

11. Walnuts

Walnuts are loaded with beneficial compounds, such as l-arginine, alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and vitamin E — which all stimulate the production of nitric oxide.

Eating walnuts may reduce blood pressure, improve blood vessel function and decrease inflammation, which may be particularly helpful for those with diabetes (30).

People with diabetes often have circulation issues and high blood pressure due to blood vessel damage caused by uncontrolled blood sugar levels (31).

In a study in 24 people with diabetes, those who ate 2 ounces (56 grams) of walnuts per day for eight weeks experienced significant improvements in blood flow compared to a control group (32).

12. Tomatoes

Tomatoes may help reduce the activity of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), which causes blood vessels to constrict to control blood pressure (33).

Research reveals that tomato extract works similarly to ACE-inhibiting drugs — opening up your blood vessels and improving blood flow.

Test-tube studies note that tomato extract can inhibit ACE, reduce inflammation and disrupt platelet aggregation, which can improve circulation (3435).

13. Berries

Foods That Increase Blood Flow Berries

Berries are especially healthy — they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, which may have a positive impact on blood flow.

Chronic inflammation can damage blood vessels and raise your blood pressure, which can cause circulatory issues.

Research shows that eating berries can lower blood pressure, heart rate, platelet aggregation and blood levels of inflammatory markers like IL-6 while also improving artery dilation (36).

14. Ginger

Ginger, a staple in traditional medicine in India and China for thousands of years, can likewise lower blood pressure and improve circulation (37).

In both human and animal studies, ginger has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, which negatively impacts blood flow (38).

In a study in 4,628 people, those who consumed the most ginger — 2–4 grams per day — had the lowest risk of developing high blood pressure (39).

Animal studies demonstrate that ginger works by inhibiting ACE (40).

Other Methods

While incorporating any of these foods into your diet may improve circulation, other lifestyle changes may have a larger impact.

Here are some other lifestyle modifications that can optimize blood flow:

  • Quit smoking: Smoking is a risk factor for many chronic diseases — such as cancer — and can negatively impact circulation (41).
  • Increase physical activity: Exercise stimulates blood flow and helps improve vasodilation. Plus, regular exercise decreases your risk of heart disease (42).
  • Lose weight: Being overweight or obese negatively impacts blood flow and can lead to dangerous complications, such as plaque buildup in your arteries (43).
  • Follow a healthy diet: Instead of simply stocking up on particular foods, try switching to a diet rich in healthy, whole foods — such as vegetables, healthy fats and fiber-rich foods — which can improve circulatory health.
  • Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is critical to all aspects of health, including circulation. Dehydration can damage endothelial cells and promote inflammation in your body, restricting blood flow (44).
  • Reduce stress: Research proves that stress levels can significantly impact blood pressure. Manage your stress through yoga, meditation, gardening or spending time in nature (45).

SUMMARYFollowing a healthy diet, exercising, losing weight, quitting smoking, staying hydrated and reducing stress are natural ways to improve circulation.

The Bottom Line

There are many natural ways to improve circulation, including choosing foods that stimulate blood flow.

The antioxidants, nitrates, vitamins and other substances contained in the foods above can have a positive impact on your circulation.

What’s more, leading a healthy lifestyle by abstaining from smoking, staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a well-rounded diet can boost blood flow and overall health.

38 Foods That Contain Almost Zero Calories

Calories provide the energy that your body needs to function and stay alive.

While there is no evidence to support that negative-calorie foods burn more calories than they provide, foods that are already low in calories may actually provide fewer calories than expected. This is because your body uses energy to digest them.

If you’re trying to decrease your total calorie intake, eating more low-calorie foods, such as certain fruits and vegetables, is an easy way to achieve that goal.

Here are 38 foods with almost zero calories.

1. Apples

Zero Calorie Foods

Apples are highly nutritious and one of the most popular fruits in the United States, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (1).

One cup (125 grams) of apple slices has 57 calories and almost three grams of dietary fiber (2).

Since your body has to burn energy to digest apples, the net amount of calories provided by this fruit is probably fewer than reported.

2. Arugula

Arugula is a dark, leafy green with a peppery flavor.

It’s commonly used in salads, is rich in vitamin K and also contains folate, calcium and potassium.

One-half cup (10 grams) of arugula has only three calories (3).

3. Asparagus

Asparagus is a flowering vegetable that comes in green, white and purple varieties.

All types of asparagus are healthy, but purple asparagus has compounds called anthocyanins that may help prevent heart disease (4Trusted Source).

One cup (134 grams) of asparagus has only 27 calories and is rich in vitamin K and folate, providing 70% and 17% of the DVs, respectively (5).

4. Beets

Beets are root vegetables that typically have a deep-red or purple color. One of the most researched benefits of beets is their potential to lower blood pressure (6Trusted Source).

Beets contain only 59 calories per cup (136 grams) and 13% of the DV for potassium (7).

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet. It’s a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables and may help fight cancer (8Trusted Source).

One cup (91 grams) of broccoli has only 31 calories and over 100% of the amount of vitamin C that most people need per day (9).

6. Broth

There are many varieties of broth, including chicken, beef and vegetable. It can be eaten alone or used as a base for soups and stews.

Depending on the type of broth, one cup — or about 240 ml — usually contains 7–12 calories (101112).

7. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are highly nutritious vegetables. They resemble mini cabbages and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Research shows that eating Brussels sprouts may protect against DNA damage due to their high vitamin C content (13Trusted Source).

These nutritional powerhouses only have 38 calories per cup (88 grams) (14).

8. Cabbage

Cabbage is a vegetable with green or purple leaves. It’s a common ingredient in slaws and salads. Fermented cabbage is known as sauerkraut.

It’s very low in calories and contains only 22 calories per cup (89 grams) (15).

9. Carrots

Carrots are very popular vegetables. They’re usually thin and orange, but can also be red, yellow, purple or white.

Most people associate good eyesight with eating carrots since they’re rich in beta-carotene, which can be converted to vitamin A. Getting enough vitamin A is necessary for proper vision.

A one-cup serving (128 grams) of carrots has only 53 calories and over 400% of the DV for vitamin A (16).

10. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is typically seen as a white head inside green leaves. Less common varieties have purple, orange and yellow heads.

In recent years, cauliflower has become very popular as a substitute for higher-carb vegetables or grains.

One cup (100 grams) of cauliflower has 25 calories and only five grams of carbs (17).

11. Celery

Celery is one of the most well-known, low-calorie foods.

Its long, green stalks contain insoluble fiber that may go undigested through your body, thus contributing no calories.

Celery also has a high water content, making it naturally low in calories. There are only 18 calories in one cup (110 grams) of chopped celery (18).

12. Chard

Chard is a leafy green that comes in several varieties. It’s extremely high in vitamin K, a nutrient that helps with proper blood clotting.

One cup (36 grams) of chard has only 7 calories and contains 374% of the DV for vitamin K (19).

13. Clementines

Clementines resemble mini oranges. They’re a common snack in the United States and are known for their high vitamin C content.

One fruit (74 grams) packs 60% of the DV for vitamin C and only 35 calories (20).

14. Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a refreshing vegetable commonly found in salads. They’re also used to flavor water along with fruits and herbs.

Since cucumbers are mostly water, they’re very low in calories — one-half cup (52 grams) only has 8 (21).

15. Fennel

Fennel is a bulbous vegetable with a faint licorice taste. Dried fennel seeds are used to add an anise flavor to dishes.

Fennel can be enjoyed raw, roasted or braised. There are 27 calories in one cup (87 grams) of raw fennel (22).

16. Garlic

Garlic has a strong smell and taste and is used widely in cooking to add flavor to dishes.

Garlic has been used for centuries as a remedy for various illnesses. Research suggests that it may decrease blood pressure and fight infections or even cancer (23).

One clove (3 grams) of garlic has only 5 calories (24).

17. Grapefruit

Grapefruits are one of the most delicious and nutritious citrus fruits. They can be enjoyed on their own or on top of yogurt, salad or even fish.

Certain compounds in grapefruit may decrease cholesterol levels and increase metabolism (25).

There are 52 calories in half a grapefruit (123 grams) (26).

18. Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is known for its high water content. It’s commonly used in salads and on top of burgers or sandwiches.

Even though most people think it’s not as nutritious as other lettuces, iceberg lettuce is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A and folate.

One cup (72 grams) of iceberg lettuce has only 10 calories (27).

19. Jicama

Jicama is a tuber vegetable that resembles a white potato. This vegetable is typically eaten raw and has a texture similar to a crisp apple.

One cup (120 grams) of jicama has over 40% of the DV for vitamin C and only 46 calories (28).

20. Kale

Kale is a leafy green that has gained popularity in recent years for its impressive nutritional benefits.

You can find kale in salads, smoothies and vegetable dishes.

Kale is one of the richest sources of vitamin K in the world. One cup (67 grams) has close to seven times the amount of vitamin K that the average person needs per day and only 34 calories (29).

21. Lemons and Limes

The juice and zest of lemons and limes are widely used to flavor water, salad dressings, marinades and alcoholic drinks.

Citrus does more than just add flavor. Research shows that lemon juice has compounds that can act as antioxidants to fight and prevent diseases in your body (30).

One fluid ounce (30 grams) of lemon or lime juice has only 8 calories (3132).

22. White Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a type of fungus with a sponge-like texture. Vegetarians and vegans sometimes use them as a substitute for meat.

Mushrooms contain several important nutrients and have only 15 calories per cup (70 grams) (34).

23. Onions

Onions are a very popular vegetable. Varieties of onions include red, white and yellow, as well as spring onions or scallions.

Even though the taste differs depending on the type, all onions have very few calories — one medium onion (110 grams) has approximately 44 (35).

24. Peppers

Peppers come in many colors, shapes and sizes. Popular types include bell peppers and jalapeños.

Research shows that bells peppers are particularly high in antioxidants and may protect the body from the damaging effects of oxidation (36).

There are only 46 calories in one cup (149 grams) of chopped, red bell peppers (37).

25. Papaya

Papaya is an orange fruit with black seeds that resembles a melon and is typically grown in tropical regions.

It’s very high in vitamin A and a good source of potassium. One cup (140 grams) of papaya has only 55 calories (38).

26. Radishes

Radishes are crunchy root vegetables with a somewhat spicy bite.

They’re typically seen in grocery stores as dark-pink or red but can be grown in a variety of colors.

Radishes have several beneficial nutrients and only 19 calories per cup (116 grams) (39).

27. Romaine Lettuce

Romaine lettuce is a very popular leafy vegetable used in salads and on sandwiches.

The calorie content of romaine is very low since it’s high in water and rich in fiber. One leaf (6 grams) of romaine lettuce has just a single calorie (40).

28. Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a root vegetable also known as swede.

It tastes similar to turnips and is a popular substitute for potatoes in recipes to decrease the number of carbs.

One cup (140 grams) of rutabaga has 50 calories and only 11 grams of carbohydrates (41).

29. Strawberries

Strawberries are an extremely popular fruit. They’re very versatile and appear in breakfast dishes, baked goods and salads.

Studies show that eating berries may help protect you from chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease (42Trusted Source).

There are less than 50 calories in one cup (152 grams) of strawberries (43).

30. Spinach

Spinach is another leafy green that is loaded with vitamins and minerals and very low in calories.

It’s high in vitamin K, vitamin A and folate and has more protein than some other leafy vegetables.

A one-cup (30 grams) serving of spinach has only 7 calories (44).

31. Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar snap peas are a delicious variety of peas. Their pods are entirely edible and have a sweet flavor.

They’re typically eaten raw on their own or with a dip, yet can also be added to vegetable dishes and salads.

Snap peas are highly nutritious and contain almost 100% of the DV for vitamin C for only 41 calories in one cup (98 grams) (45).

32. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in the world. They can be served raw, cooked or pureed in a tomato sauce.

They’re also highly nutritious and contain a beneficial compound called lycopene. Research has shown that lycopene may protect against cancer, inflammation and heart disease (46Trusted Source).

One cup (149 grams) of cherry tomatoes has 27 calories (47).

33. Turnips

Turnips are white root vegetables with slightly bitter flesh. They’re often added to soups and stews.

Turnips have several beneficial nutrients and only 37 calories per cup (130 grams) (48).

34. Watercress

Watercress is a leafy vegetable that grows in running water. It’s typically used in salads and tea sandwiches.

Even though watercress is not as popular as other greens, it’s just as nutritious.

One cup (34 grams) of this vegetable provides 106% of the DV for vitamin K, 24% of the DV for vitamin C and 22% of the DV for vitamin A — and all for a meager 4 calories (49).

35. Watermelon

As its name suggests, watermelon is a very hydrating fruit. It tastes delicious on its own or paired with fresh mint and feta.

Watermelon contains some of almost every nutrient and a high amount of vitamin C. There are 46 calories in one cup (152 grams) of diced watermelon (50).

36. Zucchini

Zucchini is a green type of summer squash. It has a delicate taste that makes it a versatile addition to recipes.

In recent years, spiralizing zucchini into “zoodles” as a substitute for higher carb noodles has become very popular.

Zucchini is also quite low in calories, with only 18 per cup (124 grams) (51).

37. Beverages: Coffee, Herbal Tea, Water, Carbonated Water

Some beverages are very low in calories, especially when you don’t add anything to them.

Plain water contains no calories. Most herbal teas and carbonated waters have zero to very few calories, while black coffee has only 2 calories per cup (237 grams) (52).

Choosing these drinks over beverages with added sugar, cream or juice can help you reduce your calorie intake.

38. Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are used to add flavor to foods and are extremely low in calories.

Common herbs that are eaten fresh or dried include parsley, basil, mint, oregano and cilantro. Some well-known spices are cinnamon, paprika, cumin and curry.

Most herbs and spices have fewer than five calories per teaspoon (53).

The Bottom Line

There are many delicious foods that are low in calories.

Most of them are fruits and vegetables that also contain nutrients that benefit your health.

Eating a variety of these foods will provide you with plenty of nutrients for a minimal amount of calories.

6 Pressure Points for Anxiety Relief

Understanding anxiety

Most people experience anxiety at some point in their life. You might experience mild symptoms when facing a challenging or stressful situation. You might also have more severe, long-lasting symptoms that impact your daily life, including:

  • feelings of panic, fear, or worry
  • restlessness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • nausea, headaches, or digestive concerns
  • feeling a lack of control
  • muscle tension

Anxiety is typically treated with therapy, medication, or a combination of both. There are also several alternative treatments, including acupressure, that can help.

Acupressure is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that may provide temporary relief from anxiety symptoms. It involves stimulating pressure points in your body, either on your own or with the help of a professional.

Read on to learn about six pressure points you can try for anxiety relief.

1. Hall of impression point

pressure points

The hall of impression point lies between your eyebrows. Applying pressure to this point is said to help with both anxiety and stress.

To use this point:

  1. Sit comfortably. It can help to close your eyes.
  2. Touch the spot between your eyebrows with your index finger or thumb.
  3. Take slow, deep breaths and apply gentle, firm pressure in a circular motion for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Heavenly gate point

pressure points

The heavenly gate point is located in the upper shell of your ear, at the tip of the triangle-like hollow there.

Stimulating this point is said to help relieve anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

To use this point:

  1. Locate the point in your ear. It might help to use a mirror.
  2. Apply firm, gentle pressure in a circular motion for two minutes.

3. Shoulder well point

pressure points

The shoulder well point is in your shoulder muscle. To find it, pinch your shoulder muscle with your middle finger and thumb.

This pressure point is said to help with relieving stress, muscle tension, and headaches. It can also induce labor, so don’t use this point if you’re pregnant.

To use this point:

  1. Find the point on your shoulder muscle.
  2. Pinch the muscle with your thumb and middle finger.
  3. Apply gentle, firm pressure with your index finger and massage the point for four to five seconds.
  4. Release the pinch as you massage the point.

4. Union valley point

pressure points

You find this pressure point in the webbing between your thumb and index finger.

Stimulating this point is said to reduce stress, headaches, and neck pain. Like the shoulder well point, it can also induce labor, so avoid this point if you’re pregnant.

To use this point:

  1. With your index finger and thumb, apply firm pressure to the webbing between the thumb and index finger of your other hand.
  2. Massage the pressure point for four to five seconds, taking slow, deep breaths.

5. Great surge point

pressure points

The great surge pressure point is on your foot, about two or three finger widths below the intersection of your big toe and second toe. The point lies in the hollow just above the bone.

This pressure point may help to reduce anxiety and stress. You can also use it for pain, insomnia, and menstrual cramps.

To use this point:

  1. Find the point by moving your finger down straight down from between your first two toes.
  2. Apply firm, deep pressure to the point.
  3. Massage for four to five seconds.

6. Inner frontier gate point

pressure points

You can find the inner frontier gate point on your arm, about three finger widths below your wrist.

Stimulating this point may help to reduce anxiety while also relieving nausea and pain.

To use this point:

  1. Turn one hand so your palm faces up.
  2. With your other hand, measure three fingers below your wrist. The point lies here, in the hollow between the tendons.
  3. Apply pressure to the point and massage for four to five seconds.

The research behind acupressure for anxiety

There’s limited research about the use of acupressure and pressure points for anxiety. But experts are starting to look at alternative anxiety treatments.

Most of the studies that do exist have focused on pressure points for anxiety before a potentially stressful situation or medical procedure, rather than general anxiety. They’ve also all been fairly small. Still, their results are promising.

For example, a 2015 review of several studies examining the effects of acupressure on anxiety found that acupressure seemed to help relieve anxiety before a medical procedure such as surgery.

Another 2015 study of 85 people hospitalized for cancer treatment found that acupressure helped to reduce their anxiety.

2016 study looked at anxiety in 77 students with severe menstrual pain. Acupressure applied at the great surge pressure point during three menstrual cycles decreased anxiety in study participants by the end of the third cycle.

Most recently, a 2018 study found that acupressure helped reduce stress and anxiety symptoms in women receiving fertility treatments.

Again, larger studies are needed to fully understand how to use pressure points for anxiety. But the existing studies haven’t found any negative effects of acupressure on anxiety symptoms, so it may be worth a try if you’re looking to try a new approach.

Just keep in mind that these studies also suggest that acupressure seems to provide temporary, not long-term, relief from symptoms. Make sure to keep up with all other stress management, therapy, or other treatments prescribed by your doctor while trying acupressure.

Know when to see a doctor

While acupressure may provide some temporary relief from anxiety symptoms, there’s not much evidence that it’ll help with long-term anxiety.

If you find that your anxiety symptoms are making it hard to go to work or school or interfering with your relationships, it may be time to talk to a doctor or therapist. Concerned about the cost of therapy? Here are therapy options for every budget.

You should talk to a doctor or therapist if you start to experience:

  • feelings of depression
  • thoughts of suicide
  • panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping
  • headaches
  • digestive problems

The bottom line

Acupressure can be a helpful tool for temporarily managing anxiety symptoms, but there’s not enough evidence to support its use as a treatment for ongoing anxiety. Still, using these pressure points in instances where you’re feeling particularly stressed or anxious can help.

Just make sure to keep up with any other treatments recommended by your doctor and reach out to them or a therapist if your symptoms become more severe or start interfering with your day-to-day life.

6 Simple Ways to Lose Belly Fat, Based on Science

Belly fat is not just a problem because it can look bad.

In fact, having lots of fat in the abdominal area is strongly linked to diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease (1).

For this reason, losing belly fat has massive benefits for your health and can help you live longer.

Belly fat is usually estimated by measuring the circumference around your waist. This can easily be done at home with a simple tape measure.

Anything above 40 inches (102 cm) in men and 35 inches (88 cm) in women is known as abdominal obesity.

If you have a lot of excess fat around your waistline, then you should take some steps to get rid of it even if you’re not very heavy overall.

Fortunately, there are a few proven strategies that have been shown to target the fat in the belly area more than other areas of the body.

Here are 6 evidence-based ways to lose belly fat.

1. Don’t eat sugar and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks

Ways to Lose Belly Fat

Added sugar is very unhealthy.

Studies show that it has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health (2).

Sugar is half glucose, half fructose, and fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in significant amounts (3).

When you eat a lot of added sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat (4).

Numerous studies have shown that excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose, can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly and liver (5).

Some believe that this is the primary mechanism behind sugar’s harmful effects on health. It increases belly fat and liver fat, which leads to insulin resistance and a host of metabolic problems (6).

Liquid sugar is even worse in this regard. Liquid calories don’t get “registered” by the brain in the same way as solid calories, so when you drink sugar-sweetened beverages, you end up eating more total calories (78).

Studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children, for each daily serving (9).

Make a decision to minimize the amount of sugar in your diet, and consider completely eliminating sugary drinks.

This includes sugar-sweetened beverages, sugary sodas, fruit juices and various high-sugar sports drinks.

Keep in mind that none of this applies to whole fruit, which are extremely healthy and have plenty of fiber that mitigates the negative effects of fructose.

The amount of fructose you get from fruit is negligible compared to what you get from a diet high in refined sugar.

If you want to cut back on refined sugar, then you must start reading labels. Even foods marketed as health foods can contain huge amounts of sugar.

SUMMARYExcess sugar consumption may be the primary driver of excess fat in the belly and liver. This is particularly true of sugary beverages like soft drinks.

2. Eating more protein is a great long-term strategy to reduce belly fat

Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to losing weight.

It has been shown to reduce cravings by 60%, boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day (10111213).

If weight loss is your goal, then adding protein is perhaps the single most effective change you can make to your diet.

Not only will it help you lose, it also helps you avoid re-gaining weight if you ever decide to abandon your weight loss efforts (14).

There is also some evidence that protein is particularly effective against belly fat.

One study showed that the amount and quality of protein consumed was inversely related to fat in the belly. That is, people who ate more and better protein had much less belly fat (15).

Another study showed that protein was linked to significantly reduced risk of belly fat gain over a period of 5 years (16).

This study also showed that refined carbs and oils were linked to increased amounts of belly fat, but fruits and vegetables linked to reduced amounts.

Many of the studies showing protein to be effective had protein at 25–30% of calories. That’s what you should aim for.

So make an effort to increase your intake of high-protein foods such as whole eggs, fish, seafood, legumes, nuts, meat and dairy products. These are the best protein sources in the diet.

If you struggle with getting enough protein in your diet, then a quality protein supplement (like whey protein) is a healthy and convenient way to boost your total intake.

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, then check out this article on how to increase your protein intake.

You can find plenty of protein powder options on Amazon.

Bonus tip: Consider cooking your foods in coconut oil. Some studies have shown that 30 mL (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil per day reduces belly fat slightly (1718).

SUMMARYEating plenty of protein can boost your metabolism and reduce hunger levels, making it a very effective way to lose weight. Several studies suggest that protein is particularly effective against belly fat accumulation.

3. Cut carbs from your diet

Carb restriction is a very effective way to lose fat.

This is supported by numerous studies. When people cut carbs, their appetite goes down and they lose weight (19).

Over 20 randomized controlled trials have now shown that low-carb diets lead to 2–3 times more weight loss than low-fat diets (202122).

This is true even when the low-carb groups are allowed to eat as much as they want, while the low-fat groups are calorie restricted and hungry.

Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people near instant results. A difference on the scale is often seen within 1–2 days.

There are also studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, showing that low-carb diets specifically target the fat in the belly, and around the organs and liver (2324).

What this means is that a particularly high proportion of the fat lost on a low-carb diet is the dangerous and disease promoting abdominal fat.

Just avoiding the refined carbs (sugar, candy, white bread, etc) should be sufficient, especially if you keep your protein intake high.

However, if you need to lose weight fast, then consider dropping your carbs down to 50 grams per day. This will put your body into ketosis, killing your appetite and making your body start burning primarily fats for fuel.

Of course, low-carb diets have many other health benefits besides just weight loss. They can have life-saving effects in type 2 diabetics, for example (25).

SUMMARYStudies have shown that cutting carbs is particularly effective at getting rid of the fat in the belly area, around the organs and in the liver.

4. Eat foods rich in fiber, especially viscous fiber

Dietary fiber is mostly indigestible plant matter.

It is often claimed that eating plenty of fiber can help with weight loss.

This is true, but it’s important to keep in mind that not all fiber is created equal.

It seems to be mostly the soluble and viscous fibers that have an effect on your weight (26).

These are fibers that bind water and form a thick gel that “sits” in the gut.

This gel can dramatically slow the movement of food through your digestive system, and slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite (27).

One review study found that an additional 14 grams of fiber per day were linked to a 10% decrease in calorie intake and weight loss of 4.5 lbs (2 kg) over 4 months (28).

In one 5-year study, eating 10 grams of soluble fiber per day was linked to a 3.7% reduction in the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity (29).

What this implies, is that soluble fiber may be particularly effective at reducing the harmful belly fat.

The best way to get more fiber is to eat a lot of plant foods like vegetables and fruit. Legumes are also a good source, as well as some cereals like whole oats.

Then you could also try taking a fiber supplement like glucomannan. This is one of the most viscous dietary fibers in existence, and has been shown to cause weight loss in several studies (3031).

SUMMARYThere is some evidence that soluble dietary fiber can lead to reduced amounts of belly fat. This should cause major improvements in metabolic health and reduced risk of several diseases.

5. Exercise is very effective at reducing belly fat

Exercise is important for various reasons.

It is among the best things you can do if you want to live a long, healthy life and avoid disease.

Listing all of the amazing health benefits of exercise is beyond the scope of this article, but exercise does appear to be effective at reducing belly fat.

However, keep in mind that I’m not talking about abdominal exercises here. Spot reduction (losing fat in one spot) is not possible, and doing endless amounts of ab exercises will not make you lose fat from the belly.

In one study, 6 weeks of training just the abdominal muscles had no measurable effect on waist circumference or the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity (32).

That being said, other types of exercise can be very effective.

Aerobic exercise (like walking, running, swimming, etc) has been shown to cause major reductions in belly fat in numerous studies (3334).

Another study found that exercise completely prevented people from re-gaining abdominal fat after weight loss, implying that exercise is particularly important during weight maintenance (35).

Exercise also leads to reduced inflammation, lower blood sugar levels and improvements in all the other metabolic abnormalities that are associated with excess abdominal fat (36).

SUMMARYExercise can be very effective if you are trying to lose belly fat. Exercise also has a number of other health benefits and can help you live a longer life.

6. Track your foods and figure out exactly what and how much you are eating

What you eat is important. Pretty much everyone knows this.

However, most people actually don’t have a clue what they are really eating.

People think they’re eating “high protein,” “low-carb” or something else, but tend to drastically over- or underestimate.

I think that for anyone who truly wants to optimize their diet, tracking things for a while is absolutely essential.

It doesn’t mean you need to weigh and measure everything for the rest of your life, but doing it every now and then for a few days in a row can help you realize where you need to make changes.

If you want to boost your protein intake to 25–30% of calories, as recommended above, just eating more protein rich foods won’t be enough. You need to actually measure and fine tune in order to reach that goal.

Check out these articles here for a calorie calculator and a list of free online tools and apps to track what you are eating.

I personally do this every few months. I weigh and measure everything I eat to see what my current diet looks like.

Then I know exactly where to make adjustments in order to get closer to my goals.

8 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Sex Life

improve sex life

Push the reset button on your sex life

If you’re coupled and stuck in a sexual rut, you’re not alone. While dry spells are a normal part of any relationship, it’s still no consolation for couples experiencing one. “Familiarity is the death of the sex drive,” Allison Moon author of “Girl Sex 101” told Healthline. “The more we get used to someone, the less exciting sex becomes.”

Here are some quick tips — some of which I’ve tried — to help reignite passion if your sex life is lacking.

1. Liberate your body’s energy in a new way

“Go dancing or try yoga,” says Moon. “Once you affirm your connection with your own body, you can affirm your connection with your partner’s body.” One survey found that coupled but sexually inactive people were prone to feelings of sadness and felt unattractive. Reclaim your sexual power by finding new ways to move and get comfortable in your body.

2. Reignite your dopamine with a fresh experience

“Doing something new creates a sense of bonding and intimacy. Think outside of the box and do an activity that might scare you or excite you, like an amusement park ride or an escape room,” advises Sunny Megatron, sex educator and co-host of the American Sex Podcast. “You will create dopamine and duplicate the same feelings you had in the honeymoon phase of your relationship.”

Experts say dopamine and other chemicals in the brain are directly linked to physical attraction and romantic passion, which is why bonding over a new activity together could help spark arousal.

3. Schedule a sex “fact-finding” night

brain stimulation

“Take one night to have a raw discussion about what you do and don’t like sexually, explore new sex moves, and talk about your hidden fantasies,” Megatron told Healthline. “Don’t pressure yourself to be sexy, just experiment to see what you like and say what you normally avoid saying out of fear of embarrassing yourself or sounding insensitive.”

2016 online research survey on 1,200 men and women ages 18-25 showed that men and women have wildly different sexual expectations. These expectations are unlikely to change overnight, so couples must communicate their likes and dislikes in bed in order to have a mutually pleasurable experience.

4. Take a sex class and use your weekend to practice

“Taking a couples’ sex class can open up a whole new avenue of sex play,” says Megatron. Finding a one-night sex class is as easy as hopping on Eventbrite or Facebook. Couples can learn about new sex positions, techniques, and toys and props for sex play, in a learning environment that is fun — not intimidating.

When I took a bondage class with my partner, the sex educator was welcoming and made us feel comfortable. I recommend it to any couple that wants to have fun while learning new tricks.

5. Go on a sexy overnight getaway (or not)

“Go away to experiment with [a] little role-play. Make up backstories for your characters ahead of time, dress up, and have fun with it,” says Megatron. The U.S. Travel Association even reports that couples that travel together have better sex lives.

But, some couples working their way back to intimacy may find a sexy rendezvous challenging. “Going on a romantic getaway can create too much pressure to perform,” says Moon. “You will benefit even if you spend time together in ways that are nonsexual. Go hiking together or visit a new local spot.”

6. Get cozy and chill with an erotic movie

erotic film

“Get to know each other’s experience of titillation,” says Moon. “There is porn that is couple-friendly.” For porn sites that offer female-friendly, queer-friendly, and couple-friendly alternatives, Moon suggests SsshCrashpadseries, and FrolicMe.

For couples that want to take a walk on the wild side, Megatron suggests attending a weekend sex convention. “There are sex conventions year-round in almost every city. They offer sex classes and you can observe sex play without participating. Reserve those ideas for when you get home later.” Sex conventions are listed on social sites including FetLife and Kasidie.

7. Pleasure yourself in front of your partner

“Masturbating allows your partner to see you enjoy pleasure, which can build intimacy,” says Moon. Allowing your partner to witness how and where you like to be touched is practicing a level of vulnerability that encourages closeness. Masturbation also has numerous health benefits, including improving your mood and relieving pent-up stress, which is a great primer for more sex.

For adventurous couples, Megatron has a more daring suggestion. “Wear a remote-control sex toy on your date and let your partner hold the remote control. Use it as a form of extended foreplay to put your libidos in overdrive before you reach home.”

8. Have a one-to-one talk to air out seeded stress

Lack of communication is often what leads to sex droughts in a relationship. According to the Guardian, a recent survey found that couples who argued frequently were 10 times happier than those that avoided conflict. “Practice having hard conversations,” says Moon. “Fostering intimacy can often be as simple as having a conversation you have been avoiding.”

Don’t get discouraged by what your partner says. Just remember that discovering what’s wrong in your relationship is part of making an effort to improve it. “There are solutions if you are willing to compromise,” says Megatron. “Even if you are sexually mismatched, you can get creative and fix those inequities.”

If nothing else works, tap into your inner needs

Stress and the busyness of life are other factors that affect sexual intimacy, but there are fruitful ways to overcome setbacks. “Sometimes you just need to tap into something simple to get back on track, but many people let fear or embarrassment stop them from trying,” says Megatron.

Stress and Weight Gain: Understanding the Connection

If there’s one thing that unites us, it’s stress.

In fact, data from the 2017 Stress in America Survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 3 out of 4 Americans reported experiencing at least one stress symptom in the last month.

Unfortunately, all of this excess stress can lead to an increase in weight. And whether the extra weight is a result of overeating and unhealthy food choices, or your body’s response to increased levels of cortisol, getting a handle on stress is a priority if you want to prevent stress-related weight gain.

What stress does to your body

You may not notice it at first, but stress can have a noticeable effect on your body.

From tight muscles and headaches to feeling irritated, overwhelmed, and out of control, stress takes a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health.

In many cases, you’ll feel the effects of stress right away. But there are other ways your body responds to stress, such as weight gain, that may take time to notice.

According to Dr. Charlie Seltzer, a weight loss physician, your body responds to stress by increasing levels of cortisol, which gets the body ready to “fight or flee.”

Cortisol, a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands, increases in response to a threat. When you no longer perceive a threat, cortisol levels return to normal.

But if stress is always present, you can experience an overexposure to cortisol, which Seltzer says is a problem since cortisol is also a significant appetite stimulant.

“This is why so many people respond to stress by going for comfort food,” he explains.

And to make matters worse, Seltzer also points out that excess calories consumed in the setting of high cortisol appear to be preferentially deposited around the middle.

What’s more, a 2015 study showed that our bodies metabolize slower under stress.

The study found that the women participants who reported one or more stressors during the previous 24 hours burned 104 fewer calories than non-stressed women.

To arrive at this figure, researchers interviewed the women about stressful events prior to giving them a high-fat meal to eat. After finishing the meal, the women wore masks that measured their metabolism by calculating inhaled and exhaled airflow of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Not only did it demonstrate a slow down in their metabolism, but the results also showed that stressed women had higher levels of insulin.

The researchers concluded that the 104 fewer calories burned could add almost 11 pounds per year.

What are the risks of stress and weight gain?

When stress peaks or becomes difficult to manage, more serious, long-term health-related consequences can occur.

Depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, heart disease, anxiety, and obesity are all linked to untreated chronic stress.

The risks associated with weight gain include:

Additionally, there’s evidence of a connection between obesity and certain cancers such as pancreatic, esophageal, colon, breast, and kidney cancer.

Finally, your mental health can take a hit. An increase in anxiety or depression can also happen when you unintentionally gain weight.

How is stress-related weight gain diagnosed?

The only way to know if your weight gain is related to stress is to see your doctor.

“That’s because stress-related weight gain can only be diagnosed by taking a careful history and ruling out other things, like low thyroid function, that can also cause weight gain,” explains Seltzer.

Ways to reduce your stress that you can do today

Stress affects all of us at some point. Some people may experience it multiple times a day, while others may only notice it when it begins to interfere with daily tasks.

When you’re feeling stressed, there are several small steps you can take to calm down, including:

  • exercise for 20 to 30 minutes
  • get outdoors and enjoy nature
  • nourish your body with healthy food
  • cultivate social support (aka, phone a friend)
  • eliminate one item on your to-do list
  • take a 10-minute yoga break
  • ask family for help
  • practice mindfulness meditation
  • listen to music
  • read a book
  • go to bed one hour earlier
  • be kind to yourself
  • say “no” to one thing that may add stress
  • spend time with a pet
  • practice 10 minutes of deep breathing
  • ditch the caffeine and alcohol

Treatment for stress-related weight gain

Treating and managing stress-related weight gain starts with a visit to your doctor’s office to discuss your concerns. After a thorough exam, they’ll rule out any other health issues and help you come up with a plan to manage your weight and reduce stress.

In addition to implementing the stress-busting steps listed above, your doctor may recommend working with a registered dietitian (RD) that specializes in stress and weight loss. An RD can help you develop a balanced nutrition plan that fits your needs.

Your doctor may also suggest working with a psychologist or therapist to develop strategies to manage your stress.

And finally, your doctor may also talk with you about medication if your stress is related to chronic anxiety or depression.

What’s the outlook for people with stress and weight gain?

People with chronic high stress are susceptible to several health-related issues, including:

  • heart disease
  • digestive issues
  • sleep deprivation
  • high blood pressure
  • cognitive impairment
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • stroke
  • other chronic conditions

Additionally, extra weight may increase your risk for diabetes and certain cancers.

With proper treatment, including medical interventions and lifestyle modifications, you can lower your stress levels, reduce stress-related weight gain, and decrease the chances of developing a long-term health condition.

The takeaway

Chronic stress can lead to weight gain. The good news is there are simple and effective ways to reduce daily stressors, and consequently, manage your weight.

Through regular exercise, healthy food choices, mindfulness meditation, and minimizing your to-do list, you can begin to reduce stress and manage weight.

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