Studies have shown that wearing socks to bed can help you fall asleep faster!
If you’re one of those people who has trouble falling asleep, listen up. You might fall asleep 15 minutes earlier and wake up far less during the night if you put on a pair of socks at bedtime.
To understand why, you first need to grasp the relationship between core body temperature and sleep. During daylight hours, the human body hums along at an average temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). But at night, your core body temperature dips as much as 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) over the course of six or seven hours of sleep.
This gradual decrease in core body temperature, it turns out, is a key part of the complicated neurobiological dance of falling asleep and staying asleep. And the faster you can lower the core body temperature, the faster you will fall asleep.
One of the ways that your body regulates its temperature is through blood vessels in your skin. If the brain decides the body is too hot, it will dilate (widen) blood vessels (vasodilation), redistributing warmer blood from the body’s core through the rest of the body to cool it down. If the body is too cold, the brain signals the opposite reaction, restricting the flow of blood to the surface (vasoconstriction).
This is where your feet come in. The palms of your hands and soles of your feet are the body’s most efficient heat exchangers, since they are hairless and less insulated than other skin surfaces. Researchers have shown that warming the feet before going to sleep using a warm foot bath or by wearing socks promotes vasodilation, which in turn lowers the body’s core temperature faster than going to sleep with cold, bare feet.
It turns out that the temperature difference between the surface skin of your extremities and your abdomen (known by sleep geeks as the distal-proximal skin temperature gradient or DPG) is the strongest indicator of your likelihood of falling asleep faster. Stronger even than hypnosis or popping a melatonin supplement before bed.
But there’s more! Scientists hypothesize that socked feet have a neurological effect as well. The brain’s “thermostat” is located in a region called the preoptic/anterior hypothalamus (PO/AH). Inside the PO/AH is a type of neuron called a warm-sensitive neuron (WSN) that increases its firing rate when there’s a temperature difference between the body’s core and extremities like the feet.
It’s a bit of a chicken and the egg situation, but research has shown that WSN firing rates go way up on the onset of slow wave or “deep” sleep and gradually decrease prior to waking up. So WSNs may play a role in generating the sensation of sleepiness that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. And if that’s the case, warming up the feet before bedtime gives WSNs an extra boost.
In a small study, Korean researchers found that wearing a pair of special “sleeping socks” — which are apparently a thing in South Korea — not only sped up the onset of sleep, but increased overall sleep time by an average of 30 minutes and cut nighttime waking episodes in half.
If you’re worried about becoming too warm while wearing socks in bed, look for ones made of natural breathable fibers.
Many methods to improve your health are pretty straightforward: to lose weight, eat less and exercise more; to boost your energy, get more sleep; to prevent dehydration, drink more water. Others, however, are totally counterintuitive. The following 12 tips really do work—but they may leave you scratching your head.
Drink coffee to have a better nap
In a Japanese study that examined how to make the most of a nap, people who took a “coffee nap”—consuming about 200 milligrams of caffeine (the amount in one to two cups of coffee) and then immediately taking a 20-minute rest—felt more alert and performed better on computer tests than those who only took a nap. Why does this work? A 20-minute nap ends just as the caffeine kicks in and clears the brain of a molecule called adenosine, maximizing alertness. “Adenosine is a byproduct of wakefulness and activity,” says Allen Towfigh, MD, medical director of New York Neurology & Sleep Medicine. “As adenosine levels increase, we become more fatigued. Napping clears out the adenosine and, when combined with caffeine, an adenosine-blocker, further reduces its effects and amplifies the effects of the nap.”
For healthy teeth, don’t brush after eating
Don’t brush your teeth immediately after meals and drinks, especially if they were acidic. Acidic foods—citrus fruits, sports drinks, tomatoes, soda (both diet and regular)—can soften tooth enamel “like wet sandstone,” says Howard R. Gamble, immediate past president of the Academy of General Dentistry. Brushing your teeth at this stage can speed up acid’s effect on your enamel and erode the layer underneath. Gamble suggests waiting 30 to 60 minutes before brushing.
To wear a smaller size, gain weight
Muscle weight, that is. If two women both weigh 150 pounds and only one lifts weights, the lifter will more likely fit into a smaller pant size than her sedentary counterpart. Likewise, a 150-pound woman who lifts weights could very well wear the same size as a 140-pound woman who doesn’t exercise. The reason: Although a pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle, muscle takes up less space, says Mark Nutting, fitness director of SACO Sport & Fitness in Saco, Maine. “You can get bigger muscles and get smaller overall if you lose the fat,” he says. “The bulk so many women fear only occurs if you don’t lose fat and develop muscle on top of it.” Cut back on calories and add weight to your workout to lose inches.
To eat less, eat more
Grabbing a 100-calorie snack pack of cookies or pretzels may seem virtuous, but it’s more likely to make you hungrier than if you ate something more substantial, says Amy Goodson, RD, dietitian for Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine. “Eating small amounts of carbohydrates does nothing but spike your blood sugar and leave you wanting more carbs.” Goodson recommends choosing a protein such as peanut butter or string cheese with an apple. “They are higher in calories per serving, but the protein and fat helps you get full faster and stay full longer—and you end up eating fewer calories overall,” she says.
Skip energy drinks when you’re tired
Energy drinks contain up to five times more caffeine than coffee, but the boost they provide is fleeting and comes with unpleasant side effects like nervousness, irritability, and rapid heartbeat, says Goodson. Plus, energy drinks often contain high levels of taurine, a central nervous system stimulant, and upwards of 50 grams of sugar per can (that’s 13 teaspoons worth!). The sweet stuff spikes blood sugar temporarily, only to crash soon after, leaving you sluggish and foggyheaded—and reaching for another energy drink.
Drink water when you’re bloated
When you feel bloated, drinking water sounds as if it would only make matters worse, but it can often help, says James Lee, MD, gastroenterologist with St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif. If you’re on a high-fiber diet, for instance, then your body needs more water to work more efficiently, says Dr. Lee. “Water mixes with water soluble fiber and makes it into a gel like substance. This affects the motility of the gut and reduces the symptom of bloating.” Drinking more water also relieves bloating caused by dehydration. When you’re dehydrated, your body clings to the water your body does have, causing you to puff up.
Ditch diet soda to lose weight
You should ditch all soda, including diet. Research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed that overweight and obese adults who drank diet beverages ate more calories from food than those who drank regular soda. Additionally, a University of Texas study found that diet soda drinkers had a 70% greater increase in waist circumference than non-drinkers over the course of about 10 years.
“In addition, many people think ‘low-fat,’ ‘low-sugar,’ or ‘light’ means fewer calories, but that’s not always true,” says Goodson. “Typically when manufacturers cut something out and the end result tastes just as good, they’ve added something like additional sugar.”
Drink a hot beverage to cool off
Which will cool you off faster on a steamy summer morning: iced coffee or hot? Two recent studies say the latter—and so do other cultures where drinking hot tea in hot weather is the norm, like in India. When you sip a hot beverage, your body senses the change in temperature and increases your sweat production. Then, as the sweat evaporates from your skin, you cool off naturally.
Exercise when you’re tired
After a long, exhausting workday, exercising sounds like the last thing you’d want to do, but getting your sweat on will actually energize you. Fatigue along with mood and depression improved after a single 30-minute moderate intensity exercise session, according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. “Everything we do uses oxygen, so when you exercise it helps you work more efficiently and you don’t tire as easily,” says Nutting. “You also function better mentally.”
Handwrite notes to boost your brainpower
Typing notes enables you to jot down more material, but you’re more likely to remember those notes if you handwrite them, according to research from Indiana University. “To learn something means you have processed it,” says Dr. Towfigh. “And when you take handwritten notes you ‘process’ or learn more information. You begin the learning process as you listen to the lecture.” Plus, since you look at the page on which you are writing, you naturally review the material and reinforce the information you’ve already processed, Dr. Towfigh says.
To improve your relationship, spend less time together
Jumping from one social event to another without any time to come up for air could sacrifice the quality of your relationships. Spending time alone allows you to process your thoughts rather than act impulsively and, as a result, you get to know yourself better, says Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. “Alone time enables you to be more in touch with yourself and can better give and receive,” Lombardo says. “In addition, it reduces stress and anxiety, which could also contribute to relationship strains.” Meditate, go for a walk, sit in a café and people watch, or even clean out your closet, she suggests.
Ditch antibacterial soap to prevent illness
Reaching for the soap bottle labeled “antibacterial” won’t necessarily reduce your risk of getting sick or passing illness to others—in fact, there is no evidence that antibacterial soaps are more effective than regular ones. What’s more, long-term exposure to some ingredients in these products, such as triclosan, may pose health risks like bacterial resistance or hormonal effects, according to a 2013 FDA statement. More research on the effects of triclosan is needed, and in the meantime, the FDA is working toward requiring manufacturers to prove their products are safe for long-term use—and the state of Minnesota has banned triclosan-containing products altogether, which goes into full effect in 2017.
Whether you’re aiming to achieve your fitness goals or simply want to look good in a swimsuit, acquiring a sculpted set of six-pack abs is a goal shared by many.
Getting a six-pack requires dedication and hard work, but you don’t have to hit the gym seven days a week or become a professional bodybuilder to do so.
Instead, a few modifications to your diet and lifestyle can be enough to produce serious, long-lasting results.
Here are 8 simple ways to achieve six-pack abs quickly and safely.
1. Do More Cardio
Cardio, also called aerobic exercise, is any form of exercise that increases your heart rate.
Regularly incorporating cardio into your routine can help you burn extra fat and speed your way to a set of six-pack abs.
Studies show that cardio is especially effective when it comes to reducing belly fat, which can help make your abdominal muscles more visible.
One small study showed that doing cardio exercise three to four times per week significantly decreased belly fat in 17 men (1).
Another review of 16 studies found that the more cardio exercise people did, the greater amount of belly fat they lost (2).
Try to get in at least 20–40 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per day, or between 150–300 minutes per week (3).
Activities like running, walking, biking, swimming or engaging in your favorite sports are just a few easy ways to fit cardio into your day.
SUMMARY: Studies show that cardio exercise can reduce belly fat, which can help you get six-pack abs. One review found that the more cardio people did, the more belly fat they lost.
2. Exercise Your Abdominal Muscles
The rectus abdominis is the long muscle that extends vertically along the length of your abdomen.
Although most well-known as the muscle that creates the appearance of the six-pack, it’s also necessary for breathing, coughing and bowel movements.
Other abdominal muscles include the internal and external obliques and the transverse abdominis.
Exercising these muscles is key to increasing muscle mass and achieving six-pack abs.
However, keep in mind that abdominal exercises alone are unlikely to decrease belly fat.
For example, one study found that doing abdominal exercises five days per week for six weeks had no effect on belly fat in 24 women (4).
Instead, be sure to pair your abdominal exercises with a healthy diet and regular cardio to boost fat burning and maximize results.
Abdominal crunches, bridges and planks are a few of the most popular exercises that can help strengthen your abdominal muscles and create the appearance of six-pack abs.
SUMMARY: Exercising the muscles that make up your abdomen can help increase muscle mass to achieve six-pack abs. Pair abdominal exercises with a healthy diet and cardio to optimize results.
3. Increase Your Protein Intake
Upping your intake of high-protein foods can help promote weight loss, fight belly fat and support muscle growth on your road to six-pack abs.
According to one study, consuming high-protein meals helped increase feelings of fullness and promote appetite control in 27 overweight and obese men (5).
Another study showed that people who increased protein intake by just 15% decreased their calorie intake and saw significant decreases in body weight and body fat (6).
Consuming protein after working out can also help repair and rebuild muscle tissues as well as aid in muscle recovery (7, 8).
Plus, one study even found that a high-protein diet helped preserve both metabolism and muscle mass during weight loss (9).
Meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, dairy products, legumes, nuts and seeds are just a few examples of healthy, high-protein foods that you can add to your diet.
SUMMARY: Protein may help reduce calorie intake, as well as decrease body weight and fat. It can also help repair and rebuild muscle tissues and preserve muscle mass during weight loss.
4. Try High-Intensity Interval Training
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a form of exercise that involves alternating between intense bursts of activity and short recovery periods. HIIT keeps your heart rate up and increases fat burning.
Adding HIIT into your routine can boost weight loss and make it even easier to get six-pack abs.
One study showed that young men who performed HIIT training for 20 minutes three times per week lost an average of 4.4 pounds (2 kg) and saw a 17% decrease in belly fat over a 12-week period (10).
Similarly, another study found that 17 women who did HIIT twice per week for 16 weeks had an 8% decrease in total belly fat (11).
One of the simplest ways to try HIIT at home is to switch between walking and sprinting for 20–30 seconds at a time.
You can also try alternating between high-intensity exercises like jumping jacks, mountain climbers and burpees with a short break in between.
SUMMARY: High-intensity interval training can help increase fat burning and may be especially useful for reducing belly fat and achieving six-pack abs.
5. Stay Hydrated
Water is absolutely crucial to just about every aspect of health. It plays a role in everything from waste removal to temperature regulation.
Staying well-hydrated may also help bump up your metabolism, burn extra belly fat and make it easier to get a set of six-pack abs.
In fact, one study found that drinking 500 milliliters of water temporarily increased energy expenditure by 24% for up to 60 minutes after eating (12).
Other research shows that drinking water may also reduce your appetite and increase weight loss.
One study with 48 middle-aged and older adults found that people who drank water before each meal lost 44% more weight over a 12-week period than those who didn’t (13).
Water requirements can vary based on a variety of factors, including age, body weight and activity level.
SUMMARY: Studies show that drinking water can temporarily increase metabolism, reduce appetite and increase weight loss to help you lose stubborn belly fat.
6. Stop Eating Processed Food
Heavily processed foods like chips, cookies, crackers and convenience foods are typically high in calories, carbs, fat and sodium.
Not only that, these foods are typically low in key nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Nixing these unhealthy junk foods from your diet and swapping them for whole foods can increase weight loss, reduce belly fat and help you achieve a set of six-pack abs.
This is because it takes more energy to digest whole foods rich in protein and fiber, which can burn more calories and keep your metabolism up (14).
The nutrients in whole foods, like protein and fiber, also keep you feeling fuller to curb cravings and aid in weight loss (15, 16).
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are all nutritious alternatives to prepackaged convenience items like frozen meals, baked goods and salty snacks.
SUMMARY: Processed foods are high in calories, carbs, fat and sodium. These foods require less energy to digest and are also lacking in important nutrients like protein and fiber that can aid in weight loss.
7. Cut Back on Refined Carbs
Cutting back on your consumption of refined carbohydrates can help you lose extra fat and gain six-pack abs.
Refined carbs lose most of their vitamins, minerals and fiber during processing, resulting in a final product that is low in nutritional value.
Eating lots of refined carbs can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which can lead to increased hunger and food intake (17).
Eating plenty of whole grains, on the other hand, has been linked to a reduced waist circumference and lower body weight (18).
In fact, one study found that people who ate a high amount of refined grains tended to have a higher amount of belly fat compared to those who ate more whole grains (19).
Swap out refined carbs from foods like pastries, pastas and processed foods and instead enjoy whole grains such as brown rice, barley, bulgur and couscous to help support satiety and burn belly fat.
SUMMARY: Refined carbs are low in nutrients and can increase hunger levels. A high intake of refined grains has been linked to increased belly fat.
8. Fill up on Fiber
Adding more high-fiber foods into your diet is one of the simplest methods for increasing weight loss and achieving six-pack abs.
Soluble fiber moves through the gastrointestinal tract undigested and can help slow the emptying of the stomach to make you feel fuller for longer (20).
In fact, one review found that increasing fiber intake by 14 grams per day was linked to a 10% decrease in calorie intake and 4.2 pounds (1.9 kg) of weight loss (21).
Research shows that getting enough fiber in your diet may also prevent weight gain and fat accumulation.
One study showed that for each 10-gram increase of soluble fiber taken daily, participants lost 3.7% of belly fat over five years without making any other modifications in terms of diet or exercise (22).
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds are just a few healthy, high-fiber foods that you can add to your diet to help burn belly fat.
SUMMARY: Eating fiber can help keep you feeling full and may help protect against weight gain and fat accumulation.
The Bottom Line
There’s much more to getting six-pack abs than simply doing a few crunches or planks each day.
Instead, it requires following a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle to help achieve your goals.
Making a few simple switches in your daily routine can get you a set of six-pack abs and improve your health at the same time.
In theory, dieting seems like a piece of cake. When you actually get down to business though, it’s a very grueling process, full of struggles and suppressed temptations. It’s so bad that you may even cry just looking at a plate of brownies. But we often go about doing it wrong – eat all the wrong things or eat nothing at all, which completely botches all our plans of having a perfect bikini body, or just a toned one.
Being on a diet means eating selectively and being very careful about the nutritional value of your food. Here’s a list of foods to binge on while you’re trying to shed off that fat.
Packed full of Vitamin E, protein and fiber, they not only boost your skin, but also keep you from feeling hungry for long periods of time. Try swapping them for your usual mid-morning snack and see how they work wonders!
Surprising, right ? But they’re not just popular for their taste. They have a little bit of almost everything we need, so they help in maintaining a top-notch health as well.
If you boil potatoes and then allow them to cool for a while, they will form large amounts of resistant starch, a fiber-like substance that will keep you satiated and hence, prevent you from eating other foods, thus helping you lose weight.
3. Leafy Greens
They’re the quickest way to flush out water retention and flatten a stubborn stomach. They have various vitamins, minerals, a high content of fiber and low amount of calories – basically, they’re the perfect mixture. Include them in your meals and wait for them to work their magic!
Fats aren’t your enemy, as long as they’re the right kind. Oleic acid is a compound in the fats present in an avocado that helps in suppressing hunger for long periods of time. Eat a quarter or half of this creamy fruit each morning and say goodbye to the loose belly fat.
5. Olive Oil
That’s right! Oil is on the list too. Replace your mustard oil and ghee with olive oil which also contains Oleic acid and prevents hunger as well as aids the breaking down of fats.
6. Dark Chocolate
For those of you with a sweet tooth and an insatiable craving for desserts, pick a square or two of this. It contains way less fat than most deserts and calms down your hunger after it as well, even for long periods of time.
7. Eggs and Sausage
This just keeps getting better. Eggs and sausages, an extremely protein rich meal for breakfast makes you feel fuller right away, no matter how big your appetite is. This has a long-term effect and it is scientifically proven that you automatically consume less calories for the rest of the day.
They may be little, but each of these come with a bunch of nutrients especially proteins and fiber. The best part is that they remain low in calories and full of slow-release energy. This, in simple terms, means that your muscles will get toned and you’ll not feel hungry for long periods of time.
It’s known for its effective healing properties, but it is also very efficient for digestion. It’s very popular and easily available in tea form for consumption, preferably organic. Three cups a day, after every meal, will keep the weighing scale and your stomach very happy.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar
This digestive tonic kills harmful bacteria in the intestines, flushes out toxins and relieves water retention from the stomach. A few spoon-fulls everyday will help detoxifying the body daily. It can also be used as a salad dressing or to cook with vegetables.
11. Apples and Pears
A very cheap but nonetheless, fruitful solution to your problem. Firstly, for juice consumers, eating the fruit itself is more beneficial because the chewing motion of our teeth makes the brain comprehend it as substantial eating and the high fiber content keeps us full. They’re also jam packed with antioxidants – it’s a win win situation.
12. Cranberry Juice
An excellent antioxidant topped with high amounts of Vitamin C, it rids the body of excess fluids through excretion. Have a glass in the morning before starting your day for best results!
Along with being a great taste enhancer, it also has high amounts of Pectin fiber which will surely help you ward off hunger. They also raise the intestine’s pH levels, thus aiding digestion and weight loss.
Again, it is an extremely protein rich food but also very satiating. Many types of white fish are extremely lean, and fattier varieties such as salmon pack healthy omega-3 fats, but all prove to be extremely beneficial.
The list of recipes to try with tomatoes is endless really. It’s not looking too bad right now. They’re full of antioxidants, reduce inflammation and water retention and reverse our body’s Leptin (a protein that helps us to regulate our metabolic rate and apetite) resistance! Honestly, miracle workers.
Bulletproof coffee is a high-calorie coffee drink intended to replace breakfast.
It consists of 2 cups (470 ml) of coffee, 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of grass-fed, unsalted butter, and 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of MCT oil mixed in a blender.It was originally promoted by Dave Asprey, the creator of the Bulletproof Diet. The coffee produced and marketed by Asprey’s company is supposedly free of mycotoxins. However, there’s no evidence that this is the case.Bulletproof coffee has become increasingly popular, especially among paleo and low-carb dieters.
Although drinking Bulletproof coffee on occasion is probably harmless, it’s not advisable to make it a routine.
Here are 3 potential downsides of Bulletproof coffee.
1. Low in nutrients
Asprey and other promoters recommend that you consume Bulletproof coffee in place of breakfast each morning.
Although Bulletproof coffee provides plenty of fat, which reduces your appetite and provides energy, it’s lacking in several nutrients.
By drinking Bulletproof coffee, you are replacing a nutritious meal with a poor substitute.
While grass-fed butter contains some conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), butyrate, and vitamins A and K2, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is a refined and processed fat with no essential nutrients.
If you eat three meals per day, replacing breakfast with Bulletproof coffee will likely reduce your total nutrient intake by about one-third.
SUMMARY: Promoters of Bulletproof coffee recommend that you drink it instead of eating breakfast. However, doing so will significantly reduce the total nutrient load of your diet.
2. High in saturated fat
Bulletproof coffee is very high in saturated fat.
While the health effects of saturated fats are controversial, many health professionals believe that high intake is a major risk factor for several diseases and should be avoided (1).
Although some studies associate a high intake of saturated fat with an increased risk of heart disease, others find no significant links (2).
Nevertheless, most official dietary guidelines and health authorities advise people to limit their intake.
While saturated fat can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in reasonable amounts, it may be harmful in massive doses.
If you are worried about saturated fat or high cholesterol levels, consider limiting your intake of Bulletproof coffee — or avoiding it altogether.
SUMMARY: Bulletproof coffee is high in saturated fat. Although its health effects are highly controversial and not firmly established, official guidelines still recommend limiting saturated fat intake.
3. May raise your cholesterol levels
Many studies have been conducted on low-carb and ketogenic diets, which are often high in fat — and may include Bulletproof coffee.
Most of this research confirms that these diets do not increase your levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol — at least on average (3).
Among other benefits, your triglycerides and weight drop while your HDL (good) cholesterol rises (4).
However, butter seems to be particularly effective at raising LDL cholesterol levels. One study in 94 British adults showed that eating 50 grams of butter daily for 4 weeks increased LDL cholesterol levels more than consuming an equal amount of coconut oil or olive oil (5).
Another 8-week study in Swedish men and women with excess weight found that butter raised LDL cholesterol by 13%, compared with whipping cream. The researchers hypothesized that it could have something to with its fat structure (6).
Also, keep in mind that not everyone responds the same way to a high-fat diet. Some people see dramatic increases in total and LDL cholesterol, as well as other markers of heart disease risk (7).
For those who have cholesterol problems while on a low-carb or ketogenic diet, the first thing to do is avoid excessive intake of butter. This includes Bulletproof coffee.
SUMMARY: Butter and ketogenic diets high in saturated fat may increase cholesterol levels and other heart disease risk factors in some people. For those who have elevated levels, it’s best to avoid Bulletproof coffee.
Should anyone drink Bulletproof coffee?
All things considered, Bulletproof coffee can work for some people — especially those following a ketogenic diet who don’t have elevated cholesterol levels.
When consumed alongside a healthy diet, Bulletproof coffee may help you lose weight and increase your energy levels.
If you find that this morning drink improves your well-being and quality of life, perhaps it’s worth the decreased nutrient load.
Just to be on the safe side, if you drink Bulletproof coffee regularly, you should have your blood markers measured to make sure you’re not raising your risk of heart disease and other conditions.
SUMMARY: Bulletproof coffee may be healthy for some individuals, as long as you consume it as part of a balanced diet and don’t have elevated cholesterol levels. It may be especially appealing for those on keto diets.
The bottom line
Bulletproof coffee is a high-fat coffee drink intended as a breakfast replacement. It’s popular among people who follow a ketogenic diet.
While it’s filling and energy-boosting, it comes with several potential downsides, including reduced overall nutrient intake, increased cholesterol, and high levels of saturated fat.
Still, Bulletproof coffee may be safe for those who don’t have elevated cholesterol levels, as well as those who follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet.
If you’re interested in trying Bulletproof coffee, it may be best to consult your healthcare provider to get your blood markers checked.
If you consider yourself a lazy person, take a look at these 10 healthy living tips that will help you improve your well-being, without it feeling like a chore.
Watch TV And Exercise
Relaxing in front of the TV is a popular pastime of many lazy people, but that’s not to say you can’t stay active and healthy while watching your favourite programme. To improve your fitness in front of the screen, complete a short workout during each advert break. You could fit in some tricep dips using the end of your chair, jog on the spot or sprint up and down the stairs. The main rule is to keep moving as research suggests that even fidgeting while you sit can burn up to 350 calories per day.
Make Ready Meals Yourself
Eating a healthy, balanced diet sounds like a great idea until you get in from a long day’s work and all of your good intentions suddenly go out of the window. But rather than reaching for shop bought ready meals which are usually full of fat, salt and sugar, you could try making your own instead. Next time you are off work, cook large batches of healthy meals and freeze them. That way you will have lots of healthy meal choices for the days when you can’t be bothered to cook.
Include Exercise In Your Daily Routine
One of the best health tips (and an easy way to increase your levels of physical activity) is to build exercise into your daily routine. While intense hours spent at the gym will improve your fitness, research has found that regular daily activity could be more beneficial to your health. Rather than setting aside a specific amount of time to exercise, introduce gentle bits of activity throughout your day. You could get off the bus a stop early to increase your activity levels and go for a walk on your lunch. These simple changes will make you more active and have a big impact on your fitness.
Exercise Your Brain
If you really can’t bring yourself to do a physical workout, schedule in some time to work out an essential muscle in your body, your brain. Your mental well-being is equally as important as your physical health – and the good news is you can work this muscle from the comfort of your own couch. According to research, frequently completing activities that stimulate your mind can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. So instead of turning on the TV, read a book, complete a Sudoku or do a crossword instead.
Savour Your Food
When it comes to eating your meals, being lazy works to your advantage. Slowing down your eating benefits your digestive system and can help you shed those pounds. Eating slower allows you to focus on your food and savour every mouthful. It takes your body 20 minutes to recognise the feeling of fullness, so stretching out your intake will reduce the risk of overeating. You should try to chew each mouthful of food around 30 times before swallowing it to ensure correct digestion and allow the nutrients to absorb properly.
Get A Pet
Animal lovers, this one’s for you – getting a pet is a great way to improve your health. Several research studies have found that pet owners have improved mental and physical health, including lowered stress levels and blood pressure. Getting yourself a pet dog can also give you the encouragement to improve your activity levels by taking your furry friend on regular walks outside.
For many people, the very thought of completing an intense workout at the gym is their worst nightmare. If you have struggled to find a fitness activity that appeals to you, then try turning a night out into a workout instead. Cutting some shapes on the dancefloor is a great way to get fit, tone your body and burn calories. And the best part? Dancing the night away won’t even feel like exercise.
Order Healthy Foods To Your Door
The health aisles at the supermarket can sometimes seem a little overwhelming, with so much choice it can be difficult to know where to start. If this problem is stopping your healthy eating efforts, then let someone else do the hard work for you. Many health food stores and farms offer seasonal packages and deliver them to your doorstep, making it easy to try different healthy foods from the comfort of your own home.
Get Enough Sleep
Being lazy certainly pays off when it comes to getting enough shut-eye. Research studies have found that getting enough sleep can reduce stress, boost your memory and help you live longer. While getting less than five hours sleep per night can result in weight gain, accidents and an increased risk of heart disease. Clocking up a regular eight hours sleep is an easy (and lazy) way to boost your healthy living.
Take A Supplement
If sporadic is a good way to describe your healthy eating habits, then it might be time to turn to a nutritional supplement. Of course, this is no substitute for a healthy diet but on the days where your best intentions have disappeared, you could try a multivitamin. There are even supplements you can take if you think your diet is lacking in a specific vitamin or mineral. You could also supplement ‘superfoods’ such as wheatgrass and spirulina into your diet, which can boost your immune system and give you energy.
-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.
Cinnamon supplements are either made from whole cinnamon powder or an extract. Many studies suggest it helps lower blood sugar and improves diabetes control (1, 2).
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 (2, 5).
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 (6, 8).
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.
Damage to your gut bacteria — such as from taking antibiotics — is associated with an increased risk of several diseases, including diabetes (9).
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 (9, 10).
Taking it: Try a probiotic with more than one beneficial species, such as a combination of L. acidophilus, B. 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
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 (6, 13).
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 (13, 14).
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.
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 (17, 18).
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.
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 (21, 22).
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.
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 (25, 26).
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 (6, 26).
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.
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 (29, 30).
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 (33, 34).
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.
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 (6, 36).
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 (6, 36, 38).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
tomato sauce or foods that use it, such as pizza and chili
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.
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 and products with mint flavoring, like chewing gum and breath mints, can also trigger acid reflux symptoms.
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.
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 (12, 25).
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 (26, 27, 28).
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 (29, 30, 31).
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).