Lose 14lbs/6kg by drinking 2 extra glasses of water a day
The simple act of drinking more water is associated with reduced intakes of sugar, sodium (salt) and saturated fat – and easier weight control.
A study, published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, showed that people who increased their consumption of plain water by between one and three cups daily lowered total energy intake by 68-205 calories each day and their sodium intake by 78-235 g each day.
At the average calorie reduction of 140 calories a day, that could translate to a weight loss of 14lb (6.4kg) a year – just by drinking a bit more water!! Because there are 3,500 calories in a pound of body fat.
Researchers at the University of Illinois used a representative sample of more than 18,300 adults in the US from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2012.
The participants consumed an average of about 4.2 cups of plain tap water per day which accounted for just over 30% of their total water consumption.
Drinks such as tea, herbal tea and coffee were included in the calculations of total water consumption.
The average starting calorie intake for each participant was 2,157 calories, which included 125 calories from sugar-sweetened beverages and 432 calories from “discretionary foods” – desserts, pastries, ‘snack mixes’ and other non-essential foods. So their diet wasn’t ideal.
The results showed that the people who increased their water consumption by 1-3 cups a day also consumed 5-18g less sugar and 7-21g less cholesterol.
The effects were similar across race, ethnicity, education attainment, income level and body weight status – although they were larger among males than females, and among young or middle-aged adults than older adults.
So drinking 2 /3 cups more water a day could be the easiest ever diet plan, and also reduce your sodium intake – which has cardio (heart) benefits.
Since water intake also rids the body of waste through urination and bowel movements, keeps body temperature normal and lubricates and cushions joints – why not wander over to the tap right now?
Eat (a little!) chocolate every day to reduce diabetes and heart disease risk
It seems that a little of what you fancy really does do you good!
Results published in British Journal of Nutrition from a joint study from Warwick University and the Luxembourg Institute of Health suggest that regular, moderate chocolate – especially dark chocolate – can confer health benefits.
The researchers analysed the chocolate consumption of 1,153 people aged 18-69 who were part of the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg study. They found that 82% of the participants consumed chocolate, with an average consumption of 24.8 grams daily – almost one ounce.
Compared with participants who did not eat chocolate every day, the chocolate eaters had reduced insulin resistance and improved liver enzyme levels. Insulin resistance – where the body’s cells do not effectively respond to insulin – is a significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
The effect was constant irrespective of the participants’ age, sex, education, lifestyle, and dietary factors.
Dark chocolate has the highest cocoa content, which means it has the highest levels of anti-oxidants – specifically polyphenols (flavonoids), which are phytochemicals (plant based molecules) that can help prevent free radical damage to cells.
However, the report notes that it is important to distinguish the difference between chocolate that contains higher amounts of natural cocoa and processed chocolate which is much higher in sugar and calories. They also caution: “Physical activity, diet and other lifestyle factors must also be carefully balanced to avoid detrimental weight gain over time”.
So it seems like an ounce of dark chocolate a day – or a spoonful of cocoa powder added to a smoothie mix – should be part of your health regime.
Of course there are many other polyphenols in, for example, green tea, dark berries, leafy green vegetables and curcumin that are also powerful anti-oxidants.
Vitamin C reduces risk of cataracts
By the time we are 75, the University of Michigan estimates that an estimated 50% of us will have some vision loss due to cataracts – and over 80% will be developing the condition.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye lens that impairs vision.
The good news is that scientists at Kings College London have found that enough vitamin C in your diet can cut your chances of getting cataracts by almost 40%.
The study – published in the journal Ophthalmology – looked at 1,000 pairs of identical female twins, so genetic differences were not a factor. They found that over 10 years, the twins with high amounts of vitamin C in their diet had a much lower risk of cataracts.
The fluid inside your eye is normally higher in vitamin C than other body parts. Scientists say the antioxidant properties of vitamin C help prevent oxidation/free radical damage of the eye lens that leads to cataracts.
The American Optometric Association confirms that “taking a supplement with at least 300 mg/day of vitamin C appears to help prevent cataract development”. They also quote further research showing that women taking a daily supplement with a dosage of 364 mg experienced a 57 percent reduction in their risk of certain types of cataracts.
But cataracts are not the only, or even most serious, threat to sight. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study links Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) to nutrition. AMD is an eye condition that leads to the debilitating gradual loss of central vision.
The study (confirmed by others) showed that people at high risk for the disease who took 500 mg/day of vitamin C, along with beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc, slowed the progression of advanced AMD by about 25 percent. Other studies have confirmed these results.
Zinc boosts cell health and fights infections
Researchers from the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital have found that just 4 milligrams (mg) of extra zinc a day in your diet can have a profound, positive impact on cellular health that helps fight infections and diseases.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was led by senior scientist Janet King PhD. King and her team are the first to show that even a modest increase in dietary zinc reduces oxidative stress and damage to DNA.
“We were pleasantly surprised to see that just a small increase in dietary zinc can have such a significant impact on how metabolism is carried out throughout the body,” says King.
Zinc is vital for a healthy immune system. It helps reduce inflammation and oxidative (free radical) stress in the body, both of which are linked to cardiovascular diseases and cancers. It also helps reduce the risk for diabetes and is important in wound healing.
Although the study was initially commission to assess the potential impact of bio-fortified crops the conclusions are relevant on a wide basis.
The Euro;ean Recommended Daily Amount (now generally referred to as Reference Nutrient Intake) of zinc is 10mg a day. Zinc-rich foods include seafood, flax seeds and spinach, but as these are not generally consumed in great quantities, supplements are an easier route.
REF: Sarah J Zyba, Janet C King et al. A moderate increase in dietary zinc reduces DNA strand breaks in leukocytes and alters plasma proteins without changing plasma zinc concentrations. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2016
Cook with rosemary and live to 100?
Blue Zones are areas in the world where an exceptionally high proportion of people live in health to extreme old age. We’ve done articles on Blue Zones before because they do give us important lessons on lifestyles that produce healthy longevity.
Now we need to add another Blue Zone. It’s Acciaroli, a small town mostly given to be 2,000 people located on the southern tip of Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
With a population of just 2,000, the town claims up to 300 residents who are over 100 years of age. That means an astonishing 15% of the population is over 100 – or almost 1 person in 7! They can be seen strolling on the beach, swimming and active about town.
The equivalent percentage of 100-year-olds in the UK is 0.0002 %. Or 1 person in 5,000!
This exceptional Blue Zone was discovered by Dr Alan Maisel who is a cardiologist and professor at the University of California at San Diego. He has partnered with the Sapienza University of Rome to try to work out why Acciaroli’s residents live so long.
Of course the town by definition eats the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ – lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, moderate red wine, and olive oil. But his less expected conclusions so far include:
Rosemary and anchovies
“Everybody eats rosemary. They all grow it. They use it as a garnish. They use it in oils,” says Dr Maisel.
Research has shown that rosemary has exceptional anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacity – the ability to neutralise excess free radical damage to tissues and DNA.
Rosemary has been shown to correlate with improved cognitive performance by increasing blood flow, particularly to the brain. An ingredient – carnosic – is believed to help prevent the formation of beta amyloid plaques in the brain – a key characteristic of Alzheimer’s .
Studies at Kyoto University confirm that rosemary may ‘significantly help prevent brain ageing’.
Research published in Oncology Reports found that “rosemary extract has differential anti-proliferative effects on human leukemia and breast carcinoma cells.”
Yet another study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, revealed that carnosic can significantly promote eye health.
Rosemary – meaning ‘sea dew’ – is a herb often used to garnish pastas, marinate seafood and in sauces for lamb and chicken.
Anchovies appear as part of almost every meal in Acciaroli. Like sardines and mackerel, they are rich in Omega 3, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory strongly linked to cardio health.
These two dietary ‘secrets’ are novel to Acciaroli and have not been found in other Blue Zone diets.
The other elements that Dr Maisel identifies as key to healthy longevity are clean air, high vitamin D levels from sunshine, and regular activity associated with their jobs and lifestyle and low stress. Those are all common to the other Blue Zones.
The conclusion from these 2016 ‘good news’ stories, however, is not to fixate on just one or two nutritional elements – even supposedly ‘super nutrients’ like vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, rosemary or anchovies.
Staying healthy is a combination of staying active, eating well and – we believe – using a supplement like Nutrishield that combines the most protective nutrients as identified from the world’s healthiest diets.
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