If you want to stay in shape and healthy, you must move your body. However, there are several other things that you can do to keep your body weight in check.
Moderate Amounts of Sunshine Slows Down Weight Gain
A recent study done at the University of Edinburgh indicates that a moderate amount of UV exposure curbs weight gain due to a reaction of nitric oxide with the skin. In fact, a nitric oxide cream showed this very effect in mice. Vitamin D itself, which is produced by UV light, did not have any impact on weight control.
Of course, too much sun ages your skin more quickly and may also cause skin cancer; so moderation is, as usual, the key.
If you eat a high protein breakfast, you can increase the chemical which is associated with the feeling of reward (dopamine) and you feel less craving for food throughout the day. You can even eat higher fat foods at breakfast without much of a negative effect on weight.
Eat Reheated Pasta
Pasta is a well-known source of weight gain. It has a large number of calories and not much nutritional value. It shoots up your glucose level and messes up your body functions. However, a recent study shows that there is a way to make pasta healthier.
The study found that if you cool down the pasta in the refrigerator after cooking and then reheat it, the molecular structures of the pasta change and the pasta acts more like fiber which delays the absorption of carbohydrates into the body. Although a calorie is still a calorie, the pasta now behaves like a healthier carbohydrate like whole grain. So if you like pasta, you may want to try that.
Drinking Green Tea with Starchy Food
Green tea is very high in chemicals called catechins which gives the tea it’s slightly bitter taste. There is an old custom in Eastern Asian countries of drinking green tea after a meal to clear away the taste of food and they also know that it keeps them healthy.
A Penn State study showed that catechins, in fact, delay the absorption of starchy food in our gut and regulate the glucose levels in the blood stream. You may want to add some green tea as your after meal drink; of course you should drink it without sugar!
As a side note, some other studies suggest that too many catechins are not good for the body and, in the blood stream, may actually have an opposite effect. As usual, moderation is the key!
Eat More Olive Oil and Nuts
Mediterranean cooking is known to be good for our health. According to a Spanish study, it actually reduces metabolic syndrome significantly and olive oil and nuts contribute a lot to that. Although both are fat and high in calories, they are good for the body and it seems that they actually assist with appetite control.
Recently, it has been believed that olive oil is not suitable for frying food as it broken down in high heat easily. However, another study found that frying food in olive oil is much better than frying food in other types of seed oil for our health. So don’t worry and use it as often as you want.
As I mentioned in one of the previous articles, if you stay in a cooler environment, you use more calories to keep the body temperature steady and also stimulate brown fat creation. As a consequence, you lose weight. Keep your room temperature around 65F during the winter. It’s good for you, saves you money on your heating bill, and is good for the environment.
However, as I also mentioned in the previous article, if you are in poor health and in a higher age group, a lower environmental temperature is not good for the health; so stay warm.
Mental stress makes you fat, because stress stimulates the secretion of the chemical called histamine which increases fat deposit to the body. At the same time, the body tries to fight the stress with food. Reducing stress must be a part of your weight management plan.
Although there are many ways to relax, deep breathing is one of the easiest ways and you can do that anywhere, anytime. Sit comfortably but with your posture erect. Breathe in slowly, imagining that the air goes all the way to the bottom of your abdomen, then breathe out slowly. When breathing out, relax your shoulders and neck progressively. You need only a few breaths. Do this several times a day.
Of course, if you overeat and stay in front of a computer all day, whatever you do (or don’t do) won’t help. Avoid sugar and processed food as much as you can. In Japan, we say that eat until you are 80% full. Yes, moderation is good for you.
University of Edinburgh. “Sunshine may slow weight gain, diabetes onset, study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2014.
Effects of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women. Nutrition Journal, 2014
Inhibition of starch digestion by the green tea polyphenol, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2012
Mediterranean diets and metabolic syndrome status in the PREDIMED randomized trial. CMAJ, October 2014