Good Fats: Friend or Foe? The Surprisingly Fatty Foods that Boost Weight Loss

Often times we are taught that fat is bad, but the reality is our bodies need fat to survive. Saturated fats tend to be the ones you want to limit because they are responsible for increasing cholesterol and creating inflammation in the body. Unsaturated fats, however, can have restorative effects, and help your body process other foods more efficiently. They also tend to wreak less havoc on your digestion and assist in blood glucose control. These are a few traditionally “Fattening” foods that can actually stimulate fat burning. 

Olive Oil: This is extremely high in omega -3 fatty acids, which are not only heart healthy, but reduce inflammation and speed up fat burning. Omega-3’s have also been known to help alleviate joint pain and slow the progression of memory loss. Add a few teaspoons to your marinara sauce or grilled vegetables. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try olive oil ice cream- you won’t regret it!

Nuts: Packed with protein and minerals, they can act as an immediate source of energy to help fuel increased fat burning. In addition to omega-3’s, nuts also contain plant sterols that are substances that help to drive down cholesterol. They also contain fiber, another weight loss warrior. Add a handful of nuts to your yogurt or cereal in the mornings, or even add some to your salad.

Avocado: This fruit is notoriously “fattening”, yet when combined with complex carbohydrates, it can keeps most of us satiated longer and promotes effective digestion while helping burn calories. Avocado is also known to help maintain brain function and contribute to more youthful, vibrant skin. Try adding a slice to your morning egg and toast, or blend together with lime and spread on your sandwiches.

Weekend Sabotage: Is Letting Loose Leading to Tighter Pants?

We all forget things sometimes. I forgot that Jessica Simpson is pregnant again, because it seems like it’s been a while. A long while. Did you forget that New Year’s resolution you made? For many of us, the weekend really sets us back when it comes to healthy eating and living.  Here are some ways to get back on track :

Fill Up during the day: Don’t starve the entire day and go wild at night. A simple way to avoid this is to eat small meals throughout the day with protein. You will stay full longer, and you won’t turn up at the party feeling famished. This way if you want to enjoy some more carbohydrate rich foods in the evening you haven’t deprived your body the entire day.

Vary your Alcohol Intake:  Consuming liquid calories can most certainly make the night entertaining, but often times we pay for these decisions for much longer. Alternate an alcoholic drink with sparkling water and lime, or unsweetened tea. This allows you to still drink socially and not go overboard on the calories. You will also stay hydrated and less likely to binge on other foods later.

Shrink your portions: Its easy to load up on everything that looks good. Consider eating only half of an item you want and try a few other things instead. This way you get a variety of tastes and you can sample everything.

Fix your plate with mostly veggies: Vegetables can fill you up and help you feel satisfied. As you add in some of the less healthy options, vegetables provide your body the fiber and minerals it needs to process the other foods more effectively. Avoid heavy sauces and dressings.

Don’t feel guilty: If you have generally been eating healthy and you splurge at a party, don’t worry about it! Start over the next day, and avoid guilt from the previous evening. Some research even suggests that having a “cheat day” can boost your metabolism and help you lose unwanted pounds quicker. Plan for an active day to help you burn off some of the other calories you may have consumed.

Whole Grains: Are You Buying Goodness or Gunk?

If you didn’t get the memo, white flour is out and whole grains are in. But as brown bread continues to fly off shelves, the question remains- is it really whole wheat? In many cases, it isn’t. Several types of bread marketed as “whole grain or whole wheat” have brown dyes or multiple additives to make them seem like they are whole grains, but are actually white flour derivatives. Consider trying a few of these unadulterated grains that will shake up your diet, and pack a nutritional punch. 

Buckwheat: This source of wheat is easily available at both your grocery store and health food store. This is a great source of iron, vitamin B, and fiber.

Millet: This grain tastes similar to rice. It is full of fiber and helps to get your gut back on track by improving digestion and constipation.

Quinoa: Most restaurants are serving up dishes with this ingredient because the high content of protein found in quinoa. By adding quinoa to your meal you’re likely to feel full longer, and get the same satisfaction as you would consuming a larger portion of pasta. Additionally it’s high in magnesium, and iron.

Sprouted Grains: These grains are sprouted in water and contain increased amounts of folic acid and B vitamins. Bread made from sprouted grains is also a great source of fiber, which allows you to eat less, stay satisfied, and process foods more efficiently.

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate: Calling All Chocolate Lovers

There’s hardly anyone who can resist chocolate, but maybe now you don’t have to! For many years research has shown that consuming small amounts (remember the part that says “small”) of dark chocolate have significant health benefits. This is because it contains the most pure content of cocoa without any extra milk or sugar. It also contains up to three times more antioxidants than both milk chocolate and white chocolate. There’s a reason why studies never mention milk chocolate- all the dairy and sugar in milk chocolate lowers the antioxidant levels, and raises the fat and calorie content. Still not convinced you should let dark chocolate melt in your mouth and not in your hand?

Check out the health benefits of this super food!

Heart health: A small amount of dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow! Antioxidants can also assist in fighting plaque formation and blood clots.

Maintain Stable Blood Sugar- Dark chocolate helps control blood sugar because it has a lower glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t wreak havoc on your blood glucose and insulin levels. This may be surprising because its considered a “Sweet”, but adding a small amount to your diet may satisfy your sweet craving and keep your sugar under control.

Keeps You Energized- Dark chocolate is a great source of magnesium, potassium, guessed it- caffeine! Instead of that 3pm coffee you’re going to load up with milk and sugar, consider a few squares of dark chocolate and a decaf tea to give you a cleaner, quicker boost of energy.

Skin Protection- known for its high content of antioxidants, dark chocolate helps the body fight off free radicals. These pollutants can increase generalized inflammation in the body, and leave us with less than lustrous skin. Consuming a small amount of dark chocolate can help brighten and preserve your skin.

Mood Booster- Dark chocolate can also trigger boosts in serotonin levels that can be a great mood booster. Try a few squares to help you forget that annoying work situation, or frenemy you love to hate, and you’ll be surprised at how good you feel!