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Are You a Foodie?
Once upon a time, being a “foodie” meant having gourmet tastes for rich, exotic food and wine, but things are changing, according to the latest Food and Health Survey by the International Food Information Council Foundation. To see if you’re one of today’s “new” foodies, ask yourself:
- Is the quality of your food more important than convenience and cost?
- Do you avoid artificial ingredients and additives?
- Do you look for food that is minimally processed, or not processed at all?
- Do you know which foods are healthy for you?
If you mostly answered “yes,” you’re in!
Deciding to Become Vegan or Vegetarian
More than half of vegans and vegetarians in the U.S. decided to change their eating habits within the last 3 years, according to an online survey of 584 people by ReportLinker. For 7 in 10, health was the motivating reason, but 1 in 5 switched because of environmental concerns.
Fiery Pepper Extract Boosts Metabolism
Resting energy expenditure—the energy it takes simply to keep our bodies alive—burns up to 60 percent of our total daily calories. A hot pepper extract, called Capsimax, can increase that rate enough to burn as many as 116 extra calories daily, according to a study of 40 healthy women and men, published in the journal Obesity Open Access. Without any other changes in diet or activity, burning those extra calories would theoretically produce nearly one pound of fat loss per month. Capsimax contains a patented form of capsaicinoids, considered to be the key metabolism-boosting component of hot peppers, and is an ingredient in numerous brands of supplements. The study used a dose of 100 mg of Capsimax daily.
Burnt Out? Try Rhodiola
It’s easy to get burnt out with work and family demands, but rhodiola can bring relief, according to an Austrian study published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. An adaptogenic herb, rhodiola helps reduce the effects of stress on the human body. People in the study took 200 mg of a proprietary rhodiola extract, WS 1375, once before breakfast and again before dinner, and most began to experience improvement within a week, including less exhaustion or fatigue, and an improved outlook and mood.
Best Form of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B is essential for more than 100 different enzyme functions in the human body, but not all types of B in supplements work in the same way. Pyridoxine, a common form added to foods and supplements, is an inactive form that must be converted in our bodies to an active form, pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P5P), but that process can backfire. Scientists in the Netherlands have discovered that taking inactive pyridoxine can inhibit the active form and induce deficiency symptoms, which can include nerve and skin problems, cracks around the mouth, confusion, depression, and a weakened immune system. The P5P form is available in many supplements, including some multivitamins.
Stay Smart with Your Smartphone
Next time you need to concentrate on a task, try leaving your smartphone in another room. That’s the takeaway from a study of nearly 800 smartphone users at The University of Texas at Austin, which found that when they’re nearby, smartphones cause “brain drain,” making us less able to focus and efficiently perform mental tasks. Those in the study took computer tests, which required full concentration, with their smartphones either within easy reach, or in another room. Even though the phones were all set to silent or turned off, having them on the desk (worst) or in a pocket or bag (next worst) resulted in lower scores than when the phones were in another room. “It’s not that participants were distracted because they were getting notifications on their phones,” said researcher Adrian Ward, PhD. “The mere presence of their smartphone was enough to reduce their cognitive capacity.”
77% of American Adults Drink Coffee
That’s the percentage of American adults who drink coffee, according to the KRC Pulse Poll, an online survey of 1,000 people. However, only 29 percent say they are happier after their first morning cuppa. Boomers are the most likely generation to view morning coffee as a sacred ritual.
Food Preservative Promotes Overeating
A popular food preservative in mass-market cereals and other packaged foods, BHT (short for butylhydroxytoluene) stimulates overeating, according to research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), found in some nonstick cookware, carpeting, and cleaning products, and TBT (tributyltin) in paints, which can end up in water and seafood, had a similar effect. “We discovered that each of these chemicals damaged hormones that communicate between the gut and the brain,” said researcher Dhruv Sareen, PhD. The toxins shut off signals that indicate we’ve eaten enough, resulting in overeating and weight gain. Among the three chemicals tested, BHT was the worst offender.
A 2-Minute Fitness Trick
“Sitting is the new smoking.” We’ve been hearing that for a while now, but what’s the solution? Researchers in New Zealand have found that taking a 2-minute break, to walk around or do other movement, every half-hour, reverses much of the damage caused by prolonged sitting. But they still recommend walking a half-hour on most days, or other additional exercise.
Cold Weather Warning
Cold weather forces us to shut windows and doors, reducing ventilation and making it especially important to keep toxins out. Cleaning products, air fresheners, scented candles, and hair sprays can all contribute to indoor pollution. To find nontoxic options, check out the Environmental Working Group’s guidelines at ewg.org.