The Most Important Meal of The Day

breakfast

You’ve heard it before, Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but have you ever been told why?

Eating a healthy breakfast has been liked to increased insulin sensitivity, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and lower levels of LDL cholesterol. Need more proof? Infrequent consumption of breakfast has been shown to increase risk of diabetes by 28%in women compared to women who consume breakfast daily. Daily breakfast consumers have lower rates of diabetes, abdominal obesity, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension than people who eat breakfast three times a week or less.

But what you eat for breakfast matters. A healthy breakfast should include:

  • Whole grains. Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Read the nutrition label; many cereals are made with refined grains which can cause your blood sugar to spike
  • Lean Protein. This will fill you up for the day, without increasing your cholesterol levels. Think egg white omelet or 4 oz of plain nonfat Greet yogurt.
  • Fiber. Fiber is the non digestible component of plant food; it lowers blood sugar and cholesterol, and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Women shoot for 21-25g fiber per day, 30-38g fiber per day for men. Adding a Tbsp of Flax seed to your whole grain cereal is a great way to increase your fiber intake.
  • Low Sugar. Many cold cereals are preloaded with sugar. Look at the nutrition facts on the side of the cereals box and try to stick to no more than 5g of sugar per serving.
  • Low Sodium. Aim for a cereal with no more than 200mg of sodium per serving. If you’re going for a savory dish, try adding non-sodium spices or fresh herbs to increase the flavor of your dish.
  • Low Calories. Look for cereals with less than 150 calories per serving, and use a measuring cup when serving yourself. Many cereals bowls are larger than the average serving.

coffee

Like your morning coffee? Moderate Coffee consumptions has been associated with lower coronary artery calcium scores and could therefore be inversely related to cardiovascular disease. So enjoy your cup or morning coffee! Just stay away from artificial sweeteners, added sugar or cream. If you don’t like your coffee black, try adding unsweetened almond milk and a dash of cinnamon.

Read Here for 56 Cheap and Healthy Breakfast Options. 

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Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

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Why can’t I lose weight?
I hear this all the time, particularly from some of our patients. Some of you participating in the 8 Week Lifestyle Challenge are getting frustrated because you are not losing weight. The 8 Week Lifestyle Challenge is not focused on weight loss. It is simply about incorporating small changes to set the stage for establishing healthier habits throughout your life. For those of you concerned with weight loss however, here are three keys to weight loss:

1.) The simpler the carbohydrate consumed, the faster the rise in insulin and presto- body fat is made! An example of a simple carbohydrate? Refined sugar. Additionally, and as we have already discussed, your body processes both fructose and alcohol directly into body fat. So if you are trying to lose weight, you should review your consumption of fructose and alcohol. If you have done this, and are still having difficulty losing weight, look at your refined carbohydrate consumption. Refined carbohydrates include: potatoes, corn products, and bread products.

2.) The second component is exercise. Exercise is a great equalizer; it helps with symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduces risk of heart disease, and helps speed up your metabolic rate. Are you exercising enough? Are you doing the right kinds of exercises in order to meet your goals? Always consult your physician before beginning any rigorous exercise program.

3.) The third component, which does not get enough attention, is the issue of healthy gut micro flora or bacteria. Unhealthy GI micro flora can be a source of chronic inflammation and the perpetuation of this cycle contributes to obesity and difficulty in losing weight. In order to obtain healthy bacteria in your GI tract, two components are needed. The first is, ironically, healthy bacteria. Most long lived cultures include fermented foods – foods full of live, healthy bacteria – as part of their regular diet. Those of you with food allergies and sensitivities will not be able to consume things like yogurt made from milk or fermented foods containing casein or whey protein. The alternative is to take a probiotic every day. However, it pays to do your research as not all probiotics perform as advertised. Consulting your doctor or reviewing a guide to buying a probiotic should be your first step.

Another component which is often overlooked is the body’s need for healthy fiber. In a recent Nature Medicine article, it was reported that mice fed a high-fiber diet had increased circulating levels of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and were protected against allergic inflammation in the lung. A low-fiber diet resulted in decreased levels of SCFAs and increased allergic airway disease. As the study shows, consuming foods high in fiber helps our immune system react appropriately when it needs to. So how do you get more fiber in your diet? My preferred source is ground flaxseed- two tablespoons a day- mixed in your food or with water. Just two tablespoons of flaxseed a day can alter your immune system so that you are less predisposed to asthma and allergy symptoms. As we have previously mentioned, consumption of ground flaxseed can also help lower your blood pressure.

In Summary:
Watch Your Alcohol and Sugar Consumption
Exercise
Pay Attention to Your Consumption of Simple Carbohydrates like bread (even whole wheat)
Consume Two tablespoons of Ground Flaxseed and a Probiotic Every Day