Many people already realize that what we eat has a profound influence on our level of health. Enormous research reveals how using dietary discretion to balance your body chemistry has a great impact to produce wellness and increase longevity.
With today’s arduous lifestyles, we can all gain a significant advantage by including certain foods in our diet and avoiding others.
Recently for example, I was reading through various articles one of which was published on WebMD which had a list of foods that diminish cortisol, the stress-related hormone that tilts metabolism toward fat storage, especially belly fat. Deciding to eat better is a simple and sane solution, available to almost everyone. It doesn’t have to be extreme, just sensible.
Foods can help tame stress in several ways. Comfort foods, like a bowl of warm oatmeal, boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. Other foods can cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that take a toll on the body over time. A healthy diet can help counter the impact of stress by shoring up the immune system and lowering blood pressure. Do you know which foods are stress busters?
Not surprisingly, most of these foods are fruits and vegetables, since the primary cortisol antagonist is the plain old magical molecule known as Vitamin C, present in a wide variety of plant foods. Each delicacy offers its own menu of molecular assets, inviting you to explore, make some choices, and of course pass these distinctions along to those around you.
For example, cherries are mostly water, so they’ll fill you up without packing on the calories – a cup has a quarter of your daily Vitamin C requirement, and they also provide melatonin, which helps you sleep. Blueberries stimulate your brain function, attack belly-fat, lower blood pressure and corral free radicals that disrupt your physiology.
Strawberries and tomatoes have high levels of polyphenols, which not only fight disease but also prevent fat from forming. Turnips combat body fat with a rich storehouse of phytochemicals and glucosinolate, which reduces inflammation and lowers the risk of cancer. Sweet potatoes stabilize blood sugar levels, which reduces cravings and lowers insulin resistance, which drops fat conversion.
Pineapple contains bromelain, which breaks down foods and reduces bloating, while broccoli’s cancer-fighting sulforaphane boosts testosterone and interferes with body-fat storage. Red peppers offer dihydrocapsiate, which drives metabolism and burns fat, while green peas plunge cortisol levels. Raspberries, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, guava, bok choy, melon, kale, oranges – Nature gives us what we need, we just have to pay attention and respond accordingly, and we can be thinner and less stressed when we are more discerning about what we put in our mouths.
Some may look at this list, scratch their head and shudder – and that’s the point. It’s the main reason we have such a cultural issue with obesity, that many of us simply haven’t yet learned to enjoy at least some of these delicious foods. When the standard nutritional fare is mostly processed meats, processed grains, unhealthy fats and empty carbohydrates, what could we expect besides an overweight public?
Fortunately, the opposite is also true – the more we incorporate healthy foods into our daily routines, the less we’ll suffer the onslaught of cortisol-induced stress, the slimmer we will be, and the happier overall our society will become.
All that from eating more fruits and veggies? It may seem simplistic, but eating nutrient dense foods has a tremendous impact on our health in a very positive way. Try it and see how it works for you and your family – it’s a personalized “things natural” habit that is likely to reward each individual many times over, while moving our world toward wellness.
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Yours for Better Health, Dr. Shapero
EXPECT MIRACLES – WE DO