Living Lite

Concord Grapes for Heart Health

September 28, 2014

In grapes alone, 1600 nutrients have been discovered, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation. Does this apply to all grapes? No. Concord grapes - which are in season now, and other deep purple grapes, contain the most, and the nutrients are concentrated in the skin and seeds. This is why red wine, or purple grape juice are ten times more nutritious than white wine. They contain the crushed skin and seeds of purple grapes.  

The "phyto" ("plant" in Greek) nutrient most responsible for grapes' heart benefits is anthocyanin, which provides foods with their purple color. In fact there are hundreds of anthocyanins, which have a favorable impact on artery health, blood cholesterol, inflammation, and more, according to a recent literature review in Nutrition Today.     

Anthocyanins can also be found in other purple or blue foods, such as blackberries, blueberries, cherries, purple leaf lettuce, and eggplant.  

Only 3% of Americans eat purple produce, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation. So, "Pump up the Purple," says the PBH, by replacing sugary beverages for 100% grape juice, slice and grill some eggplant or roast some purple potatoes.

My advice? Try drinking small amounts of red wine with meals,  I know it's a sacrifice but it's great for the heart and blood vessels. Read more about grapes, grape juice and red wine...  in my article which also appeared in The Washington Post.

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Two Large Meals (Breakfast and Lunch) Best for Controlling Weight

May 26, 2014

A new study confirmed what I've suspected for the twenty (or more) years I've been a diet counselor. Eating hearty meals earlier in the day instead of in the evening leads to weight loss and better health, even when the same foods and same calories are eaten.  

A recent study published in the scientific journal, "Diabetologia," found people with Type 2 Diabetes eating a large breakfast and lunch - and no dinner, as compared with those eating six small meals with the same calories - lost body fat and improved insulin sensitivity.  

That's not to say you shouldn't be eating dinner, as scientists exaggerate conditions to get results in their studies. But you can use the study's conclusions to make positive changes for your health and weight, as did my client, Mark Indre. 

"I lost more than 35 pounds and have kept it off for more than two years," said Mark Indre.

Some points to consider:

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Tired of Blizzard Bloat? Reversing Winter Weight Gain

February 25, 2014

Have you noticed your weight creeping up this winter? Are you experiencing more cravings than usual, especially for heartier, more fattening foods? Well, take heart. You’re not the only one experiencing “blizzard bloat,” the creeping up of body fat hitting a large number of people during the winter months.

In the animal kingdom, fattening up in winter is critical for survival.  Animals overeat to store enough excess fat to survive until spring. The human animal has a similar natural instinct, probably leftover from the days when food was scarce in winter and shivering in the cold caused us to burn our fat stores too quickly, leaving us too thin to survive (aaaah, those were the days!).  But now, with temperature control, improved agricultural techniques and a cupcake shop on every corner, that leftover but highly frivolous instinct just causes trouble. Because of modern conveniences, we humans fatten up following the old instincts when we no longer need to!

Though these old instincts are plausible as a cause of winter weight gain, there are more complex—and controllable—causes too. The most important probably involve decreases in both sunlight and physical activity.  Together, they can contribute to enough of a calorie imbalance to cause weight gain. Here’s how.

·       Sunlight. Some people are particularly susceptible to light deprivation, caused by the decrease in daylight hours during the winter. This affects the neurochemical serotonin, responsible for your mood and appetite, prompting increased food cravings and weight gain.

·       Physical Activity.When it’s cold outside, we’re less physically active and cut back on subtle calorie-burning activities such as short walks and light outdoor chores. These caloric expenditures may only add up to about 100 calories per day, but this translates into a 3-4 pound weight gain during the winter months.

What to do to both improve your mood and curb your cravings?


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