Category Archives: Nutrition

Activate Your Metabolism with the Right Foods

All calories are created equal where the numbers game of weight loss is concerned, right? Wrong, according to a new eating plan, The Active Calorie Diet. Based on new research, this plan works off the premise that certain types of food can affect metabolism and appetite. Eat the right ones, and you’€™ll be able to boost your body’€™s weight-loss abilities.

What makes those foods stronger for getting slim? Certain foods take more work to eat and digest, making your body work harder to process. This means your body burns more calories in the digestive process. Even something as simple as chewing fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains can up your calorie burn by as much as 30 percent.

Here’€™s a look at the diet’€™s four “active calorie”€ groups and how each gets your body burning calories:

  • Chewy -€“ These foods make your body work from the moment they cross your lips, chewing items like lean meats, nuts, and whole produce. The foods with the greatest impact are those in a whole state, like apples instead of applesauce, or peanuts instead of peanut butter. The higher the protein, the better the effect -€“ high-protein foods take more effort to chew and more time to leave your stomach, which means you’€™ll eat more slowly and feel full sooner than with empty carbohydrates.
  • Hearty -€“ Fiber is your friend in the quest for weight loss. While that’€™s nothing new, categorizing it in this way is a fresh take. Fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, brown rice, whole grains, and cereal take up more space in the stomach, leaving less room for seconds. They also tend to take more effort to chew and to burn, increasing the food’€™s thermic effect.
  • Energizing -€“ Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, and this boost carries over to your metabolism. Coffee and black tea include enough of this energizer to ramp up your metabolism by 5-8 percent. Green tea has less caffeine, but it offers the benefit of catechins, an antioxidant that ups your resting metabolism by about 4 percent. Dark chocolate boasts of both caffeine and catechins, making it a sweet addition to any diet -€“ but in moderation, of course, since it also has plenty of sugar and fat.
  • Warming -€“ Spice up your diet with peppers, cinnamon, vinegar, bay leaves, mustard, cloves, garlic, and ginger. Not only do these add tons of flavor, but they also include chemicals that boost the body’€™s calorie-burning ability. For instance, capsaicin, the chemical that provides peppers’€™ heat, has been found to double dieters’€™ energy expenditure for several hours after eating. Adding these spices will fully activate the calories from all of the chewy, hearty, and energizing foods you’€™re consuming.

For more information about The Active Calorie Diet, visit


Cinnamon: A Power-Packed Spice for Diabetics

Cinnamon is known for its spicy taste and comforting, warm scent, but did you know it also holds medical power for diabetics?

A study in Diabetic Medicine showed that cinnamon is a powerful natural agent for stabilizing blood sugar by controlling blood glucose. Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Combined with proper nutrition and exercise, cinnamon can help diabetics improve their health.

Here are five ways cinnamon can help your metabolism:

  1. Cinnamon improves the effectiveness of your body’s insulin while slowing the stomach’€™s emptying of food, thereby reducing sharp spikes in blood sugar following meals.
  2. Cinnamon includes a bioflavonoid called proanthocyanidin that may alter fat cells€™ insulin-signaling activity. Cinnamon also has “€œinsulin-like effects”€ thanks to a bioactive compound, making it a potential natural substitute.
  3. Cinnamon improves blood sugar regulation by increasing glucose metabolism by 20.
  4. Cinnamon enhances antioxidant defenses. According to a 2009 study, polyphenols from cinnamon might act as both insulin sensitizers and antioxidants, making them of special interest to overweight individuals with impaired fasting glucose.
  5. Cinnamon also supports digestive function, stimulates circulation with blood-thinning compounds, and relieves pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, among other health benefits.

Adding cinnamon to your diet is a cheap, healthy and flavorful way to prevent or combat type 2 diabetes. Holding diabetes at bay never tasted so good!


Priming Your Pump with Proper Nutrition

Fueling your body properly is a two-step process. It’s important to eat the right things,€“ but it also makes a difference to eat at the right time. Men’€™s Health recently featured “A Day of Perfect Eating”€ on its website. Here are some of the tips given to help you perform to your prime:

  • Start your day with a protein-heavy breakfast within an hour of waking up. This revs your metabolism and will help keep you feeling full. Eggs are a great choice; protein fragments contained therein may curb blood pressure from rising.
  • If you’€™re feeling stressed out, set down your coffee cup and reach for a pack of gum. Chewing has been shown to reduce stress levels, possibly due to the motion’s positive association with mealtimes.
  • Focus need a boost? Have a mug of peppermint tea. Periodic whiffs of peppermint have been shown to improve concentration and performance on tasks requiring sustained attention.
  • Power your system with a lunch of salmon (or trout or halibut -€“ these fish help keep you alert), blueberries (a great antioxidant), steak (the B-12 helps fight age-related brain shrinkage), garlic (which ups your brain’€™s serotonin and improves memory), or Brazil nuts (which has selenium that preserves cognitive functioning).
  • Turn up the heat to combat a headache. Capsaicin, which is what gives chilies their heat, can deplete the neurons that trigger headaches,€“ but not by consumption. Instead, add a little cayenne powder to warm water and let it settle to the bottom. Then dip a swab of the solution inside your nostril on the side of the pain. It might burn a bit but is worth a try.
  • Keep your immune system strong with ginseng pills and foods rich in vitamin C. Canadian researchers found that people who took 400 mg of ginseng extract each day had 56 percent fewer recurring colds than their placebo-popping counterparts. Vitamin C’€™s been known to shorten the duration of symptoms when fighting a bug. Kiwis, oranges, and red bell peppers are great Vitamin C food options.
  • Need a quick snack before the gym? Eat half an apple and a shot of espresso for fast energy. According to Australian researchers, caffeine paired with carbohydrates boosts the rate at which the body replenishes its glycogen stores post-workout, compared with carbs alone.
  • Having a tough time falling asleep at the end of a long day? Drink some cherry juice. Carbohydrates can help boost your brain’€™s production of serotonin, helping you sleep deeply and well.