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8 of the World’s Healthiest Spices & Herbs You Should Be Eating

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D.,

As a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor at EatingWell Magazine, I know that herbs and spices do more than simply add flavor to food. They let you cut down on some less-healthy ingredients, such as salt, added sugars and saturated fat, and some have inherent health benefits, many of which Joyce Hendley reported on for EatingWell Magazine.

Modern science is beginning to uncover the ultimate power of spices and herbs, as weapons against illnesses from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. “We’re now starting to see a scientific basis for why people have been using spices medicinally for thousands of years,” says Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D., professor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and author of Healing Spices (Sterling, 2011).

Aggarwal notes that in his native India, where spices tend to be used by the handful, incidence of diet-related diseases like heart disease and cancer have long been low. But when Indians move away and adopt more Westernized eating patterns, their rates of those diseases rise. While researchers usually blame the meatier, fattier nature of Western diets, Aggarwal and other experts believe that herbs and spices-or more precisely, the lack of them-are also an important piece of the dietary puzzle. “When Indians eat more Westernized foods, they’re getting much fewer spices than their traditional diet contains,” he explains. “They lose the protection those spices are conveying.”

While science has yet to show that any spice cures disease, there’s compelling evidence that several may help manage some chronic conditions (though it’s always smart to talk with your doctor). What’s not to love? Here we’ve gathered eight of the healthiest spices and herbs enjoyed around the world.

Chile Peppers
May help: Boost metabolism.

Chile peppers add a much-appreciated heat to chilly-weather dishes, and they can also give a boost to your metabolism. Thank capsaicin, the compound that gives fresh chiles, and spices including cayenne and chipotle, their kick. Studies show that capsaicin can increase the body’s metabolic rate (causing one to burn more calories) and may stimulate brain chemicals that help us feel less hungry. In fact, one study found that people ate 16 percent fewer calories at a meal if they’d sipped a hot-pepper-spiked tomato juice (vs. plain tomato juice) half an hour earlier. Recent research found that capsinoids, similar but gentler chemicals found in milder chile hybrids, have the same effects-so even tamer sweet paprika packs a healthy punch. Capsaicin may also lower risk of ulcers by boosting the ability of stomach cells to resist infection by ulcer-causing bacteria and help the heart by keeping “bad” LDL cholesterol from turning into a more lethal, artery-clogging form.
Ginger
May help: Soothe an upset stomach, fight arthritis pain.

Ginger has a well-deserved reputation for relieving an unsettled stomach. Studies show ginger extracts can help reduce nausea caused by morning sickness or following surgery or chemotherapy, though it’s less effective for motion sickness. But ginger is also packed with inflammation-fighting compounds, such as gingerols, which some experts believe may hold promise in fighting some cancers and may reduce the aches of osteoarthritis and soothe sore muscles. In a recent study, people who took ginger capsules daily for 11 days reported 25 percent less muscle pain when they performed exercises designed to strain their muscles (compared with a similar group taking placebo capsules). Another study found that ginger-extract injections helped relieve osteoarthritis pain of the knee.
Cinnamon
May help: Stabilize blood sugar.

A few studies suggest that adding cinnamon to food-up to a teaspoon a day, usually given in capsule form-might help people with type 2 diabetes better control their blood sugar, by lowering post-meal blood-sugar spikes. Other studies suggest the effects are limited at best.

Turmeric
May help: Quell inflammation, inhibit tumors.

Turmeric, the goldenrod-colored spice, is used in India to help wounds heal (it’s applied as a paste); it’s also made into a tea to relieve colds and respiratory problems. Modern medicine confirms some solid-gold health benefits as well; most are associated with curcumin, a compound in turmeric that has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has been shown to help relieve pain of arthritis, injuries and dental procedures; it’s also being studied for its potential in managing heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Researcher Bharat Aggarwal is bullish on curcumin’s potential as a cancer treatment, particularly in colon, prostate and breast cancers; preliminary studies have found that curcumin can inhibit tumor cell growth and suppress enzymes that activate carcinogens.

Saffron
May help: Lift your mood.

Saffron has long been used in traditional Persian medicine as a mood lifter, usually steeped into a medicinal tea or used to prepare rice. Research from Iran’s Roozbeh Psychiatric Hospital at Tehran University of Medical Sciences has found that saffron may help to relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and depression. In one study, 75% of women with PMS who were given saffron capsules daily reported that their PMS symptoms (such as mood swings and depression) declined by at least half, compared with only 8 percent of women who didn’t take saffron.
Parsley
May help: Inhibit breast cancer-cell growth.

University of Missouri scientists found that this herb can actually inhibit breast cancer-cell growth, reported Holly Pevzner in the September/October 2011 issue of EatingWell Magazine. In the study, animals that were given apigenin, a compound abundant in parsley (and in celery), boosted their resistance to developing cancerous tumors. Experts recommend adding a couple pinches of minced fresh parsley to your dishes daily.

Sage
May help: Preserve memory, soothe sore throats.

Herbalists recommend sipping sage tea for upset stomachs and sore throats, a remedy supported by one study that found spraying sore throats with a sage solution gave effective pain relief. And preliminary research suggests the herb may improve some symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease by preventing a key enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in memory and learning. In another study, college students who took sage extracts in capsule form performed significantly better on memory tests, and their moods improved.
Rosemary
May help: Enhance mental focus, fight foodborne bacteria.

One recent study found that people performed better on memory and alertness tests when mists of aromatic rosemary oil were piped into their study cubicles. Rosemary is often used in marinades for meats and poultry, and there’s scientific wisdom behind that tradition: rosmarinic acid and other antioxidant compounds in the herb fight bacteria and prevent meat from spoiling, and may even make cooked meats healthier. In March 2010, Kansas State University researchers reported that adding rosemary extracts to ground beef helped prevent the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs)-cancer-causing compounds produced when meats are grilled, broiled or fried.

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12 Food Items Nutritional Experts Would Never Buy

These days, it feels like you need a master’s degree in label reading whenever you are shopping at the grocery store. Every product seems to tout that it’s “organic,” “whole grain,” “sustainable,” “trans-fat free” or “all natural.”We interviewed nutritionists, dieticians, and physicians to help cut through the confusion. Here are 12 supermarket items they say they would never buy:

Juice, soda or any sweetened drinks: water is better and cheaper
Times are tight and you’re trying to stretch that dollar. Make “better use of your food budget and save calories by sticking with filtered water from the tap. You are more satiated and get more fiber by eating whole fruits and vegetables versus drinking liquid calories anyway.”
–Katherine Farrell, a registered dietitian and director of integrative nutrition at the Manhattan’s Physician Group 

 

 

Protein bars: not all are created equal

When shopping for protein bars, be sure to read and understand the label. “A protein source should always be the first ingredient, but one I am looking at right now lists ‘evaporated cane juice’ as the next, which is sugar. After that comes palm oil, a highly saturated fat. One way some of the manufacturers try to get the carbohydrate load down without giving up the sweetness consumers crave is with sugar alcohols (mannitol, sorbitol), which allow them to be ‘sugar free’ or at least lower the calorie count. These sweeteners do have fewer calories compared to sugar, but can cause bloating and gastrointestinal distress. So watch out for saturated fats and learn the lingo about sweeteners, or your protein bar might just be a candy bar masquerading as health food.”
Dr. Richard Baxter, board certified plastic surgeon and medical director of Healthy Aging Magazine

Fat-free yogurt: a little fat won’t hurt

Don’t be deceived by the fat-free label. They are “loaded with sugar to make up for the zero fat, equivalent to putting seven teaspoons of sugar into your yogurt. A better option: low-fat, plain Greek yogurt. This is lower in sugar and triple the protein!”
–Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Real Nutrition NYC

Bacon: choose wisely

“If it’s ‘regular’ bacon, it is not good for you. Ditto for processed lunch meat and hot dogs. Not only does it contain huge amounts of saturated fat and sodium, processed meat is often preserved with nitrates, which are potentially carcinogenic. A healthier choice would be natural, nitrate-free turkey bacon. Whole Foods has a selection.”

Jackie Keller, wellness coach to the stars
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Sugar substitutes: stick to natural

“Be wary of sugar substitutes that contain ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce. Touting themselves as lower calorie options, these sweeteners are full of chemicals best left out of your diet. Stick to natural options and limit intake to avoid conditions of insulin resistance and diabetes. Some great low-glycemic sweeteners to consume in moderation include agave nectar, xylitol and stevia.”
–Kathryn Flynn, an Oriens Nutrition consultant

Rotisserie foods: a four-hour limit

Just out of the oven, hot rotisserie food is a great way to feed a family. But when “food is held over four hours, not only does the quality deteriorate, the bacteria level increases, especially when employees do not monitor customer interactions in these self-serve stations or the temperature. The required minimum temperature for ‘holding’ hot food is 135 degrees F., five degrees lower than most states required five years ago. If you are purchasing these foods, buy and eat or immediately take home and chill within the first four hours after it was placed in the rotisserie. Ask questions about the time the food was placed in the holding unit. Ask when someone last checked the temperature with an insertable thermometer instead of a shelf thermometer.”
Charlotte A. Ferrell, a registered dietitian and founder of Simply Fantastic

Canola oil: no miracle oil

“I am not a fan of canola oil. I call it the triumph of marketing over science. In order to make it palatable, it has to go through this complex chemical process; hence, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 is not that great. And refined canola oil is no better than the stuff it replaced. The best oils are macadamia nut oil, virgin olive oil and peanut oil for frying. Flax seed oil is great for salad dressing but not great for cooking So it depends on what you are using it for. Coconut oil is another you should be buying. It is great for cooking and for mixing. I use it for everything from cooking up scrambled eggs to salads. It has high contents of fatty acids that are good for your immune system. It’s fat that’s used for energy, not the kind that sits on your hips.”
Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, board-certified nutritionist and author of 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth

Dietary supplements: get it from your food instead

Registered dietitian Maye Musk can’t understand why grocery stores waste shelf space on dietary supplements. “Why — because of the long shelf-life and huge profit margins? Or to put fear into you that you’re not getting nutrients from your foods? If you are buying fresh fruit and vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, fish, chicken, low fat meats, good oils, nuts, legumes and common sense healthy foods, you don’t need any supplements. Before buying one, ask your naturopathic doctor. The nutrition consult will cost you less than your supplements. You’ll find confidence in eating well and start enjoying food again.”
Maye Musk, a registered dietitian based in Manhattan

Bottled marinades: let go of the bottle

You think you can spice things up, as well as save some time, with pre-made marinades. Well, hold the sauce — “they all have copious amounts of sodium, most have high fructose corn syrup, and many have artificial colors and flavors — all in the name of giving taste and improving texture. What they really contribute is salt, sugar and calories. This takes some label reading, but Newman’s Own has a line of marinades and dressings that are great and all-natural.”
–Jackie Keller

Pre-packed salads: not all that they’re cut up to be

They’re convenient and healthy, right? Not quite. “Light destroys vitamins, especially Vitamin C and riboflavin, a key B vitamin. Most grocery stores have the bags displayed under bright, fluorescent lights, which further zap nutrients. Chopping and shredding also brings salad veggies in contact with metal, which destroys Vitamin A. I have often noticed that even brand name, expensive, pre-packaged salads are flattened due to being tightly boxed for travel, causing the vegetables to bruise and leak juices, which lead to spoilage. Often bags with a recent delivery date, at full price, have a murky or mucous look, indicating bacteria at work. In addition, they sometimes have packages of dressing included. While the 12-16 oz. of salad may only have 200 calories, the dressing may add another 200, or more.

It is better to buy a container of three romaine hearts, which are easy to tear off, wash and break into a bowl just before serving, minimizing loss. Keeping containers of grape or cherry tomatoes and baby carrots on hand give you two other ingredients that can be quickly tossed into the salad with no chopping or long exposure to light. Other ‘toss in’ ingredients that are easy to transport are raisins, dried cranberries, shelled pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds — also great for varying flavor and fiber content.”
–Charlotte Ferrell

Salad dressing: better to make your own
You think you’re being healthy by eating a salad. But pre-made salad dressing can be “high in sodium and contain more saturated fat then mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Instead, make your own salad dressing with fresh herbs, ginger, sesame oil, olive oil or avocado with lemon or lime juice or a variety of vinegars — champagne, rice, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, etc. Each combination can transform flavor of the dressing and keep salads exciting.”
–Katherine Farrell
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Whole grain cereals: read the fine print
Once again, take the time to study labels. “Some of the most popular brands are now sporting taglines that would have consumers believe they are getting a healthy start to the day. Most packaged cereals, including instant oatmeal, are loaded with sugars. Instead, start your day with old-fashioned slow cook oatmeal. Add your own antioxidant rich berries, flaxseed and walnuts, and you will be set for the day.”
–Kathryn Flynn
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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

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The Real Reason For Weight Gain

Over the past several decades Americans have steadily gotten fatter. Although our increasingly sedentary lifestyles are partly to blame, a big reason for our national weight gain is that we’re simply eating more.

In the mid-2000s, government surveys show, the average American adult ate about 2,375 calories per day, nearly one-third more than he (or she) did in the late 1970s. What accounts for all those added calories?

According to a new study, the biggest single contributor to the sharp rise in calorie intake has been the number of snacks and meals people eat per day. Over the past 30-odd years, the study found, Americans have gone from consuming 3.8 snacks and meals per day to 4.9, on average—a 29 percent increase.

The average portion size has increased, too, but only by about 12 percent. And, surprisingly, the average number of calories per 1-gram serving of food (known as “energy density”) actually declined slightly over that period, which suggests that calorie-rich food has played a relatively minor role in our expanding waistlines.

“The real reason we seem to be eating more [calories] is we’re eating often,” says the lead author of the study, Barry Popkin, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “The frequency of eating is probably, for the average overweight adult, becoming a huge issue.”

Popkin blames food advertising and other marketing for the shift from three square meals a day to near-constant eating.

“It’s all about making people think they want to have something in their hands all the time,” he says. “Why are we snacking all the time and munching all the time? [Food] is there, it’s available all the time, it’s tasty. It’s not very healthy, but it’s tasty. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s fatty—it’s all the things we love.”

Lisa Young, Ph.D., an adjunct professor of nutrition at New York University and the author of The Portion Teller, agrees that the ubiquity of snack foods has helped drive overeating.

“You never used to see food staring you in the face when you went to…a drugstore,” says Young, who was not involved in the new research. “It’s in your face and it’s cheap. You go get a magazine, you can get a candy bar.”

To tease apart how eating habits have shaped calorie intake, Popkin and a coauthor analyzed data from four nationally representative food surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 1977 and 2006. Their analysis, which appears in the June issue of the journal PLoS Medicine, was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.

The findings weren’t entirely unexpected. In a previous study, Popkin and his coauthor found that the amount of time between snacks and meals has shrunk substantially since 1977, while the amount of calories consumed from snacks has risen dramatically.

Christopher Gardner, PhD, the director of nutrition studies at Stanford University’s Prevention Research Center, in Palo Alto, Calif., says that although the new findings ring true, the survey-based approach Popkin and his colleague used has some inherent limitations.

Despite being nationally representative, the surveys didn’t follow the same individuals over time, and in some cases also used different questions and methods, Gardner points out. Moreover, they relied on the participants’ memory of what they’d eaten in the previous 24 hours, which can be unreliable.

“When people try to describe the portion sizes they are consuming, they are often inaccurate,” Gardner says, adding that similar inaccuracies may crop up when recalling and calculating the energy density of specific foods. In fact, he says, the number of meals and snacks may be easiest of all to remember and track, which may have somewhat exaggerated its importance to total calorie intake.

But Gardner, too, says that frequent—and often mindless—snacking has come to seem normal.

In our food-filled environment, Young says, “We need to be conscious of when we eat, how much we eat, and what we eat.”

Young recommends sticking with three meals a day and choosing healthy snacks (such as fruits and vegetables) rather than processed foods. “And keep your portions in check,” she says.

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The Ten Worst Foods To Eat

Quite simply, you really are what you eat, but the standard American diet leaves plenty of nutrients lacking … and gives you an excess of unhealthy fats, sodium, preservatives and chemical additives.

Every day, 7 percent of the U.S. population visits a McDonald’s, and 20-25 percent eat fast food of some kind, says Steven Gortmaker, professor of society, human development, and health at the Harvard School of Public Health in Harvard Magazine. As for children, 30 percent between the ages of 4 and 19 eat fast food on any given day.

When Morgan Spurlock, the mastermind behind the film Super Size Me, ate only McDonald’s for 30 days straight, his body fell apart and he gained 25 pounds!

“My body just basically falls apart over the course of this diet,” Spurlock told Newsweek. “I start to get tired, I start to get headaches; my liver basically starts to fill up with fat because there’s so much fat and sugar in this food. My blood sugar skyrockets, my cholesterol goes up off the charts, my blood pressure becomes completely unmanageable. The doctors were like, ‘You have to stop.’”

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Americans get processed food not only from fast-food restaurants but also from their neighborhood grocery stores. As it stands, about 90 percent of the money that Americans spend on food is used to buy — that’s right — processed foods.

So you have a choice to make when you eat. You can eat foods that will nourish your body, give you energy, and keep you healthy, or you can choose those that may lead to chronic disease, fatigue and weight gain.

Eating healthy will become obvious if you truly listen to your body. One hour after eating how do you feel? Time it and ask yourself. Do you feel better with more energy or worse one hour after eating or drinking something? If worse, then stop ingesting what makes you feel bad instead of what will make you feel better or even great!

Life’s too short to not feel the best you can and help your body be the healthiest and strongest it can be.

Here we’ve detailed the 10 worst food choices in American’s diets so that this can help you make the best food choices for your health.

  1. Pork Scratchings Heavy and hard, we are talking fatty pig skin deep fried and then doused in salt. Also, if you are lucky you might even get one sporting a few hairs; pig hair is usually removed by quickly burning the skin before it is cut into pieces and cooked in the hot fat. Plus they are not great for your teeth either; we couldn’t get the stats on how many dental injuries have been inflicted by eating these suckers but we are guessing it’s pretty high.
  2. Fried Desserts Fried desserts feature high up on the list of worst foods to eat as essentially you are dipping something in batter that is already high in sugar and fat, and then deep frying it. And don’t be fooled by pineapple and banana fritters either, they are no better because they are fruit, the layer of batter and the fact they are swimming in sugary syrup make them no go dishes too.
  3. Cheesy Nacho Chips, Chips or fries could feature as a bad food on their own, but, as you know we are all about moderation here at and seriously cutting chips from your life totally would be a hard move.  But taking a plate of chips and layering them in cheese, well, that takes them up a notch in the bad food stakes. Cheese typically contains over 10 times as much saturated fat as fish and white meat and coupled with deep fried carbs, a serving of cheesy chips are a big bad no no.
  4. Pop and Soda Drinks – yeah they’re bad, mainly because they pack massive amounts of calories even in  small quantities, so you are adding to your daily calorie quota and getting little nutritional value in return.  Studies have also linked fizzy drink consumption to osteoporosis, tooth decay and heart disease. And diet drinks are not recommended either, granted they are lower in calories but as they contribute to dental erosion (the bubbles in the drink are acidic) they are a no go as well.
  5. Hydrogenated fats – These are mostly man-made fats that are used in bakery items and stick margarine. Studies show that it isn’t so much how much fat there is in your diet that causes problems, as what kind of fat, and hydrogenated fats are the worst. Avoid buying cookies, crackers, baked goods or anything else that has hydrogenated oil on the ingredient list. Fortunately, the FDA now requires that food manufactures identify the amount of hydrogenated fats in their products—look for trans fats on the nutrition panel.
  6. Liquid Meals Okay, they aren’t inherently bad for you, but liquid meals or meal-replacement drinks do keep you from eating proper food. You need to make sure you eat eating whole, natural foods to ensure you gain all your nutrients. Meal replacements maybe okay for people who are too ill to eat, but don’t let them replace the real foods in your diet.
     
  7.  Processed Meats These are also sometimes referred to as ‘mystery meats’ because it’s ambiguous as to what some of them actually contain. But you can be assured that if it comes from a can and is kind of unrecognisable – it’s not going to be great for your body. Try to steer clear of sausages and salamis too, these food stuffs are generally all the unwanted bits churned up with fat and salt, we are talking heads, knees and toes (plus a few other less-desirable bits).
  8. Chicken Nuggets First off, chicken nuggets that are not made from fillets are the real bad guys. Again it’s similar to the sausages situation, all the leftover carcass bits mixed up with sawdust-type stuff to bulk out the meat so manufacturers can crank out more portions.  But it’s when these little nuggets are deep fried that really boosts their ‘worst-food’ status and it’s all to do with the size. Smaller fried items, i.e. nuggets absorb more fat that larger pieces of fried goods, so a portion of nuggets will pack way more fat that a single larger fried piece. So if you want fried chicken – go for a big breast.
  9. Doughnuts If there is one food that epitomises the 21st century junk food it’s the doughnut. Coated, filled, glazed, sugared, jam crammed or plain old ring they are not great for your body.  And it’s not only the refined flour, refined sugar and then the frying in the refined oil that makes them bad for you. Doughnuts will upset blood-sugar balance, and give a quick high followed by a crash and burn low, then you guessed it,  you’re hungry again and reaching for another one – that’s why they generally come in bags of 10.
  10. Canned Soups Now, soups don’t seem to be one of the bad boys and in comparison to some of the above, and they probably can sit quite comfy in the middle of the bad-food scale, but it’s their salt-packing stealth that gets them into this list. Soups mainly sport a healthy identity; wholesome, warming and good for you. The reality is many canned varieties are super-high in salt, so if you must have soup, avoid the canned ones or make your own.  

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7 Secrets of Slim People

Ever notice how some women seem to stay slim without ever stressing about missed workouts or counting a single calorie? It seems unfair—and frustrating!—but those ladies might have some secrets the rest of us can steal. Turns out, you don’t have to completely overhaul your diet or exercise regimen to see fast and impressive results on the scale. (Though if you want a great, easy-to-follow plan, register for the Drop 10 Challenge on Self.com to lose 10 pounds in just five weeks.) In fact, recent research shows that sometimes it’s little, practically effortless changes to everyday habits that make the pounds fall off fast and forever. Try incorporating some of these simple, science-backed steps into your day-to-day life—it’s your turn to become one of those “naturally” slim lucky few!

Make time for tea
Women with the highest intake of catechins, antioxidants in tea that may accelerate fat burn, gained less weight over 14 years than those who sipped less, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals. White and green brews have the most catechins. Get brewing!

Move your workouts to the morning
Breaking a sweat before you sit down to breakfast can help you trim down faster, a study in The Journal of Physiology finds. Exercising on an empty stomach in the A.M. improves glucose tolerance, which spurs your body to shed fat.

Join the breakfast club
If you don’t already have regular morning meals, it’s time to start: Lifelong early eaters have a waistline about 2 inches smaller than that of breakfast skippers, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals. An A.M. meal may rev metabolism; plus, it may cause you to make less of an enzyme that raises cholesterol.

Savor your food
Eating slowly and steadily can help you stay slim. People who took 30 minutes to eat a bowl of ice cream created more fullness hormones than did those who ate faster, a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism notes. Whenever you can, ditch distractions like the television while you’re dining so you can concentrate on enjoying the yummy food in front of you.

Become a creature of habit
Eating at the same times every day and could help you drop pounds. When mice ate at scheduled mealtimes and fasted for 12 hours at night, their liver turned on genes that burned more sugar and fat, say scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. No, we’re not mice, but if something as simple as sitting down to dinner at 7 P.M. every night helps speed weight loss, why not give it a shot?

Start with water
Downing two cups of H2O before meals helped people lose about 5 pounds more than those who said no to water, research from Virginia Tech reveals. Water is filling, so sippers ate 75 to 90 calories less. Enjoy a few cups of water while you prep a meal or before your entrée arrives at a restaurant to effortlessly keep calories in check.

Step on the scale

Dieters who weighed themselves at least weekly lost more weight than those who didn’t, according to research from the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. Plus, the habit helped nondieters stay at a stable weight. Spotting scale swings early allows you to tweak your eating and exercise routine before pounds can pile up. 

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