Part 2-Easy Nutritional Strategies for Taming the Appetite and Reducing Inflammation
With the holiday season just upon us, how can we face the holidays and successfully meet our health goals all the way through to 2024? In this blog, we will give you five nutritional strategies to enter the holidays with confidence that you can maintain your success in Starting a New YOU!
This is part 2 in our Taming the Appetite Series. So, if you missed Part 1-Harnessing the Power of Circadian Rhythms for Taming the Appetite and Reducing Inflammation, click the title to read all about it!
The Power of Plants
Individuals who adopted a low-calorie plant-based diet not only lost more weight than those on conventional low-calorie diets, but they also increased their metabolism; the rate at which they burned calorie, and reduced muscle fat.1
Losing muscle fat improves glucose and fat (lipid) storage and metabolism and therefore improves circulation. If we can improve circulation then we can improve our overall health, reduce inflammation, and experience better management of all types of diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, all types of arthritis, and even autoimmune conditions.
The typical Western diet is low in nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, but rich in animal products, fats, sugar, and refined products. The Western diet activates fat genes to store more fat.13 Unfortunately, this diet also increases the population of unfriendly gut bacteria which release pro-inflammatory compounds. Obesity is a pro-inflammatory condition and, as such, fuels chronic diseases.
We now have another reason to eat more greens! There is evidence that thylakoids found in spinach, green leafy vegetables, cabbage (cruciferous family), and lettuces reduce hunger and cravings. Thylakoids encourage the release of satiety hormones and slow down fat digestion.4
Try eating these foods first at a meal for better control of appetite. For optimal results have a variety of green leafy vegetables and vegetables from the cruciferous family. (Individuals living with hypothyroidism would do well to cook all cruciferous vegetables before consuming, due to deactivating the properties (goitrens) they contain that interfere with proper thyroid function when the thyroid is in a compromised state).
Greens and salads, prepared in a simple way, free from added fats, are low in calories, high in fiber and water content, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, and naturally lower inflammation, and therefore can play an important role in improving circulation and reducing the complications and diseases associated with poor circulation (high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, poor digestion, arthritis, and auto-immune conditions).
Substitute Legumes for Meat
An analysis of 21 studies, with 940 participants combined, found that adding one serving of beans, peas, or lentils (legumes) a day, resulted in more weight reduction then calorie-restricted diets without any legumes.2
Why are legumes particularly helpful? Legumes are high in fiber, in fact, they could be called the king of fiber with 8-14 grams of fiber per 1 cup. Fiber acts like a broom in the intestinal way and results in better, more efficient absorption of nutrients, and healthier transit times through the intestinal tract. Ideally, food that enters the mouth would be thoroughly processed and evacuated in 16-24 hours.
For every gram of fiber, a gram of carbohydrate is not absorbed and therefore legumes have also been found to improve blood sugar management due to their fiber content and also their low glycemic index value.
Regular consumption of legumes has also been shown to improve appetite control.3 But the benefits of legumes does not stop with appetite, weight and glucose management. Boiled and cooked legumes have been found to improve circulation and reduce inflammation and therefore are beneficial for blood pressure, heart disease, all forms of arthritis, and even auto-immune conditions, if you are not allergic to them.
If flatulence is a challenge, try eating one tablespoon once a day. Then increase to twice a day. Then gradually increase, as tolerated to one or two servings a day.
Other tips to reduce flatulence from legumes, is soaking them in water for 8-48 hours (change the water ever 6-8 hours), pouring that water off and then cooking them. Then they can be frozen and thawed and cooked again. This has helped many people who previously could not tolerate legumes to successfully incorporate them into their diet. Adding pumpkin to beans has also been proven to reduce gas and bloating from beans.
Eat Nuts, Seeds, and Other Whole Fats in Moderation
Daily consumption of one ounce of nuts a day may help control appetite. How? Serotonin is a nerve chemical that helps decrease feelings of hunger, makes people feel happier, improves mood and mental outlook, and enhances self-control. Individuals who consume nuts regularly have higher levels of serotonin and reduced risks of metabolic syndrome/insulin resistance. 5 (Metabolic syndrome is associated with excess abdominal fat, elevated glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, obesity, inflammation, and heart disease due to a lack of cell sensitivity to insulin.) Nuts contain essential fatty acids and are high in fiber, and when consumed can improve satiety.
Other whole food fats, such as olives and avocados, are also beneficial in curbing hunger pangs. The unsaturated fatty acid in these foods stimulates production of OEA (oleoylethanolamide), which decreases appetite.6
But one note of caution, the amount of nuts, seeds and other whole plant fats that is needed is only one-quarter cup per day for most individuals. More than this can be problematic for weight management unless you are very active.
Focus on Foods high in Water Content
Foods high in water are fruits, vegetables, grains cooked with water, and boiled legumes. These foods are high in water, fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and all the other nutrition buzz words you have been recently hearing. Water gives good bulk without any calories, so you can feel more satisfied with less calories. Focus on eating these foods at the beginning of each meal to successfully tame your appetite, reduce inflammation and successfully help you meet your health goal, even through the holiday season.
In our next Wednesday blog, Part 3-The Remarkable Role of Water for Taming the Appetite and Reducing Inflammation, we will consider this often-overlooked tool for appetite and inflammation control.
We are in your corner to help you succeed through the holiday. If you need some extra help, we would be happy to assist you.
1. Taylor & Francis. “Vegetarian diets almost twice as effective in reducing body weight, study finds.” ScienceDaily, 12 June 2017.
2. Kim SJ. Effects of dietary pulse consumption on body weight: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutrition. 2016 May; 103(5):1213-23.
3. Roberts SB. High-glycemic index foods, hunger, and obesity: is there a connection? Nutrition Review 2000 58:163-169.
4. Taylor & Francis. “Effects of spinach extract on satiety: Feel full, curb cravings.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2015.
5. American Chemical Society. “Benefits of nut consumption for people with abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure.” Science Daily. 10 November 2011.
6. University of California – Irvine. “How Fatty Foods Curb Hunger.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2008.