Healthier OverweightJuly 9, 2012 Written by JP [Font too small?]
Some time ago, I was approached by an overweight gentleman who was familiar with my line of work. He explained that he planned to lose weight eventually, but wasn’t quite ready to adopt many of the principles espoused on my site and elsewhere. He went on to ask a rather provocative question: Apart from making major changes to my diet and exercising, are there any small steps I can take to protect myself? At first, my thought was: What’s the point? You can’t put out a fire with a squirt gun! If you want to get healthy, a commitment needs to made! However, as I listened further to his circumstances and history, I relented and decided to offer what I hoped would be the first steps in his path to a genuine lifestyle change.
A high potency, multivitamin-mineral is almost always a good starting point for those grappling with weight issues. Ironically, overweight is often associated with inadequate nutrition. The antioxidants and essential nutrients contained in well formulated multiples can go a long way in discouraging any outright deficiencies. If you’re heavy and you only take one other supplement, I would make it fish oil. DHA and EPA, the omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil, tend to reduce obesity related inflammation and various cardiometabolic risk factors, including elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. In recent studies, dosages vary, but typically range between 1-3 grams of DHA + EPA daily. Fish oil supplements ought to be taken with food, preferably foods that are rich in another source of health promoting fats: monounsaturates. Almonds, avocados and olive oil are excellent sources of monounsaturated fats which have likewise been shown to mitigate the effects of overweight on diabetes and cardiovascular disease incidence and progression.
Substituting sugar sweetened drinks with low-calorie beverages is another simple shift for the better. But, I’m not talking about swapping regular soda for diet soda. The options I recommend above all else are: homemade hot cocoa, organic ginger tea and organic green tea. Recent scientific studies reveal that: a) non-alkalized hot chocolate, made with 100% cocoa powder, supports healthier circulation in overweight adults; b) ginger tea helps manage appetite and slightly boosts metabolism; c) green tea supplies a powerful antioxidant boost and positively affects multiple risk factors associated with excess weight such as high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and systemic inflammation. The key is how you prepare each of these conditionally health promoting brews. I suggest starting with the purest ingredients and making sure not to add components that negate the inherent goodness of pure cocoa, ginger and green tea. For the hot cocoa, I like to simply add boiling water, a splash of unsweetened almond or coconut milk and a pinch of sea salt and stevia. If you don’t care for the taste of plain ginger or green tea, try squeezing in some organic lemon and a few drops of liquid stevia extract. Not only will these beverages hydrate you, but they’ll also assist your body to stay well until you’re ready to make more substantial changes.
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 - (N-3) Fatty Acids Alleviate Adipose Tissue Inflammation and Insulin … (link)
Study 2 - High Physiological Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Affects … (link)
Study 3 - Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation in Healthy Middle … (link)
Study 4 - Supplementation of n3 Long-chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid … (link)
Study 5 - Possible Effect of DHA Intake on Body Weight Reduction and Lipid … (link)
Study 6 - Effects of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids on Cardiovascular Risk Factors … (link)
Study 7 – Consumption of a High Monounsaturated Fat Diet Reduces Oxidative … (link)
Study 8 – Effects of Sugar-Sweetened and Sugar-Free Cocoa on Endothelial … (link)
Study 9 - Ginger Consumption Enhances the Thermic Effect of Food and Promotes … (link)
Study 10 - Green Tea Extract Reduces Blood Pressure, Inflammatory Biomarkers … (link)
Fish Oil (EPA/DHA) May Minimize Some of the Negative Effects of Excess Body Fat
Source: Adv Nutr. 2011 Jul;2(4):304-16. (link)
Tags: Cocoa, Fish Oil, Green Tea
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition