Isnin, 3 Februari 2014

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

5 pick-me-ups

Posted: 02 Feb 2014 11:35 PM PST

One date, eaten with a dab of peanut butter, delivers a reasonable dose of sugar and of healthy unsaturated fats. - Photos

One date, eaten with a dab of peanut butter, delivers a reasonable dose of sugar and of healthy unsaturated fats. - Photos

Fight fatigue from weight loss with these booster foods.

EFFORTS to slim down are almost always accompanied by a few moments of weakness, most of which are brought on by fatigue or frustration in the early stages of a weight loss plan. But that doesn't mean you have to give into the temptation of a muffin or a croissant. Here is a list of five small snacks that can deliver a boost of energy and calm cravings without undermining your calorie-cutting efforts.

Dark chocolate

As long as you can limit your intake to one or two squares (less than 10g), there is no need to fear for your waistline, especially if you opt for dark chocolate with a cacao content of at least 70%. Rich in flavonoids and magnesium, dark chocolate can provide a much-needed energy boost and a welcome treat. French nutritionist Jean-Michel Cohen recommends dark chocolate as a way to treat yourself while restricting calories during the rest of the day. He suggests eating a square with a small amount of bread. Doctor Raphaƫl Gruman, meanwhile, another French authority on weight loss, recommends eating dark chocolate during the stabilization phase, later in a weight loss plan, in moderation.

A date with a dab of peanut butter

Nutrition consultant Charlotte Debeugny insists that there is no reason to shun peanut butter during a weight loss programme. Stigmatised because of its high fat content, peanut butter contains mainly unsaturated or "good" fats, which our body requires even when the goal is in weight loss mode. And with peanut butter, as with nuts and other nut-based products, a small amount can go a long way to calm a craving. Debeugny suggests spreading a tiny bit of peanut butter on the inside of a date for a satisfying mini snack.

A rice cake with low-fat spreadable cheese

To tide you over until the next meal, protein is key, and a few teaspoons of spreadable low-fat cheese can provide just the right amount for an afternoon or mid-morning snack. Enjoy cheese on a puffed rice cake for the satisfying crunch, popcorn-like taste and – of course – low calorie count.

Filename : shutterstock_69.4116d150849.original.jpg - To go with

A handful of berries

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable low calorie foods around, berries are among the best ways to quell a rampant craving for sugar. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are low in sugar but deliver the sweet taste you crave, along with antioxidants, vitamins and fibre.

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A citrus fruit

According to Doctor Jean-Michel Cohen, a reasonable quantity of caffeinated beverages can provide a way around fatigue during a weight loss programme, so tea and coffee are allowed. But coffee breaks can be challenging for those who usually enjoy cookies and cakes with their java. To satisfy your sweet tooth without overdoing it, opt for an orange, half a grapefruit or a few clementines. In addition to providing a reasonable amount of natural sugar, citrus fruits deliver a dose of vitamin C and fibre. – AFP Relaxnews

Tags / Keywords: Health, Detox, pick-me-up, chocolate, date, rice cake, berries, oranges

When it comes to stress, two minds are better than one

Posted: 02 Feb 2014 08:25 PM PST

Talking to others is good coping mechanism.

NERVOUS about an upcoming presentation or a major work project? New research shows that sharing your anxieties with people who may be feeling the same way can be an effective coping mechanism for dealing with the stress.

For the study, published jointly out of the University of California Santa Barbara and the University of Leuven, Belgium, a group of 52 female students were paired up and asked to give a speech while being video-recorded.

But before delivering their speech, students were encouraged to discuss how they felt about the task. Researchers also measured levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol before, during and after the speeches.

The researchers then created an index of each pair's emotional similarity as well as how threatening participants perceived the speech task to be, and found that: "... sharing a threatening situation with a person who is in a similar emotional state, in terms of her overall emotional profile, buffers individuals from experiencing the heightened levels of stress that typically accompany threat."

The findings were published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

But performance-related stage fright or stress isn't always bad. Another study published last spring found that shaky hands, a pounding heart, and sweaty palms can actually help improve both physical and mental performance. It's just a matter of reinterpreting these responses as natural and helpful reactions.

"The body is marshalling resources, pumping more blood to our major muscle groups and delivering more oxygen to our brains," said Jeremy Jamieson of the University of Rochester. – AFP Relaxnews


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