YES, your brain is always hungry.
The brain, which accounts for 2 percent of our body weight, requires about 20 percent of our daily calories (Example: a healthy daily calorie intake is 2000 calories, so your brain is going to eat 400 of those calories). The brain needs a constant supply of glucose because neurons cannot store it. The brain works best with about 25 grams of glucose circulating in the blood stream, about the amount found in a banana. Best sources of carbohydrates for the brain are; fruits, vegetables, and grains.
So, next time you consider limiting you calories or ‘counting calories’ consider your brain wants to eat too!
Tip: Carbohydrates found in lower glycemic foods are broken into glucose molecules more slowly, thereby providing a steadier supply of energy to the brain.
Next time You get a “Sweet Tooth”, consider the following… each gram of sugar has four calories.
Sugar is a carbohydrate and carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin (carbohydrates come in other forms:whole grains, fruits, and vegetables). Eating sugar may increase the absorption of an amino acid called tryptophan, which helps your body make serotonin, so it’s possible that eating something sweet may make you feel happy. Now, the sweet taste of sugar also releases endorphin and endorphin give us that calm and relaxed feeling – a natural “high”.
It is easy to indulge in the sweetness of sugar. Americans average about 22 teaspoons of added sugars per day, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends limiting added sugars to about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.
- Reach for fruit. Keep fruit handy for when sugar cravings hit. You’ll get fiber and nutrients along with some sweetness. And stock up on foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, says certified addiction specialist Judy Chambers, LCSW, CAS. “Have them handy so you reach for them instead of reaching for the old [sugary] something.”
- Eat regularly. Waiting too long between meals may set you up to choose sugary, fatty foods that cut your hunger. Instead, eating every three to five hours can help keep blood sugar stable and help you “avoid irrational eating behavior”. Your best bets? “Choose protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains and produce”.
- And last but certainly not least, Exercise. As little as 20 minutes a day will make a good difference to your health. Plus, exercise will stimulate brain chemicals that will improve your mood.
The 4 Fats we eat: saturated fats, transfats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Fats can have different effects on the cholesterol levels in your body. The bad fats, saturated and trans fats, tend to be more solid at room temperature (like a stick of butter). Saturated fats and trans fats also raise bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your blood.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to be more liquid (like liquid vegetable oil). Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats can lower bad cholesterol levels and are beneficial when consumed in moderation.
Achieving goals in both weight loss and fitness are NOT exclusively related to the amount or type of exercise we do. In fact, studies and research have recently shown that up to 70-80% of weight loss results come down to a person’s eating habits. Studies have also concluded that exercise is NOT an effective strategy for weight loss if used in isolation.
- It’s one way to burn calories and help you lose weight
- It makes your heart strong so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood
- It increases your lung capacity
- It helps reduce risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes
- It makes you feel good
- It helps you sleep better
- It helps reduce stress
- I could go on all day, but you get the point
Bottom line: you need cardio if you want to get your weight under control and get your stress to a tolerable level.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should drink 8 to 10 ounces of water every 15 – 20 minutes during a workout. If it is hot or you are perspiring heavily, consider a sports drink that is low in sugar and high in carbohydrates as well as electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Replenishing electrolytes lost through sweat can keep your muscles and nerves functioning properly.
The physical decline associated with aging is not simply the result of getting older: it’s partly a product of becoming less active as we age. Studies show that older people who engage in regular exercise can turn back the clock by as much as 20 years – in terms of heart and respiratory function, blood pressure, blood sugar, strength, bone density, flexibility, muscle mass, and mood – compared to those who get little or no exercise .
The message is clear: To get more from your years, get moving.