During my nearly 20 years of reporting about health, I have written hundreds of tips about feeling, eating, and looking better. However, only a few have made it into my own routine, and here they are…
Drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar before or after eating starchy carbs. Turns out this popular salad dressing ingredient may help keep blood sugar in check, according to research published in the Journal of Functional Foods. How? The main component in vinegar, acetic acid, may interfere with the body’s ability to digest starch.
But my adoption of this practice doesn’t hinge on one study, others backup this theory. A 2010 Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism study found that sipping two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before eating a bagel and juice reduce blood sugar spikes. While another study published in Journal of Diabetes Research in 2015 found vinegar consumption helped with blood glucose uptake in the body after eating carbohydrates. These are all good things in my book, so there is always a bottle of apple cider vinegar in my kitchen.
Sprinkling cinnamon in my coffee. Adding a half of a teaspoon of cinnamon to your diet could lower blood pressure — especially if you have prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, suggests an analysis in the journal Nutrition. Cinnamon has also been linked to controlling blood sugar levels, so even though hypertension isn’t a concern for me, cinnamon flavors my coffee because of this tidbit. This couldn’t be simpler or easier.
Eat broccoli sprouts to pee out pollution. This may be one of the coolest things I ever found and I tell everyone I know about it. If you read my piece on pollution, you know this already.
When Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health gave 300 Chinese men and women living in one of the most polluted areas in the country a half cup of broccoli sprout beverage, they excreted higher levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen, and acrolein, a lung irritant. This means that they peed out the pollution! Specifically they did so at a rate of 61 and 23 percent more, respectively, compared to when they were not drinking the broccoli sprout beverage. Researchers reported in Cancer Prevention Research that the plant compound sulforaphane—found in broccoli sprouts as well as in cauliflower, kale, bok choy, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts and radishes—is helping the body’s cells adapt to and survive environmental toxins. We eat these vegetables in high amounts in my house.
Eat all your calories in 12 hours (or less). While researching one of the numerous weight loss articles that I wrote, I interviewed Lauren Slayton, MS, RD, author of The Little Book of Thin, and founder of FoodTrainers in New York City. She told me: “If you eat the same food but condense the hours that you eat, your weight loss will be greater. I suggest 12 hours food free from your last bite at night to that first taste the next day. Timing is indeed everything when it comes to your weight.”
That same week research out of the Salk Institute published in Cell Metabolism found that confining caloric consumption to an 8- to 12-hour period might stave off high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. And while the study was done on mice, this idea of intermittent fasting is becoming increasing popular as this New York Times Well Blog article points out.
I am not sure whether I am losing weight but eating in this window helps me cut out on the late-night snacking (hello, ice cream binge!) and weirdly makes me less hungry throughout the day. For me, it is an easy way to control calories without thinking about every morsel that is going into my mouth.
So, there you have it. The four things I do. For more of my tips to a healthful existence, read this post.