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5 Weight Loss Rules From Nutritionists That You Should Break

Most of the time, nutritionists are full of brilliant ideas that help you eat healthier, stay slimmer, and live longer. But every once in a while, food gurus forget that the rest of us have limited time, funds, and willpower. So we collected seven of the hardest-to-swallow expert suggestions and replaced them with equally healthy tips that a normal person can actually use.

The advice: Chug eight glasses of water a day

Why it’s useless: Peeing every 20 minutes seriously interferes with life.
The real deal: Believe it or not, the eight-glass quota isn’t etched in stone. Yes, we need to be well-hydrated, but if your urine is clear or close to it, you’re probably getting enough fluids. If it’s neon yellow, lighten things up by adding one or two glasses a day. Once your body adjusts to getting more fluid, add another, says dietician Karen Benzinger. And don’t forget that all liquids – including tea, juice, even the tonic in your vodka drink – help keep your body sufficiently saturated.

The advice: Don’t drink juice – it’s a sugar bomb

Why it’s useless: Juice is a breakfast staple, and it’s essential for smoothies.
The real deal: There’s a big difference between 100 percent juice and a bottle of sugar water with a few cranberries squeezed into it. Yes, juice has a lot of the sweet stuff, but a 150ml glass of 100 percent juice also counts as a full serving of fruit and delivers many of the same vitamins and antioxidants, making it worth the occasional sugar rush. As long as you drink 100 percent juice (from concentrate is fine) and limit yourself to one 150ml to 250ml glass a day, you’re not breaking any rules of good nutrition.

The advice: Shut the kitchen down after 7pm to prevent weight gain

Why it’s useless: After a long day at the office and a trip to the gym, you either eat dinner at 9.30pm or starve.
The real deal: The no-food-right-before-bed rule was meant for the night-time nosher who mindlessly munches on Ouma rusks while watching CSI: Miami. If you get home long after dark, a late dinner is perfectly fine. But do keep your evening meal light – along the lines of a chicken breast, steamed broccoli and brown rice. Too much chow will keep you up at night: to break down all that food, your stomach has to churn like a cement truck.

The advice: Put half your entrée in a takeaway box before you start to eat

Why it’s useless: You know you have portion-control issues, but that doesn’t mean you want everyone else at your table to know it too.
The real deal: A better way to cut back on restaurant binging is to pretend the breadbasket is sprinkled with cyanide and to double up on veggie sides instead of ordering chips. Also effective: putting your fork down between bites, which gives your stomach and brain time to register that you’re full (which takes about 20 minutes).

The advice: Have just one bite of dessert

Why it’s useless: That’s like telling an addict to have just a little crack.
The real deal: There’s nothing right about eating malva pudding, so just revel in how deliciously wrong it is. A smarter strategy: before you begin the debauchery, plan for the extra kilojoules – skip the appetizer, the bread, or (ouch) the booze. “If the dessert is really that good, it’s worth the sacrifice,” Benzinger says.

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10 Power Breakfast Recipes Every Active Girl Needs In Her Life

Even if you’re one of those disgustingly lucky morning people – the kind who never seem to suffer a second of cranky, whiny, leave-me-the-hell-alone grogginess – a healthy breakfast can do a lot to prep you for the day ahead. Studies show that filling up before you leave the house can reduce your risk of heart attack, help keep you slim and increase your brainpower. To boost the benefits of breakfast even more, we created 10 recipes using ingredients proven to soothe or prevent common health complaints. Every one is easy to make and take with you, and they all taste delicious going down.

1. The PMS tamer

If your cycle is cramping your style, whip up this breakfast sandwich. Vitamin B6 combined with magnesium – both found in salmon and avocado – relieves monthly mood swings. And eating fish and cheese helps replenish vitamin D and calcium, which your period can deplete. Finally, according to the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, a high-fibre diet eases PMS by expelling excess oestrogen.

— 2 slices multigrain bread, toasted
— 1 tbsp low-fat creamed cottage cheese
— 1/4 avocado
— 28g (about one large piece) smoked salmon
— Freshly ground black pepper
— Small handful bean sprouts or one leaf iceberg lettuce

1/ On one slice of toasted bread, spread cheese and layer avocado and fish.
2/ Finish with pepper and sprouts. Place second piece of bread on top.

Per serving: 1 839kJ, 18g fat (2.5g sat), 460mg sodium, 47g carbs, 9g fibre, 7g sugars, 30g protein

READ MORE: 3 Protein-Packed Breakfasts That Totally Taste Like Dessert

2. The anxiety soother

Big days spark big worries. But British researchers found that food containing tryptophan, the amino acid found in dairy and oats (yup, the one that’s known for inducing naps), reduces anxiety by boosting the feel-good hormone serotonin. The carbohydrates in this sandwich’s bread will also help soothe frazzled nerves, experts say.

— 2 slices oat and honey bread (Sasko makes a low-GI variety)
— 1/2 ripe tomato
— 1 slice low-fat Emmental cheese
— 1 leaf romaine lettuce
— 1/ Slice tomato while bread is toasting.
— 2/ Layer cheese, tomato and lettuce between bread.

Per serving: 1 379kJ, 11g fat (5g sat), 440mg sodium, 46g carbs, 5g fibre, 9g sugars, 18g protein

3. The mood lifter

Don’t self-medicate with chocolate brownies when you’re down – opt for this healthy comfort food (which will also satisfy a sweet tooth), featuring walnuts with omega-3s and yoghurt with vitamin B12. The University of Pittsburgh
Medical School recently reported a link between omega-3 fatty acids and improved mood, while Finnish researchers found that B12 helped depression patients recover faster.

— 1 pear
— 1/2 cup Greek-style yoghurt
— 3 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped
— 1. tbsp pitted dates, finely chopped (optional)
— 1 tbsp honey
— 1/ Chop or slice the pear, top with yoghurt, then the walnuts, dates (if using) and honey.

Per serving: 1 756kJ, 17g fat (3g sat), 35mg sodium, 64g carbs, 8g fibre, 48g sugars, 13g protein

READ MORE: Are You Making This Breakfast Mistake?

4. The sniffle stopper

To keep that bug from bringing you down, try this oat dish. The apple skins contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that researchers in India found protects lungs from influenza. The selenium from instant oats boosts the immune system by increasing flu-fighting macrophages, and the zinc in nuts has been proven to help curb a cold’s development. Finally, drink that orange juice – multiple studies confirm that good old immune-boosting vitamin C will help keep you above the weather.

— 1 small apple, cored and chopped, skin intact
— 1/4 cup orange juice
— 1 packet instant oats
— 1 tbsp almonds, chopped and toasted
— Cinnamon

1/ Place apple and juice in a small saucepan and simmer on medium-low until fruit is soft (about 10 minutes).
2/ Meanwhile, prepare oats.
3/ Spoon fruit mixture over oats and sprinkle with nuts and cinnamon.

Per serving: 1 087kJ, 7g fat (0g sat), 80mg sodium, 48g carbs, 8g fibre, 23g sugars, 6g protein

5. The heart saver

This fibre-rich cereal will keep your ticker kicking and your stomach happy. Just remember to drink lots of water with and after your meal – staying hydrated helps your body process the fibre. Warning: this breakfast has almost all the fibre you need for the day. So if you’re new to the bran game, skip the raspberries at first, then add them later as your body adjusts.

— 1/2 cup high-fibre bran cereal
— 1/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
— 1 cup plain organic yoghurt (contains more fibre than milk)
— 1/ Pour cereal in a large plastic cup and top with fruit and yoghurt.

Per serving: 1 296kJ, 1g fat (0g sat), 320mg sodium, 67g carbs, 25g fibre, 12g protein

READ MORE: 6 Oat Recipes That’ll Kickstart Your Day!

6. The metabolism starter

Antioxidants in green tea may give your digestive fires a boost by increasing the speed at which fat is burnt, according to the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition. Spicy chillies from the capsaicin family, such as jalapeños and serranos, can perform similar feats, Japanese researchers say.

— 1 English muffin, split and toasted
— 1 tbsp canola oil
— 2 medium eggs
— 1/4 cup tightly packed baby spinach leaves, stalks removed
— Salt and pepper to taste
— Chilli sauce
— 1 cup green tea

1/ While muffin is toasting and teapot boiling, heat oil in a small pan.
2/ In a bowl, whisk the eggs, then add spinach, salt and pepper. Pour contents into pan and scramble gently until the eggs are set and the spinach wilted.
3/ Place eggs on muffin and douse with as much chilli sauce as you can handle!
4/ Wrap sandwich in foil, put tea in thermos and go.

Per serving: 1 505kJ, 15g fat (3g sat), 1 510mg sodium, 39g carbs, 6g fibre, 19g protein

7. The muscle maker

Pushed it a little too hard in spinning class and now regretting it? US researchers found that vitamin E – in nuts, apricots and oats – helps speed muscle recovery by fighting off the free radicals that multiply when you work out. Make a batch of these on Sunday and enjoy them for the rest of the week.

— Non-stick cooking spray
— 3 cups plain oats
— 1/2 cup almonds and hazelnuts
— 1/3 cup sesame seeds
— 1/4 cup dried apricots, diced
— 1/3 cup honey
— 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
— 1/4 cup canola oil
— 2 tbsp orange juice
— Dash of salt

1/ Preheat the oven to 150°C and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2/ In a large bowl, mix oats, nuts, seeds and apricots. In a separate bowl, stir honey, sugar, oil, juice and salt together.
3/ Combine the two mixtures and spread on the baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until evenly browned. Let cool.
4/ Cut into pieces and divide among six airtight ziplock bags for easy storing.

Makes six servings. Per serving: 1 547kJ, 19g fat (2g sat), 250mg sodium, 47g carbs, 4g fibre, 6g protein

READ MORE: This Protein-Packed Egg Muffin Breakfast Is Actually All You Need

8. The energy source

To stay perky all day, experts suggest small, low-kilojoule meals rich in vitamin C, iron, complex carbs and protein. This two-part breakfast fits the bill. The juice and fruit provide lots of vitamin C, which promotes absorption of iron – critical for beating fatigue. Enjoy the smoothie first, then have the sandwich midmorning.

A: Super smoothie
— 1/2 cup orange juice
— 1/2 cup soya milk
— 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed
— 1/ Blend ingredients on high for one minute or until smooth.

B: Jolt sandwich
— 1 slice wholewheat bread
— 1 tbsp peanut butter
— 1 tsp honey

1/ Spread peanut butter on half the bread and drizzle with honey. Fold over.

For both servings: 1 421kJ, 13g fat (1g sat), 270mg sodium, 48g carbs, 6g fibre, 11g protein

9. The memory booster

Leading the office in some Powerpoint fun today? Eat Nigella’s jammy blueberries on toast while you review your notes. Antioxidants like those in blueberries and lemons are especially effective at preventing memory loss by reducing age-related stress on the brain, as is vitamin E, found in sunflower seeds. The zinc in wheat bread helps improve short-term memory, since the memory-making hippocampus in the brain may be fuelled by zinc.

— 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
— 1/4 cup maple syrup
— 1 slice seed loaf

1/ Add the maple syrup and blueberries to a small pot, bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes.
2/ Lightly toast the slice of seed loaf, transfer to a paper plate and top with the blueberries.

Per serving: 1 463kJ, 2g fat (0g sat), 200mg sodium, 84g carbs, 4g fibre, 58g sugars, 6g protein

10. The bone builder

This calcium-rich meal provides just under half the 1 000mg recommended daily allowance for women aged 19 to 50, thanks to the ricotta, which has 419mg. The mango adds nutrients like boron and magnesium, both of which help the body process calcium.

— 1 cup ricotta cheese
— 1/2 mango, diced
— 2 tbsp honey

1/ Place a third of the ricotta in a disposable plastic cup, then add half the fruit and honey.
2/ Repeat, ending with a layer of cheese.

Per serving: 2 341kJ, 24g fat (16g sat), 260mg sodium, 59g carbs, 1g fibre, 41g sugars, 32g protein

This weight-loss breakfast tastes like chocolate pudding! Plus: The superfood breakfast bowl worth waking up for…

Poor diet during teens, early adulthood may raise breast cancer risk!

The risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer may be higher for women who have a poor diet during adolescence and early adulthood, new research finds.
[A woman eating a burger]

Researchers have associated an unhealthful diet in adolescence or early adulthood with greater risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer.

Previous studies have associated an unhealthful diet – particularly one that is low in vegetables, high in refined sugar and carbohydrates, and high in red and processed meats – with chronic inflammation, which may raise the risk of certain cancers.

According to the new study, it is this diet-induced inflammation that may increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer prior to menopause.

Study co-author Karin B. Michels, Ph.D. – professor and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California-Los Angeles – and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States. This year, around 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed, and more than 40,000 women will die from the disease.

“About 12 percent of women in the U.S. develop breast cancer in their lifetimes,” notes Michels. “However, each woman’s breast cancer risk is different based on numerous factors, including genetic predisposition, demographics, and lifestyle.”

For this latest study, Michels and colleagues set out to determine how a pro-inflammatory diet during adolescence or early adulthood might influence women’s risk of breast cancer in later life.

Up to 41 percent greater breast cancer risk with pro-inflammatory diet

The researchers analyzed the data of 45,204 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II.

Some of the women completed a food frequency questionnaire in 1991, when they were aged between 27 and 44 years, which disclosed details of their diet in early adulthood. The questionnaire was completed again every 4 years thereafter.

In 1998 – when aged between 33 and 52 – some women completed a food frequency questionnaire that detailed their diet during high school.

Using a technique that associates food intake with markers of inflammation in the blood, the researchers allocated an inflammatory score to each woman’s diet. The women were then divided into five groups based on their inflammatory score.

Compared with women who had the lowest inflammatory diet score during adolescence, those who had the highest score were found to be at a 35 percent higher risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer.

Women with the highest inflammatory diet score during early adulthood were found to have a 41 percent increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer, compared with those who had the lowest inflammatory diet score.

A pro-inflammatory diet was not associated with the overall incidence of breast cancer or the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, the team reports.

Although the study cannot prove cause and effect between a pro-inflammatory diet during adolescence or early adulthood and premenopausal breast cancer, the team believes that the results further highlight the importance of a healthful diet.

Our study suggests that a habitual adolescent/early adulthood diet that promotes chronic inflammation may be another factor that impacts an individual woman’s risk.

During adolescence and early adulthood, when the mammary gland is rapidly developing and is therefore particularly susceptible to lifestyle factors, it is important to consume a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes and to avoid soda consumption and a high intake of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and red and processed meats.”

Karin B. Michels, Ph.D.

There are a number of limitations to the study. For example, participants reported their adolescent diet years later, so their recollections could be subject to error. Additionally, the researchers did not have access to subjects’ measurements of inflammatory blood markers during adolescence or early adulthood.

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