Friday, June 17, 2011

Sip Your Way Slim: Green Tea

We all know how much we depend on caffeine to get us going in the mornings; however it can be a metabolic booster as well especially when paired with polyphenols called catechins. This combination has been said to promote fat loss and reap tons of other health benefits. Caffeine itself is a xanthine alkaloid compound which acts as a psychoactive affecting brain function and stimulating the central nervous system. It is present in all coffees and teas. To get the combo of caffeine and catechins, tea is the best way to go.

There are three types of tea to chose from; black, green, and oolong (white tea) and are derived from the  same plant, the Camelliasinesis but, the leaves are processed differently with each type. Green tea is minimally and rapidly processed so the leaves do not undergo fermentation. Oolong is partially fermented, then dried. Lastly, black tea is the most processed and leaves undergo enzymatic oxidation.

So as you can see green tea has the least amount of processing which means it has the most polyphenols responsible for health benefits. These polyphenols include; epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epicatechin (EC). These are all of which give green tea the reputation of being a booster of caloric expenditure and fat oxidation through the activation of sympathoadrenal system. British researchers found that ECGC in green tea increases fat utilization by 17 percent during 30 minutes of exercise. This also led them to believe that the combo of this and caffeine produces a fat burning effect.

Biochemically the combo of the two work on several enzymes ,whether separately or together, to promote an increase in energy expenditure and fat oxidation. In addition, some studies have found catechins increase fat-metabolizing enzymes. Its mechanism of action is the inhibition of the enzyme  Catechol-O-Methyl Transferase (COMT) which degrades norepinephrine a neurotransmitter that is a part of the sympathetic nervous system. Thermogenesis and fat oxidation are largely controlled by the SNS which explains why catechins and caffeine prolong the lipolytic effect.

So if you are looking to burn calories and ramp up fat oxidation look for a combo of caffeine and catechins found naturally in green and oolong teas. Drink up!

Have a Happy Healthy Day,

Krystal Goodman

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Powerfoods 101: Kale

In the cruciferous vegetable family, kale packs a powerful punch of nutrients in its leaves. Nutrients in these leaves include antioxidants, macronutrients, and phytonutrients. This superfood has been said to assist in cancer prevention, efficiently lower cholesterol, promote good eyesight, and fight against the common cold and flu. Some of its most valuable nutrients are Vitamins K, A, and C, Manganese, and Fiber.

Phytonutrients in many healthful foods are known to work as antioxidants to disarm any free radicals within the body before they cause damage to cells. According in to recent research, phytonutrients found in kale work at an even deeper level by signaling our genes to increase production of the enzymes involved in detoxification, the cleansing process in which the body eliminates harmful toxins.

As if being packed with these powerful phytonutrients isn't enough kale also manifests the ability to prevent cancer. The ability lies in its rich sources of organosulphur compounds known as glucosinolates which are broken down into the anticancer compounds called isothiocynates. Isothiocynates then induce cancer-destroying enzymes and inhibit carcinogenesis.

In addition to organosulphur compounds, kale displays a great deal of carotenoids, vitamin A compounds. As we all know Vitamin A is beneficial in that it promotes good eyesight. Two main carotenoids in kale are  lutein and zeaxanthin, which work as a filter to aid in  preventing damage to the eyes during exposure to ultraviolent rays.

Last but not least kale has a cholesterol lowering effect with its abundant source of fiber. These fiber components bind easily to bile acids which makes it easier for them to be excreted and results in  lower cholesterol levels.

Next time you want to try something new for dinner go for kale. You can cook it many different ways, although the best way to reap the best benefits is to steam it. Other ways you can cook it are stewed, in a salad, sauteed, and baked as chips.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blood Sugar Levels : How to Regulate for Optimal Fat Burning

Depending on the types of foods we eat ,and how we pair them has a lot to do with the way in which our blood sugar acts. The result of this can depend on the way in which fat is utilized in the body. After we eat our body digests food by breaking it down into glucose, and then travels through the blood stream. This is called blood glucose aka blood sugar. After meals blood glucose levels rise and are taken up by cells due to secretion of insulin by the pancreas. Utilization of the glucose is dependent on the types of food we intake and how we pair them.

Throughout the day our bodies can experience different levels of blood sugar which all take a toll on the way our bodies burn fat. Listed below is a summary of the effects different levels of blood sugar has on our body.

Blood Sugar Levels:
  • LOW: Our bodies are in the fasted state and will not burn fat. Instead we store the fat due to the body being in a panic mode.
  • STABLE (burning fat): This is the state you want to be in at the beginning of the day and keep it there the whole day. In this state the body will burn fat and build muscle.
  • HIGH (storage mode): When there is too much glucose in the blood it will be in surplus and will be stored for later use. The result is a spike in blood sugar and an immediate crash thereafter which leaves you feeling no energy.
A solution to the problem is to eat smaller meals throughout the day to maintain the stable state of blood glucose. When choosing meals you should eat a mix of high-quality protein at each meal. Never eat carbohydrate alone because they raise blood sugar some faster than others. When eating carbohydrate with protein it blunts the increase in blood sugar which in turn will keep your body in the stable fat burning mode. Eliminate all processed carbohydrates which raise blood sugars the fastest. Processed foods include; white breads,white pastas, pastries, sugary cereal, and sugar.

Best Carbohydrate Sources:
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains(i.e. rice, quinoa, couscous, oatmeal, etc..)
So instead of experiencing the dips and spikes of energy through your day opt to keep a stable blood sugar for optimal fat burning. Choose small meals with a mix of carbohydrate and protein .

Have a Happy Healthy Day,
Krystal Goodman