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Today’s Health Upgrade
A real weight loss hack?
How to crush a cold
Win the morning, win the day?
Earlier this week, we discussed the potential benefits of morning movement. That might not be the only reward for people who make the most of their mornings.
Research published in Obesity Reviews found that people who consume more calories earlier in the day tend to lose more weight than those who eat more of their calories later in the day. Maybe not surprisingly, scale changes weren’t the only upside; they also had healthier blood sugar, cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity.
The morning advantage might be the byproduct of a hormonal disadvantage. The night eaters had higher levels of the hormone that makes you hungry (ghrelin) and lower levels of the hormone that keeps you feeling full (leptin). That combination alone can cause you to eat more calories. But that’s not the only benefit of eating more calories in the morning. Your body is more insulin sensitive in the morning, meaning it tends to respond better to the calories (and sugar) you eat. Not to mention, data suggests we eat more calorie-loaded dishes at dinner.
Does this mean you can’t eat at night? That’s not the takeaway. Research shows that many diets work, and consistency matters most. But, if you struggle with your hunger, shifting when you eat your biggest meals might help. Creating eating boundaries is a simple adjustment that can help you feel more in control. If you struggle with hunger and your weight, a good rule of thumb is to make sure your last meal of the day is 2 to 3 hours before you go to sleep.
Is your morning cup doing harm?
If you’re like most people, a morning cup of coffee might feel necessary before you can take on the day. We've talked about a lot of the benefits of coffee - but can it be bad for your stomach?
A New York Times article recently looked into whether coffee on an empty stomach was doing any harm. Anyone who has ever had a few cups of coffee knows that the magic bean does something to your stomach, but it mostly seems to be an issue of bathroom breaks and not body disruption.
The main takeaway — based on a study of more than 8,000 people — suggests that coffee has no serious negative impact on your stomach, such as harming your intestines or causing ulcers.
But we wanted to take a deep look. What about heartburn or indigestion? Can it cause reflux because coffee is acidic? Once again, seems like there’s not much room for worry. A review of 15 studies found no link between coffee consumption and heartburn symptoms. It’s conceivable that it could lead to reflux (but not proven), but most likely only after your third cup of coffee. And a review of studies also found no link between coffee and hypertension.
If you enjoy coffee and don’t have any negative side effects, the potential benefits (longevity, lesser chance of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, lower risk of type-2 diabetes) should make you feel better about your morning habit.
The Cold Killers
Sometimes, the biggest roadblock to getting healthier is staying healthy. This time of year, colds and other viruses can knock you down as you try to build yourself up.
While there’s no way to bulletproof your body against the common cold, there are a few steps you can to reduce your likelihood of getting sick.
The best thing you can do to prevent sickness is to prioritize sleep. In one study, healthy men and women were given a small dose of rhinovirus, and then the researchers observed who got sick. Those who averaged sleeping less than 7 hours were three times as likely to get sick. It wasn’t a perfect study because they didn’t keep the subjects in a lab, but there are many reasons to believe that sleep is your first line of defense.
If you’re sleep deprived, supplementing with zinc (more than 75 mg), and Vitamin D (more than 600 IU) might help support a healthy immune system. And, if the cold still hits, a little soup and some honey might reduce your symptoms. A recent article shared research suggesting that soup can help with breathing and improving mucus, and honey can help make a bad cough become better.
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