Fall is here and winter’s fast approaching. Resist the urge to hibernate with stick-to-your-ribs comfort foods, and cuddle up to the TV all night. On average, Americans gain a pound during the winter holiday season alone. This is the stubborn pound that often sticks with us, and adds up over the years! Read on for five easy tips that’ll have you eating, drinking and sleeping your way to your healthiest (and skinniest) season on record.
1. Drink coffee. It wakes up your liver, and with that energy boost comes a big jolt to your metabolism. You can drink as many cups a day as you enjoy, but stop before you have jitters and sleep problems. There’s a list of long-term benefits, such as lower risk of depression, skin cancer and stroke. Choose a lighter American coffee roast (as opposed to French roast) to get caffeic acid, a cancer-countering compound otherwise destroyed by a longer roast. Opt for coarsely ground coffee; it’s exposed to less air than finely ground, so it holds more polyphenol benefits. At home, use paper filters to keep out kahweol and cafestol, compounds that raise LDL (lousy) cholesterol levels.
2. Snack on low-fat Greek yogurt with no added sugar. Traditional fat-free yogurt usually contains artificial sweeteners that leave you feeling hungrier after, so instead opt for low fat plain Greek yogurt, with as little inflammation-causing sugar as possible. Add a little sweetness with a handful of fresh fruit on top (we adore anti-aging blueberries), with ¼ cup of chopped nuts—the additional protein will keep you satisfied and slimmer in the long run.
3. Toast to a daily glass of red wine.
Who said you can’t warm up with some vino by the fire? Keeping it to one glass daily (for women, two for men) is heart healthy, increasing good cholesterol (HDL) by about 12 percent. This moderate alcohol intake also reduces blood clotting—by thinning the blood and dampening proteins that promote blood clots. Bonus: One study found that women who drink a glass of wine daily are thinner.
4. Have a banana in the evening. You might be used to it as your morning snack, but the magnesium and potassium in bananas promote the muscle relaxation that we crave before sleep. It also helps keep your blood pressure low throughout the night. Just remember, eating too close to bedtime can cause you to toss and turn, so aim to cut off food three hours before sleep.
5. Power down all electronics a half hour before bed. Yes, we’re talking about your cell phone, laptop and television! They emit blue light, which halts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Keep it to a dim light for some reading, and remember: Your bedroom is for sleep (and sex) only!
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