When I was growing up, drinking coffee was considered a not-so-good habit. Not terribly bad like smoking, but certainly not healthy. Over time (and with additional research) that view has changed. It turns out that your morning brew may do a lot more for you than just taste good and give you a boost. In fact, a daily cup or two may offer some real health benefits.
Life is unfair when it comes to weight management. Some people gain or lose body fat more easily than others. Unfortunately, fat gain or loss is not as predictable as we would like it to be. The fact is that people vary greatly in their susceptibility to gain or lose body fat in response to over- or under-eating.
A well-stocked pantry is essential to ensure you can create healthy and delicious meals at a moment’s notice. What’s more, having a kitchen stocked with good-for-you options can help you peel off unwanted pounds. That’s because home-cooked meals typically amount to smaller portions and fewer calories than restaurant food, less saturated fat and added sugars than in processed and ready-to-eat items, and more fruits and vegetables than in most dishes you get served away from home.
Perhaps the most memorable among the many quotable aphorisms by food writer Michael Pollan is: “Eat food; not too much; mostly plants.” Brilliantly simple, if rather vague, this is a fundamentally valid insight about diet and health. But instead of heeding such advice and applying it to good effect, our cultural proclivity for focusing on one food, nutrient, or ingredient as scapegoat or salvation has us explore every alternative means of eating badly. As a result, we have a massive, growing global burden of obesity and chronic disease to show for it.
Mounting evidence underscores the critical role inflammation plays in the development and continuation of diet and lifestyle-related diseases. In fact, besides obesity and type 2 diabetes, inflammation contributes to almost every modern chronic illness, including heart disease, cancer, and dementia as well as arthritis, autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive disorders. So, next time you have your blood work done, make sure that along with your lipid profile you request a C-reactive protein (CRP) test that measures the degree of hidden inflammation in your body.