For most people 5% is enough to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Your weight loss success may also mean that you help to lower your blood pressure. There are many other health benefits, too – research has shown that a loss of 5–10% of your starting body weight can make a real difference.
- Lowers your body’s cholesterol levels
- Can improve blood sugar control
- Reduces aches and pains
- Improves mobility
- Can improve your breathing
- Helps you to sleep better
- Reduces the risk of sleep apnoea
- Helps prevent angina – chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart.
- Decreased your risk of sudden death from heart disease or stroke
- May stop the need from regular medication
- Reduces the risk of certain cancers
Your emotional health will also benefit hugely. People who have lost 5-10% of their body weight report improvements in quality of life, a noticeable reduction in depression symptoms, increased energy, plus a more positive attitude to life.
Little By Little
When it comes to weight loss, some people are unduly hard on themselves. They feel that they won’t be truly happy until they have lost three or four times the amount necessary to start seeing a difference.
The trick is to be realistic about your weight-loss goals and how long it will take to achieve them. Don’t discount the small losses you’ve accomplished either – they are very significant and should be used to spur you on. Trying to lose too much too quickly can undermine your efforts and actually work against you, and is more likely to result in your weight yo-yoing, which is detrimental to your progress.
Breaking your weight loss journey into small, manageable steps of 5–10% will help to keep you motivated. If you have a lot of weight to lose, reaching Goal may seem like a daunting task, but having a set of measurable targets will help you to stay on track and keep you focused.
As you achieve each goal, it will give you that all-important momentum to increase your level of motivation still further to keep going and achieve your Goal Weight.
As you lose weight, your overall energy needs are also naturally reduced. To counteract this and resume your weight-loss rate, you may need to step up your daily activity levels. These small adjustments will make all the difference and get you back on track.
Superfoods For Women
Blueberries, broccoli, Brazil nuts and, er, red wine; these are the superfoods that we know and (should) love. But while it's a great idea to eat these uber-healthy snacks as often as you can, there is a much wider selection of superfoods just waiting to be discovered.
From omega-3-rich seeds to cancer-fighting spices, we take a look at the less well-known superfoods you should introduce to your shopping basket.
The word 'antioxidant' makes us think of berries, dark chocolate and apples. But a less well appreciated source of these vital nutrients is cinnamon, which - along with its anti-inflammatory properties - acts like an anti-ageing potion, keeping you free of wrinkles and bursting with vitality.
Cinnamon is also thought to lower blood sugar levels, preventing cravings and weight gain and protecting the body against conditions like diabetes.
There is more to this spice than its unique colour. Like cinnamon, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, fighting free radicals that attack the body and preventing conditions like cancer and organ damage. Turmeric gets its distinctive hue from curcuminoid pigments, an antioxidant that works alongside the peptide turmerin to scoop up free radicals and keep your body in tip-top shape.
A much overlooked superfood, sprinkling watercress onto salad or blitzing into a delightfully green soup floods your body with vitamins and minerals. Gram for gram, watercress is a more abundant source of vitamins C, B, K, E, iron, calcium and zinc than apples and tomatoes.
Only cancer-fighting superfood broccoli has more vitamin C. Watercress is also packed with antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin and quercetin, and is - ironically considering its name - thought to flush excess fluid from the body.
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are the most oft-cited sources of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which the body needs to prevent illnesses such as cancer, keep energy levels topped-up and improve cognitive function. Experts recommend eating oily fish 2-3 times a week, but this shouldn't be your only source of these essential fats.
Chia seeds, which you sprinkle on salads, soups, vegetables and muesli, are relatively tasteless but add a satisfying crunch as well as a healthy dose of omega-3s, dietary fibre, protein and low-GI carbohydrates, helping you feel full up for longer and putting a stop to cravings.
White rice - bad. Wholegrain rice - good. Black rice - even better. Known as 'Forbidden rice' because ancient Chinese nobles hoarded it for themselves and kept it away from the commoners, a spoonful of black rice contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than the equivalent amount of blueberries, as well as more fibre and other vitamins. It's also low in fat and sugar, so it can also aid weight loss.
Don't be fooled into thinking popcorn is pure junk food; the sugar-coated (or even worse, butter) variety served in huge buckets at your local cinema may be overflowing with calories, but regular, plain popcorn is perhaps the most surprising source of uber-healthy antioxidants, according to researchers. As well as being high in fibre, scientists found that popcorn also contains seriously high levels of polyphenols, which can protect against heart disease, cancer and ageing.
Wild flowers and herb flowers
We are all more than happy to eat herbs as part of a balanced, healthy diet, but flowers? So often discarded before the herbs reach your local greengrocer or supermarket, herb flowers are deliciously tasty as well as being incredibly good for you. Garlic, roses, lavender, thyme, chives, dill and dandelion serve up antioxidants such as flavonoids, polyphenols and anthocyanins and can reduce the risk of heart failure. They also look great sprinkled on salads.
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, goji berries... they all wear the well-deserved moniker of 'superfood'. Now add the tiny aronia berry, a handful of which a day is thought to have a positive effect on your gut, protecting you from stomach problems and illnesses of the digestive system, such as colon cancer. The high antioxidant count also reduces the risk of blood clots and cardiovascular illness.
This tropical fruit, grown mainly in South and Central America, is one of the best sources of vitamin C on the planet. Barbados cherry, as it's also known, contains more than 30 times the amount of vitamin C found in orange juice.
But what is it good for? Vitamin C is known to strengthen the immune system, prevent ageing by promoting tissue growth and repair and ironing out wrinkles, and is also thought to fight stress (presumably because it stops you looking like a prune's handbag).
Quite simply a superfood in liquid form, Chinese Oolong tea is (as opposed to that calorific cappuccino you pick up every morning) known to speed up metabolism and therefore help you to lose weight. It's also a rich source of multi-vitamins including A, B, D, E and K, as well as nutrients potassium, zinc and calcium. Tea, anyone?
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