Eat an Apple...Researchers from Pennsylvania State University found that people who ate an apple before lunch consumed nearly 190 fewer calories at the meal than those who'd taken in the same number of calories (125) in the form of applesauce, fiber-fortified apple juice, and plain apple juice. "All calories are not created equal," says Mark Hyman, MD, author of Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss. "A whole apple feels like more. It has more fiber and nutrients, and makes you feel full longer." The Penn State volunteers ate their apple about 15 minutes before lunch-and the authors suspect the effects might have been even more dramatic had they eaten the peel (which was removed), thanks to the extra fiber.
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Photo: Carlos Alvarez/iStockphotoBrush Your Teeth with Your Other Hand
Using your nondominant hand to do simple chores can improve your mood and your memory; that's because the action stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that encourages the growth of neurons linked to long-term memory and mood. "When you're depressed or under stress, your brain's production of BDNF plummets," says Moses Chao, PhD, professor of neuroscience and psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. (One of the lesser-known effects of antidepressants, he says, is to raise the levels of BDNF.) Anything unexpected-smelling rosemary first thing in the morning, for example-can activate BDNF.
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Photo: Jill Fromer/iStockphotoDrink Filtered Coffee
A growing body of evidence is linking unfiltered coffee to higher levels of both LDL and total cholesterol. The reason, scientists suspect, has to do with terpenes-compounds found in the oil from coffee beans. Unfiltered coffees such as those made in an espresso machine or with a French press or a percolator have more terpenes, which interfere with cholesterol metabolism. "Filters catch surface oils," says Nancy Snyderman, MD, chief medical editor at NBC News and author of Medical Myths That Can Kill You: And the 101 Truths That Will Save, Extend, and Improve Your Life. "I learned the hard way that gold filters do very little. Paper filters are far more effective."RELATED: 4 Exotic Grains That Can Improve Your Health
Photo: Andr/iStockphotoPower Up Your Walk
If you've been anywhere near a gym lately, you've probably heard the word "core". Targeting the abs and back, core work develops supple muscles and decreases the risk of injuries. It also improves athletic performance and eases lower back pain, according to a review from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. You can easily slip in a little core conditioning while you're walking, says Michelle Demus, program director at New York's Pure Yoga studio. Take a deep inhalation, then, with a strong exhalation, pull in your navel toward your spine; hold for a count of five, and release. Do this 10 times while you're walking, take a short rest, and do two more sets. Another way to add core conditioning to your walk is to throw in a few lunges: Keeping the spine long and abdominals engaged, step about 3 feet forward with the right foot-the knee must stay directly above the ankle-and draw the left foot up, so you're balancing on the right leg for a moment. Repeat with the other foot.
Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio DHave a Few Walnuts
If you're dragging, consider an unusual suspect: your liver. Thanks to the fatty, carb-heavy American diet, millions of adults are "increasing their odds of liver inflammation and putting themselves on the path toward cirrhosis-and they might never have touched a drink," says Jan Garavaglia, MD, host of the Discovery Health Channel's Dr. G: Medical Examiner and author of How Not to Die: Surprising Lessons on Living Longer, Safer, and Healthier from America's Favorite Medical Examiner. Fatigue and malaise are early symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; to help prevent or reverse it, try eating an ounce of walnuts daily; they contain liver-healthy omega-3s. In general, try to replace junk food with fruit, vegetables, fish, and whole grains.
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