Battling Eating Disorders During the COVID Pandemic

Man eating a sandwichHaving an eating disorder is like carrying the devil on your shoulder, who forces you to think about food around-the-clock and then guilt-trips you into feeling awful when you grab a bite to eat. People living with eating disorders develop an unhealthy relationship with food; they get obsessed and consequently feel rattled whenever there is food readily available. 

So, for most people in this category, the best escape becomes avoidance. They start avoiding food and discussions about food, but ironically they can only think about only one thing – food. This ultimately leads to a vicious cycle of starvation and binge eating.

In order to regain control over their thought process, people with an ED distract themselves and try to stay away from stressful situations that can trigger their disordered eating behavior. Doing that is not easy as it sounds, but during a pandemic, staying on track in your fight against ED becomes exceptionally challenging. And that’s precisely what these patients have been experiencing ever since COVID-19 took over our lives.

The Pandemic, the Resulting Stress and Disordered Eating

The coronavirus outbreak has been exceedingly stressful and continues to be even more distressing due to the overriding uncertainty regarding the future. Nobody knows when the pandemic will end, if at all, and how long till a cure is concocted (see latest vaccine news here), and this suspense has almost everyone agitated.

But for people with mental health disorders, all this suspenseful stress has led to much graver consequences, such as aggravated symptoms since there are food scarcity scares, panic buying and the quarantine 15. Let’s go over some of the factors that are contributing to exacerbated ED symptoms.  

Contributors of Worsened ED Symptoms in the Pandemic 

The Corona-Anxiety

For some, corona-anxiety is the restlessness that comes from not knowing what the future holds coupled with the fear of getting the virus; for others, it’s a combination of general anxiety and individual struggles, such as increased disordered eating behavior.

Food Scarcity Scares and Panic Buying

Woman purchasing food during the COVID pandemic
Photo: CC-Pexels

Ever since the pandemic started, there have been speculations about a possible food shortage and subsequently prompted people to panic-buy and stockpiling groceries. The ever-running cycle of hoarding has been nothing but tough for people with Eating Disorders.

They are forced to think about a time without eatables, so they panic by purchasing food but then when they are in the supermarket, it triggers unhealthy binge-eating patterns.  

The Pandemic Fifteen

Staying home most of the time means increased exposure to social media and its triggering content, making life for people with eating disorders a living hell. And the concept of pandemic fifteen is a result of the harmful, stereotypical body-shaming ideas that the media puts out.

Essentially, it’s a rather bleak take on “freshman fifteen,” which refers to the weight (15 lbs.) a freshman in college puts on during their first year. People are now using that term with regard to the pandemic by calling it the pandemic fifteen or quarantine 15, referring to the most likely chance of weight gain during this global crisis.  

Social Distancing and Restrictions

For many ED patients, social restrictions have added fuel to the fire as they cannot have regular sessions with their therapist or meet with friends and family for support. The lack of social interaction means people with eating disorders are left alone with their thoughts that can overwhelm them and an abundance of food in the pantry, setting the perfect storm for eating disorders to go rampant. 

If you struggle with disordered eating, you should consider the following tips to take control back from your illness.

How to Cope with Eating Disorders during the Pandemic?

Sandwich with measuring tape around it
Losing weight with the Paleo diet. Photo: CC Pixaby

Recovery can be different for different people. For some, not eating another piece of chocolate during a binge-eating session may be a step towards recovery, while for others, it could be not working out when all they want to do is over exercise.

 So while everyone has their individual battles to fight, some universal measures can help people with EDs stay in control of their illness during the pandemic.

Seek Help

Seeking professional help may seem like a tall order due to all the restrictions in place, but you can do that virtually. Go online, and look up counselors and experts who can help you stay on the path to recovery.

Couple talking to a medical professional
Photo: Unsplash-080620-tim-gouw-bwki71ap-y8

You can (and should) ask your present therapist (if you have one) if they can connect with you through a video calling software so that you can keep up with your sessions. You should also inquire if there’s an expert close to your area who would give in-person private sessions.

Regardless of which route you choose to get help for your eating disorder, you must look for resources to guide you through this difficult time.

Chalk Out an Eating Routine

To avoid binge eating and then compensating for that, you should consider setting up a daily eating routine. But that doesn’t mean you start practicing restrictive dieting; that’s not what we meant.

When we say an eating routine, we mean to set a time to have your meals every day so that you don’t go without eating for long durations and end up overstuffing. But don’t get too strict with the regime. If some days you eat out of your scheduler, don’t beat yourself up or resort to compensatory measures such as starving the next day or over-exercising.

Join an Online Support Group

Living in the era of technology has its perks, and the biggest of them is being able to connect with people online. Use the internet to get in touch with other ED patients so that you have people to share your struggles with.

Joining a digital ED community will also help you stay on track with your recovery and reduce the chance of relapse.

The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) has an extensive array of online forumsvirtual support groupsonline peer communities, recovery mentors, and live meal support to help ED patients for free or at a low cost. Engage with any of the NEDA platforms to keep your disordered eating patterns in check.

Ending Note

We understand that it’s easier said than done, but try to love yourself and look at food as fuel for the body and not a reward or punishment. What you see on social media is not necessarily true, so stop comparing yourself with others.

Remember that you are living through a pandemic. Focus on being alive and happy instead of how you should look because that’s the societal standard of beauty.

Woman jumping with happieness
Photo: CC Pxhere


Best Foods to Eat and Vitamins to Take to Stay Healthy!

Photo by Trang Doan from Pexels
You can never go wrong with fresh fruit! (Photo: Trang Doan/Pexels)

Feeling tired, sluggish, or getting sick a lot? Maybe you’re not eating the right foods!

Proper nutrition and hydration are important to keep up a strong immune system, which is more important than ever now during this COVID pandemic.

People who maintain a well-balanced and healthy diet have a lower risk for infectious diseases and even chronic illnesses. 

Here are the best foods to eat and vitamins to take to strengthen your immune system and lower the risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19. 

Eat Fresh Foods and Avoid Processed Ones

Among the best foods to eat and vitamins to take is by eating fresh foods. Eating vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and foods sourced from animals is a great idea. You can make lots of meals out of beans, lentils, potatoes, wheat, oats, rice, eggs, milk, fish, meat, eggs, etc. 

The daily recommended intake is to eat two cups of fruits, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 160g (~3 oz) of beans and meat, and 180g (~5.5 oz) of grains. For snacks, you can choose fresh fruits and raw vegetables rather than going for foods that are high in salt, fat, or sugar. Avoid overcooking the fruits and vegetables since that can strip away the vital nutrients. If you are going for dried or canned fruits and vegetables, you should try varieties that don’t have a lot of added sugar or salt. 

Staying Hydrated by Drinking Enough Water 

Girl Drinking Water After Aerobics ExerciseWater is the most important nutrient you can have. It helps to regulate the temperature of the body, transports compounds and nutrients and cushions and lubricates the joints. Everyone needs to drink eight to ten cups of water daily to make sure their immune system is working in optimum condition. 

A lot of people don’t like the plain taste of water, but you can incorporate fruits, drinks, and vegetables that also contain water. Lemon juice mixed in with water can be nourishing for the body too. You should remember that many beverages do not actually hydrate you. Having too many caffeinated drinks or sweetened drinks can be worse for you. Try some of those real fruit smoothies! 

Fast and Oils are Important in Moderation 

It is better to eat unsaturated fats like avocado, fish, nuts, soy, olive oil and sunflower oil is better than saturated fats like butter, fatty meats, cheese, cream, lard, ghee, or coconut oil. Avoiding red meat. Having white meat like fish and poultry is better since it is lower in fat. Processed meats can also have a high content of salt and fat, such as deli meats. Even dairy and milk that have reduced or low fat can be great options. 

One thing that you should absolutely avoid is trans fats, which are often found in snacks, fast food, processed food, cookies, spreads, pies, and frozen pizza. 

Eat Less Sugar and Salt 

Can of sugar cubesWhile preparing and cooking food, you should reduce the amount of high-sodium ingredients and salt. Going easy on the fish or soy sauce can be a good idea. The daily intake of salt should be less than 5g or a teaspoon. It is also better to use iodized salt and avoid snacks that have a lot of sugar and salt. 

Limiting the intake of your sodas and soft drinks that have a high amount of sugar like syrups, flavored milk, and juice concentrate, not to mention the weight gain! Selecting fresh fruits instead of eating sweet things like chocolate, cakes and cookies can go a long way. 

Reduce Eating Out 

While it can be important to support local businesses at this time of need, cooking at home as much as possible helps limit the rate of coming into contact with others, but if you do go out, be sure to maintain the six-foot required distance between you and others and wear your mask. Also, pick a restaurant that you know goes the extra effort to keep the chairs and tables disinfected. Eat outside the restaurant if possible.

If you order take-out, make sure to go for no-contact deliveries where you pay without cash. Remember to tip well too! 

September 16, 2022 Update: Now with the Covid crises almost over, you can gradually return to you normal lifestyle, which means visiting restaurants without those stringent Covid rules and fear looming over your head, but we would still recommend precautions. Bring a sanitizer with you. Wash your hands before you eat and wash the table as well. Masks are still recommended.

Vitamins and Minerals 

Eating healthy foods is one of the best ways to go

The best foods to eat and vitamins to take during the pandemic (and during normal times as well) include the following. 

  • Vitamin D: Probably the most important vitamin you can take (either via natural foods or over-the-counter). This nutrient is filled with important benefits, which include the following:
      • Supports lung function
      • Supports your heart
      • Strengthens bones and teeth
      • Supports your immune system
      • Supports the brain and nervous system
      • It may help to reduce some cancers

And the foods you should eat that contain vitamin D are:

      • Fish, especially tuna and salmon
      • Orange juice, soy milk, and some cereals (read the ingredients on the box)
      • Cheese
      • Egg yolks

Other important vitamins for your body’s health are:

      • Vitamin A: This can help maintain the health of your respiratory system and intestines and since COVID attacks the lungs, this would be one vitamin to take very seriously. Foods rich in vitamin A include spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, red bell peppers, and broccoli.
      • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is best known for keeping your bones in good shape and builds up your immune system. You can have kiwis, red bell peppers, and citrus fruits to up your vitamin C intake. The recommended daily amount for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams (mg) per day.
      • Vitamin E: Helps to neutralize free radicals by acting as an antioxidant. Vitamin E exists in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and avocados.
      • Zinc: Many enzymes in the body are dependent on zink and a deficiency can lead to a dysfunction in the immune system. Foods rich in zinc include nuts, seeds, beans, poultry, meat, and seafood.
      • Protein: Amino acids are a good protein and is needed for the T-cell function that protects the cells from pathogens, like the COVID-19 virus. Items like seeds, nuts, beans, eggs, seafood, poultry, and meats have plenty of protein that can be good for you. 


Two Men Exercising on MatAt the end of the day, you have to remember that foods aren’t the only thing that will keep you safe. While the items mentioned here are considered the best nutrients and vitamins to take, especially during this pandemic, good exercise is also highly recommended.

And remember, these guidelines do not only apply when there is a pandemic, such as the coronavirus, but they are recommendations you should follow every day. 




9 Surprising Benefits of Curry Leaves

Curry Leaves

So you think you’ve had heard enough of weight loss and ingredients that will boost your health! Well, fret no more, because here is another natural entity that is known to help you to lose weight and keep you healthy.

Whether it’s fried lentils or fish curry, the aromatic and flavorsome curry leaves are an essential ingredient of South Asian cuisine. The Indian and Thai curries are practically incomplete without the strong and pleasing aroma of this plant. But very few people know that this distinct flavor is packed with numerous health benefits. 

Curry leaves are considered to be a rich source of Vitamin A, B and C. They are rich in iron and calcium as well. Let’s take a look at what curry leaves can do for you.

Aids in Weight Loss 

Checking Waistline

Curry leaves aid in weight loss. Sounds surprising? This is the normal reaction when people find out that curry leaves is a special ingredient which can help you lose weight. The plant compound known as carbazole alkaloid helps in weight loss by burning stubborn fats stored in the body. Also, the antioxidants present in curry leaves help wash out the toxin stored in different parts of the body. Together, it is reflected through weight loss. 

In order to lose weight, you need to increase the consumption of curry leaves. Using them as a topping on salads or curries might not be enough to lose weight. Instead, it should be a regular part of your meal. You can simplify much on dried curry leaves or can add them lavishly to your meals. For better results, combine the use of curry leaves with regular exercise and a healthier diet.  

Stimulate Digestive Enzymes 

The Digestive System

The plant compounds present in curry leaves aid in digestion. They work by stimulating digestive enzymes which in turn improves metabolic activity and bowel movement. So if you are someone who gets constipation or diarrhea often, then curry leaves are your lifesaver. 

For best results, you can simply chew on fresh curry leaves on an empty stomach.  Other ways to consume curry leaves is to add dried leaves to buttermilk. Again, you need to use this mixture on an empty stomach. Drinking this mixture can help relieve numerous problems of the digestive system including diarrhea and constipation. 

Helps Relieve Nausea

Nausea is a common condition among pregnant women. Curry leaves are considered to be a natural relief from nausea and morning sickness associated with pregnancy. Since curry leaves enhance the functioning of digestive enzymes, it helps relieve nausea and morning sickness. 

Many people chew fresh curry leaves while others notice an improvement in their symptoms simply by the strong and refreshing aroma of curry leaves.  

Reduce Blood Sugar Levels 

Curry leaves are a natural way to control blood sugar levels. If consumed regularly, curry leaves have a dual mode of action when it comes to controlling blood sugar levels. Curry leaves stimulate the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Also, curry leaves prevent the pancreas from the damage caused by free radicals. 

Together, both these actions work favorably in controlling the blood sugar levels and delaying the onset of conditions such as diabetes. In case, you already have diabetes, regular use of curry leaves can help keep your blood sugar levels under control. 

Heals Wounds and Skin Infections 

Curry leaves are rich in antioxidants and possess antibacterial properties. This makes them an excellent topical antibiotic which is very effective for healing wounds and skin infections. 

In case of a wound which is not too deep, you can apply a paste made up of curry leaves. You can add a little water to get the right consistency. Apply the paste over the wound and leave it overnight. The plant compounds present in curry leaves enhances the skin restoration process. It also helps restore the hair growth in the affected area. Due to the antibacterial properties, the use of curry leaves paste is recommended for inflammation on the skin, skin boils and even first degree burns. 

Improves Hair Growth 

As mentioned earlier, curry leaves can improve hair growth. They are not only effective in repairing hair after skin damage skin but also stimulate the growth of normal hair. It works by stimulating the hair follicle which promotes the growth of healthy and strong hair. 

Curry leaves are equally effective against hair loss or early greying of hair. In case of some skin conditions, such as dandruff, use of curry leaves paste is recommended. But in case of some serious medical condition, it is best to consult a dermatologist. 

Protects Brain Health and Improves Memory

Brain Motor & Sensory Perception Illustrated

Regular consumption of curry leaves can significantly improve memory. Though there is limited evidence of this claim, research indicates the plant compounds present in curry leaves may help protect the health of your brain and other parts of the nervous system. 

A research was conducted to find out the effect of using curry leaves on Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurological disease. The results indicated that regular use of curry leaves reduces the amount of oxidative damage in the brain cells. Oxidative damage in the brain is associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s’ disease. 

Reduce the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases 

High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases including angina and heart attacks. Curry leaves may improve your heart health in multiple ways. Research indicates that the use of curry levels can help reduce cholesterol and the level of triglycerides. As a result, it protects your heart’s health. 

May Have Anti-Cancer Ingredients

While it might be too early to claim, there is undergoing research to find out the effect of curry leaves on different types of cancer. In an undergoing laboratory research curry leaves have been found to be effective against cells of breast and cervical cancer. There is ongoing research on how curry leaves respond to other types of cancers such as colon and lung cancer. Though the research is currently in its initial stages, researchers are positive about the antioxidants present in curry leaves and their effect on cancer. 


It might be surprising that a simple kitchen ingredient can be packed with beneficial plant compounds. Research indicates that the antioxidant compounds present in curry leaves can help reduce weight and inflammation and minimize the risk of cancer and other inflammation related diseases. It is also known to protect the neurological and gastrointestinal health of a person. There are numerous other health benefits associated with the use of curry leaves. It reduces the risk of heart diseases by reducing cholesterol and also possess anti-cancer properties. 

But the best part is these tiny leaves can significantly enhance the taste and aroma and make even the most ordinary dish special. Curry leaves are easy to add to cuisine. You can find dried curry leaves which you can sprinkle over savory dishes. You can also use the fresh leaves, sauté them in oil and add to top your curries. Regardless of how you use curry leaves, this flavorful ingredient will transform the taste of your dish.

Can Bananas Help Weight Loss?

Ripe bananas against a yellow background

People have conflicting views on the weight-loss friendliness of bananas. Some say they aid weight loss, while some believe that they help weight gain. The constant bickering between the pro and anti-banana camps leave a layperson befuddled. Bananas are an excellent snack choice because they are filling and have a sweet taste that can feel like a delightful respite on a sugar-free diet. And even without a low-calorie diet, bananas can be a great snack option or a supplementary food item.

But when people get caught up in the calories of bananas, they lose sight of the many benefits of the fiber-rich food. And consequently, avoid eating bananas. However, a person shouldn’t cut bananas out of their diet entirely for fear of weight gain because they offer a bunch of nutrients that keep the body healthy.

Before passing a verdict on bananas’ ability to assist or inhibit weight loss, let’s consider the arguments of both the camps.

 The Pro-Banana Camp

The pro-banana camp supports eating bananas on a daily basis because they think it’s more good than bad. That is, even though bananas have calories, the excessive nutrients that a banana has to offer counter those calories. It’s packed with fiber that keeps a person fuller for longer during, hence reduces frequent food intake. And as a result, the overall calorie intake remains in control.

Some radical members of the camp may even believe that since bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals, the calories in the fruit are not harmful. There is no scientific study to support that argument, but some people continue to use the high nutrient count of bananas as an excuse to binge eat them.

One segment of the pro-banana camp, who are health-conscious, believe that on a strict diet, having a banana is an excellent way of satisfying sugar cravings with the added benefit of getting other nutrients as well.

Underripe bananas have high quantities of resistant starch, which doesn’t digest in the gut. And as a result, it floats in the blood and acts like soluble fiber, which helps in weight loss and reduces blood sugar. But that happens if you consume bananas that are a bit green. A person doesn’t have to eat an utterly unripe banana; just a bit of under-ripe banana can do the trick. However, more research is required to make a definitive claim to support resistant starch theory.

Bananas have a low to medium glycemic index, which is the ability of a food item to raise the blood sugar level. Not all bananas have a low glycemic index, but most of them do, depending on their ripeness. Slightly under-ripe bananas have a lower glycemic index than overripe bananas. Nonetheless, bananas don’t spike the sugar level in blood tremendously. So that’s also one reason why people like to eat bananas.

Bananas release their sugar slowly. That is, the body gets sugars from bananas at a linear pace; therefore, a person doesn’t feel an instant surge in the blood sugar levels after consuming a banana. High GI food items are linked with weight gain and diabetes. But since bananas have low to medium GI levels, they are considered to be weight loss friendly. No conclusive research is available to attest to these claims. More study on this aspect of bananas is required.

Now that we have gone over all the possible arguments played by the pro-banana camp let’s move on to the anti-banana camp now.

The Anti-Banana Camp

People in this camp are staunch believers in the fattening properties of bananas. They avoid bananas for fear of weight gain due to the high-calorie count in bananas. To better understand the calorie count of a banana, let’s take a look at the nutrient label of a medium-sized banana.

Calories 150
Potassium: 12% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 20% of the RDI
Vitamin C: 17% of the RDI
Magnesium: 8% of the RDI
Copper: 5% of the RDI
Manganese: 15% of the RDI
Fiber: 3.1 grams

Most members of the anti-banana community steer clear of them in favor of other fruits that offer the same amount of nutrients without stacking up on calories such as apples. A cup of apple slices has about 60 calories, while a cup of banana slices has around 135 calories.

Furthermore, the source of calories in a banana is carbohydrates. Bananas aren’t high on fats, but it does have a high carb count. Most of the carbs in a banana are glucose, fructose, and sucrose, which are also sugar components. Sugar turns into body fat more quickly than other calorie sources.

However, things can be different in starch resistant food items as they release their sugar gradually in the body. So if a person works out and burns their calories, they don’t have to worry about the sugar in bananas turning into body fat.

Bananas have a bad rap in terms of their calorie content. People defame bananas based on their high-calorie content without considering the high fiber content of bananas, which can aid in weight loss.

What’s the Final Verdict?

Bananas are indeed high in calories, but they offer other healthy compounds and micronutrients. A person shouldn’t dismiss the nutritional benefits of bananas in fear of gaining weight due to the calories it has. If eaten wisely, a banana can add a lot of nourishment to a person’s diet.

With that said, bananas are not free food. Even though they are charged with nutrients, their calories are a reality. You cannot binge-eat bananas and expect to lose weight. But that’s true for most food items. As long as you take them in moderation, they can help you with your body/fitness goals.

Deciding on whether to include bananas in your diet depends on your goals and personal choice (do you like the taste of bananas?). If you want to lose weight, having a banana can sustain you for longer durations. So you can create a calorie deficit by not eating anything else after consuming a banana. But if you like to eat something at short intervals when dieting, then you might want to avoid eating bananas often.

Don’t completely rid your diet of bananas and don’t also include too many of them in your diet. Consume them in moderation, and you will be fine.

The Connection Between Seafood and Mental Health


In the last decade, we have started seeing foods from the lens of a calorie count. Still, very few people consume anything in their staple eating by keeping in mind their mental health and wellbeing.

The growing body of research suggests that there are many foods that play a crucial role in maintaining our mental wellbeing. Many of them also cut down the possibility of mental conditions that are associated with aging (Alzheimer, Dementia). In short, one should also factor in the mental health effects while adding a certain food to the diet.

In this article, we are going to discuss an interesting food category that entails various benefits for mental health and development. On top of that, these foods are also considered healthy from a conventional standpoint i.e. they are packed with healthy nutrients and contain a moderate number of calories.

We are talking about seafood, which is now an essential part of many healthy and weight-losing diet regimens. Here, we will keep the focus of the discussion on the mental health effects of seafood consumption.

Seafood is Memory Booster

Neurons in the Brain
Neurons in the Brain

Our memory diminishes as we grow older, as a decline in our electrophysiological activity dissipates; meaning, the electrical activity of our neurons slows down.  Different studies have proved that manganese, a trace mineral, plays a central role in keeping up neuronal activity. Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral that can’t be formed in an organic reaction, which means our body can’t produce it.

So, we have to get the required manganese amount through dietary sources. Seafood, of all types, is rich in manganese. By making seafood a part of your daily diet, you can prevent a potential manganese deficiency. It is important to mention that manganese deficiency doesn’t happen with any telltale symptoms.

Salmon is rich in many other minerals; such as Fatty Acids, proteins, B Vitamins, Potassium, Selenium, Antioxidant Astaxanthin, and studies have shown it may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Mussels are good seafood that contains manganese. A few others are 83% DV in 20 small clams, 45% DV in 3 oz of oysters, and 19% DV in 3 oz of cooked crayfish. (Other sources of manganese are found in quinoa, pecans, oatmeal, and whole-wheat pasta.) By making seafood more frequent in your diet, you don’t have to worry about manganese deficiency and subsequent memory loss.

A standard blood test by your physician can determine your manganese level. These tests are usually given during your yearly physical, although, the doctor may require a special test if he/she determines that you might be missing the standard manganese requirement. This goes for all vitamins and minerals that would be tested.  

Seafood Is Good for Mood

Fresh Sea Trout on a plate Many people underestimate the significance of foods that uplift the mood. A good demeanor is not just a fleeting mental phenomenon. By keeping your mood good, you can mitigate the effects of chronic stress. Mood also helps alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. In short, how your mood fares affect your mental health and consequently dictates the quality of your life.

So, mood-boosting foods are important, and here’s some good news: fish is one such dietary option that uplifts our moods. Seafood is rich in tryptophan—one of the eight essential amino acids. This amino acid is special because it is the metabolic precursor of serotonin, commonly known as the happy hormone. Tuna is a good source of tryptophan as well as salmon, trout, and Mackerel.

Tryptophan helps maintain serotonin

With seafood being a part of your diet, you help maintain the serotonin levels in the brain.  

Seafood and Neurological Development

The neurological development of a fetus is really crucial for many reasons. To begin with, its abnormalities can affect the growth of other parts of the body. Secondly, insufficient neurological development can turn into some permanent brain issues. In order to ensure healthy neurological development in unborn children, it’s important that pregnant mothers don’t face the deficiency of nutrition that goes into the development of the brain.

The inclusion of seafood in the daily diet of pregnant mothers can facilitate the healthy neurological growth of the fetus. Some scientific studies have substantiated the beneficial impact of seafood consumption among mothers on the brain health of the newborn.

Seafood Prevents Mental Fatigue

Salmon on a plate

Zinc is another trace mineral that is considered central to mental health. It maintains the activity of the cognitive function of the brain by ensuring non-stop synaptic transmission. Nearly every seafood item is rich in zinc. By making seafood a regular part of your daily diet, you can make sure zinc levels don’t deplete within the body.

Zinc helps ensure non-stop synaptic transmission

Zinc is also believed to have remedial effects against depression. For that matter, it is a part of many antidepressant medications. Nevertheless, the studies regarding the antidepressant action of zinc are still inconclusive.

Seafood Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer’s

Dementia PatientFor many years, Alzheimer’s was considered an inevitable outcome of aging. However, scientists have put forward some theories and experimental results showing that Alzheimer’s is not always the side effect of aging.

In one similar study published in the American Medical Association (JAMA), it has been established that making seafood a regular part of your diet can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by half in the later stages of life. It is believed that the accumulative mental health benefits of eating fish actually erect a barrier against Alzheimer’s.

Healthy Seafood to Eat

There are some options that you can mull over to add to your daily diet to get all the mental health benefits discussed above. These dietary fish options are also healthy with their calorie count and nutritional composition.


Cooked shrimp

Shrimp is a great food source for iodine, a mineral that many people are deficient in. Iodine is a necessary ingredient for proper thyroid function and brain health.

Shrimp is also a great source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to be helpful for people with anxiety and mood swings, such as bipolar disorder and contains a number of other helpful nutrients for the body and brain.

Freshwater Coho Salmon

Freshwater Salmon is free of any harmful mercury traces. It is packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and trace minerals essential for mental wellbeing. Moreover, there are many delicious recipes that can be prepared with salmon. If you can’t easily find freshwater Salmon, get the canned one.


Sardines are inexpensive fish packed with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. This is another seafood option that can be added to the diet for its benefits for mental health.

Atlantic Mackerel

This dietary fish is good for many reasons. It contains all the ingredients to improve mental health. In addition, it is rich in proteins. So, you can also make it part of a weight-loss diet plan.

Eating more seafood is good for health in all aspects. They are packed with good fats and proteins. They don’t contain calories in excess. Also, they are easily available. To sum it up, seafood is a perfect dietary option for both physical and mental wellbeing.

Benefits of the 16:8 Diet Plan

Medical Advisory

It should be kept in mind that every diet plan entails different benefits and side effects for each individual; therefore, we are not suggesting that you do this diet on your own.

When it comes to fasting, there are a variety of factors that need to be addressed – your current health for one, as well as how it will affect your lifestyle.

Additionally, other factors must be addressed; such as, whether should you be taking any other supplements or how to manage your exercise routine while on this diet. There are nutritional and medical organizations that will guide you through this process and it is highly recommended that you work with them.

But most importantly, speak to your medical professional if you are interested in taking on the 16:8 diet plan. 




Sandwich with measuring tape around it

With all its benefits and conveniences, the contemporary lifestyle has also brought many problems and unwanted after-effects in our lives. Our stagnant physical routine and unhealthy dietary habits have caused many medical conditions to become prevalent. From hypertension to obesity and uncontrolled diabetes, many existing physical ailments and complications can be attributed to unwholesome foods and a poor dietary routine.

But the bad effects of unhealthy dietary behavior don’t just stop at damaging our physical health. Unhealthy foods and untimely eating routines also have a detrimental effect on our mental health. Various scientific studies have proved that major depressive orders and stress are also becoming rampant due to bad dietary habits.

To deal with all those physical and mental health issues, nutritionists and dietary physicians are relentlessly working on different regimens. Whether it’s a Keto diet plan, Paleo eating plan, or one of those group weight plans, people now have a variety of healthy dietary regimens to choose from. Intermittent fasting is an extension of these efforts.

Scale with measuring tape on it
Photo by Pixabay

Eat What You Want, Then Stop

There are many ways to implement intermittent fasting in your daily routine and much has been written about it. For instance, one popular fasting diet plan is called 16:8. This plan entails fasting for 16 hours a day and eating is permitted for the remaining eight hours. One of the reasons for the popularity of this 16:8 diet routine is that it doesn’t put too many restrictions on food selection. People following the 16:8 diet plans can eat almost anything during the cycle of eating since it is the period when you are not eating that is important.  

Besides allowing people to eat anything they want, the 16:8 diet has also become all the rage because of its many benefits for physical and mental health. It works like this: When you are not eating, the digestive activity in your body slows down and if you have not eaten for a long period, say 8 – 12 hours, the digestive process is virtually not active at all; subsequently, giving your body the ability to do other things that can effectively increase your health.

Let’s delve into some of the benefits that a 16:8 dietary plan can do.

Can Help in Losing Weight

The majority of the population takes up any diet plan or routine for the sake of weight loss. And a 16:8 diet routine tremendously helps in shedding those extra pounds. This intermittent fasting routine instigates twofold action that results in weight loss.

Limit the Number of Calories

Woman showing how much far she lost

Excessive daily calorie intake is the leading reason for an ongoing epidemic of obesity in the developed world. The 16:8 diet routine limits the number of meals by tightening the window of eating. A person can’t have more than two meals in the eight-hour window until of course he/she is overcompensating for the fasting time by eating more than usual. So, fewer meals mean fewer calories throughout the day.

Rev Up the Metabolic Rate

An actively working metabolism is a sign of a healthy body. Faster metabolic rate quickly burns the calories thus leaving very few of them to get deposited in the body. It has been proven that fasting can help in ramping up the metabolic rate by 3.6 to 14 percent.

On one hand, a 16:8 diet routine helps in reducing your daily calorie intake value. On the other hand, it catalyzes metabolic rates resulting in an efficient calorie-burning regimen. Both these phenomena eventually result in weight loss. A study has revealed that intermittent fasting and calorie restriction can result in a weight loss of 3 to 8 percent in a period of 3-24 weeks.

Important note:

Since the 16:8 diet routine doesn’t bar people from any particular food item, people who are shedding weight don’t face the issue of muscle loss, which is an ongoing drawback of several diet plans. Apart from losing weight, people can experience some other benefits by taking up the 16:8 diet routine.

Helps in Reducing Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is a relatively newer concept for many. It entails the formation of free radicals in the body and their consequent reaction with healthy DNA and proteins to damage them. Medical scientists believe that oxidative stress is one of the underlying causes of many chronic diseases. It also amplifies the process of aging. Medical research substantiates that undergoing long periods without eating anything can increase the body’s natural resistance against oxidative stress.

16:8 Diet is Good for Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Type 2 Diabetes has become a prevailing worldwide disease in recent years. It mainly involves higher blood sugar levels due to ineffective insulin production in the body. Type 2 Diabetes entails wide-ranging complications. Its long-term implications can result in affecting the eyes, renal function, and the nervous system. Research has proven that intermittent fasting acts against insulin resistance, which consequently helps in lowering the glucose level in the blood.

Counterbalance Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors

Illustration of a heart

Cardiovascular complications are killing more Americans than any other disease. According to statistics furnished by the CDC, heart diseases kill more than 600,000 people in the country every year. People become susceptible to cardiovascular diseases as the risk factors associated with them become more pronounced.

Intermittent fasting through the 16:8 diet plan has been studied to have a positive effect on these risk factors. For instance, it helps in regulating the blood pressure. It also lowers the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and helps in lowering the blood sugar levels too. 

16:8 Diet and Brain Health

Neurons in the Brain

Things that are good for our physical health are usually good for our mental health too. The same goes for the 16:8 diet. For example, the reduction of oxidative stress, tempered inflammatory response of the body, and regulated blood sugar levels all have a positive impact on brain health and functionality.

Moreover, research on the mammalian subject reveals that intermittent fasting might help instigate the growth of new neurons. It has been studied that intermittent fasting might improve the levels of the brain-derived Neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It is a brain hormone whose deficiency is attributed to major depressive disorders.

The study by the US National Library of Medicine states: “Previous studies have shown that dietary restriction (DR) can suppress age-related deficits [abnormalities] in learning and memory, and can increase resistance of neurons to degeneration in experimental models of neurodegenerative disorders.”; meaning, abstention from eating (‘dietary restrictions’) has a positive effect on learning and decreases neural decay (‘resistance of neurons to degeneration’).

Medical Advisory

It should be kept in mind that every diet plan entails different benefits and side effects for each individual; therefore, we are not suggesting that you do this diet on your own.

When it comes to fasting, there are a variety of factors that need to be addressed – your current health for one, as well as how it will affect your lifestyle.

Additionally, other factors must be addressed; such as, whether should you be taking any other supplements or how to manage your exercise routine while on this diet. There are nutritional and medical organizations that will guide you through this process and it is highly recommended that you work with them.

But most importantly, speak to your medical professional if you are interested in taking on the 16:8 diet plan. 




The Best Foods to Eat to Minimize High Blood Pressure

Fresh vegetables

In our previous articles, we have discussed hypertension in great detail, with periodic mention of the right foods to eat. In this article, we will elaborate on the proper diet to follow that will help maintain good blood pressure levels.

According to the numbers furnished by the American Heart Association, more than 100 million US citizens are currently suffering from high blood pressure. Experts call the condition of high blood pressure a quiet pathway to death. Many people affected by this circulatory system irregularity don’t consider it a disease. However, it is a gateway to multiple illnesses of the heart and other organs, such as the kidneys. Stroke is also one of the possible outcomes of high blood pressure. So, treating high blood pressure as a non-issue is not a healthy move by any means.

Pressure greater than 120 over 80 and less than 140 over 90 is considered normal levels. For anything higher, you should consult your physician, but as the commercial says: “The more you know, the better we look”, you can change that to The more you know, the better you will look (or feel), so let’s assemble some facts.

For starters, watch this great animated video of exactly what blood pressure is and what happens when it goes over the normal limits.

It is Not always in One’s Control (but could be)

It is important to mention that some of the risk factors associated with high blood pressure are not under our control. Age, genetics, family, and racial background play a key role in the prevalence of hypertension. However, aggravating this condition is surely in one’s hands. For instance, carelessness in dietary routine can make the matters worse for patients suffering from high blood pressure. Similarly, obesity and stagnant physical activity also add insult to injury.

Food to the Rescue

Here we will talk about how the right foods can help reduce your high blood pressure. As mentioned earlier, we can’t stop the process of aging. Nor do we have the capabilities to change our genetic makeup (at least not for now). Nevertheless, we can control and minimize high blood pressure through diet adjustments with the inclusion and exclusion of some food items. In this article, we will discuss some of these foods that can help in lowering high blood pressure.

Leafy Greens

Leafy Greens help reduce sodium in your body

Arterial blood pressure shoots up as sodium is being circulated in the blood. Therefore, try to consume foods that are not rich in sodium. With the inclusion of different leafy greens in your diet, you can get rid of excess sodium in circulation through urine.

Potassium, which is abundantly present in leafy green vegetables, actually helps in driving out extra sodium from the body. Kale, lettuce, spinach, turnip greens, beet greens, arugula, and Swiss chard are some of the easily available leafy greens that you can add to your staple diet to minimize high blood pressure. Try to get fresh greens instead of the canned ones because the latter are often processed with sodium for flavor enhancement. Leafy greens also help in weight management since they only contain good nutrients.

NOTE: It should be noted that people who are on blood thinners, such as coumadin and other medications should consult their physician if it is OK to eat these vegetables.


Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries look and taste good. But more importantly, their regular use also results in lowering high blood pressure. As per research studies, the pigment (flavonoids) present in berry fruits help in normalizing blood pressure. You can easily get any of the berries all through the year. Hypertension patients who are not suffering from type-2 diabetes can add fresh berries to their daily breakfast cereals or just eat them as a natural dessert for their health benefits.

Skim Milk

Dairy products are an essential part of our staple diets. A little adjustment in their consumption can prove to be beneficial in lowering down blood pressure. Instead of using full cream milk, opt for skim milk that is low in fat and high in calcium. It has been studied that the continuous use of skim milk can reduce the chances of developing the issue of hypertension by 20 percent in the female population.

Aside from its benefits against hypertension, skim milk is good against many other physical ailments including obesity. People who can’t consume milk in its pure form can go for yogurt as an alternative.


Oatmeal is widely used as a standard breakfast meal. It is rich in fiber, low in sodium and fats, and thus healthy for people suffering from high blood pressure. Its good satiety value also helps individuals who are embroiled in the bad habit of excessive eating.  


SalmonThere are many among us who love meat-based meals in our daily dietary routine. However, people suffering from hypertension shouldn’t go overboard with the use of red meat.  Excessive use of beef and pork is strongly linked to high blood pressure. So, all those individuals who are vying to lower their blood pressure, but also don’t want to stick to a vegetarian diet can include seafood in their meals.

There are some fish meats (Salmon and mackerel) that proactively help in reducing high blood pressure because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The addition of seafood to your daily diet will fulfill your need for proteins while maintaining lower blood pressure.


Cavendish banana from MaracaiboAs mentioned earlier, potassium-rich foods help in offsetting the negative effects of sodium in the body. So, the addition of any potassium-rich food item can eventually help in minimizing blood pressure. They are easily available and you can eat them at any time of the day.


Garlic is a root vegetable that is usually used as a flavor enhancer in the preparation of many meals. But some recent studies suggest that the constant use of garlic can indirectly help in reducing the condition of hypertension. Garlic contains traces of nitric oxide. Scientists have studied that the presence of nitric oxide in the body is attributed to vasodilatation. To put it in simple words, nitric oxide increases the arterial diameter which cancels out the increased value of blood pressure.

Olive Oil

Olive oil, in general, is considered a healthy substitute for palm and other cooking oil variants. In addition, the use of olive oil also results in lowering blood pressure with its polyphenol action. Polyphenols are compounds that can resist inflammatory reactions and in so doing, help in lowering blood pressure.

Besides leafy greens, berries, seafood, bananas, and garlic, unsalted seeds, and pomegranate are also known for their physiological effects in reducing blood pressure, but if you really want to remain healthy, put the brakes on the excessive use of salt and alcohol.

A Guide for an Easy Calorie-Burning Lifestyle

Burning Calories
Photo by roxanabalint –

Regulation of calories has arguably become the single most important issue for people suffering from weight issues and consuming excessive calories is one of the primary causes of weight gain. 

Therefore, in this article, we are going to talk about some simple and quick methods to burn more daily calories. All these calorie-burning measures can be adopted by making slight tweaks in our daily routine. Even if you are not suffering from the issue of overweight, these small adjustments can help you counter so many diseases that you might otherwise be subjected to.

Do Domestic Cleaning Yourself

What’s better than an activity that can make your abode more hygienic and clean while simultaneously help you to stay in shape? Cleaning kitchen counters, vacuuming the entire home space, doing dishes, and other related domestic cleaning activities can burn a good amount of daily calories without adopting any strict diet and rigorous gym activity.

Make Slight Changes in Your Daily Commute

Man bicycle riding on a city streetBy making little adjustments in your daily commute to the office, work or college, you can add an easy calorie-burning routine to your schedule. For instance, if your work destination is nearby your home and local traffic laws allow the bike ride on the roads then consider yourself lucky because an hour of biking with moderate speed can burn more than 500 calories!

Biking your way to work and back can help you burn a significant amount of calories without carving out any additional windows in your daily routine for workout activities.

If this option is not feasible, then some other tricks can also come handy in making your commute a calorie-burning routine. If you go to work in your own vehicle, then try to find a farther parking spot and walk your way to the office. Similarly, if you use public transit for your daily commute, you can get off a station or stop earlier to add some walk or brisk walk to your schedule.

All of the discussed measures are simple and easy to execute, you don’t have to do anything extra to burn calories through these little adjustments.

Walk the Dog

Woman walking a dogHaving a pet in the house can be great for your mood. It also helps in creating an amiable environment in the house.

Moreover, having a pet dog can become a part of your easy calorie-burning routine. Take a walk with your dog a little further than you usually do or go to the nearest dog park. You can burn a nice amount of calories (and is also a good calorie burner for your dog!).

Stairs Over Elevators

Patient at Walter Reed test next-generation prosthesis walking stairsBy walking upstairs, you can burn double the amount of calories as compared to regular walking. Some people walk up four and five flights when at work just to keep their ‘blood running’.
So, just make up your mind to prefer stairs over elevators wherever you go. By making this simple adjustment in your lifestyle, you can burn more calories on daily basis.

Get Your Gardening Done

Person tending to her lawnIf your home has an outdoor space, then you can also put it to use to burn some more calories. Set up a small garden there and take up all its maintenance and sprucing activities on your own. While providing you with a great environmental friendly hobby, light gardening activity (watering, weed removal etc) for half an hour can help you in burning more than 100 calories. You can also grow some seasonal vegetables to save some bucks on your grocery shopping.

Window Shopping

Many people find it very pleasing to roam around in a mall and just check out recent products and fashion articles on display. If you are one of those individuals, then there is good news for you. You can burn roughly 100 calories with just half an hour of window shopping.

Two-Minute Walk Breaks and Lunchtime Wander

Man walking on sidewalkWhile sitting at your desk at work, you don’t need to walk for more than a few seconds throughout your shift. You can make a simple amendment in this stagnant activity to add more of a whole body movement in your working hours.

Add a two-minute window of walking every hour because one research shows that by doing so can counterbalance the detrimental effects of excessive sitting. You can devise a two-minute round-trip from your desk for every working hour. It’s very doable and will help you to prevent in developing a pot belly.

Moreover, don’t spend your lunch break in the same position you sit all day at work. Go out, have some fresh air and take a stroll for 15-20 minutes. It will rejuvenate your mind and also burn few calories.

High Line NYC
Walking the 1.4 mile High Line in New York City is an excellent way to burn off calories and keep that blood pumping

Apart from all these easy daily activities that can help you burn some quick calories, there are some occasional (weekly or fortnightly) activities that can serve the same purpose.

Site seeing, outdoor games or a hike: Explore your surroundings in whichever way you want. Try to schedule any such activity on weekends which can be served as a recreational escape and a way to burn lots of calories.  If you live in or near a big city, why not play tourist and check out all the city has to offer. In addition, just going to the city and walking a good couple of miles is a great calorie burner. In New York City, the borough of Manhattan is designed in grids; that is, every block from north to south is 1/10 of a mile, so every 20 blocks equates to one mile.

Car wash: You can save money and burn calories by cleaning and washing your car on your own.

Bottom Line:

Exercising your body to do daily routines will help you to get rid of those extra calories and keep those vital organs running at optimum levels. 

Little-Known Facts About Obesity

Photo by stevanovicigor –

Obesity is one of the most prevalent health concerns of the majority of the US population. According to the statistics furnished by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, around one-third of US adults are overweight. It is a root cause of many diseases. From cardiovascular issues to glucose levels in the blood, obesity contributes to the many health issues that we face in America today.

Being overweight is underlined by excessive fat accumulation in the body and the area which gets more traction than anywhere else is the abdominal region. People suffering from obesity are more worried about the numerous layers of adipose tissues around their abdomen, commonly known as love handles.

Obesity in general and belly fat, in particular, can also have negative side effects on your psychological health. Losing confidence and avoiding social interactions due to the concern of having an ‘imperfect’ body and appearance can affect your life in more than one way. In this article, we will outline some popular and little-known facts associated with belly fat to improve your understanding of the subject.

Belly Fat is the Most Dangerous Among All

Although all types of excessive body fats are bad for your health, it is comparatively more harmful than the others, because the abdominal adipose tissues are rich in chemicals and compounds that can aggravate the issues of diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure.

It’s Not Just About Cutting Down Your Calories

Many people try to shrink their waist by cutting down the intake of their daily calories and there are many ways to do this. Excluding the excessive amount of calories from your diet is important to remain fit and healthy, but it doesn’t ensure you will get rid of your belly fat.

The nature of the food you are consuming to fulfill your calorie needs also sets the course of belly fat reduction. Science has established that calories taken from whole grains are healthier than the ones taken from processed wheat and barley. So if you want to reduce your belly fat, reduce your calorie count not just by eating less, but also by consuming healthy food.

Condiments are Helpful in the Fight Against Belly Fat

Aside from enhancing the flavor of meals, certain condiments can also aid to shed your belly fat. For instance, apple cider vinegar has been studied for its effects on people striving to lose those extra pounds. A group of people who are regularly consuming apple cider vinegar along with their diet and exercise routine was successful in reducing more belly fat than the group that was not consuming it.

Lauren doing crunches

Belly Crunches are Not the Answer

There is a widespread misconception that crunches can help you in getting rid of belly fat. This routine is good for making your abdominal muscles strong. However, you would be disappointed if you are exhausting yourself by crunching to lose excess weight in your stomach area. Yes,the exercise in itself will help you to lose calories, but then try aerobic exercises instead of crunches if that is what you are looking to do. 

More Sitting Means More Body Fats

There’s an expression ‘Sitting is the new cancer’. If your lifestyle involves more sitting hours then it’s just a matter of time, you are more prone to acquiring additional weight. One can notice that many adults with desk jobs suffer from pot bellies, thanks to the fat accumulated around the abdomen. If you are entangled in a situation where you are required to sit for extensive hours, then add few minutes of aerobic exercises in your daily routine to offset the harmful effects of sitting.

Brisk walking, jogging, swimming or any gym activity can help you in maintaining this routine. Pick the one which you can easily accommodate in your everyday schedules.

Green Tea Aids in Losing Belly Fat  

Green tea is also a good catalyst for losing weight. However, make sure that you are not just relying on the benefits of green tea. A healthy, low-calorie diet and increased physical activity are essential to reaping the benefits of green tea for burning the fat off.

Obesity in the Abdominal Region Should be Measured in Length  

It sounds strange but if you want to effectively get rid of belly fat, then measure its reduction in inches instead of pounds. Measurement of your waist is a more precise way to gauge the success of your belly fat loss.

Number of Meals is not Proportional to the Amount of Belly Fat

Many people starve themselves in order to reduce the inches around their waist. However, the truth of the matter is that you can eat six meals a day and still shed abdominal fat. But these meals should be small in size and must be filled with healthy nutrients.

Stress is a Belly Fat Facilitator

Aside from taking its toll on your mental health, stress is also a facilitator in accumulating a layer of fat around your belly. It is physiologically underlined by the increased levels of cortisol in the blood circulation. This fight-or-flight hormone provokes untimely cravings for foods rich in fats and calories. For that reason, people with stressful lifestyles may suffer from obesity and pot bellies.

Is Belly Fat a Promoter of Metastasis?

Other than the above-discussed facts associated with belly fat, a recent research shows that it can also promote the development of cancerous tumors in the abdominal region. According to a study published in the Journal named Trends in Immunology, the layer of fat protecting vital organs in the abdominal region can turn into a threat in case of increased belly fat.

Greater omentum 1
This layer called omentum generally serves homeostasis by inducing inflammatory reactions to heal internal wounds. However, if omentum is covered by more adipose tissues in terms of belly fat then it might provide a sanctuary for cancer cells against the body’s immune response especially in case of ovarian and gastrointestinal cancers. Scientists are still working on the role of omentum and belly fat on the metastasis of cancer tumors. If this research gets substantiated further, then it will be another addition to the long list of detrimental effects of excess fat on the body.

Getting rid of belly fats is not an unattainable task. With the help of determination and effective measures to mend your unhealthy lifestyle habits, you can most certainly get in shape.

A Comparative Analysis of Popular Diet Plans

Apple with tape measure around itFitness should never be taken for granted. People are inclined to follow the latest fad in hopes of shedding a few pounds. However, if they do not make wholesale changes, they are likely to gain weight again.

A better formula to follow is to improve your lifestyle. Ideally, this includes a good diet and reasonable exercise. While an adequate exercise regime is vital and can help reduce the risk of illness, the importance of a proper diet cannot be overstated.

“Abs are made in the kitchen” is a quotation you may have either read somewhere or heard if you’ve ever been to the gym or spoken to a fitness guru. The crux of this quote is that a diet is supremely significant, perhaps even more so than exercise.

Nevertheless, we can compare mainstream diet plans to decide if they are actually worth your time.



Woman showing how much far she lostThe concept of dieting is defined as a routine where you monitor and control what you eat in order to lose, gain or maintain your weight. You can set yourself targets in terms of potential weight and eat accordingly.

Before we proceed, we need to understand that in nutrition, there are three main classes: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Each of these can be discussed in detail but it is immaterial to the differences.

One popular diet ‘plan’ is Atkins. Coined by Doctor Robert Atkins in the 1960’s, it involves a meal plan that is heavy on proteins and fat but contains virtually no carbohydrates. The basic idea is to consume greater quantities of the first two, which will help you avoid carbohydrates. It is expected that this will diminish your appetite over time.

Plate of eggs, strawberries and blueberries

The Atkins diet is divided into four phases. The primary step also called the induction stage, is to set a limit and consume only 20 grams of carbohydrates in a day. On the other hand, you must increase the quantities of protein you eat. Protein-rich foods include red meat, fish, and eggs. Fats included in the plan include dairy products like milk. However, starch-heavy foods, nuts, and caffeine are all prohibited.

You must adhere to these principles for at least two weeks. Achieving this target helps to lose weight faster since the body is subjected to an abrupt adjustment. The other three phases involve gradually reintroducing carbohydrates back into your diet once you are close to your expected weight. You can expect to shed up to 15 pounds in the first two weeks and four to six pounds in the following phases.

One of the benefits of Atkins is that it keeps you motivated early on since the initial weight loss is significant. This encourages a person to remain disciplined in his/her approach. The diet also cuts your intake of processed food, which is better for your health. It can also reduce the risk factor for developing diseases like cholesterol, sugar, and blood pressure.

Potential disadvantages are that it may cause fatigue and headaches. It will reduce the amount of fiber in your body as well as decrease your calcium levels.



Adopting a prehistoric diet from the Paleolithic era millennia ago includes a reliance on basic foods. This also explains how both names given to this diet are derived.

Our hunting ancestors were reliant on anything they could catch and make with their bare hands, for instance, meat, fish, fruits, and nuts. Alternatively, this also means processed meats; wheat, dairy, and sugar are off the menu.

This method is generally regarded as being high on proteins and low on carbohydrates.  Since there is no fixed plan, variations can be made to include a greater quantity of carbohydrates.

Omitting processed meals from your diet means a reduction in your calorie intake, which immediately helps in losing weight. The diet includes more foods that have ample nutritional value. If you abide by the Paleo diet, it will allow more flexibility since users generally follow an 80/20 rule, where they should follow the diet eighty percent of the time.

Moreover, there are no fixed meal plans, since the diet of cavemen was never accurately recorded. Paleo is not ideal for vegetarians since it has high portions of meat. Dairy products like milk are essential parts of a balanced diet but this plan discourages their consumption.



Named after its creator, a French doctor named Pierre Dukan is another low carbohydrate and high protein diet. Like Atkins, this is also split into four stages.

Phase one, which is known as the attack phase, lasts for ten days when followers must consume lean proteins from a premeditated list. A small intake of oat bran and a minimum of six glasses of water is obligatory. However, unlike Atkins, the Dukan diet bans vegetables outright and narrows fat intake in the first stage.

The remaining three steps are called cruise, consolidation, and stabilization respectively. How long you stay in each will depend on how much weight you intend to lose.

Users’ weight level drops quickly like Atkins, which can encourage them to carry on. Dukan is easy to follow and there is no need to count calories. Additionally, a vast number of foods are permitted, especially in the first phase of Dukan.

On the other end of the spectrum, it can be hard to sustain the diet since it causes exhaustion and nausea since you are cutting a majority of carbohydrates, which means the body may need time to adjust.

Weight Watchers


This plan is based on an exchange or points system called SmartPoints. Foods are assigned points value and carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are factored in.

Weight Watchers is basically a calorie control measure where no limitations are placed on followers, as long as they remain below the point threshold determined by the system. The process is more thorough as meetings and weigh-ins are scheduled regularly. The diet can help you lose about two lbs a week.

The advantage of Weight Watchers is that no food is banned, which means no great adjustment needs to be made. The plan is not restrictive and advocates balance. The concept of safety net points means you can make exceptions and indulge in your favorite food without guilt.

The drawbacks of the diet are that in the beginning, understanding and following the points system can be as taxing as counting calories. People may be unable to attend frequent meetings as well. Also, Weight Watcher branded foods are suggested, which are more expensive than other value brands.

A Mixed Approach to Losing Weight


You might want to consider a holistic approach. This plan involves the discipline of the mind and body and is usually managed by a doctor or nutritional professional. Many people have succeeded in using this plan. You can learn more about holistic medicine here.

In conclusion, it is obvious that every diet plan has its benefits and shortcomings. A significant aspect of such plans is that excessive weight is lost in the short term, but if you’re not careful in the long term, you may regain it. Therefore, above all, a healthy and balanced lifestyle is encouraged.

How About DIY – Do It Yourself?


An alternative to all of the above is DIY. All it takes is a schedule of healthy foods to eat each day, exercise, and the proper discipline and you’re in! Follow these steps to ensure you’re on the right track!

The Case of the 67-Year-Old Man

In one case, a 67-year-old man, 5’6″ in height and weighing 187 lb, decided to not follow any diet plans. Instead, he decided to simply adapt to a natural routine of eating the right foods and avoiding the bad ones.


Previously he was eating for breakfast high-calorie cereal and sometimes a bagel with it and coffee with regular milk with a sweetener. He also had some fruit with the cereal, such as blueberries and/or strawberries.
Now he bypasses the cereal and just has a low-calorie toasted English muffin with low-calorie butter and Stevia for the sweetener, which has zero calories.


This is where the weight loss plan really takes the punch. The man used to have big lunches. Cheeseburgers he would make at home or high-calorie frozen dinners and sometimes, he would go out to a fast food restaurant or the local pizza shop. Not to mention he included a glass of soda with every meal!

Now that all stopped. He currently has a light meal consisting of some tuna with a vegetable salad he would make himself or with friends or just a nutrition bar or equivalent. And to drink, just water.

Friends making a salad together
Photo: iStock


Here he would splurge, but not a big-time splurge. Maybe just a small spaghetti dinner with a couple of meatballs or possibly a cheeseburger or go out to dinner with his wife for some turkey or chicken dinner, but watching the calories.
Other times, he would just have a vegetable salad, maybe some fruit with it, and just water to drink to accelerate the process.

Late Night Snacks

He would avoid this altogether or just have something light.


Illustration of man doing a plank exercise
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

The man would exercise daily, but not extreme or even heavy exercising. He would simply walk around the block at a pace just above simple walking. Other times he would go to the mall and walk around, taking the stairs to go to other floors.

He also came up with a unique exercise. Since he is retired, he would pick up his nine-pound Maltese and walk with her around the house, as well as go up and down the stairs a few times.

He would do all or any of these routines for about 15-20 minutes or until he would feel his heartbeat increase, then work out a little more and then stop. He stops not because he has a heart condition, but because he knows that that’s when his metabolism is working at its best; however, he doesn’t want to overdo it due to his age. Of course, younger people could exercise longer if they choose.

Case Conclusion

The bottom line is that this person stopped eating those high-calorie meals and drinks, specifically, avoiding high-calorie meals for breakfast and lunch and sometimes for dinner. Avoided soda at all costs and drank water instead – he also increased his water consumption by three-fold.

He also exercised and made sure he had the required eight hours of sleep.

The result – He began losing between 1/4 – 1/2 pounds per day and is currently weighing 179 lbs just after four weeks. He believes that the weight loss is disproportional, meaning that he has been losing more because he is not eating high-calorie foods and drinks and less because he is eating the right foods, but he also knows that both are important!

The man has a simple expression for his weight loss:
It’s not about what you eat, it’s about what you don’t eat!

Note: The above true scenario is working for this gentleman, but might not work for everyone, as each person’s health condition, metabolism and age should be taken into account. It is best to talk to your medical professional if you are going to change your diet and/or exercise to be on the safe side.


Of course, there’s no guarantee that any of these will work if there are other factors involved with your physical or mental health; such as, if you are pregnant, elderly, or have an immune deficiency disorder. In cases such as these, you should consult with your doctor before proceeding.

Whatever diet you choose, any of them are worth the try and many people swear by them, so get your diet shows on and start running!