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Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer

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There is an element of luck in life but you can to an extent determine the length of your lifespan. One of the most important modifiable factors is weight. Being overweight can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Finding ways to prevent long-term weight gain is therefore conducive to a long life.

Diet is integral to weight control and research suggests it isn’t just what you eat but frequency and portion size that counts.

Researchers in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition investigated the relationship between meal frequency and timing and changes in body mass index (BMI) in the Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2) – a relatively healthy cohort enrolled throughout the United States and Canada between 2002 and 2007.

BMI is a measure of whether you’re a healthy weight for your height.

Scanning the data of 50,660 adults, the researchers investigated the number of meals per day, length of overnight fast, consumption of breakfast, and timing of the largest meal.

They then explored how these approaches corresponded to changes in BMI, to examine possible associations.

One of the key findings was that relative to subjects who ate their largest meal at dinner, those who consumed breakfast as the largest meal experienced a significant decrease in BMI.

What’s more, generic pro-erex pharm support group without prescription breakfast eaters experienced a decreased BMI compared with breakfast skippers.

In their concluding remarks, the researchers wrote that “consuming breakfast, and eating the largest meal in the morning may be effective methods for preventing long-term weight gain.”

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What to eat to promote weight loss

If you want to reduce your belly fat, you’ll need to burn more calories (energy) than you consume, and eat the right kinds of food.

Bupa recommends the following dietary tips to achieve this:

  • Make sure you eat a balanced diet. Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and veg each day, and include higher-fibre starchy foods in meals
  • Have some reduced-fat dairy or soya drinks fortified in calcium
  • Eat more beans, pulses, fish and eggs
  • Eat small amounts of unsaturated oil
  • Drink six to eight glasses of water each day
  • Avoid adding salt or sugar to your meals.

According to the health body, protein can be a helpful way to lose weight because it makes you feel fuller than carbs and fat do.

“So if you include a lean source of protein, such as skinless white chicken, in your meals you may find that you’re not as hungry, and so eat less.”

Good sources of protein include chicken breast, tuna, mackerel, salmon, eggs, milk, red lentils, chickpeas, brown bread, nuts and soya.

Regular exercise is also integral to weight loss and overall health.

UK health guidelines advise that adults do some type of physical activity every day – any type of activity is good for you.

For optimal results, you should combine moderate activity with muscle strengthening.

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer.

As the NHS explains, one way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing.

Examples of moderate intensity activities include brisk walking, water aerobics and riding a bike.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include:

  • Carrying heavy shopping bags
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Tai chi
  • Lifting weights.

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