Does Apple Cider Vinegar Live up to the Hype?

If you're like me, you've heard apple cider vinegar recommended in the past few years for everything from weight loss to lower cholesterol and better blood sugar control. How many of these claims actually stand up to science? While we haven't yet seen a ton of studies that look at the health effects of apple cider vinegar, the existing research gives some hints about the potential uses of this pungent pantry staple.

Limited Evidence of Long-Term Weight Loss

Harvard Health News reports that while acetic acid, found in apple cider vinegar, boosts metabolism and decreases fat deposits in obese rodents, these effects have not been replicated in human studies. The largest human trial on apple cider vinegar and weight loss to date, conducted in 2009 by Japan's Central Research Institute, showed moderate weight loss in participants who took 2 tablespoons of the vinegar each day. Individuals who took 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day saw similar but less dramatic effects. With just 175 study subjects, however, we need more research to determine whether these results hold true with a larger sample size.

A newer but smaller study, published in 2018 in the Journal of Functional Foods, found that the 39 overweight or obese participants achieved lower body weight and BMI with apple cider vinegar administration along with a restricted-calorie diet. These researchers, from the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, also reported an association between apple cider vinegar and reduced appetite among individuals in the study.

Rodent studies about apple cider vinegar also suggest that the ingredient can work as an appetite suppressant. A small randomized control trial published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2005 found that individuals who took apple cider vinegar along with a high-carb meal ate 200 to 275 fewer than normal calories for the day. These findings echoed research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1998, where study participants reported a more significant feeling of fullness and slower stomach emptying after taking apple cider vinegar along with a starchy meal.

Other Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

The Japanese study also found that apple cider vinegar had a modest positive effect on participants' blood triglyceride and body fat levels. In the 2018 study, participants also experienced reduced triglyceride levels, along with lower total cholesterol levels and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

Researchers in the Iranian study also reported that participants had lower visceral adiposity index levels after the apple cider vinegar regimen. VAI is a collection of body measures that can indicate a higher risk for certain types of cancer as well as heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Apple cider vinegar may also improve blood sugar control among individuals who have type 2 diabetes according to a 2016 study by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences and the National University of Singapore. Rodent studies on the effects of apple cider vinegar also support decreased insulin levels and lower blood sugar levels.

Getting Started With Apple Cider Vinegar

Without additional research, the jury is still out on the true efficacy of apple cider vinegar for weight loss and overall health. If you're curious and want to give this trick a try, apple cider vinegar is safe for most people. However, you should check with your doctor before adding a daily dose to your supplement routine. Individuals who are taking potassium-lowering medications or have diabetes can experience unwanted complications from apple cider vinegar.

In addition, you should dilute the vinegar with water to prevent its acidity from wearing away your tooth enamel. Most doctors recommend diluting one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a full 8-ounce glass of water and spreading out consumption throughout the day.

Get Creative With These Delicious Vegetarian BBQ Ideas

The words "vegetarian" and "BBQ" don't naturally flow together for most people, but they don't have to be mutually exclusive. For many people, their first thought when they hear "vegetarian BBQ" is fake meat, which often doesn't grill very well, anyway. The thing is, the best vegetarian BBQ items are fruits and veggies, and they're not only for people who don't eat meat! Add a few of these items to your next grilling session and

Grilled Corn

Grilled corn is a classic summer food. It also happens to be vegetarian because, well, it's corn. The secret to beautiful, perfectly roasted corn that isn't burnt to a crisp is brining. That's right. Soak the ears (husks and all) in a tall stockpot filled with salty water for a few hours before grilling time. When it's time to cook them, shake off the excess water, and carefully lay them on the grates. The soaked husks will help the corn steam and roast to perfection without scorching too much. When the ears are done, peel back the husks and slather the corn in butter and seasoning salt or chili powder. If you're serving grilled corn to vegans, try olive oil instead of butter.

Fruit and Veggie Kabobs

These are pretty self-explanatory. You skewer some fruits and some veggies, and you grill them. The key is figuring out which flavors go well together. You can't go wrong with red bell peppers, onion, and pineapple. Or try strawberries and peach or mango chunks with blackberries or kiwi pieces. If you're using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them first so they'll be less likely to burn on the grill.

Grilled Peaches

Try grilling peaches at your next BBQ, and summer will never be the same. This craveable delicacy is extremely simple to put together. All you need is halved peaches and a little bit of olive oil. You just brush the peaches with the oil and lay them on a medium-hot grill. Cook them for about five minutes on each side, then take them off and serve them plain, with ice cream, or however else you see fit.

Portobello Mushrooms

This is the closest thing to fake meat you'll find in this list. Grilled portobellos are delicious on their own, but they also make for decent sandwich filling. Before you cook them, whisk up a basting liquid of olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. You'll sometimes see this referred to as a marinade, but you don't want to soak your mushrooms the way you would with a true marinade. Simply brush the mixture on both sides before tossing the portobellos on the hot grill. Cook four or five minutes per side, and then serve them on hamburger buns with all the fixings.

Whether you're entertaining vegetarians at your next backyard BBQ or just trying to add fruits and vegetables to your typical cookout menu, these recipes should get you started. Once you discover how easy it is to grill delicious appetizers, desserts, and side dishes, you'll likely come up with even more ideas for incorporating your favorite fruits and vegetables during grilling season. Pro tip: You can grill just about any vegetable, but keep in mind that tiny pieces can easily fall between the grates and into the fire, so steer clear of very small veggies and when you cut veggies for grilling, keep the pieces relatively large.

Get the Facts on 5 Plant-Based Meat Substitutes

If you've been thinking about going vegetarian for health, environmental or animal rights reasons, you may wonder how you'll live without your carnivorous faves. With so many innovative plant-based meat substitutes on the market now, it's easier than ever to eat less or even no meat while still enjoying your go-to dishes. Consider this your guide to the bevy of faux meat options you'll find at your local grocery or health food store.

Tofu

Depending on how you prepare it, tofu is an incredibly versatile plant-based meat option that can sub in for seafood, chicken, pork or even beef. This soybean product, which has long been used liberally in Asian cuisine, can soak up the savory flavors of your chosen marinades and spices. When you incorporate tofu in your diet, you'll also enjoy the benefit of calcium, protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and iron. In fact, tofu is a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids the body needs for optimal function.

Even if you've tried tofu before and found it too tasteless or mushy, try purchasing an extra-firm variety and using lots of seasoning. You might be pleasantly surprised about how satisfying soy-based meat can be when you spice it up and throw it on the grill. Tofu also provides an excellent alternative to cheese and eggs if you plan to go completely vegan.

Tempeh

Although tempeh is also made from soy, the use of the whole soybean and the fermenting process create a product with a stronger flavor and an even greater nutritional value. Tempeh, which comes in small cakes or patties, is rich in vitamins, fiber and protein and offers benefits for your digestive health. You may also find tempeh products mixed with grains such as barley and quinoa.

The firm texture of this meat substitute works well in sandwiches, salads and stir-fries, or try a traditional pairing with Thai peanut sauce. Crumble it to use in place of ground beef in your favorite taco and chili recipes.

Seiten

If you avoid soy, try seitan. This pure wheat gluten product is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. You can buy seitan in premade vegan versions of burgers, bacon and sausage, or purchase straight seitan and make your own meat alternatives. Seitan is easy to prepare and can be baked, stir-fried, grilled, sauteed and marinated to your heart's content. However, keep in mind that seitan is not an option for individuals with celiac disease or other forms of gluten sensitivity.

Jackfruit

This new kid on the block is a tropical fruit with a mild taste and meat-like texture that make it an ideal substitute for pulled pork. The sweet taste pairs well with barbecue sauce and other spicy flavors. Just roast the jackfruit in the oven with your seasonings of choice for about 15 minutes for a chewy texture that will make your tacos, sandwiches and stews sing. Best of all, this fruit is rich in fiber, potassium and vitamin C. According to Medical News Today, studies show that jackfruit consumption in animals boosts "good" (HDL) cholesterol levels and decreases the levels of "bad" (LDL) cholesterol.

Mushrooms

Fungi are another outstanding meat substitute if you prefer to eat whole foods rather than processed products. The naturally meaty flavor and texture of mushrooms make these veggies a natural for tacos, stir-fries and sandwiches. You'll also get a healthy dose of fiber and very few calories, which makes mushrooms a filling no-brainer if you're trying to achieve a healthy weight.

When you're experimenting with these meat substitutes, keep an open mind and an open spice cabinet. Refer to recipes that provide step-by-step instructions on how to prepare these unfamiliar ingredients to become an expert in no time.

3 Delicious Dessert Recipes That Don’t Use Sugar

I love dessert. I don’t love what it does for my waistline or blood sugar. Fortunately, there are a variety of clever ways to enjoy a sweet treat without packing on the pounds or otherwise negatively impacting your health. Here are three of my favorite dessert recipes that don’t use an ounce of processed sugar.

Double Chocolate Banana Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup whole-wheat flour

  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • ½ medium banana, mashed

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

  • ½ medium banana, chopped

  • 1/3 cup no sugar-added chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life vegan semi-sweet chips)

Directions:

  1. Add flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder to a large bowl. Mix well until no clumps remain. Set aside.

  2. Whisk banana, honey, vanilla and coconut oil together in a medium bowl.

  3. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and gently combine.

  4. Fold in banana chunks and chocolate chips. Chill mixture in fridge for 30 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  6. After the dough has sufficiently chilled, drop dough onto prepared sheet by the tablespoon. Shape them into cookies; these don’t spread out much.

  7. Bake for 10-14 minutes, depending on how soft you like your cookies.

  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool further.

Devil’s Food Doughnuts

Ingredients – Doughnuts:

  • 5 Medjool dates, pitted

  • 1 tablespoon water, divided

  • ½ cup coconut flour

  • ¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

  • ¼ cup good maple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter

  • 2 tablespoons coconut crystals

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • pinch sea salt

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips

Ingredients – Glaze:

  • ½ tablespoon sunflower seed butter

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, softened

Directions:

  1. Grease a donut pan with coconut oil. Any size pan will work; with a large pan, this recipe yields eight delicious donuts that, yes, I know, are technically a breakfast food.

  2. Microwave dates with ½ tablespoon of water for 30 seconds to soften.

  3. Add ½ tablespoon of water to the softened dates and mash well. You should end up with about ¼ cup of date paste.

  4. Combine date paste with remaining donut ingredients in a food processor. Blend until you have a smooth batter.

  5. Fill each hole in donut pan roughly 75% of the way up with batter.

  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before relocating to a cooling rack to cool completely.

  7. While the donuts bake, make the glaze by whisking the sunflower seed butter, maple syrup and coconut oil together in a medium bowl.

  8. Dip top of fully cooled donuts in glaze, and you’re done!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup coconut oil

  • ¼ cup honey

  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats

  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut (shredded or flakes)

Directions:

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine coconut oil, honey, salt and peanut butter. Melt over medium heat, stirring continuously until well-combined.

  3. Stir in cocoa powder and vanilla.

  4. Stir in oats, then coconut until the dough is thoroughly mixed.

  5. Using a tablespoon, drop dough onto prepared cookie sheet. There should be enough for 18 cookies or so.

  6. Put the cookie sheet in the fridge or the freezer, and let the dough harden for at least an hour.

  7. Serve cold. (When coconut oil hits room temperature, it becomes soft.)

Eating healthy doesn’t mean depriving yourself of delicious doughnuts or sumptuous cakes, cookies or pies. Make smart choices, get a little creative in the kitchen, and indulge in moderation, and you’ll never have to go without.

3 Fat Loss Myths ­– Busted

Some say weight loss is a journey. Some say you should eat for the body you want, not the body you have. Some say that you can burn calories by eating a grapefruit. Remember that early ‘80s craze? For every grapefruit diet fad that’s debunked, two more weight-loss fables seem to pop up in its place. Here are three of the biggest fat loss myths busted.

Myth No 1: Avoid All Carbs at All Costs

First things first, some carbs really are terrible for you. Processed carbs powered by white flour and refined sugar (think pasta, pastries, fruit juice and beer) offer little or no nutritional value. Instead, they wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and drive a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Complex carbohydrates, however, are a necessary component of a healthy diet. Research shows that because of their fiber content they can prevent an array of health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.

Which carbs are complex? Here’s a helpful, albeit incomplete, list:

  • Whole wheat flour, pasta and bread

  • Barley

  • Lentils

  • Brown rice

  • Quinoa

  • Beans

  • Chickpeas

Other fiber-rich foods to consider making staples of your fat-loss diet include nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Each soaks up water as it moves through your body, so you don’t only feel full, you feel full for longer than you would with other foods.

Myth No. 2: Exercise Is the Key to Fat Loss

If you hate the gym, good news! Research shows that diet, not exercise, is the main factor in fat loss. Pounding the pavement or hitting the pool five days a week won’t help you lose fat and keep it off if you’re not eating well.

That said, exercise is key to maintaining your overall health — not to mention keeping up with your grandkids — so don’t donate your walking shoes to Goodwill just yet. Instead of overdoing it on the treadmill, however, focus on losing fat by building muscle.

Strengthening your body boosts your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn each day simply by existing. Your basal metabolic rate determines how many calories melt off when you’re at rest, and the higher your body’s percentage of muscle, the higher your BMR.

Myth No. 3: If You Want To Lose Fat, Kiss Snacking Goodbye

If your mother was like mine, she likely warned you about the nutritional dangers of eating between meals. And by “warned you” I mean “ordered you not to spoil the dinner she spent the last 90 minutes making over a hot stove." You may have even issued such a warning to your own kids.

With apologies to mothers everywhere, snacking can be good for you in certain instances. In fact, most experts agree that eating five small meals each day instead of three can help you avoid overeating at those meals. Having a snack when mid-afternoon hunger pangs strike can stop you from bingeing from dinner until bedtime, too.

What you eat matters even more then when you eat it, though. If you’re chowing down on sugary sweets and salty treats between meals, you’re doing your waistline no favors. Opt for a healthy snack that’s high in nutrients, such as vegetables or non-fat yogurt, and you can aid fat loss.

Skip the alcohol, too. It's loaded with empty calories. If the thought of a wine-free book club makes you shudder, start with small changes. Trade one glass of Chardonnay for a clean, cool bottle of sparkling water with lemon that you can feel good about.

When it comes to fat loss, it’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff. And, as this myth-busting session shows, it’s just as vital to separate the whole wheat bread from its processed counterparts and trade your afternoon cookie break for some carrots and hummus. Over time, small changes yield huge results.

Can Losing Weight Help With Joint Pain?

Now you have yet another reason to stay active and eat a delicious, healthy diet. According to research from the renowned National Institute of Health, Arthritis Foundation and Cleveland Clinic, losing weight has a major effect on reducing joint pain and improving mobility. Here are 5 reasons why burning those calories should be a priority.

1. Osteoarthritis Relief

Losing weight can alleviate pain significantly in people who have OA. This is because every pound of weight is equal to four pounds of pressure on joints. If you drop just 10 pounds, it’s like you lost 40 pounds when it comes to your joints. Lose 20 pounds and your body feels 80 pounds lighter!

2. Less Cartilage Loss

Weight loss can make life much easier for people who have OA. Losing weight reduces the wear and tear your joints have to deal with. This can slow the damage to your cartilage, especially in knees and hips. Healthy cartilage cushions your joints, so you want to protect it as long as possible.

According to one 2017 study of knee OA patients, people who continually lost weight experienced much lower cartilage damage. What’s especially interesting is that weight loss was directly related to the speed of cartilage loss. The more weight patients lost, the slower OA advanced.

3. Reduced Inflammation

Did you know that fatty tissues send signals to your body that trigger inflammation? Too much fat can cause sore muscles and joints throughout the body, making the pain of arthritis much worse. Stop this inflammation cascade by keeping your weight in a healthy range. A diet rich in inflammation fighting foods can also provide significant relief.

4. Positive Effects on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis

Hitting your ideal weight helps your body deal with autoimmune disorders such as RA and PsA better. One recent study found that weight loss produced significant positive effects on people who have PsA. This can mean fewer days where you wake up with pain and stiffness. Losing weight also increases your odds of RA remission.

5. Lower Uric Acid Levels

Burning calories can reduce overall levels of uric acid in your blood. If you have a tendency to get gout attacks, losing weight should be top on your list of natural remedies. Want to take gout pain relief to the next level? Here’s what to eat:

  • Grapefruit and oranges

  • Pineapple

  • Cherries

  • Leafy green veggies and broccoli

  • Beans

  • Nuts and peanut butter

  • Lentils

  • Whole grains

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water every day. Yogurt, low-fat milk and coffee are great for reducing uric acid levels. Yes, several cups of coffee a day can actually help with gout prevention.

The Best Exercises for Joint Pain

If you’re experiencing a lot of joint pain, the thought of exercise probably doesn't seem appealing. However, your joints need workouts to stay flexible and healthy. The good news is there are gentle exercises you can do that really work. Even better, they help your body release endorphins, natural pain relievers and mood boosters.

Try low-impact, moderately intense aerobics activities three or four days a week. Swimming, walking, biking or using an elliptical trainer all help you stay active while reducing joint stress. As you shed pounds and eat great, you can look forward to less pain each and every day.

What’s the Best Way To Lose Weight: Dieting or Lifestyle Changes?

For many, the battle of the bulge seems never-ending. We lose weight. We gain it back. We lose more weight. We gain even more weight back. To see real, permanent change on the scale, what’s the best way to ditch those unwanted pounds?

Dieting

From Atkins to The Zone, there are more diets than there are seats in Madison Square Garden. Some diets, like the Mediterranean diet, ask you to fill your plate full of healthy fats. Others, such as the Paleo diet, challenge you to go full “cavewoman” and only eat the foods that our earliest ancestors ate: nuts, lean meats, berries.

No matter what’s on the menu, virtually all diets have two things in common. First, most diets are designed to offer big results in a short period of time. They tend to do this by similar means, too:

  • Calorie restrictions

  • “Eat and “Do Not Eat” lists

  • Calorie counting

  • Prewritten weekly meal plans

  • Eliminating certain foods or food groups from your diet

  • Frequent weigh-ins

The other thing that most diets have in common is that they’re ineffective. In the simplest terms, following a regimented eating plan that’s full of rules and restrictions is a hassle. For starters, it eliminates the possibility to eat, drink and be merry. A slice of birthday cake or that second glass of wine are strictly off limits, which can make socializing a self-conscious slog.

It can also result in a frustrating cycle of eating very little for several days and then eating everything in sight. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people who lose weight using a diet gain all of that weight back within five years, and many of those folks pack on additional pounds in the process.

Dieting can also be bad for your health. Extreme diets can be a gateway to eating disorders, particularly in younger women and men. They can also leave you nutrient-deprived. Remember the Grapefruit Diet that was all the rage in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s? It turns out that woman cannot live on citrus fruit (and some strategically placed salads and skim milk) alone. Many diets lack balance. This can have adverse effects on your health, such as iron-deficiency, for example.

Some diets also impart unhealthy, if not downright bizarre, eating tips. Contrary to what you may have believed in the era of Pac-Man and shoulder pads, grapefruits do not burn fat.

Lifestyle Changes

While diets typically provide a temporary fix, healthy lifestyle changes create the potential for lasting weight loss. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Instead of forsaking all carbs, for example, make a switch to healthy whole grains, and incorporate them mindfully. This behavior is far easier to maintain than trying to swear off all bread baskets until the end of time.

Here are several examples of other lifestyle changes that can lead to permanent weight loss:

  • Eating and drinking in moderation

  • Taking the stairs

  • Avoiding processed and prepackaged “convenience” foods

  • Going for a walk everyday

  • Using a fitness tracker or pedometer

  • Drinking more water

  • Treating yourself from time to time

The key to implementing lifestyle changes is starting small. If you want to start walking two miles every day, but you haven’t dusted off your sneakers in years, start by just walking to the mailbox every day — or even just putting on some sneakers. Once you master that walk to the mailbox, start walking to the end of your block and back. You’ll likely find yourself getting to the end of your block and deciding to go even farther — just because you can.

The Verdict

If you want to lose 10 pounds for your niece’s wedding next month, a crash diet might do the trick. If, however, you want to lose weight and make it stay gone, most health and nutrition experts agree that lifestyle changes are far superior to dieting.

Gained a Little Weight During Quarantine? Here’s How To Lose It

Weight loss quarantine

If you’ve been indulging in comfort food more than usual lately, you’re not alone. Trying times call for pasta, cookies and more homemade Chex Mix than you can shake a pretzel stick at. Here’s the thing: All lockdowns must end. When you’re ready to start taking those pandemic pounds off, here are three tips to kick-start the process:

1. Get Moving

Living in a rural or suburban area can make getting outside to stretch your legs and soak up some Vitamin D relatively easy. Strive for 30 minutes of activity each day, even if it’s simply getting down on your hands and knees and yanking some weeds.

If, however, you’re confined to an apartment or other living situation that doesn’t include a spacious backyard or secluded street, you’ll need to get slightly more creative. For example, if you’re missing the gym, you might try a customizable exercise app such as Daily Workouts or Sworkit.

You can also look to YouTube for fitness options. Predictably, the video hub hosts channels dedicated to virtually any kind of movement you may want to start incorporating into your quarantine routine, from weightlifting to yoga and everything in between. For example, Yoga with Adriene, a popular channel with over 4 million subscribers, offers a seemingly endless variety of programs for people of all fitness and mobility levels.

Now might also be the time to dust off those old dance DVDs in your closet or borrow some fitness discs from your local library. If your branch isn’t open or offering curbside pickup of materials, it may have partnered with digital partners such as Hoopla to offer streaming dance videos and other home fitness titles.

2. Start a Weight Loss Program

The quickest way to lose weight is to pair exercise with a healthy diet. One of the best methods for sticking to that healthy diet is tracking what you eat.

Fortunately, the advent of personal computers and mobile devices has made this process far less time-consuming. Online programs such as WW (formerly Weight Watchers), Noom, Lose It!, and

MyFitnessPal all make calorie counting simple. Many weight loss programs also offer individual coaching and small group support to keep you on track on those days when binge-watching “Parks and Rec” with a bag of chips sounds far more appealing than aerobics and carrot sticks.

It’s worth noting that most of these programs offer a free trial period so you can see if it’s a good fit before you commit. Some are entirely free as well.

3. Keep a Gratitude Journal

Mindfulness matters when it comes to weight loss. Even if you’re not writing about food, adopting a mindset that’s firmly rooted in the present and focused on all that you have to be thankful for in these trying times can help you lose weight.

How? By lowering your stress.

According to WebMD, when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to skip that healthy breakfast or reach for that peach pie in the fridge. What’s more, your cortisol levels can skyrocket when you’re tense. This can turn your late-night sundae party into a full-time habit, as well as send your insulin levels through the roof.

When that happens, your blood sugar plummets. The result? Even more sugar cravings. Starting or ending each day by focusing on the good in your life can keep your stress in check and boost your odds of successful weight loss.

You’re living through a unique time in history — not a fun one, of course, but a remarkable one — and you’re certainly not the only person who let healthy, mindful eating take a backseat to just making it to tomorrow in once piece. Now that you’re ready to come out of quarantine healthy, fit and fresh, make the choice to embrace an active, mindful lockdown routine and watch the unwanted weight disappear.

Try These 3 Amazing Foods That Lower Your BP

lower blood pressure

1. Salmon

Salmon is a true heart health superstar. This tasty fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, special compounds with incredible benefits for your entire circulatory system. Many studies show that omega-3s can reduce triglyceride levels, keep your arteries healthy, prevent blood clots and fight inflammation. Even better, they can cause a significant drop in blood pressure!

To give your diet a delicious boost of BP-fighting omega-3s, bake or grill salmon fillets with your favorite herbs:

  1. Season the salmon fillets with thyme, oregano or garlic (or all three).

  2. Place each portion in parchment paper or foil.

  3. Sprinkle a dash of lemon juice and drizzle some olive oil on top.

  4. Fold parchment or foil and place in a preheated oven.

  5. Bake salmon for 12-15 minutes at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Salmon isn’t the only fish that has omega-3s, but it’s one of the best sources. You can also try mackerel, arctic char, black cod, rainbow trout and albacore tuna. Anchovies and sardines are spectacular for omega-3s, but you need to get them fresh, not canned. Omega-3 oils made from fresh fish are also an option.

2. Garlic

Including more garlic in your meals has two big benefits for blood pressure. First, garlic can make your arteries open wider, improving blood flow and getting rid of hypertension. The easier it is for your heart to pump blood, the less it has to work.

Second, garlic is a natural flavor enhancer. If you’re trying to reduce your salt intake, garlic makes a great replacement. That way you can eat healthy and still enjoy meals that taste amazing.

The next time you feel like something sweet and zesty, make honey-garlic chicken. Use skinless chicken breast, honey, fresh ginger, scallions, low-sodium soy sauce and plenty of garlic. With these tangy and tasty ingredients, you’ll be surprised how flavorful everything is without adding salt!

3. Spinach

Say goodbye to high blood pressure for good with the power of spinach. Leafy greens are a phenomenal source of potassium. In fact, fresh spinach gives you more potassium than bananas. Why is that important for BP?

Potassium is the enemy of sodium. By increasing the amount of potassium you get every day, it flushes excess salt from your system. This can drastically reduce blood pressure.

In addition to these BP benefits, spinach contains a ton of nutrients. It’s rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium and magnesium. Spinach can give you stronger bones, better eyesight and a healthier immune system.

Not a fan of spinach? That’s OK. There are other leafy greens you can try instead. Sauteed or steamed broccoli makes the perfect complement to any meal. For a delicious salad, toss together romaine lettuce, arugula, Swiss chard and beet greens with a vinaigrette made of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The Key To Lowering BP With Nutritious Foods

Lowering your blood pressure is all about eating less salt and unhealthy fats. There are lots of delicious foods that can help, such as fresh blueberries, low-fat Greek yogurt, whole-grain oatmeal and unsalted pistachios. Once you've got a healthy meal plan, you’re good to go!