Here are some food and drink tips that can improve your health.
1. Drink water for weight loss
Drinking tap water is a simple and effective solution for those who want to reduce their calorie intakes and control their weight in a healthy way.
A large study reveals that increasing the drinking of plain water even by only 1 per cent can reduce the level of sugar, fat, sodium and total daily calorie intake.
Plain water includes tap water, water from a cooler, bottle or a fountain.
In this study people’s total energy intake was reduced by 68 to 205 calories daily when their water intake increased by one, two or three cups per day.
Their daily sodium intake was reduced by 78 to 238 milligrams; consumption of sugar was 5 grams to 18 grams less and their cholesterol intake was also reduced by 7 to 21 milligrams.
2. Blueberries reduce blood pressure
One cup of blueberries each day may be enough to decrease arterial stiffness as well as lower blood pressure, a study found.
After consumption of blueberry, people showed an average drop in systolic blood pressure of 5.1% and a 6.3% drop in diastolic blood pressure.
On top of this, those taking the blueberry powder had 6.5% lower arterial stiffness, another contributing factor for cardiovascular disease.
This is the first study to show these benefits from a relatively manageable portion of blueberries — previous studies have tested the equivalent of 11 cups, which is obviously not realistic for daily intake.
Blueberries likely work, at least partly, because they increase levels nitric oxide, which is known to widen the blood vessels.
3. Eat high amounts of whole grains
People who consume high amounts of whole grains (4 daily servings, about 70 grams) live longer compared with people who eat little or no whole grains, a review of different studies suggests.
Whole grains have many bioactive compounds which benefit health in general.
One is that the high fibre content can increase satiety (fullness) and reduce cholesterol, blood sugar and insulin levels.
Many studies show that eating high amounts of whole grains can also reduce diabetes, heart disease and improve gut health.
This review found that eating 70 grams per day of whole grains is linked to a reduction of 23% in deaths related to heart disease, 20% lower cancer mortality and 22% lower total mortality.
4. Keep muscles strong
Researchers at the University of Iowa have found a way to rebuild the condition of aging muscles.
A protein known as ATF4 reduces muscle protein production, strength, and mass as we grow older.
However, ursolic acid — a compound in apple peel — and tomatidine from green tomatoes can combat this protein.
These two compounds not only stop muscle wasting caused by starvation and inactivity but also can reduce or even block ATF4 activity in the skeletal muscles.
5. Drink red grape juice
While not a weight loss miracle, chemicals in grapes may help improve liver function by burning fat there and so help with weight loss.
Dark-coloured grapes, whether they are in wine or juice could help people struggling with obesity or those with metabolic disorders, like a fatty liver.
Researchers found that one of the chemicals, ellagic acid, had a dramatic slowing effect on the growth of existing fatty cells and the formation of new fat cells.
They found that ellagic acid has a similar mechanism to commonly prescribed drugs for lowering blood sugar.
6. Include mulberries in your diet
Mulberries could be a new treatment for weight loss that work by stimulating brown fat and boosting metabolism, a study shows.
Mulberries are also high in antioxidants and flavonoids offering a number of health benefits such as anti-inflammation, anti-cancer activity, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
The health impact is even bigger: examples include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancers, heart disease and stroke.
Also, rutin a compound in mulberries, could potentially help the treatment of obesity.
Red grapes image from Shutterstock