Excessive holiday eating gets your body’s “food clock” all out of order, in the same way that having jet lag from travel or working a graveyard shift does.†Scientists at at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have found that our “food clock” is set to †”feeding “during the prime foraging and hunting hours in the day.” It gets thrown out of whack from midnight snacking (which disrupts your metabolism as you’re taking in calories at a time your body is accustomed to be at rest) and also from eating holiday foods with higher-than-usual amounts of butter, sugar and the like.
With 2013 starting up, how about getting your new year off to a tasty and healthy start with a few of these foods?
Not only is this vegetable a good source of vitamin A, C and K. The latest research says that eating it may prevent a hangover due to the amino acids and minerals it contains.
My own New Year’s Eve plans are too boring to describe but should yours involve some imbibing, you could do worse than having a bit of asparagus to ring out the old year.
We all know the old adage of an apple a day keeping the doctor away. It’s folk wisdom that is valid: Not only are apples high in fiber, but they also contain the soluble (and bad cholesterol-clearing away) fiber, pectin. It’s also best to munch your apples unpeeled as their skins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Very anecdotally: My son has chronic gastrointestinal issues that have been very painful and that, being severely autistic with little language, he has long struggled to let us know about. For the past several months, we’ve got him (a super picky eater!) to eat at least one Fuji apple a day and (along with some other things), all those apples seem to be helping to him feeling better.
So you know what I’ll be lugging bags of from the grocery store in the new year.
3. Greek Yogurt
Creamier, tangier and thicker, Greek yogurt also packs plenty of protein but about half the carbohydrates and fewer milligrams of sodium than regular yogurt. Full-fat versions of Greek yogurt†are high in saturated fats so low-fat and fat-free versions are better.
Yogurt also contains good-for-the-gut bacteria (such as lactobacillus or acidophilus).
For myself, a cup of the creamy white stuff with a bit of fruit or honey reminds me of traveling in Greece and being served fresh yogurt for dessert.
4. Whole Grains
Eating whole grains (which still contain all of the grain kernel — the bran, germ and endosperm) means you’re also getting fiber, iron and a number of B vitamins. All of these are processed out from the refined grains in the white bread, rice and other products that people tend to choose over the whole grain versions.
I’m hardly the first to put whole grains on a list of good-for-you foods, of course. My mom started us eating whole wheat bread and brown rice in the seventies so I guess I developed an inclination for whole grains early.
5. Dark Chocolate
In the interest of keeping this list from becoming too austere, I had to end it with something besides produce and whole grains, right?
Dark chocolate has far higher amounts of flavonol — antioxidant plant chemicals that can help to lower blood pressure and that have anti-inflammatory properties — than milk chocolate.
A†recent study has found that participants who ate some dark chocolate five times a week were †slimmer than those who hadn’t; other research has linked it to lower blood pressure.
Here’s a happy and healthy new year!
Photos from Thinkstock