woman eating carrot cake

Tricks for Controlling Food Cravings

That hunk of chocolate cake. The fork sitting next to it just waiting for you to plunge it into the sweet moist layers, shoveling a huge, rich satisfying heap of chocolate goodness into your mouth, the sweet, decadent icing dissolving on your tongue, the serotonin rushing to your brain Oh, pure joy. Cravings can be hard to deal with, but so can excess calories. If you need some help dealing with temptations, here are a few suggestions.

Drink Water
It may be no match for chocolate cake, but you may find that a few minutes after drinking a large glass of water, your craving may disappear. Water also has health benefits and drinking it before a meal can help keep appetite to a minimum.

More Protein
A study of overweight teenage girls found that eating a breakfast high in protein reduced cravings significantly, and a study of overweight men showed that increasing protein to 25% of daily calorie intake resulted in a 60% reduction of cravings and a 50% reduction in desire for nighttime snacks.

Just Walk Away
One way to beat a craving is by distancing yourself from it. Taking a shower or brisk walk can help to shift your mind to something else, and chewing gum can also help to reduce appetite.

Plan Meals
Knowing what you’re going to eat will help to cut down on spontaneous eating. If you don’t have to think about your next meal, you’ll be less likely to succumb to temptation.

couple prepping food in the kitchen

Don’t Wait to Eat
Hunger is a big reason for cravings. Avoid hunger by eating regularly and keeping healthy snacks close.

Control Stress
Stress can bring on food cravings that lead to binge eating. Studies show that women under stress typically take in significantly more calories and have more cravings than women who are not experiencing stress. Stress can also increase blood levels of cortisol, a hormone that can lead to weight gain, especially in the belly. Minimize stress by planning ahead, slowing down, and meditating.

Spinach Extract
Spinach extract is a supplement made from spinach leaves that helps to delay the digestion of fat that increases the levels of hormones responsible for reduction of hunger and appetite. Studies show that 3.7-5 grams of spinach extract taken with a meal may reduce cravings for several hours. One study showed that overweight women who took 5 grams of spinach extract daily were able to decrease cravings for food with a high level of sugar by 88-95%.

Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a type of meditation used to develop awareness about eating habits, hunger and physical sensations, which teaches you to distinguish between craving and real physical hunger. Mindful eating helps you to choose your response to food, rather than acting impulsively. Mindful eating involves being present during a meal, slowing down and chewing food thoroughly, and should be done without distractions such as TVs and smartphones. One study found that episodes of binge eating in individuals were reduced from 4 to 1.5 sessions per week over a 6 week period, and the severity of the binges was decreased, as well.

How do you fight your food cravings? Let us know what you do when the urge to indulge hits!

Woman snacking

The Science Behind Your Snack Attacks

When you get a snack attack, most probably the only science you’re thinking about is how you can most efficiently get a bag of chips into your stomach. However, when it comes to cravings, there really is a good amount of science behind them, and it doesn’t just concern the rate of food traveling to your tummy. The fact is, certain foods, especially those high in sugar, salt, and fat, trigger a release of dopamine, which means they are hitting the pleasure center in your brain at the same time they are hitting the hunger center in your belly and the reaction is an unfailing, “Give me more!” Here are some of the most addictive foods and how they work their magic.

Cheese
Besides being high in fat and cholesterol, cheeses also contain a high level of casomorphin, which binds to the feel-good receptors in the brain. According to Neal Barnard, MD, mice aren’t the only ones susceptible to the lure of a good cheddar. “Casmorphins attach to neurotransmitter in our brain and release dopamine, feel-good chemicals that often lead us to wanting more.” Apparently, Americans are getting cheesier as time goes on. The doctor notes that the average American consumes 30 pounds more cheese per year than he or she did 100 years ago.

Woman eating chips

Carbs
It’s the quick glucose release of carbohydrates like potato chips and pretzels which keep our hands going back to the bag to reach for another. Celina Jean, nutritionist, says, ” Simple carbohydrates are seen as an addictive because they cause a quick glucose release, and this quickly increases a person’s energy. The energy will quickly be used up, and the then you’ll be forced to eat more simple carbohydrates to keep your blood sugar raised.”

Sugary Drinks
Not only do sweet sodas, lemonades, and iced tea provide us with empty calories, a 12 ounce can of the stuff can contain up to 35 grams of sugar. Sodas also trigger dopamine release. That, along with the caffeine jolt can provide a quite a hit of energy. Ashvini Mashru, registered dietician warns, “Once you’re hooked on caffeine, you can suffer symptoms of withdrawal if you try to stop, including sluggishness, headaches, and emotional distress.

French fries

French Fries
Crisp, hot, and salty, french fries have all the classic ingredients of addictive food. Mashru tells us that the fat content in the fries sends signals to our gut and brain telling us to eat more. He says, “Those little potato sticks are also a comfort food. Therefore, every time you go through a line in a restaurant and see them on the menu, you may find the urge to order them as a side to your entree irresistible.”

Chocolate
Chocolate gives you kick because it binds to the same pleasure centers in your brain as drugs and alcohol. A study conducted by Drexel University found chocolate often provides a nice “mouth feel” which triggers the production of the feel-good hormone oxytocin. Dan Defigio, author of Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies, explains, “Over time, our brains start looking for that dopamine hit, and every time we eat chocolate, it reinforces that wiring.”

What foods are you addicted to? Tell us your shocking stories of how your battles with food addictions. We want to know!

Doctor taking blood pressure

Foods That Help Regulate Blood Pressure

Fitness guru Jack Lalanne once said, “High blood pressure is from all this high-fat eating. Would you get your dog up in the morning of a cup of coffee and a donut? Probably millions of Americans got up this morning with a cup of coffee and a donut. No wonder they are sick and fouled up.” Lalanne really knew a thing or two about keeping healthy and regulating high blood pressure. The link between diet and high blood pressure is very real. If you’re dealing with hypertension, you may know that the DASH diet, which consists of foods low in sodium and high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, is recommended to normalize and prevent high blood pressure, but there are also some specific foods have a healthy effect.

Dairy
Studies published in the Journal of Human Hypertension reported that Australian researchers found a connection between reduced risk of high blood pressure and low fat dairy foods with low fat yogurt and milk as the strongest players in the field. Although calcium content may contribute, it is more likely that other components, such as peptides, real eased in the digestion process, are responsible. It is uncertain why high fat dairy does not have the same effect, but the saturated fat may have something to do with it, or it is possible that low fat dairy eaters simply have a healthier lifestyle overall.

Flaxseed
A 2013 study published in the journal “Hypertension” found that flaxseed was among a variety of foods capable of reducing both diastolic (relaxation of the heart) and systolic (contraction of the heart) blood pressure. Why the flaxseed causes the blood pressure reduction is unclear, but it may be due to food’s levels of the compounds alpha linolenic acid, lignans, peptides. and fiber.

Olive Oil
A 2012 study which ran in the American Journal of Hypertension showed that young women with slightly high blood pressure levels might benefit from olive oil. Spanish researchers found a connection between the polyphenol rich oil and drops in diastolic and systolic blood pressure.

Woman eating chocolate

Chocolate
If you must consume those breakfast donuts, at least try to make sure it is of the devil’s food variety. A 2010 BMC meta-analysis showed that dark chocolate and cocoa products with flavanols were linked to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure among hypertension patients. Other research shows that the polyphenols in chocolate can help to form nitric oxide which widens blood pressure and eases blood flow.

Beets
Have you got the beets? According to a 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal, Australian researchers found that healthy men and women who drank beet juice plus apple juice had lower systolic blood pressure that those who drank plain apple juice. The reason? Beets contain nitrates, which naturally ease blood pressure.

Pistachios
A 2013 “Hypertension” journals study found that participants who ate one serving of pistachios for four weeks saw a reduction in systolic blood pressure. However, those who ate 2 servings did not see as much of a reduction. The reason for the difference in results was not clear, but it may be due to an increase in the amount of blood pumped from the heart caused by the higher nut dosage.

So, there’s the lineup. We hope that you found something on the list that gets your blood unpumping. Let us know what works for your hypertension and if any do the above did the trick, we love to hear from you.

A Diet for Better Skin

When it comes to your skin, the old adage that “you are what you eat” is completely true. The link between what you eat and how healthy your skin appears is inextricable. All of the foods that you eat have an impact on the appearance, and health, of your skin. If you aren’t happy with your skin, before turning to completely new skin care regimens or the latest cosmetic trend to fake better skin, try modifying your diet instead. A well-balanced diet provides your body, including your skin, with everything that it needs to work at maximum capacity. Starting from scratch with a diet for better skin can be a bit overwhelming, so Resveralife is providing you with five of the best foods to eat when you begin.

Strawberries.

Strawberries
When you think of vitamin C the first fruit that comes to mind is probably an orange. However, strawberries actually contain more vitamin C per serving than oranges. Vitamin C is necessary in a diet for better skin because it is an antioxidant that fights against free-radical damage. Free radicals attack your skin by damaging the cells and breaking down collagen, resulting in more fine lines and wrinkles. Research has shown that those who eat foods rich in vitamin C experience fewer wrinkles and less dryness associated with aging than those who skip this vital vitamin.

Dark chocolate

Chocolate
Chocolate can help give you glowing skin, but only if you are consuming dark chocolate with a high cacao content . Renowned skin expert, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, notes some of the benefits of dark chocolate saying, “…dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant.” Cocoa also helps hydrate your skin, making it more supple. Look for chocolate that is 70% cacao or higher to reap the benefits while satisfying your sweet tooth.

Pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin
Pumpkin is the quintessential fall flavor and in addition to being delicious, it can provide your skin with significant benefits. Like carrots, pumpkin gets its orange hue from carotenoids, which are pigments from plants that neutralize free radicals in the skin. Additionally, pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and E and it contains enzymes that cleanse your skin. With vitamin E, the pulp from pumpkins is a great hydrator for your skin.

Walnuts.

Walnuts
Walnuts have several ingredients that make this nut a great choice when you want to put together a diet for better skin. Walnuts are the only type of nut that contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition the the omega-3s that walnuts provide, they are also high in copper. Copper is a mineral that boosts collagen production, leaving your skin firmer and smoother.

Green tea

Green Tea
The drink of choice when it comes to a diet for better skin, green tea is incredibly high in antioxidants. One of these antioxidants, EGCG, helps reduce redness in your skin. The antioxidants in green tea also increase oxygen flow to your skin and boost your circulation and research proves that inflammation in the body.

A diet for better skin contains a range of fresh produce in addition to lean meats and fish. While green tea is an excellent choice for a drink, don’t forget to drink your water as well to help remove toxins from your body. Get creative in the kitchen and enjoy foods that provide you with healthier, better, more radiant skin.

Red wine and food.

Top Malbec Wine Pairings

Malbec is a lively, entertaining red wine with origins in France. However, you are probably more familiar with Malbec as a product of Argentina or Chile. Argentina is credited with “saving” Malbec wine as the environment and climate of Argentine vineyards is perfect for Malbec grapes and they flourish when planted there. France, and other wine regions like Napa Valley, still do produce Malbec wines, and many of them are excellent. Due to the different growing conditions and soil, the taste of Malbec wine varies greatly depending on the region in which the wine was produced. Argentine and Chilean Malbec wines are famous for their intensely fruity, luxurious Malbec wines while French Malbecs are more commonly referred to as earthy or green wines. Still, no matter what Malbec region you select a wine from, there are plenty of food options for Malbec pairing. Here are some of our very favorite, and most delicious, Malbec pairings.

Charcuterie Platter

Appetizers
Malbec can take you through your entire meal from appetizers and hors d’oeuvres to dessert despite the region. If you plan on serving a Malbec with a light, fruity taste, then you could prepare a traditional charcuterie platter or serve some smoky, cured beef as a starter. Cheeses that pair with all styles of Malbec include Manchego, Iberico, Taleggio and Cashel Blue. You can also serve with farmhouse cheddar or a mellow blue such as Stilton.

Lamb dish

Main Courses
This is where Malbec truly shines. There are so many options when it comes to pairing Malbec with your entree. Malbec is excellent red meat and darker poultry meat. It also pairs well with earthier flavors, like a brisket, as well. One of the most popular pairings with Malbec is lamb. Try lamb shanks, a lamb stew or a spicy lamb curry. Beef is another frequent choice of meat to pair with Malbec and you have virtually unlimited options. Serve Malbec with a juicy hamburger, a hearty steak or serve with a cozy roast beef. If you want to enjoy Malbec with a super simple dinner you can make with little preparation, consider serving spaghetti and meatballs of American style spaghetti bolognese. Another option for a beef dinner that requires a bit of prep but is easy to throw together at the last minute is steak fajitas. Use spices cumin, smoked paprika and garlic to further enhance this Malbec pairing.

Dark chocolate truffles

Desserts
There is some debate over whether or not Malbec pairs well with chocolate, but many seem to be of the opinion that chocolate is a great dessert when drinking Malbec. Some Malbec wines feature hints of cocoa and milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is not a great pairing with Malbec. Stick to darker chocolates, especially those with a 70% or higher cacao content. Dark chocolate truffles are also an excellent choice for a decadent dessert. If you are looking for something a bit more unique than chocolate, consider making a plum compote. This fruit concoction echoes the dark fruits found in Malbec. You can serve plum compote with a slice of cake, a dark chocolate ice cream or on it’s own with a bit of vanilla spiked whipped cream.

While Malbec may not be the first red wine you think of, it is a red wine that deserves your attention. Pairing Malbec is quite easy with a bit of imagination and this wine has the ability to carry you through and entire meal. Of course, the above are guidelines based on what flavors work best with Malbec wines, but the best pairing for you is one that you thoroughly enjoy. Have fun experimenting with bold flavors and different styles of Malbec wines to create the perfect pairing for you.

Woman eating cereals.

Resveralife Eat Well: Eat Your Way to Great Skin

The link between diet and health is inextricable. The foods that you choose when you’re at the market affect every aspect of your body from your general health to your toenails. A nutritious, well-balanced diet provides your body with everything it needs to run at peak efficiency. The old adage “you are what you eat” is certainly true when it comes to diet and your skin. Once you decide to eat your way to better skin (and overall health) it can be a bit daunting and overwhelming to start writing up grocery lists and planning your meals. Which foods are most beneficial to your skin? Resveralife researched this question and we’ve rounded up the five best, and most delicious, foods to eat your way to better skin.

Dark chocolate

Chocolate
We figured we’d start with something that you will be delighted to add to your next shopping list. Chocolate can help give you glowing skin, but only if you are consuming dark chocolate. Milk chocolate does not have nearly the same amount of cacao that dark chocolate does. The famous skin expert, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, notes some of the benefits of dark chocolate saying, “…dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant.” Cocoa also helps hydrate your skin, making it more supple. Look for chocolate that is 70% dark chocolate or higher to reap the benefits while satisfying your sweet tooth.

Walnuts

Walnuts
Walnuts, another tasty treat, have several components that make them a great choice when you want to eat your way to better skin. Walnuts are the only type of nut that contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids. While omega-3 fatty acids benefit everyone, they are especially beneficial to those who follow a vegetarian diet that do not enjoy fish. In addition the the omega-3s that walnuts provide, they are also high in copper. Copper is a mineral that boosts collagen production, leaving your skin firmer and smoother.

Oatmeal dish

Oatmeal
A great way to start your day, oatmeal (particularly steel cut oats or whole grain oatmeal) is a complex carbohydrate that fills you up. Choosing a sugary cereal spikes your insulin levels and that can be bad news for your face. When insulin spikes it increases production of hormones known as androgens, which in turn increase oil production and the end result is more zits and pimples on your face. Oatmeal has skin healing properties and takes longer to break down in your body, which means that it keeps your blood sugar at a steady level.

Kale on a table.

Kale
Okay, this one can be more of an acquired taste, but figuring out ways to fix it that you enjoy will significantly help your skin. A one cup serving of kale provides you with 134% of vitamin C and 133% of vitamin A. Additionally, kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients neutralize and absorb free-radicals that are caused by ultraviolet radiation, including those UV rays that may get past your sunscreen. There are tons of ways to eat kale, so there’s bound to be something you love whether it’s a green smoothie, a chopped salad or a snack like kale chips.

Green tea.

Green Tea
We wanted to include a healthy drinking option on the list, because sometimes you want something other than water. Green tea is incredibly high in antioxidants and one in particular, EGCG, that helps reduce redness. In addition, the antioxidants in green tea increase oxygen flow to your skin and boost your circulation. Studies have also shown that green tea fights inflammation in the body. Enjoy at least one cup of green tea daily to get the skin rewards this powerful drink offers.

It really is possible to eat your way to better skin, and not all of the foods that benefit your body are bland and boring. Strive for five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and limit the amount of refined sugar you eat. Always pick whole grains, complex carbohydrates, over simple carbohydrates that are overly processed. Combined with exercise and great skin care, your healthy skin diet will leave you looking and feeling your best.