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Featured Article

Eat More to Lose Weight - Bay Area Business Woman

Eating to be thin may seem a contradiction to the wonderful joy of eating for fun and sensory pleasure. However, the best of both philosophies and attitudes is possible when you know what foods to choose from.

Metabolism is taken from the Greek root "to change" and is the sum of all the various biochemical and physiologic processes by which the body grows and maintains itself (anabolism) and reshapes tissues (catabolism) transforming energy to do its work.

When we want our skin to be beautiful, our eyes to be bright, our energy to be high, our metabolism to balance our weight, we turn to a wider variety of whole fruits and vegetables, and add some nuts and seeds, too. Each of the systems of the body requires a different type of nutrient or nonnutrient to thrive, so the more variety of these foods we eat, the better our systems function. Our job is to feed these foods, prepared deliciously, to our body often.

One easy way to help balance your metabolism to help lose weight is to add two tablespoons a day of oils or seeds containing essential fatty acids to your diet. Your body needs the energy of oil-soluble phytochemicals (plant hormones and plant estrogen) found seeds (flax, sesame, sunflower and many seeds), in some nuts and fish and their oils. You can sprinkle seeds on potatoes and in salads.

Another way to increase you metabolism is to increase your take of fruits and vegetables - up to at least five portions daily. Abundant use of vegetables and fruit helps cleanse our system from toxins, bacteria and cholesterol, this also furnishes energy for activities that our bodies need.

To get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, you should add all the spices and culinary herbs you want to food. The exciting, enhanced flavors of the vegetables will enable you to eat them more often, in larger quantities and a wider variety. You can drink all the herb and fruit teas you want as well, which will also healthfully increase your water intake.

Yet another way to boost your metabolism is to increase your intake of fresh air. Studies show that deep breathing periodically throughout the day and frequent movement activities, such as stretching and brisk walking, increase the transport of oxygen to the brain. The actions of deep breathing, and walking and other movement, boosts the activity of neurotransmitters such as nephrine, dopamine and serotonin all which alleviate moods and depression and stimulate the central nervous system.

If you are eating out frequently, consider the following statistics. According to the 1,700 Californians surveyed by the California Department of Health Services, 25 percent fewer vegetables and fruits are eaten by people who eat away from home. A report on eating out, published in the Health & Nutrition Letter (Tufts University, March 1999), quotes the National Restaurant Association study of 1997 which shows almost half of all adults were eating out on a typical day, and in an average month, four out of five households use some form of take-out or meal delivery .With this American way of life, how can we consider the health-giving benefits of the amazing plant foods in Mother Nature's kitchen?

Here are some ways to add nutrients-even if you are eating out-that will balance your metabolism: Learn healthy recipes you can enjoy; visit restaurants where plentiful vegetables and fruits are tastefully prepared with spices rather than fattening sauces; find juice bars; get fresh whole foods from your nearby grocery; and carry healthy snacks such as pears, dried apricots, cucumbers, seeds or nuts to eat throughout the day.

Weight loss comes naturally when taking in more of these nutrients.

Sonia Gaemi EdD, RD is a nutritionist and multicultural food therapist, holding advanced science degrees in food science, nutrition and its psychology. Her private practice, Dr. Sonia's Food Therapy Complementary Health 2000, is in Berkeley. Email Dr. Sonia at or call (510) 466-5022.

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