You skipped breakfast, had a crazy morning, and then felt faint from low blood sugar. Uh-oh. Here comes the binge, as you grab and scarf down any available junk food. Women's Health Magazine is here with some suggestions.
A day like this will leave you bloated, sluggish, and probably full of regret, especially if you indulged in fructose—a cheap, readily available sweetener linked to a cascade of health problems from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes to ADHD and Alzheimer's. Fortunately, science has your back. New research from UCLA found that foods rich in docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, may reverse some of the damage fructose triggers. Here are eight foods to turn to after a day of donuts has done you in.
When you need to load up on DHA, few foods match the potent punch provided by wild-caught salmon. Oily fish, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel, provide anywhere from 10 to 100 times the DHA of vegetarian sources like nuts, spinach, and whole grains. That's nice to know, since DHA protects the brain from inflammatory damage, improves learning and memory, and heals brain tissue injured by fructose. Salmon's also a great source of selenium and vitamin D. And salmon is simple—cook it with butter, lemon, and dill for an easy, delicious meal. But, you will have to pay a premium. Farmed salmon's DHA content doesn't measure up to wild-caught, say the researchers.
Chia and flax seeds
Vegetarians need not despair. When you're feeling awful after a bad day of eating, chia and flax seeds are your friend. They pack a wallop of omega-3s in just two tablespoons, and they're loaded with fiber, which helps feed gut bacteria and aids in weight loss. Plus, that fiber also helps empty out all the toxins you consumed. While they don't have nearly as much DHA as oily fish, they do provide calcium, protein, and lignans—a powerful antioxidant. Plus, they take no time to prepare—just throw them into your yogurt, smoothie recipe, or baked goods.
When you're bloated, feeling gross, and your stomach is doing flips, go nuts. Literally. Just 1/4 cup of walnuts offers 133 percent of your recommended omega-3 content. And a 2015 study out of Yale suggests eating them may lead to smarter food choices. Researchers found that adding two ounces of walnuts to a daily diet for six months led to less snacking and healthier choices. Makes sense: walnuts are satisfying and reduce cravings, which helps you avoid junk.
Aloe vera juice
Aloe vera juice is a palatable cleanser after a bad day of eating. "It's the first thing I recommend for my clients to get them back on track after a binge," says Nikki Ostrower, founder of NAO Nutrition in New York City. It's a nutritional powerhouse, packed with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. A review in The British Journal of General Practice noted that aloe vera may decrease intestinal inflammation and helps repair damage in the gut. It may also increase healthy bacteria in the intestines that aid in digestion. "It stimulates the bowels so it has this wonderful effect of emptying you out while also replenishing nutrients," says Ostrower.
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