By Markham Heid
Some experts say the whole concept of “healthy snacking” is an oxymoron. The human body, they argue, wasn’t built to accommodate the average American’s habit of cramming in snacks between meals. “Even three meals [a day] might be too much,” says Dr. Valter Longo, director of the University of Southern California’s Longevity Institute.
Others agree. Bouts of fasting, or giving your gut extended breaks from food digestion, may fire up all sorts of disease-limiting, life-extending cellular processes, says Luigi Fontana, a professor of nutritional science at Washington University in St. Louis and Italy’s University of Brescia.
So if you think stocking healthy foods means you can raid the fridge or cabinet any time and engage in some guilt-free noshing, Longo and Fontana would argue otherwise.
But if you just can’t make it until your next meal, there are some science-backed appetite appeasers that, even in small doses, should tide you over.
A pile of research suggests fermented foods support your gut’s microbiotic health. In particular, a type of bacteria called Lactobacillus—often used to make the fermented cabbage dish sauerkraut—can help quiet your appetiteand may also improve your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. Just be sure the sauerkraut you pick up isn’t loaded with sugar.
In both healthy adults and those suffering from metabolic diseases like diabetes, eating pistachios helps knock down hunger while supportinghealthy post-meal insulin responses. One 2015 study found people who added pistachios to their diets for 10 weeks had healthier levels of blood fatty acids. The authors of that 2015 credit a pistachio’s monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids for the nut’s health perks.
Crack open the hummus and grab some falafel! Adding chickpeas and other legumes to a meal or snack can help you feel up to 31 percent fuller, research shows. (How do they measure this stuff?) Gut health and bowel function also improve among regular chickpea eaters, found a recent study from Australia.
It isn’t the sexiest snack food. But spinach and other leafy greens are packed with plant membranes called “thylakoids” that increase fullness and cut your cravings for sweet treats, according to a 2015 study from Swedish researchers. Just don’t boil your spinach; you’ll knock out three-quarters of its nutrient content.
Categories: Health & Fitness, The Muslim Times
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