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If you are someone who has turned coffee drinking into a habit, then that’s a lot. If you fit this category, then you may find it hard not to have a cup after each meal.
What if you were told that it’s good for your diet? Then would that change the image of the coffee you’re drinking right now? Yes, that’s right.
Drinking coffee can help you lose weight. However, drinking coffee alone isn’t going to get you anywhere but out of bed.
The results you will see depend greatly on the amount and timing in which you drink.
Your smoothie recipe calls for a scoop of protein powder. So you go to the store only to discover dozens of different varieties: whey, soy, casein, pea, rice, hemp…the list goes on. Complicating matters, there are two-powder blends, those made with sugar and without, ones sourced from grass-fed dairy or non-GMO soy… Perhaps you’ll just settle for the bag of potato chips in the next aisle.
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You know what dieting demands: cut calories, go hard on veggies, exercise, and repeat, well, forever. But what if you could hit pause on dieting once in a while, but still reap weight-loss benefits?
That’s the premise of part-time diets. “ ‘Part-time dieting’ is an umbrella term for eating styles that let you be flexible with the hours, days, even weeks that you cut calories,” explains Courtney Peterson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And recent research is starting to uncover how different methods may make it easier to shed pounds and improve health.
No, dieting part-time doesn’t mean you can go crazy on burgers and fries when you’re not watching your calories as closely—and there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. Here, our experts dive into ways you can try this trend and how to customize it just for you.
The fasting-mimicking diet
Despite the name, the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) doesn’t actually involve fasting. You restrict your calorie intake for five consecutive days, every three to four months, on average. The evidence behind the method: In a clinical trial, when healthy adults did FMD (eating around 1,100 calories on the first day, and about 750 calories on days two, three, four, and five) once a month for three months, they saw drops in body weight, total body fat, and blood pressure, while the people who followed a normal diet did not. How does it work? FMD puts the body in a fat-burning, ketogenic mode over the “fasting” period, explains Valter Longo, Ph.D., professor and director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California and author of the new book The Longevity Diet ($27; amazon.com). “The average healthy adult can do an FMD cycle a few times a year and reap the benefits,” says Longo, who worked on the aforementioned trial. The caveat: Any diet that involves fasting or major eating changes is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. And it’s always a good idea to talk to your doc before making significant diet changes.
The time-restricted feeding (TRF) concept is simple: Narrow the window when you consume food. A recent small study conducted by Peterson with the Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center suggests that eating within a six-hour window may boost fat burn. Two other small studies found that even eating meals within an eight-hour period may promote fat loss. If this narrow time frame sounds like a freaky fad diet, don’t worry—Peterson says that a 10-hour window, like 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., is very doable and still works.
Keep in mind that shifting your entire meal schedule can be a tricky behavioral change. “Fasting isn’t for everyone,” says Stephanie Middleberg, RD, owner of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City. “I am a fan of people working on eating less at night. Even stretching your fasting period from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. could have tremendous benefits.”
A study in the International Journal for Obesity found that obese men who dieted two weeks on, then two weeks off for 30 weeks lost more weight than those who dieted continuously. These intermittent dieters kept the weight off for the long term, too. The mechanism at play isn’t totally clear, but it’s possible that “the body may not fully adapt to intermittent dieting in a way that would permanently slow down your metabolism,” Peterson says.
You don’t even have to do two-week cycles. “We don’t know at this point what the ideal schedule is,” Peterson notes. “To a degree, I think the scheduling depends on the person and her preferences.” So if, say, one week on, two weeks off seems more realistic for you, it’s fine to tweak the format to fit your needs. Peterson recommends giving it a couple of months for your body to adapt.
Before you try this on-off strategy, remember this: You can’t eat whatever you want during your no-dieting period. “Consuming 5,000 calories just because it’s a ‘free’ week is not efficient. You still want to think about filling your body with whole foods,” says Jennifer Cholewka, RD, a senior clinical dietitian at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Going vegan… until dinner
Popularized by the book Eat Vegan Before 6:00, by Mark Bittman, this scenario eliminates all animal products and focuses on eating vegan protein sources, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats until your evening meal. Plus, swapping animal protein for vegan sources slashes calories and saturated fat and has real weight loss potential. “When my clients break from consuming animal protein at all meals, they also realize how full they get when reintroducing it, so they often have a lot less at one sitting,” Middleberg says.
The 5:2 diet
This plan is named after a book by the same name. (Benedict Cumberbatch and Jimmy Kimmel have both tried it.) A few studies have linked the regimen—which calls for eating normally five days of the week and only 25 percent of your typical calorie intake for two days of your choice—to weight loss and lower insulin levels. “If I were to try any part-time diet, the 5:2 plan would be my pick,” says Cholewka.
“You’re responsible for remembering your eating schedule and keeping an eye on calorie counts, but you aren’t burdened by strict food lists.” However, keep in mind that, as your body adjusts, you may feel the effects of hunger more acutely, she adds.
Worried that severe restriction will get to you? Peterson reversed the plan a bit for herself. “In the past, when I lost weight, I did an approach where five days a week I would cut down about 15 percent of my calories,” she explains. “Then I would eat healthy but normal for two days each week.”
Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are open sores within the lining of the stomach. They are a type of peptic ulcer, meaning having to do with acid. Because of the amount of acid present in the stomach and the damage that can occur, they are often extremely painful. The most common cause of stomach ulcers is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori.
Ulcers may also be caused by overuse of painkillers, such as aspirin (Bayer), and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Naprosyn).
Stomach ulcers are treated with antibiotics and medications to reduce and block stomach acid. In addition to this well-proven treatment plan, research has shown that there are also some natural home remedies that may be useful in managing a stomach ulcer and helping it heal. Talk with your doctor about adding these foods to your diet.
Research suggests that flavonoids, also known as bioflavonoids, may be an effective additional treatment for stomach ulcers. Flavonoids are compounds that occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Foods and drinks rich in flavonoids include:
teas, especially green tea
These foods may also help the body fight against the H. pylori bacteria. Flavonoids are referred to as “gastroprotective,” which means they defend the lining of the stomach and could allow ulcers to heal. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, there are no side effects of consuming flavonoids in the amount found in a typical diet, but higher amounts of flavonoids may interfere with blood clotting. You can get flavonoids in your diet or take them as supplements.
2. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice
Don’t let that long first word give you a stomach ache. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is just plain old licorice with the sweet flavor extracted. One study showed that deglycyrrhizinated licorice might help ulcers heal by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori.
Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is available as a supplement. You can’t get this effect from eating licorice candy, though. Too much licorice candy can be bad for some people. Consuming more than 2 ounces daily for more than two weeks can make existing heart problems or high blood pressure worse.
Probiotics are the living bacteria and yeast that provide healthy and important microorganisms to your digestive tract. They are present in many common foods, particularly fermented foods. These include:
You can also take probiotics in supplement form. Studies have shown that probiotics may be helpful in wiping out H. pylori and increasing recovery rate for people with ulcers when added to the traditional regimen of antibiotics.
Honey is far from simply sweet. Depending on the plant it’s derived from, honey can contain up to 200 elements, including polyphenols and other antioxidants. Honey is a powerful antibacterial and has been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth. As long as you have normal blood sugar levels, you can enjoy honey as you would any sweetener, with the bonus of perhaps soothing your ulcers.
Garlic extract has been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth in lab, animal, and human trials. If you don’t like the taste (and lingering aftertaste) of garlic, you can take garlic extract in supplemental form. Garlic acts as a blood thinner, so ask your doctor before taking it if you use warfarin (Coumadin), other prescription blood thinners, or aspirin.
Cranberry has been shown in some studies to help decrease urinary tract infections by preventing bacteria from settling on the walls of the bladder. Cranberry and cranberry extract also may help fight H. pylori. You can drink cranberry juice, eat cranberries, or take cranberry supplements.
No specific amount of consumption is associated with relief. Too much cranberry in any form may cause stomach and intestinal discomfort due to its high sugar content, so start with small amounts and increase gradually. Many commercial cranberry juices are heavily sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which can also add empty calories. Avoid those juices by buying juice sweetened only by other juices.
Mastic is the sap of a tree grown in the Mediterranean. Studies of the effectiveness of mastic on H. pylori infection are mixed, but at least one small study shows that chewing mastic gum may help fight H. pylori, getting rid of the bacteria in about 3 out of 10 people who used it. However, when compared to the traditional combination of antibiotics and acid-blocking medications, the medications were significantly more effective than the gum. The traditional treatment got rid of the bacteria in more than 75 percent of the people studied. In this study, the mastic gum was not associated with any side effects. You can chew the gum or swallow mastic in supplement form.
FRUITS, VEGGIES, AND GRAINS
8. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
A diet centered on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is not just good for your overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a vitamin-rich diet can help your body heal your ulcer. Foods containing the antioxidant polyphenols may protect you from ulcers and help ulcers heal. Polyphenol-rich foods and seasonings include:
blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, elderberries, and blackberries
FOODS TO AVOID
Foods to limit or avoid with ulcers and acid reflux
Some people with ulcers also have acid reflux disease. Certain foods, in certain people, can affect the lower part of the esophagus, called the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), allowing acid and stomach contents to back up into the esophagus. This can cause injury to the esophagus, as well as heartburn, indigestion and other discomfort.
To reduce acid reflux pain, you may want to limit:
coffee, and other caffeinated beverages
chilies and hot peppers
acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes
Overeating and eating within two to three hours of going to bed may also worsen the symptoms of acid reflux. But not every food acts the same is every person, so keeping track of which foods seem to make acid reflux symptoms worse can be helpful.
Having more than one drink a day for women and more than two for men is considered excessive drinking. If a couple of drinks after work is how you unwind, you might want to consider a healthier alternative. Regular alcohol use cause significant stomach inflammation. Also, alcohol is another substance that can relax the lower part of the esophagus, increasing your risk for acid reflux.
FIND A DOCTOR
Finding a doctor for ulcers
Looking for doctors with the most experience treating ulcers? Use the doctor search tool below, powered by our partner Amino. You can find the most experienced doctors, filtered by your insurance, location, and other preferences. Amino can also help book your appointment for free.
Abdominal bloating occurs when the abdomen feels tight or full. This may cause the area to appear visually larger. The abdomen may feel hard or tight to the touch, and can cause discomfort and pain.
Shortness of breath is difficulty breathing. It’s the feeling that you can’t catch your breath, and that you are not taking in enough air. It can cause feelings of faintness and panic if it continues for long periods.
Possible causes of abdominal bloating and shortness of breath
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
anxiety or panic disorder
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Other causes of abdominal bloating and shortness of breath
Abdominal bloating has many causes. It is more common in people who experience functional gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome or gastroparesis. Bloating can be due to the buildup of gas, fluids, or food in the stomach.
Overeating or eating foods known to contribute to bloating and gas, such as cabbage, beans, and lentils, may cause bloating.
Abdominal bloating can affect the diaphragm, a muscular partition between the chest and abdomen. The diaphragm assists in breathing, which means bloating can lead to shortness of breath. This happens if the pressure in the abdomen is enough to restrict the movement of the diaphragm.
Being short of breath can cause you to take small, short breaths. This can lead to swallowing air, which is known as aerophagia. Difficulty breathing can be brought on by anxiety or panic attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and asthma attacks.
There are conditions that can result in both abdominal bloating and shortness of breath.
Any condition that leads to the buildup of air or foodstuffs could cause both bloating and shortness of breath. Also, stool inside the intestines, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, constipation, ileus, bowel obstruction, and gastroparesis could cause bloating and shortness of breath.
If bloating or shortness of breath is severe, seek immediate medical treatment.
Remember that the above list is not exhaustive but contains some of the more common conditions that may cause shortness of breath and abdominal pain.
SEE YOUR DOCTOR
When to seek medical help
Most abdominal bloating should resolve itself with time when the excess gases, liquids, or food can move through the stomach and intestines. However, if your abdominal bloating and shortness of breath last longer than a day, seek medical attention.
Also seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms along with shortness of breath and abdominal bloating:
blood in your stool
dark, bloody, or tarry-looking stools
loss of control over bladder or bowel movements
severe abdominal pain
vomiting that does not cease after one day
any worsening symptoms
How are abdominal bloating and shortness of breath treated?
Medical treatments for abdominal bloating and shortness of breath will address the underlying condition. For example, over-the-counter medications may help resolve abdominal bloating. Bronchodilators can help to open the airways and improve breathing.
When you experience abdominal bloating, drinking more water may help to reduce symptoms. Walking also helps to relieve gas, but this may not be possible if you are experiencing shortness of breath.
If anxiety is causing your symptoms, taking slow, deep breaths, and thinking calm, peaceful thoughts might help relieve your symptoms.
Taking over-the-counter medications to reduce gas, such as simethicone drops, digestive enzymes, and activated charcoal may help abdominal bloating. Find a great selection of digestive enzymes here and activated charcoal here.
How can I prevent abdominal bloating and shortness of breath?
Avoiding foods known to cause abdominal bloating can help reduce your risk for experiencing symptoms. Also avoiding carbonated beverages can help.
Refraining from smoking can also help to reduce shortness of breath, and lessen the risk of potentially fatal lung disorders.
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The prostate, an organ located under the bladder, produces semen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States. The risk of developing prostate cancer progressively increases with age.
Out of every 100 men over the age of 60, six will have prostate cancer before their 70th birthday, according to the CDC.
There’s no absolute prostate cancer prevention, but evidence suggests diet plays a key role. Keep reading for diet tips and more information.
Tomatoes, watermelon, and other red foods owe their bright color to a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Studies show that men who consume this fruit and tomato-based products have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t.
Other findings suggest that cooking tomatoes makes it easier for your body to absorb lycopene. The redder the tomato, the better because lycopene accumulates during ripening. That means that pale, store-bought tomatoes that are picked too early have less lycopene than vine-ripened tomatoes.
Nutrients and vitamins contained in fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. Green vegetables contain compounds that help your body break down cancer-causing substances called carcinogens. A nutrient-rich diet may also help slow the spread of cancer.
By eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you’ll be less likely to fill up on processed junk food.
Fatty acid, known as omega-3, may help reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer. Omega-3 is found in certain fish including sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout, and salmon.
When compared to a high-fat diet, eating a low-fat diet and taking fish oil supplements has been found to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. It’s easier to treat cancer that hasn’t yet spread outside the prostate.
A nutrient called isoflavones has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Isoflavones are found in:
- tofu (made from soybeans)
- alfalfa sprouts
Some studies have shown that men who drink green tea, or take green tea extract supplements, have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t.
Decades of studies suggest that indulging a serious coffee habit is linked to a decreased risk of fatal prostate cancer:
- Drinking four to five cups of coffee every day can lower your chances of fatal and high-grade prostate cancer.
- Regardless of how many cups you drink overall, every three cups of coffee you drink can reduce your risk of fatal prostate cancer about 11 percent.
This describes a dose-response relationship between prostate cancer and coffee. That means the effect on prostate cancer goes up or down with the amount of coffee you drink. These effects may not extend to someone who only grabs an occasional cup.
However, high doses of caffeine can cause major health issues, such as irregular heartbeat and seizures. According to Mayo Clinic, the daily recommended amount of caffeine for most healthy adults is 400 milligrams — or about 1 1/2 cups.
How coffee is prepared can also be a factor. A study in Norway looked at coffee brewed with a filter, and boiled coffee, which doesn’t use such a filter. Men who drank boiled coffee seemed to have a lower risk of prostate cancer than men who drank coffee prepared another way or not at all.
The chemicals cafestol and kahweol have well-known cancer-fighting abilities. Researchers believe these chemicals are trapped when coffee runs through a paper filter. Boiled coffee may allow these cancer-fighting chemicals to stay in your daily brew.
Studies indicate a link between animal fats and an increased risk of prostate cancer. In addition to meat, animal fats are found in lard, butter, and cheese. Whenever possible, replace animal-based fats with plant-based fats.
This, instead of that:
- olive oil instead of butter
- fruit instead of candy
- fresh vegetables instead of prepackaged foods
- nuts or seeds instead of cheese
Also, overcooking meat produces carcinogens, so be careful not to over-cook your meat.
Prostate cancer patients who smoke are more likely to have a recurrence of the disease. Smokers are also more likely to have an aggressive form of prostate cancer.
It’s not too late to quit. When compared with current smokers, prostate cancer patients who quit smoking for more than 10 years had the same mortality risk as those who never smoked.
Some studies suggest that low folate levels in your blood increase your risk for cancer. Folate is found in a variety of foods, including green vegetables, beans, and orange juice. Increasing your intake of these foods may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, supplementing with folic acid, a man-made form of folate, may increase the risk of cancer.
Some studies have linked dairy products, or diets high in calcium, with an increased risk of prostate cancer, but this risk is considered minimal.
Too much fat, especially in the middle of your body, is linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Benefits of exercise include increased muscle mass and better metabolism. Try:
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Vary your routine and invite your friends to participate. You’re more likely to workout if it’s fun.
Ask your doctor about your risk for developing prostate cancer. Some points to discuss include:
- what medical screening tests you should have as you age
- family history of cancer
- dietary recommendations
Tell your doctor if you’re just beginning a new exercise program, or if you have the following symptoms:
- discomfort anywhere in your pelvic or rectal areas
- difficulty urinating
- blood in your urine or semen