A wealth of new scientific evidence shines a critical light on the importance of natural foods and nutritional compounds in the fight against overweight, obesity and weight maintenance. Virtually all alternative health experts agree, the current epidemic of weight control issues plaguing western society are the result of excess consumption of highly processed convenience foods that have replaced vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds in the diet. Three independent studies conclude that blueberries, resveratrol from red grapes and cocoa flavanols exert a potent effect on fat cell formation that can aid in weight loss and management goals when included as part of your daily diet.
Blueberries have been well documented for their cognitive and cardio-protective benefits, due in large part to the potent complex of anthocyanins that give the berry its deep blue color. Researchers reporting the results of a study to the Experimental Biology 2011 conference have found that blueberries may hold the key to resolving one of the largest threats to human health this century – overweight and obesity.
Scientists determined that extracts of the berry compound inhibited the formation of new baby fat cells (adipocytes) in a dose-dependent manner. Less adipocytes mean there are fewer `containers` to store triglycerides from the blood, and this is an ultimately powerful mechanism to lower or help maintain body weight. Not only did blueberry extract supplementation reduce the number of adipocytes up to 73 percent, but the compound was also found to assist in the breakdown of lipids and fats for removal from the body.
Polyphenols from the cocoa plant have been shown to promote cardiovascular, skin and brain health in recent studies. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry provide evidence that extracts of the cacao bean, particularly the flavanol epicatechin, are potent inhibitors of enzymes that break down carbohydrates during digestion.
Study authors determined the compound exerted an effect in a dose-dependent fashion, noting “the more consumed, the greater the effect.” They were also careful to conclude that chocolate and cocoa are two very different terms with the distinction that cocoa is the non-fat component of cocoa liquor, and the carbohydrate-inhibiting effect is not seen when sugar-infused milk chocolate sources are used. A minimum cocoa content of 55% is necessary for health and weight management concerns.
Resveratrol, the bioactive compound found most commonly in the skins of red grapes, is shown to reduce body fat formation by preventing the formation of fat tissue in a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism. The compound is known to positively affect cognitive functions and extend natural lifespan by regulating the longevity gene SIRT1. Researchers explain that ingesting resveratrol at supplemental doses (50 mg per day) for a period of six weeks caused a significant reduction in the activity of enzymes linked to fat production in the body.
Effective weight loss and management requires a combination of lifestyle and dietary modifications. Natural foods and dietary nutrients such as blueberries, resveratrol and cocoa compounds provide a safe and powerful mechanism to achieve long-term weight reduction goals.
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