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New Patent Reduces Salt Levels But Keeps Flavor

New Patent Reduces Salt Levels But Keeps Flavor

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Taste the same salty flavor with less of a health risk

Need a little less salt in your life? You’re in luck. A U.S. patent for a technology designed to reduce salt levels was granted, according to Food Manufacture. And no, it’s not a substitute.

The new patent Soda-Lo is designed to reduce salt levels by 25 to 50 percent while still keeping that salty taste we love. It works by turning salt crystals into crystalline microspheres that are smaller and contain less sodium than regular salt. Since Soda-Lo is created from real salt, you’ll get none of those unpleasant flavors that can result from salt substitutes. It’s the same salty taste for less!

Soda-Lo is owned by Eminate and licensed by Tate & Lyle. The technology is still waiting for patent approval in other countries.

Best Salt Alternatives To Help Lower Sodium Intake, Manage Blood Pressure

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you or someone you know has been diagnosed with hypertension (also known as high blood pressure). It may be a worrying condition, but still, there are several things you can do about it: physical exercise, managing stress, quitting smoking, and of course dietary changes.

One of the most significant yet uncommonly practiced approach is cutting out salt. A small decrease in sodium intake can actually lower blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. You can flavor your food with organic salt alternatives that are readily available just around the corner! Not only are they beneficial in the reduction of sodium intake, they are also rich in many nutrients like magnesium and potassium, which are helpful in the management of hypertension. Plus, the taste is just great!

Let’s identify the best ones.

Are Salt Substitutes a Healthy Way to Lower Your Sodium Intake?

It’s hard not to acquire a taste for salt when it’s hidden in so many foods (especially the processed foods popular in America). So when your doctor tells you to slash the salt in your diet, you may not know how to make food taste good without it.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Salt substitutes typically swap sodium chloride for potassium chloride. But are they a good swap? Not necessarily, says dietitian Maxine Smith, RD, LD.

“Salt substitutes can be a healthy alternative for some people because potassium is an important mineral that helps lower blood pressure,” she says. “But salt substitutes can be dangerous when you have conditions such as kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease or diabetes.”

These conditions may (though not in all cases) raise the risk of high levels of potassium — normally well-controlled by the body — in your blood. The potassium in salt substitutes can tip that balance.

Similarly, using salt substitutes while on certain medications — the most common being ACE inhibitors and potassium-sparing diuretics — can raise your blood potassium to risky levels.

“There are a number of risks,” Smith says, “so don’t take salt substitutes unless they’re approved by your physician.”

Why is salt so bad for you?

Salt isn’t bad. On the contrary, your body needs both salt and potassium, which, on a microscopic level, pump fluid in and out of all your cells.

The right levels of sodium allow your muscles to contract and your nerves to fire. They also regulate fluid levels to prevent dehydration.

“Optimal potassium levels are vital for normal functioning of the heart (including maintaining normal heart rhythm), the muscles and the nerves,” Smith says.

But the balance between the minerals is a delicate one. And getting too much salt or potassium is dangerous.

For example, when you eat too many salty foods, excess fluid starts to build up in your bloodstream. Your kidneys can’t filter all the fluid out, so the fluid stays in your blood vessels, straining their walls.

Over time, that high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease, heart disease and stroke.

Where can you use salt substitutes?

You can use salt substitutes just like table salt at your meals and on snacks like popcorn. The one downside is that potassium chloride tastes bitter, or metallic, to some people.

“It’s best to start with small amounts,” Smith advises.

And although you can cook and bake with salt substitute, you can’t completely leave out the salt when you bake, or certain chemical reactions won’t occur.

For example, when baking bread, you need salt to help the yeast ferment properly and to keep the dough from getting too sticky.

The good news is that potassium acts like salt. But to avoid a bitter aftertaste in baked goods, substitute no more than 20% of the regular salt with a salt substitute.

“You can further decrease the sodium by using sodium-free baking powder,” Smith suggests.

Are salt substitutes best for reducing salt intake?

Instead of relying on salt substitutes, why not try a more adventurous route?

“You can use more herbs and spices, and seasonings like lemon juice and flavored vinegars,” Smith says. “Many herbs have anti-inflammatory properties, so your diet can be healthier and even tastier.”

You can also buy salt-free herb blends like Mrs. Dash® at the grocery store. Or, better yet, make your own. You’ll find many recipes for different salt-free herb blend combinations online.

Easy recipes for salt-free Mexican, Italian and mixed herb seasoning blends, plus tips for eating right with less salt, are available from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at

“You can also add herb blends to marinades and plain bread crumbs,” Smith says. “Herbs, lemon juice and vinegar all decrease the formation of toxic compounds from grilling.”

How much should you limit salt?

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams a day of sodium per day for most adults, though ideally no more than 1,500 milligrams a day.

“But keep in mind that most of the sodium in your diet comes from processed and restaurant foods, and not the salt shaker,” Smith says.

And know that, just as you’ve acquired a taste for salt in your diet, over time you’ll be able to lose your taste for salt.

“By exploring new herbs and spices, you may find yourself enjoying new meals that tantalize your taste buds,” Smith says.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

2. Vegan Chili Recipe With Beans

To make chili even more satiating, add loads of veggies as this recipe calls for. "Even though this recipe contains a lot of wholesome ingredients, the sodium content is rather high per serving," Mathis says. To reduce the salt content, use no-salt-added or low-sodium beans and broth.

Get the Vegan Chili With Beans recipe and nutrition info from Ela Vegan.

New Patent Reduces Salt Levels But Keeps Flavor - Recipes

If you think the food airline companies serve up is bland or unappetising, it’s not necessarily their fault. Essentially, you leave your normal sense of taste behind at the airport departure gate. Get on board a plane and cruise to a level of thousands of feet, and the flavour of everything from a pasta dish to a mouthful of wine becomes manipulated in a whole host of ways that we are only beginning to understand.

Taste buds and sense of smell are the first things to go at 30,000 feet, says Russ Brown, director of In-flight Dining & Retail at American Airlines. “Flavour is a combination of both, and our perception of saltiness and sweetness drop when inside a pressurised cabin.”

Everything that makes up the in-flight experience, it turns out, affects how your food tastes. “Food and drink really do taste different in the air compared to on the ground,” says Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University. “There are several reasons for this: lack of humidity, lower air pressure, and the background noise.”

Dryness and low pressure

When you step on an aeroplane, the atmosphere inside the cabin affects your sense of smell first. Then, as the plane gets higher, the air pressure drops while humidity levels in the cabin plummet. At about 30,000 feet, humidity is less than 12% – drier than most deserts.

The combination of dryness and low pressure reduces the sensitivity of your taste buds to sweet and salty foods by around 30%, according to a 2010 study conducted by Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, commissioned by German airline Lufthansa. To investigate this the researchers used a special lab that reduced air pressure simulating cruising at 35,000 feet (10.6km) – as well as sucking moisture out of the air and simulating the engine noise. It even made seats vibrate in its attempts to mimic an in-flight meal experience.

Interestingly, the study found that we take leave of our sweet and salty senses only. Sour, bitter and spicy flavours are almost unaffected.

But it’s not just about our taste buds. Up to 80% of what people think is taste, is in fact smell. We need evaporating nasal mucus to smell, but in the parched cabin air our odour receptors do not work properly, and the effect is that this makes food taste twice as bland.

So airlines have to give in-flight food an extra kick, by salting and spicing it much more than a restaurant on the ground ever would. “Proper seasoning is key to ensure food tastes good in the air,” says Brown at American Airlines. “Often, recipes are modified with additional salt or seasoning to account for the cabin dining atmosphere.”

Gerry McLoughlin, executive chef at rival US airline United, says he has to use “vibrant flavours and spices” to make in-flight meals taste “more robust”.

He and his fellow chefs also have the constant loud humming of the jet engines to contend with. While you may think that flavour is influenced by your nose and mouth, psychologists are now finding that your ears can also play a part. (For more on this, see this video and try out a taste experiment) A study found that people eating to the sound of loud background noise rated food as being less salty and less sweet than those who ate in silence. Another twist: to those surrounded by noise, food surprisingly appeared to sound much crunchier.

However, a plane’s loud background noise of around 85db does not affect all tastes equally, says Spence. For example, seasonings like cardamom, lemon grass and curry taste more intense in the sky than salt or sugar.

Mass-produced recipes

It’s not just the in-cabin conditions that have to be taken into account. Preparing and serving tasty food for a few hundred people above the clouds is not an easy task. Because of food safety standards, all meals must be cooked on the ground. There the food is packed, blast-chilled, refrigerated, and finally must survive re-heating in the air. All of this would modify the flavour even if it was served at sea level.

To re-heat food on board, for safety reasons nearly all airlines use convection ovens, which blow hot, dry air over the food. Microwaves and open flames are not allowed, although the first induction ovens are now on the market.

“Airline chefs are unique in that they mass produce recipes for thousands of customers,” says Brown. “Many times the final product is not what was originally envisioned due to things outside their control. We design food with ingredients and packing we know can survive the long process between food preparation and delivery.”

Recently fashionable ways of cooking like sous-vide – where the food is cooked in a sealed plastic bag for a long time at a relatively low temperature - also help making in-flight food taste better, says Pam Suder-Smith, president of the International Flight Services Association.

So to improve the quality of airline food, airlines are beginning to experiment with testing meals in pressurised environments or aboard actual aircraft to replicate what passengers will experience.

Simulated cabin

“You can’t use the same recipes for airline meals that you would use on the ground,” says David Margulies of Sky Chefs, a company specialising in catering for airlines. “But that doesn’t mean that meals served on airplanes can’t taste just as good. Our executive chefs have mastered the art and science of adapting recipes to changes in how food tastes at high altitudes.”

So far, this proves true mostly for meals in first and business class, though. “Coach meals may be less elaborate,” he concedes.

The umami notes of tomato juice seems stronger in the air than on the ground (Getty Images)

For First and Business class, Sky Chefs employ a team of executive chefs who work with airline customers – and use state-of-the-art kitchens, similar to those in a restaurant. Most meals are then placed in special carts and kept chilled until they are re-heated during the flight. “They are prepared in a manner that takes the re-heating process into account so they are not overcooked,” says Margulies.

Airlines keep finding better ways to research food preparation at altitude. Singapore Airlines, for instance, works closely with their in-flight catering provider, SATS, which has a simulated aircraft cabin at their in-flight catering centre at Singapore Changi Airport, where meals are cooked and tested under low-pressure conditions. “It enables us to replicate the conditions of a flight at 35,000 feet and our airline has developed many in-flight dishes based on research conducted in this facility," says a Singapore Airlines spokesperson.

Nasal sprays

Some of our senses, however, are unaffected by altitude, especially the so-called fifth taste, umami. It is the pleasantly savoury taste imparted by foods such as sardines, seaweed, mushrooms, tomatoes, and soy sauce. “Umami taste may actually be enhanced by loud background noise,” says Spence.

And because tomatoes are so rich in umami, “this links to people ordering tomato juice and Bloody Mary in the air in a way they never do on ground,” he adds.

Similarly, United’s McLoughlin is using umami-rich ingredients such as spinach, tomatoes and shellfish to enhance in-flight meals.

In a more radical approach, British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal hoped to help British Airways deliver better in-flight food, by distributing nasal spray to passengers to clear their sinuses before they ate. That approach proved unpopular, though. So Blumenthal resorted to umami, for example with a recipe for shepherd's pie that featured seaweed in the crust.

The champagne you pop at 30,000ft doesn't taste like it does on the ground (Getty Images)

Besides having an umami-rich menu, BA is also introducing soundtracks to match the taste of the food using noise-cancelling headphones, says Spence. Available for first, business and economy, “it is one of the channels on all long-haul flights introduced from November, and it includes both semantic matches such as for example Scottish music for Scottish fish, and more synesthetic matches designed to up sweetness.” Synesthesia is the technical term for evoking a sensation (like taste) through the stimulation of a different sense, in this case hearing.

Some airlines are also investigating whether changing the cutlery might help, because when heavy cutlery is replaced by knives and forks that are light and plastic, it makes food taste worse, says Spence. “And the cheap plastic cups in which we drink our gin and tonic and wine don’t help either.”

‘Thin, tannic and acidic’

Speaking of wine, some varieties, however outstanding on terra ferma, may lose their edge as soon as they are up in the air, says Liam Steevenson, the head of UK wine distributor Red & White, who is also one of the senior wine buyers at grocery chain Waitrose. The company used to supply business-only airline Silverjet for two years with the wine to go with the menu designed by the restaurant Le Caprice. That involved a lot of tasting and assessment of wines on the ground and then in the air, while Steevenson himself worked as a consultant for Silverjet.

“Wines that on the ground taste quite fruity, suddenly taste thin, tannic and acidic,” says Steevenson. “Wines certainly thin out and become much leaner and more structured. Liquids expand and contract according to atmospheric pressure and therefore perhaps this is what is happening to the wine. The mid-palate is tasting less fruity as the pressure changes.”

To deal with the issue, airlines have to select wines that are fruity with low acid and low tannin. “This is not always easy – champagne is high in acid and lots of people want to drink champagne on board,” says Steevenson. “Claret is tannic and sometimes acidic – again lots of business travellers want Bordeaux – so in my mind all these buying decisions have to be made whilst thinking about what will happen to them in the air.”

And because very low humidity changes our palate perceptions, it is “probably best to drink wine early in the flight rather than towards the end, when we have dried out considerably more,” he adds. “As we dry, out taste buds become less effective.”

Want to Cut Sodium? Look at Food Labels

To stay under 2,300 mg or less a day, you must read food labels regularly. Look for the “no salt added ” labels (meaning no salt is added during processing, but the product is not necessarily salt- or sodium-free). Foods labeled “sodium-free” have less than 5 mg per serving “very low sodium” foods contain less than 35 mg per serving “low-sodium” foods have less than 140 mg per serving. Other terms you might see include “light sodium” or “lightly salted” (meaning at least 50 percent less sodium than in the regular product), and “reduced sodium” (meaning at least 25 percent less sodium than in the regular product — but probably too much for your diet!).

Sodium, despite its hazards, is nevertheless an essential nutrient needed in fairly small amounts, unless you lose a lot through sweating. Sodium helps maintain a balance of body fluids and keeps muscles and nerves working well. A mineral, sodium is one of the chemical elements found in salt. Though used interchangeably, the words “salt” and ”sodium” have different meanings: Salt, or sodium chloride, is a crystalline compound used to flavor and preserve food.

The relationship between sodium and high blood pressure is fairly straightforward. Sodium attracts water, and the higher the sodium intake, the greater the amount of water in the bloodstream — which can increase blood volume and blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition in which blood pressure stays elevated over time. That makes the heart work harder, and the higher force of blood flow can damage arteries and other organs, including the eyes, brain, and kidneys.

Sodium and potassium also affect each other along with your blood pressure: Potassium can help lower blood pressure by acting as a counterbalance to the harmful effects of sodium in your diet. To up your intake, eat foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, juices (such as carrot, orange, pomegranate), yogurt, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and white beans.

The Link Between Heart Disease, Migraine and Salt

Those who live with migraine or Meniere&rsquos disease need to be particularly cautious when it comes to sodium. For one thing, a high-sodium meal may trigger headaches.

People with chronic migraine have double the risk of developing hypertension ( 5 ). A high-sodium diet can also contribute to generalized inflammation through the stimulation of Th17 cells ( 6 ). The white salt found in processed foods and saltshakers, bleached and stripped of minerals, may be a contributor to autoimmune conditions ( 7 ). One research study found that, while sodium levels in the blood may not be elevated, sodium levels within the lymphoid tissues may be, which might be generating the autoimmune response ( 8 ).

Sodium and Migraine: The Latest Research

Editor&rsquos Note: This section is NOT an excerpt from The Migraine Relief Plan.

Researchers at UCSB used a model of a rat brain to watch how sodium interacts with the brain during a migraine attack. [Art by Greg Dunn]

Researchers have known for a while that sodium levels within the brain increase during a migraine attack. New research led by Michael Harrington from the Huntington Medical Research Insitute and Samuel Grant from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering with Linda Petzold and Hamed Ghaffari from the University of California, Santa Barbara, sheds light on the salt and migraine connection.

The team hypothesized that sodium enters the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord) by passing through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and the blood-CSF barrier (BCSFB), which separates CSF from blood and the brain.

The researchers used a model of a rat brain to watch how sodium moves between CSF, blood, and the brain during a migraine attack.

&ldquoCerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain tissue sodium levels increase during migraine, &rdquo said Linda Petzold, Professor at UCSB in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Computer Science. &ldquoHowever, little has been known regarding the underlying mechanisms of sodium homeostasis disturbance in the brain during the onset and propagation of migraine. Using mathematical modeling and global sensitivity analysis, we established that sodium transport from blood to CSF across the blood-CSF barrier is the most likely source of the increased sodium levels.&rdquo

Once sodium passes from the blood into the brain tissue, explains Petzold, it eventually hits the trigeminal nerve, the large nerve system that extends across your face and forehead. The excess sodium leads to the firing of neurons in the trigeminal nerves that the brain interprets as intense pain ( 9 ).

It is not completely clear from this research what the role of sodium in your diet would play in your migraine attacks, but it does answer some interesting questions about what happens in your brain during an attack.

Tips for Healthy Salt Consumption

If you have frequent migraine attacks, it can help to watch your salt intake.

We actually need only a small amount of sodium for our bodies to function properly, estimated to be around 500 milligrams per day, which is naturally occurring in the whole foods we eat. We do not need added salt to be healthy. Primitive tribes probably got between 400 and 800 milligrams of sodium per day in their diets, without any salt available on a daily basis ( 10 ).

Today, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 milligrams per day be consumed by everyone.

My recommendation is to live between 1,200 and 1,500 milligrams per day, although if you have Meniere&rsquos disease or any balance problems, experiment with maintaining a consistent average on the lower end of that range. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

1 &ndash Be patient. Once you reduce your sodium intake, it takes two months, possibly three, for your palate to heal and get used to low-sodium foods. They do eventually taste great&mdashI promise!

2 &ndash Don&rsquot eliminate all salt. If you eliminate processed foods and salt from your cooking, you can enjoy adding sea salt to your food at the table where you really taste it.

3 &ndash Choose your salt carefully. I recommend selecting natural sea salt with a tint to it, which contains many important trace minerals. For example, Himalayan pink sea salt contains more than 80 trace minerals, including iron, iodine, copper, zinc, selenium, and molybdenum, which are all important for people with autoimmune conditions ( 11 ). Five twists of my salt grinder is the equivalent of 100 milligrams of sodium. While sea salt is more expensive than regular iodized table salt, it lasts a long time since you only use a small amount at the table. If you can&rsquot find sea salt at a local store, order it online. Look for iodized sea salt or take a multivitamin that contains iodine so you don&rsquot have to worry about thyroid conditions.

4 &ndash Don&rsquot try to cure migraine with salt. You may have seen on the Internet that taking a large quantity of salt will instantly &ldquocure&rdquo a migraine. I don&rsquot recommend that approach, nor does any reputable doctor.

Keep in mind that low-sodium diets can improve more than your migraine. They can also improve:

  • Diabetes symptoms
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • PMS symptoms
  • Joint issues and joint pain
  • Meniere&rsquos Disease-related dizziness and vertigo (It&rsquos important to maintain a daily average that&rsquos consistent, ideally around 1,000 milligrams per day.) ( 12 )

Don&rsquot miss Dr. Cynthia Armand discuss food and migraine on the Migraine World Summit &ndash Watch here

Food and inflammation

People with chronic inflammation are advised to adopt lifestyle habits that help reduce inflammation. This may include a combination of physical activity, adequate rest and a nourishing diet filled with anti-inflammatory foods.

Which foods are inflammatory?

Many foods in the typical &aposWestern&apos diet fuel inflammation. The average American gets almost 58% of calories from ultra-processed foods, which are pro-inflammatory due to high quantities of sugar, trans fat, salt, refined flour, additives and preservatives. Foods made from these ingredients, including processed meat, fast food, baked goods, deep-fried foods, candy and soda are pro-inflammatory.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that people who eat the most inflammatory foods have almost 50 percent higher risk of developing heart disease.

Which foods are anti-inflammatory?

On the other hand, an anti-inflammatory diet is high in whole foods including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fish, beans, nuts, herbs, and spices. The entire dietary pattern matters more than any singular food, and variety is encouraged.  

But confusion often abounds when it comes to choosing healthy oils. Most oils are pressed from vegetables, nuts and seeds, which are on the "good for me" list — so are all oils equally nutritious? It turns out that there&aposs more to it. In addition to the type of fat in each oil, the health benefits depend on how the oil was processed, and how it&aposs used in your kitchen. Read on to learn about the best and worst oils for inflammation.

Why homemade cumin powder?

Homemade cumin powder is more flavorful than the store bought bottled one for the simple reason that ground spices oxidize and begin to lose their real flavor overtime. Store bought cumin powder can never have the same amazing depth of flavor as the homemade one.

So I always make it at home in small batches. All you need is good quality whole cumin seeds, preferably organic or at least NON-GMO kind & a good spice grinder. Store bought cumin powder comes in 2 kinds.

  1. Raw cumin powder where the seeds are simply ground without roasting. This is mostly labelled as ground cumin. This kind of cumin powder is always added while simmering/ cooking dishes like curries, soups etc.
  2. Roasted cumin powder which is made by roasting the seeds first. Then they are ground. This kind of powder can be used while simmering, finishing or for garnishing. It is also known as bhuna jeera powder.

Why roasting is important?

Whole cumin seeds naturally taste sharp and slightly bitter. Roasting them not only reduces these sharp and bitter tastes but also enhances the flavor profile by releasing a more earthy and warming flavors. Once you begin to use the roasted cumin powder you will never want to go back to the unroasted one. Also this step of roasting makes it more shelf stable and lasts longer.

However unroasted cumin powder can be used in marinades, grilled dishes, fried foods, soups and stews where it is added much earlier in cooking.

Making your own cumin powder at home is a 2 step process. The first step is to roast the whole seeds on a really low heat to bring out the aroma. Then they are cooled down and ground in a spice grinder to a very fine powder. Stored in a clean air tight glass jar, this homemade ground cumin retains its flavor for 2 to 3 months.

So this well-known spice not only flavors & adds nutrition to your dishes but also has immense potential to work on the overall body system.

Easing Into The Holidays: 10 Ways To Circumvent Cravings

The holidays are right around the corner, inevitably leading to fun family gatherings with delicious treats, meals and leftovers.

Cravings can hit at the wrong moment and cause you to eat something that may completely disrupt your healthy food routine. With quantities and accessibility of holiday goodies potentially on the rise in your kitchen over the coming weeks, today we’ll look at 10 ways you may be able to circumvent cravings and head toward the new year staying mindful of your wellness goals.

1) Increase your protein consumption.

Adding more protein can help to reduce appetite as well as prevent overeating. Eat a protein rich breakfast to reduce cravings. Eating a healthy breakfast that is rich in protein increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day. If your cravings strike midday, add a protein shake or protein dense snack like jerky or nuts.

2) Chew some sugar free bubble gum.

Chewing gum reduces snack cravings and decreases consumption of sweets. A recent study of men and women demonstrated that chewing sugar-free gum reduced the likelihood of eating sweet snacks compared to those who did not chew gum.

3) Spice things up a little.

Spicy food helps to negate salty food cravings. Spicy foods may cause you to eat less salt and have lower blood pressure. Spicy foods enhance your ability to taste salt, which causes you to consume less. Spicy foods, like hot peppers, promote thermogenesis which is a great way to rev up your metabolism. Thermogenesis is the process by which the body turns calories into heat to be used for energy by the body.

4) Try supplementing your diet with foods rich in probiotics.

Overall, it is well established that probiotics are great for digestive health, but did you know they may also partially control our cravings? Eating foods with probiotics can help sway food choices. The microbiota that live in our gut may actually be able to affect both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what “they” want. Prebiotics, probiotics, antibiotics, and dietary changes can manipulate the microbiome in our gut.

5) Drink more water.

The feeling of thirst is often confused with hunger. According to a study at the University of Florida, 75 percent of Americans do not drink the recommended amount of water. When you feel a craving emerging, try drinking a glass of water.

6) Remove temptation.

Try to imagine the long term consequences of giving into your cravings consistently. Will you get to your desired goal weight? How will you look in those amazing new jeans? Will your favorite dress still manage to fit? Try eliminating the foods that tempt you. Create a barrier or distance between yourself and your temptation. Not having your temptation readily available reduces the likelihood of yielding to unhealthy cravings.

7) Manage your stress levels.

Stress can oftentimes be a trigger for cravings. Not all stress is negative, but prolonged periods of stress can lead to serious health conditions and increase the obesity related hormones like cortisol. It has also been well established in scientific literature that increased consumption of sugary and salty foods is linked to prolonged periods of stress.

8) Plan your meals.

Planning and preparing your meals ahead of time limits variability and keeps you accountable. Lack of certain nutrients in our diet can cause cravings, so thoughtfully planning your meals to include specific vitamins and nutrients may help decrease your desire to make bad food choices.

9) Get some shut eye.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend sleeping for seven – nine hours per night. Getting the recommended amount of sleep each night may help maintain normal levels of hunger and satiety hormones.

10) Drink green tea.

Teas such as oolong, yerba mate, kola nut and green tea have great metabolism enhancing and antioxidant properties. Drinking teas has been shown to increase thermogenesis and help with satiety.

Sure, cravings can be unavoidable at times, but having ways to circumvent them helps to give you an added advantage. Which tips do you plan to implement to help combat your holiday cravings?

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. “Chewing Gum Reduces Snack Cravings and Decreases Consumption of Sweet Snacks.” 20 April 2009.

Hypertension. “Enjoyment of Spicy Flavor Enhances Central Salty-Taste Perception and Reduces Salt Intake and Blood Pressure.” 31 October 2017.

Journal of Clinical Investigation. “The gut connectome: making sense of what you eat.” 2 March 2015.


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