This Was The Best Healthy Eating Advice We Heard In 2018

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I've been immersed in the healthy food world for years, and I'm still mind-blown regularly by how much more knowledge is out there. With the world's best M.D.s, R.D.s, and chefs at my fingertips (and as part of the amazing mbg Collective), I was able to answer pretty much every healthy eating question that came across my desk this year—and learn things I didn't even know to ask. From the world's best chef sharing the one food he uses to make everything taste good to renowned functional doctor Frank Lipman sharing what we're all getting wrong about eating healthy fats, this was the best healthy eating advice of 2018.

Have heartburn? Rosemary might be the cure.

Indigestion, heartburn, reflux, and GERD can often have the same root cause. The root is often related to inadequate stomach acid and/or overgrowth of bad bacteria. Rosemary has been proved to soothe the symptoms of indigestion and reflux due to its array of benefits for the gut. The powerful antimicrobial benefits help to eradicate bad bacteria while balancing the stomach acid and promoting healthy levels of probiotics.

—Nicole Rivera, D.C., in Have Indigestion Or Heartburn? A Doc Says This Kitchen Staple Is The Cure

Uh-oh—drinking caffeine can lead to weight gain.

The average person gets about 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily from coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and energy drinks. That amount of caffeine (and for some people, much less than that amount) can adversely affect blood sugar levels. Of the seven studies in one review, five showed caffeine both increases blood glucose levels and prolongs those increases. Elevated blood sugar levels also spike insulin levels. Insulin is an anabolic or storage hormone. One thing this hormone is very good at storing is fat in your midsection. Keeping insulin elevated can make your cells less sensitive to its "signal"; this is called insulin resistance. To lose weight and keep it off, you want your cells to be the complete opposite—insulin sensitive. Therefore, coffee (caffeine) has the potential of making your cells more insulin resistant. One systematic review and meta-analysis looked at seven qualifying studies and concluded that caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity in healthy subjects in the short term, potentially creating high blood sugar.

—Vincent Pedre, M.D., in Drinking Caffeine Can Lead To Weight Gain. Here's How

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You may need less protein than you think.

In reality, you actually need less protein than you think. In order to manage your blood sugar, it is essential to not overdo it on protein. Your body is incredibly smart, and when you starve it of glucose, it uses the process of gluconeogenesis to turn your protein intake into glucose for energy. But when you limit your protein, your body is able to use fat for fuel instead. You should be aiming for around 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight—the amount of weight on your body that isn't fat—per day. But not all protein is created equal.

—Will Cole, D.C., in What Everyone Gets Wrong About How Protein Affects Blood Sugar Balance

The one food you need to eat for better brain health? Healthy fats.

This topic freaks a lot of people out—won't it make me fat, they wonder. The right kinds will not, but they will provide powerful healing and support to help you feel your best. That's because 60 percent of your brain is made up of DHA, an omega-3 fat found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and algae. EPA is another important type of omega-3, and both of these fatty acids are critical for supporting brain function and moodregulating metabolism, and preventing diabetes and inflammation. Avoid oils like canola, grapeseed, corn, sunflower, and soybean, and be sure to eliminate hydrogenated oils completely, as they contribute to inflammation and the progression of disease.

—Mark Hyman, M.D., in If You're Going To Eat One Thing Daily For Your Brain Health, THIS Should Be It

Constipated? You might need more fiber.

Fiber is magic for constipation. It helps to remove toxins, facilitates intestinal movement, and protects your digestive tract from inflammation, injury, and disease. Most American women consume only about 14 grams of my recommended 35 to 50 grams of fiber per day. Fiber also aids in weight loss and maintenance because it can curb your appetite by helping you feel full, and it helps dispose of estrogen to keep you in the fat-burning zone. Not bad, right? Fiber-rich foods include quinoa, legumes, berries, and green leafy vegetables. Keep in mind that it can be challenging to eat your daily fiber minimum, so you might need to supplement with a fiber blend. Whether you use food or supplements to get your fiber, I recommend increasing fiber intake by a maximum of 5 grams per day, starting at 20 grams on Day 1. If you get gassy, scale back and increase more slowly.

—Sara Gottfried, M.D., in Found: The Best Advice For Avoiding Constipation When You Travel This Summer

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Bitter foods are the supermodel secret for great digestion and glowing skin.

They activate bitter receptors on the tongue, which in turn activates cells in your stomach to normalize acid production for better digestion. When this happens, bile production and digestive enzyme production are improved as well. Proper bile production is essential for detoxifying the liver, excretion of heavy metals from your body, hormone balance, and bowel regularity. Digestive enzymes are essential for extracting and absorbing nutrients from your food. They can also help to reduce the number of unfriendly bacteria in your intestines. Finally, bitter foods also tend to be rich in antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation.

—Charles Passler, M.D., in The Weird Food Supermodels Eat For Great Digestion, Balanced Hormones & Glowing Skin

A high-fat diet is healthy—unless you're eating carbs too.

When you're eating high-fat and you're not eating carbs, your body is going to metabolize that fat and use that fat for energy. But if you're eating carbs with the fat, your body is going to use that sugar with the carbs for energy, so then you'll just store that fat. I would look at it as a habit. If you're in the habit of drinking Bulletproof coffee and eating a lot of fat, like I am, you need to get in the habit of being low-carb.

—Frank Lipman, M.D., in One Of The Country's Best Doctors Says A High-Fat Diet Is Great For Weight Loss — UNLESS You're Eating This Food

Fermentation isn't just good for your gut—it's also how world-class chefs make food taste delicious.

Having these types of building blocks in your larder makes cooking easier. When you have sushi, you dip it in soy sauce (a fermented food), and it makes the sushi better. You can have a bowl of steamed spinach and you add some fermented food to it, and it tastes super delicious.

—René Redzepi, co-founder of Noma, in The Chef At The World's Best Restaurant Wants You To Add This Gut-Healing Superfood To All Of Your Meals

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