First For Women

Small tweaks = BIG health perks


It’s easy to end the daily bloodsugar roller coaster and avoid the energy slumps, cravings and weight gain they can cause. The secret? Using four simple health hacks, identified by French biochemist and bestsellin­g author Jessie Inchauspé. And it’s never been more important, given the news that elevated blood sugar affects women over 50 more severely than it does men. Sara Gottfried, M.D., notes, “Aiming for optimal levels of blood sugar may keep you on course for vibrant health as you age.”

On this four-week plan, you’ll learn how to blunt blood-sugar spikes to power off pounds. Each week, you’ll add one hack to your routine. You may like the slimming perks so much, you stick with these tricks for good!

1. Eat a savory breakfast.

Each morning, break your fast with a meal built around protein and fat, like eggs, Greek yogurt or leftover chicken from last night’s dinner—something that will keep you satisfied for 4 hours. (Avoid carbs or anything sweet, other than fruit, if desired.) Dr. Gottfried explains, “When you start the day off by keeping blood sugar stable, you’re less likely to have sudden cravings for sugary snacks to compensate for the approachin­g blood-sugar drop.” Indeed, a study published in The

Internatio­nal Journal of Obesity found that people who eat protein-rich eggs shed 65% more weight than those who eat carb-rich bagels in the morning.

2. Take a vinegar shot.

Consuming 1 Tbs. of vinegar daily is shown to curb cravings and improve satiety by 144%. Plus, the liquid’s acetic acid slows the rate that digestive enzymes in the gut can break down starches into glucose, flattening a blood-sugar spike by up to 30% and a fat-storing insulin spike by up to 20%. To get the benefits, simply choose “a vinegar and a vehicle” to get it into your body and enjoy 10 minutes before a meal. Inchauspé likes 1 Tbs. of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 oz. of water, tea or seltzer. Or you can mix vinegar into foods like pickles or kimchi. Since the goal is balancing blood sugar, avoid mixing your vinegar with a sugary drink like apple juice, which could create an unintended spike. Tip: Sip vinegar with a straw to protect your tooth enamel.

3. Enjoy a fiber appetizer.

Before eating your most carb-heavy meal each day, first enjoy a veggie “starter.” Research finds that consuming plant-based food lowers blood sugar, inflammati­on and weight. And soluble fiber helps balance blood sugar. Eating some veggies before a high-carb meal is also proven to slow sugar absorption and reduce the magnitude of a blood-sugar spike and its subsequent drop by up to 75%, calming hunger.

There’s no need to count calories on this plan—simply eyeball your plate and aim for this appetizer to visually make up 30% of the meal’s total volume. And keep it simple: Eating 10 olives, some cut-up carrots or steamed green beans will do. One favorite: “backward broccoli.” Just pour boiling water over fresh broccoli in a heat-safe bowl, let sit for 2 minutes, drain and enjoy.

4. Move after one meal.

Activating your muscles with exercise for 10 minutes after eating your largest meal of the day compels glucose to be used. “Exercise makes your muscles more sensitive to insulin so they ‘soak’ up the glucose and help maintain stable glucose levels,” explains Dr. Gottfried. A Cleveland Clinic study shows that exercising after a meal slashes blood-sugar bumps by 45%.

Strive for movement within 90 minutes of eating. And since we lose muscle as we grow older—a change that slows our ability to burn fat—older women should opt for weight-bearing exercise. Try seated calf raises with a heavy book on your knees, dancing while holding a grandbaby or walking with a weighted bag or hand weights.

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