Take advantage of bone broth’s robust nutritional profile with these delicious, healthy recipes.

While bone broth may be an acquired taste, it’s gained much-deserved popularity in the kitchen and among nutrition pros over the years. Whether you make it at home or buy a high-quality batch from the grocery store, adding bone broth to your favorite recipes will give you a kick of vitamins and minerals that will keep your body functioning at its best.

Researchers have found that bone broth is a nutrition powerhouse — high in protein and vitamins like magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. The amino acids found in bone broth ease digestion, helping to reduce inflammation and heal the gut. It’s also a source of gelatin, which breaks down into collagen and can help repair joint damage and fight osteoarthritis. Hello, postworkout support!

You can use bone broth just like you would any other broth or stock — as a base for soups, to cook grains or to make casseroles. Or you can simply drink it like a cup of joe!

Here are five quick and easy recipes to get you started.

Quick Bone Broth Steamed Eggs

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

3 eggs

¼ cup chicken bone broth (We love Roli Roti Butcher’s Bone Broth!)

¼ tsp salt

2 shiitake mushrooms, sliced

scallion curls, to garnish

2 cooked shrimp, to garnish (optional)

Instructions

Crack eggs into a small mixing bowl, add chicken bone broth and salt. Whisk until uniform. Add shiitake mushrooms into mixture. Divide and pour into 2 microwave-safe soup bowls. Cover bowls with cling wrap. Microwave for 2.5 minutes. Remove from microwave and discard cling wrap. Garnish with scallions and shrimp. Enjoy while hot.

Bone Broth Green Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

3 chicken bone broth ice cubes (Portion out broth into ice-cube tray and freeze.)

½ avocado

1 cup fresh spinach

1-inch piece ginger

1-inch piece turmeric

1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)

juice of ½ lime

½ tsp chopped almonds

½ tsp chia seeds

Instructions

Place chicken bone broth ice cubes, avocado, spinach, ginger, turmeric, almond milk and lime juice into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glass and top with chopped almonds and chia seeds. Serve immediately.

Miso Oatmeal

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

2 cups chicken bone broth

½ tsp soy sauce

1 tsp red miso

¼ tsp salt

1½ cups quick oats

1 tbsp butter

½ cup maitake mushrooms

2 eggs, poached (optional)

1 tbsp chopped scallions, to garnish

1 tbsp chili oil (optional)

1 tsp sesame seeds

Instructions

In a small saucepan, bring bone broth, soy sauce, miso and salt to a boil. Add quick oats and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir until oats are fully hydrated, about 2 minutes. Cover with the lid and turn off heat. In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and add maitake mushrooms. Stir mushrooms into butter and cook until golden brown and edges are crispy, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. To serve, fill 2 bowls with miso oatmeal. Top with a poached egg, fried mushrooms, chopped scallions, a drizzle of chili oil and sesame seeds.

Beef Bone Broth Bloody Bull

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

28 oz can San Marzano peeled tomatoes

1 cup beef bone broth

1½ cups vodka

juice of 2 limes

2 tbsp horseradish, grated

2 tbsp hot sauce

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp ground celery seeds

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

celery stalks, to garnish

pickled green beans, to garnish

lime wedges, to garnish

Instructions

Place tomatoes, beef bone broth, vodka, lime juice, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, celery seeds, black pepper and salt into a blender and blend until smooth. Fill glasses with ice. Pour bloody bull into glasses and garnish with celery stalks, pickled green beans and lime.

Thai Red Curry Bean Dip

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

1 can white beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup chicken bone broth

¼ cup coconut milk

1 tbsp Thai red curry paste

2 cloves garlic

juice of ¼ lemon

1 tbsp peanut butter

½ tsp dark brown sugar

½ tsp salt

cilantro, to garnish

toasted peanuts, to garnish

toasted coconut chips, to garnish

chopped Thai chilies, to garnish (optional)

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, to finish

Instructions

Place white beans, bone broth, coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, garlic, lemon juice, peanut butter, dark brown sugar and salt into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into serving bowl and garnish with cilantro, peanuts, coconut chips and Thai chilies, and drizzle olive oil on top. Serve with a colorful medley of veggies.

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Can you actually change the way you age for a healthier life? The science says yes.

The slow creep of aging affects everyone, and before you know it, you’re over the hill and losing steam. But what exactly causes us to age? Scientists believe it is ultimately because of accumulated metabolic damage that occurs at the cellular level.

As we age, certain biological compounds decrease, including one called NAD+. This coenzyme is found in all living cells and plays a vital role in energy metabolism, DNA repair and healthy cell function — particularly that of the mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells that convert food to energy. As NAD+ declines, our mitochondria are adversely affected and damaged, resulting in less energy output and leading the corporeal aging process. Low NAD+ also alters the activity of enzymes called sirtuins, a class of proteins believed to play a role in healthy aging by turning certain genes on and off and by helping protect the body from the onset of age-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

The Fountain of Youth?

The good news is that you can increase and replenish NAD+ by supplementing with a precursor called nicotinamide riboside (NR). NR (commercially known as Niagen) is a newly discovered version of vitamin B3 found in trace amounts in milk. According to a study published in Nature Communications, NR converts to NAD+ when ingested and goes to work improving mitochondrial function, creating new mitochondria and increasing energy production at the cellular level. NR also reactivates the sirtuin proteins, some of which work to maintain the length of telomeres, the caps on the ends of DNA associated with longevity, ultimately reversing the aging process and extending your life span, according to research published in PLOS One.

Though best-known for its energy-boosting properties, NR is also being studied for these benefits, which are of particular note to athletic women:

  • NR may improve muscle quality and strength. According to a study published in Science, NR supplementation in mice resulted in rapid DNA repair and an improvement in the health of muscle tissue within a week.
  • NR might fight fat. A study published in Cell Metabolism found that NR helped boost metabolism and prevent weight gain, even when test mice were fed a diet high in fat.
  • NR may help with cognition. According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, NR-treated mice had less DNA damage, higher neuroplasticity, increased neuron production and less neural damage than the control group, and they performed better on given memory tests.

There are no adverse side effects of NR and no contraindications, so if it sounds enticing, try it for yourself. You’ve got nothing to lose and energy — and longevity — to gain!

A New Kind of Energy

ChromaDex, the innovators of NR, maintains a scientific advisory board that includes Nobel Prize–winning researchers and is continually conducting studies and are uncovering more benefits of NR every day. To date, most studies have been done on animals, but a recent six-week human clinical trial found that participants taking Tru Niagen — a name-brand version of NR with three safety certifications from the Food and Drug Administration — experienced on average a 40 percent increase in NAD+ levels.

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Here are some key takeaways from recent research on training, health and nutrition.

Nighttime Workouts No Longer a No-No

The standard advice for insomniacs is to avoid exercising in the evening, but according to a research review published in the journal Sports Medicine, late-day workouts might actually enhance sleep: Study participants who did an evening workout spent 20 percent more time in the deep-sleep phase that same night than those who hadn’t exercised in the evening. “When people spend less time in deep sleep, it negatively affects your sports performance the following day,” says Christina M. Spengler, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport at ETH Zurich.

It is worth noting, however, that when participants engaged in vigorous workouts such as high-intensity interval training one hour before bed, it did have a negative impact on their sleep quality. Position your sweat sesh at least two to three hours before hitting the sack to mitigate any negative effects a tough session might have on sleep.

Lift for Longevity

Experts have touted the heart-healthy benefits of aerobic exercise for decades, but now weightlifting shares the spotlight: According to research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, those who trained with weights just once a week for less than an hour reduced their risk of developing metabolic syndrome by 29 percent and their risk for high cholesterol by 32 percent — even without any accompanying aerobic exercise. More is not better, however: Resistance training more than four times a week or for durations longer than 60 minutes didn’t decrease heart-health risk any further.

Only the Lonely

Research published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics found that people in their 20s, mid-50s and late 80s suffer the most from loneliness. These sad, solitary feelings come with several health implications, and experts believe the reduction of life span linked to loneliness is similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day: Using a series of surveys, researchers measured participants’ levels of loneliness, mental and physical health, and wisdom. However, there is a silver lining: Those who ranged highest for loneliness ranked lowest in wisdom — a factor you can control and improve. Build your wisdom bank by practicing meditation, trying new things, talking to more people and seeking out some mentors.

The Eternal Carb Question

It’s the never-ending debate among nutritionists and athletes — how low should you go with your carbohydrate intake? When it comes to maintaining your weight, a recent study in the journal BMJ may have the answer. Since metabolism tends to slow down after people lose weight, researchers wanted to test whether diet composition could combat this effect. They supplied 164 adults who had recently lost weight with meals controlled for protein and fat content but contained either 20, 40 or 60 percent carbs. After 20 weeks, the researchers found that the low-carb group torched roughly 250 more calories per day than the high-carb group, and they theorized that the low-carb group had reduced levels of ghrelin, the hormone that increases appetite and promotes the storage of body fat.

However, a diet that is low in carbohydrates is difficult to follow long term, and the number of carbs you need greatly depends on your goals (weight loss, maintenance, muscle building, performance) as well as your age, genetics and activity level: Some athletes do well on a low-carb diet, but others need more to maintain their fitness routine. “It might come down to trial and error to figure out what works for you,” says Holly Wyatt, M.D., associate professor of endocrinology, metabolism and diabetes at the University of Colorado, Denver. “But in general, the more active you are, the more carbs and calories you can have in your diet.”

Eat Organic, Beat Cancer

A French study that examined the diets of nearly 70,000 volunteers (mostly women) found that those who ate organic food had 25 percent fewer incidences of cancer — especially lymphoma and breast cancer — than adults who never consumed organic foods. However, Frank B. Hu, Ph.D., chairman of the department of nutrition at Harvard, says eating more fruits and vegetables overall — organic or not — is the best way to prevent cancer. If your access to organic foods is limited or if they are financially out of reach, pick and choose your organic produce. Foods that contain the most pesticides include strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, sweet bell peppers and hot peppers.

Food for Thought

Research examining the correlation between nutrients and brain health isn’t necessarily new, but how they are examining the connection is: Instead of inferring brain health from a cognitive test, researchers at the University of Illinois directly examined participants’ brains using high-resolution brain imaging. Subjects with good brain connectivity had higher blood levels of omega-3s, omega-6s and carotene, indicating a more healthful diet. And since faster brain connections boost energy and immunity and help reduce the risk of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, eating foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, beans, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and squash could be the key to good mental health.

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Here’s the answer to your salt cravings.

Question: As an athlete, I am craving salt. Why? Should I give in to the craving?

Salt cravings can be linked to a lot of things, including stress, lack of sleep and even premenstrual syndrome, but since you’re athletic, most likely they are because of the loss of minerals — including sodium — from sweating.

Salt cravings also can be linked to dehydration, especially if they are accompanied by dizziness, thirst, headache, irritability or cramps. If you don’t sweat a lot, you can probably replace those minerals and quench your cravings with tap water alone. If you sweat more or if you’re an endurance athlete, however, drink an electrolyte-enhanced beverage, eat a (healthy) salty snack or sip a broth-based soup to help replace your deficit.

Spotlight On: BPA

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used in the manufacture of resilient plastics used for food containers, toiletries, sports equipment, household electronics and the anti-corrosive lining inside cans of food.

Many experts claim that BPA exposure is harmful: When ingested, it can mimic the structure and function of estrogen or can bind to estrogen receptors, negatively impacting reproduction, fetal development, energy levels and cell repair. High levels of BPA also have been linked to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and Type
2 diabetes.

Completely eradicating BPA exposure may be impossible because of its widespread use, but limit it whenever possible. Emphasize whole foods, avoid packaged and canned goods, use glass bottles instead of plastic, choose BPA-free plastic toys and products, and never microwave food in plastic containers; BPA and other chemicals can leak into food when heated.

Nutrition Myth Bustin’

True or False?: Combining carbs and protein in a meal is bad for digestion.

False. Lately, there is a theory that combining carbs and protein in a single meal “confuses” your digestive system, and that since your body is not equipped to digest mixed nutrients, it could cause weight gain. However, your body is specifically prepared for this kind of multitasking and releases all kinds of digestive enzymes at the same time that break down carbs, fats and protein — even if you didn’t eat all those macros in a single meal. Besides, most single foods contain a mix of two or more macros, so neither you — nor your body — needs to worry about choosing what to digest.

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Use these strategies to kick the calorie-counting habit once and for all.

When it comes to trimming down, counting your calories used to be the go-to plan. Thankfully, a new era of research has been steadily pounding nails into this antiquated calorie-counting coffin. Case in point: A study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while eating more whole foods without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year. And a New England Journal of Medicine investigation showed that people whose diets included more servings of junk food, potato-sweetened drinks and red/processed meats gained weight during four-year intervals while those who ate more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and yogurt were protected from creeping weight gain — regardless of calorie intake.

This is not to say that calories don’t matter in the battle of the bulge; they do. But those 100 calories from bologna are not the same as 100 calories from broccoli, and the number of calories in a food absolutely does not indicate its healthfulness. “People would be better served by shifting their priorities away from counting calories and toward improving diet quality and eating habits,” says Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim: 30 Days to Permanent Weight Loss One Portion at a Time (Center Street, 2019). “Not only can calorie counting be tedious and inaccurate, it doesn’t give the full picture.”  

Dump those tired calorie-counting apps and instead use these body-benefiting metrics to get your fit on.

1. Focus on Fiber

Your Goal: 25-plus grams per day

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that simply focusing on eating a higher-fiber diet is just as effective for weight loss as following a set diet plan. “Fiber is found in foods that are relatively low in calories,” Young says. “It also fills you up, so it’s a weight-loss win-win.”

More reason to rough it: An investigation in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming more fiber improves your microbiome — for example, the levels of beneficial bacteria in your gut — and a robust microbiome has been linked to everything from better digestion to improved mental health. Yet despite these results, dietary surveys show that more than 90 percent of American adults don’t get enough daily fiber.

If you’re among the fiber-fraught, look into some legumes: Just 1 cup of beans offers 15 grams of fiber, which brings you more than halfway toward your daily goal of 25 grams. Other fiber-friendly foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Focus on chewing your food

2. The Chew

Your Goal: 20 to 30 percent fewer bites

It sounds too simple to be legit, but a Brigham Young University study found that people who counted their daily food bites and sips of non-water liquid and then committed to taking 20 to 30 percent fewer food bites and sips were successful at shedding several pounds over the course of a month — without making any other changes to their diet or exercise routine. “Counting bites slows down your food intake, which helps you eat more mindfully and better notice your body’s satiety signals,” Young notes. In other words, you’re less likely to eat and drink more than you actually need if you monitor how often you bring fork to mouth.

Want to try it? Simply count the number of bites of food or gulps of liquid other than water you take over the period of a week. Take the average and reduce that number by 20 to 30 percent per day to hit your goal. For example, if you average 120 bites/sips a day, you’d reduce that to 100 bites/sips daily.

3. Pumped-Up Protein

Your Goal: 20 to 30 grams per meal

The recommended amount of protein for active women is roughly 1.5 grams for every kilogram of bodyweight to support the repair and creation of muscles while keeping your appetite in check. The latest science also indicates that when you eat it is as important as how much you eat: Instead of consuming your daily protein quota at a single meal, distribute it more evenly throughout the day. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that muscle protein synthesis increased when people consumed 30 grams of protein in a meal (about 5 ounces of chicken breast) and that taking in more than that didn’t bring about bigger gains. Remember that additional calories of any kind — protein, fat or carbs — will be stored as body fat.

To cover the spread, look over your weekly meal plan and include a protein with each and every meal and snack. Chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, legumes and eggs are all great options.

4. Don’t Dine Out

Your Goal: 3 or fewer meals per away from home per week

An American Journal of Preventive Medicine study found that adults who ate out more frequently consumed less nutritious diets and had higher food expenses, and a Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study showed that women who ate lunch out at least once a week lost an average of 5 fewer pounds over the course of a year than those who brown-bagged it more often. Furthermore, women who consume lots of fast food may be more likely to experience infertility than women who rarely, if ever, eat fast-food meals, suggest researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

“While it’s hard to eat healthy if you’re always eating out, it’s also difficult to eat poorly if you’re cooking for yourself using mostly whole-food ingredients,” Young explains.

To reduce your weekly dining-out habit, plan a week’s worth of healthy meals and snacks, and then carve out some time to batch-cook your fare. Takeout is way less tempting when you’ve got a tasty homemade meal to nosh.

Cooking with vegetables

5. Volumize Your Vegetables

Your Goal: 3 cups daily

Most nutrition maxims come and go, but the push to eat more veggies will never wane. Beyond reducing the risk for nearly every disease under the sun, a large review of studies published in the journal Nutrients showed that women who eat more daily servings of vegetables tend to have slimmer waistlines and do a better job at staving off weight creep.

“When you eat more veggies, it tends to crowd out other higher-calorie foods in your diet to help with weight management,” says Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, author of Essential Sports Nutrition: A Guide to Optimal Performance for Every Active Person (Rockridge Press, 2018). “And their added fiber will slow down digestion, which promotes satiety to help put the brakes on overeating.” Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, only 1 in 10 Americans are eating the daily recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables.

Infuse all your meals and snacks with veggies to ensure you hit your optimal intake: Add shredded carrots to your morning oatmeal, dig into a big green salad for lunch and toss around a veggie-laden stir-fry for dinner. Frozen vegetables are a convenient and budget-friendly way to work more into everything from soups to smoothies.

6. Slash Added Sugar

Your Goal: Less than 40 grams (10 teaspoons) daily

Studies show that people who eat too much added sugar (extra sweet stuff added in as opposed to that naturally present) face an increased risk for conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease — not to mention unwanted belly flab — and those sugar spikes and crashes can leave you feeling haggard. “There’s a very different reaction in the body when foods with naturally occurring sugar are consumed like fruit and dairy as compared to foods such as cookies that are heavily processed with added sugar,” Sumbal says.

Chances are you’re overloading on sugar without even knowing it; various sugar aliases are pumped into nearly everything, from ketchup to salad dressing to almond butter. And so-called “natural sugars” such as added honey and coconut sugar do not get a free pass: They too count toward your daily added sugar allotment.

Thankfully, a new nutrition label calls out the grams of added sugar, making it way easier to keep tabs on your intake of the sweet stuff. Limit your intake to less than 6 to 12 teaspoons (24 to 48 grams) per day. Swap out products that list higher amounts of added sugar like flavored yogurt and granola with low- to no-sugar-added alternatives, such as plain yogurt and unsweetened muesli.

Opt for a healthier cocktai

7. Beware of the Booze

Your Goal: Fewer than 3 drinks per week

The research against alcohol is bulletproof: A 2018 study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that people who abstained from alcohol were more successful at dropping pounds during a four-year lifestyle intervention program. And a report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that women who drink heavily when they’re younger have a higher risk of becoming overweight as they age. What’s more, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that consuming one to two alcoholic drinks more than three times a week raises the risk for dying earlier — especially from cancer — by about 20 percent because alcohol is broken down in the body into the carcinogenic compound acetaldehyde.

“When you drink, the liver is forced to metabolize the alcohol instead of fat, which may increase fat accumulation around the midsection,” Sumbal says. She adds that people often overlook the calories in booze (and sweet mixers), which can really add up over the course of a week. Factor in the lowered inhibitions when you get your buzz on, which make you more likely to mindlessly munch, and you could be in deep doo-doo.

You don’t have to totally swear off cheering in the weekend with your gal pals, but be smarter about imbibing: Trim a drink or two from your weekly routine, pour yourself smaller servings, and order cocktails made with soda water and wedges of whole fruit.

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Your diet will go swimmingly using these easy-to-make recipes that feature sustainable, protein-packed fish.

Fish have a stacked nutritional resume (hello, mega-healthy omegas and muscle-building protein) that should place them at the top of your meal-prep roster. And even though research shows that women of childbearing age who regularly nosh on fish are at a lower risk of developing heart disease, very few women eat the recommended amount — of just 8 ounces per week!

Perhaps you’re concerned about contaminants and sustainability issues like overfishing or are worried that your paucity of fish-cooking skills means you’ll butcher that pricey halibut. Then there are the counter-side decisions you don’t know how to make: Should you buy wild or farmed? Frozen or fresh? Large fish or small?

Here’s the help you need to navigate these murky waters. Try these foolproof recipes using the healthiest, most sustainable fish and follow the fish-buying guidelines and you will never have to throw your meal overboard.

Cod

With 15 grams of high-quality protein per 3-ounce serving, cod is awesome muscle fuel. Cast your line for this swimmer and you’ll reel in a range of must-have nutrients, including phosphorus, selenium and potassium, as well as B6, which plays an essential role in dozens of enzymatic reactions in the body.

ECo-Smart: The most ocean-friendly choice is Pacific wild cod from icy Alaskan waters where measures are taken to prevent overfishing and the use of destructive fishing methods. Take a hard pass on Atlantic cod, which suffer from depleted stocks and which are permitted to be caught with high amounts of bycatch — fish or other marine species that are caught unintentionally with the target fish — which is often allowed to die and be discarded.

In the Kitchen: When it comes to cooking delicate fish like cod, it’s full-steam ahead. The liquid below your fish vaporizes, carrying heat to your meal and cooking it quickly but gently. Gussy up your steaming water with flavoring agents like citrus zest, ginger and herbs.

Bait-and-Switch: Good substitutes for cod are Pacific halibut, sole, lingcod, U.S. catfish, U.S. tilapia, barramundi and sablefish.

Cod Tacos With Strawberry Salsa

Hands-On Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 7 Minutes

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

1 cup hulled strawberries, diced
1 yellow or orange bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
½ small red onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped basil or mint
juice of ½ lemon
1 cup water
1 tsp orange zest
juice of 1 orange
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
1¼ lb Pacific cod
¼ tsp salt, plus a couple of pinches
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
8 corn tortillas, warmed
½ cup sour cream

Directions

In a large bowl, toss together strawberries, bell peppers, chili peppers, red onions, basil/mint, lemon juice and couple of pinches salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. To a medium-size pan or pot, add water, orange zest, orange juice, garlic and ginger. Line a steamer tray with parchment paper. Arrange fish fillets on tray and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Set tray in pan/pot, making sure it rests above the liquid, then cover tightly. Bring liquid to a boil and steam until cod is just barely cooked through in the center, about 7 minutes. (Alternately, steam fish in an electric steamer.) Transfer steamed fish to a cutting board and allow to cool, then gently break flesh apart into 1-inch pieces. To serve, place cod on tortillas and top with strawberry salsa and dollops of sour cream.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 288, fat 4 g, carbs 34 g, fiber 4 g, sugar 7 g, protein 30 g, sodium 283 mg

Trout

Rainbow trout has a mild taste and is a good swap for people who find salmon too “fishy.” Its rosy flesh is a top-notch source of omega-3 fats, which research shows can slash the risk for diabetes and heart disease. A palm-size serving of trout also gives you a quarter of your daily need for phosphorus, an important building block of strong bones. And since it’s a smaller fish, the risk of ingesting too many contaminants like mercury is low.

Eco-Smart: The trout you buy is almost certainly farmed, but fret not. The land-based tanks and raceways (man-made channels of flowing water used to mimic natural habitats) employed by most North American trout farmers cause fewer environmental woes than oceanic farming, which tends to sully wild waters with fish waste and which spreads diseases to wild fish populations.

In the Kitchen: One of the great worries about working with fish like trout and salmon is the fear of overcooking. Using lower cooking temperatures in the oven increases the time it takes to cook the fish, which means you can keep closer tabs on it, and the end result is a delicate texture and juicier meat.

Bait-and-Switch: Use trout in place of wild salmon and arctic char.

Recipe Hack: Use the leftover almond sauce on grain bowls, or thin it with some olive oil and use it as a salad dressing.

Trout With Herbed Almond Sauce

Hands-On Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

1/3 cup unsalted roasted almonds
¼ cup buttermilk (or milk)
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup parsley
1/3 cup fresh mint
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1½ lb rainbow trout fillets

Directions

Place almonds in a food processor and pulse into small pieces. Add buttermilk, yogurt, shallots, spinach, parsley, mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, cayenne and salt and process until smooth. Chill 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Season trout with salt and pepper and place skin-side down on sheet. Bake 15 minutes, or until just barely cooked through in the thickest part of the flesh. Divide into servings and top with almond sauce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 334, fat 15 g, carbs 6 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 3 g, protein 42 g, sodium 262 mg

Rainbow trout is a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that promotes brain function, healthy immune system and fertility. When combined with vitamin e, selenium can act as an antioxidant to reduce the risk of cancer.

Mussels

Nutritionally, this poor man’s oyster delivers a boatload of benefits, including quality protein, omega-3 fats and selenium. They also contain vitamin B12, which is vital for the health of your nervous system.

Eco-Smart: Farmed mussels are sustainable superstars with zero input aquaculture. Unlike farmed shrimp or salmon, which can require tons of feed and antibiotics to grow, mussels don’t need food or drugs. Moreover, they filter particulates from the water, actually making it cleaner, and don’t mind being packed tightly together so you can grow a lot of nutrition in a very small space.

In the Kitchen: Some people consider mussels a restaurant dish, but unlike most seafood, they are cheap and nearly foolproof to prepare. Most mussels are sold debearded and pre-cleaned to minimize teeth-rattling grit, and they keep well for a couple of days in your refrigerator in a bowl and covered with a damp paper towel. They’re sold alive, so never
keep them in a plastic bag, which suffocates them.

Bait-and-Switch: Use clams or cockles in place of mussels.

Italian Mussel Soup

Hands-On Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

1 cup farro
4 cups water, divided
½ tsp salt, divided
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp red chili flakes
¼ tsp black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 lb mussels
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
¼ cup sliced Kalamata or black olives (optional)
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

Directions

Bring farro, 3 cups water and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 25 minutes, or until grains are al dente. Drain excess liquid. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and heat 1 minute. Add fennel, red chili flakes, remaining salt and black pepper and heat 30 seconds. Add wine, bring to a boil and simmer 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, 1 cup water and thyme. Bring again to a boil, then add mussels. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 3 minutes, or until shells pop open. Use a slotted spoon to remove mussels from soup; discard any that have not opened. Stir farro, red wine vinegar and olives (if using) into soup. Remove mussels from shells and add flesh and their juices to soup. Serve garnished with parsley.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 515, fat 12 g, carbs 47 g, fiber 9 g, sugar 5 g, protein 42 g, sodium 726 mg

Catfish

More flavorful than tilapia, the underappreciated catfish has a mere 130 calories per 3-ounce serving, making it very waistline-friendly. Nutritional perks include vitamin B12, selenium and phosphorus as well as thiamine, which is
vital for your metabolism.

Eco-Smart: According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, U.S. farmed catfish is a green-light choice because indoor farming tanks minimize environmental impact. Wild blue catfish caught in the Chesapeake Bay is also a good choice, but send imported catfish from Asia overboard because of questionable farming methods.

In the Kitchen: A quick braise helps keep delicate catfish fillets tender and moist, and greatly reduces the chances of overcooking it into rubber. This is harder to do with direct heating methods like pan-searing.

Bait-and-Switch: Use cod, lingcod, Pacific halibut, sole, U.S. tilapia, barramundi or sablefish in place of catfish.

Salsa Verde Braised Catfish

Hands-On Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 tsp grapeseed or canola oil
1 cup white onions, thinly sliced
¼ tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp black pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1½ cups salsa verde
4 (4-6 oz) catfish fillets
juice of ½ lime
¼ cup unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
½ cup cilantro, chopped

Directions

Cook rice according to package directions. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy-bottom skillet. Add onions and salt and cook 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add cumin and black pepper and heat 30 seconds. Add broth and salsa verde and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and carefully place fish fillets in pan, spooning sauce over the top. Cover and simmer gently over low heat until fish is cooked through, flipping once, about 8 minutes. Squeeze lime juice over the top and remove from heat. Divide rice among plates and top with catfish. Spoon salsa verde sauce on top. Scatter on pumpkin seeds and cilantro.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 478, fat 20 g, carbs 44 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 7 g, protein 28 g, sodium 636 mg

Salmon

There are very few sources of omega-3 fats that are better than salmon, and a recent study from Tufts University found that people are more likely to age without health problems and disabilities when they have higher blood levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. Salmon also contains plenty of vitamin D and astaxanthin (which gives it its rosy hue), which is being studied for its cancer-fighting properties. Bonus: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine names salmon the best omega-3-to-mercury-ratio fish of any option at the fishmonger.

Eco-Smart: Salmon farming is becoming more eco-friendly, but issues such as antibiotic use persist. When possible, opt for wild Alaskan salmon like chinook or sockeye. These species are healthy with no overfishing or notable contaminant risks. Feasting only on krill and tiny crustaceans, wild salmon also have a healthier fatty-acid profile than their farmed counterparts, and their rich, buttery flesh can’t be beat.

In the Kitchen: Believe it or not, nuking your salmon is a guaranteed fast, delicious meal. Microwaving the fish in parchment packets traps steam to add moisture and promises meltingly tender flesh — without making your kitchen smell like low tide.

Bait-and-Switch: Try rainbow trout, arctic char or catfish in place of salmon.

Salmon Broccoli Parcels With Horseradish Sauce

Hands-On Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes

Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients

1 cup red onions, sliced
3 cups broccoli florets, sliced
2 (5-6 oz) skinless salmon fillets
salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium orange, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
2 tsp creamy Dijon mustard
2 tsp cider vinegar

Directions

Fold two 14-inch-by-18-inch sheets of parchment paper in half. Open sheets and place equal amounts of red onions and broccoli on one side of each sheet. Place salmon on top of vegetables and season with salt and pepper (to taste). Top with orange slices. Fold parchment sheet over fish and vegetables and crimp shut. Microwave packets on high for 5 minutes. Open a corner to check that salmon is cooked through in the thickest part. If not, microwave in 30-second intervals until cooked. Let packets rest, sealed, 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, horseradish, dill, mustard and cider vinegar. Open packets and serve fish topped with horseradish sauce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 361, fat 13 g, carbs 25 g, fiber 6 g, sugar 14 g, protein 37 g, sodium 159 mg 

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This newly popularized Asian fruit can jack up your nutrition.

It looks alien-like and can grow as massive as 100 pounds, but the nutritious jackfruit can play a starring role in both sweet and savory dishes. The two most common forms available are ripe jackfruit, with a sweeter flavor perfect for desserts and smoothies, and young “green” jackfruit with a firmer, more neutral taste, making it a great meat substitute. Here are five ways to use this ultra-versatile tropical treat to boost your health.

1. As Ab-Slimming Tacos 

At a mere 45 calories per cup, underripe young jackfruit can serve as a calorie-stingy meat substitute for your next taco night. And research shows that people who nosh on more fruit gain less flab in the first place.

Pulled Jackfruit Tacos: Drain 1 can green (young) jackfruit, pat dry and shred. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add jackfruit and saute 5 minutes. Add ¾ cup low-sugar barbecue sauce, 1½ tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon paprika. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, pulling jackfruit apart as it becomes tender. Divide mixture between 4 corn tortillas and top each with ½ cup baby spinach, ¼ cup pineapple chunks, 1/3 cup shredded carrots and dollops of sour cream.

2. As a Heart-Healthy Smoothie 

Jackfruit is a good source of vitamin C, a nutrient linked to lower blood pressure and better heart health because of its antioxidant properties.

Tropical Jackfruit Smoothie: Blend together 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup jackfruit (fresh or canned), 1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder, 1 tablespoon cashew butter, 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon fresh ginger and 1 small frozen chopped banana.

3. As a Good-Gut Curry 

An investigation in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that higher intakes of fiber — like that found in unripe jackfruit — acts as a prebiotic, nourishing and bolstering those beneficial gut bacteria.

Curry in a Hurry: Add 1 chopped onion, ½ teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons oil to a large pan and cook over medium heat until soft. Add 1 can green jackfruit (drained and chopped), 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon chopped ginger; heat 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne and ½ teaspoon black pepper and stir. Add ¾ cup coconut milk and 1 cup pureed tomatoes, and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in juice of ½ lime and serve topped with chopped cilantro and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

4. As Craving-Crushing Pops 

Since ripe jackfruit is so sweet, you can use it to tame a sweet tooth minus the pitfalls that come with eating too many refined sugars, including an increased risk for mental conditions like depression.

Jackfruit Pops: Blend together 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1½ cups ripe jackfruit, 1 tablespoon honey, zest of 1 lime, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and pinch of salt until smooth. Evenly distribute mixture among popsicle molds, insert sticks and freeze 8 hours.

5. As an Energizing Vegan Salad 

Jackfruit contains riboflavin, an important component of the coenzymes involved in the breakdown of food into energy.

Jackfruit “Tuna” Salad: Drain and rinse 1 can of young (green) jackfruit and pulse in a food processor until chopped into small pieces. Mix with ¼ cup vegan mayonnaise, 1 chopped celery stalk, ½ cup chopped red onions, 1 diced and seeded plum tomato, 1/3 cup chopped parsley, juice of ½ lemon, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Serve on bread or large lettuce leaves. 

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This nutrient might be the answer to your anti-aging woes.

Most of us have never heard of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD+. But that doesn’t stop it from being an active champion for your cellular health.

NAD+ is a coenzyme that plays a major role in metabolism. The problem? Levels tend to decrease with age — and in reaction to the stressors of everyday life. But there’s a nature-identical supplement that might help get your levels back on track. We talked with biochemist and NAD+ expert Charles Brenner, PhD, to get the scoop on how it all works.

Oxygen: Our bodies make less NAD+ as we age. Why?

Charles Brenner: Over time, we experience more metabolic stressors, like exposure to free radicals in the environment and even alcohol consumption or overeating. These things cause NAD+ levels to decline.

Oxygen: How do low NAD+ levels affect us as we age?

CB: NAD+ plays an important role in metabolism. Producing less of it can make it harder for cells to convert food into energy, make hormones like androgens and estrogens, and maintain healthy DNA.

Oxygen: Supplementing with nicotinamide riboside (NR) can replenish NAD+. What exactly is NR, and how does it work?

CB: Nicotinamide riboside is a form of vitamin B3 that’s a precursor to NAD+. It’s an important building block that cells can take up and use to rebuild their NAD+ supplies.

Oxygen: How does boosting NAD+ production help slow the effects of aging?

CB: It helps maintain your cellular health and resiliency. This means your cells are better equipped to handle the effects of common fluctuations in energy associated with an active lifestyle.

Oxygen: Are there other potential benefits of taking NR?

CB: It’s nothing short of remarkable. We’ve assessed the ability of NR as an oral supplement to boost people’s NAD+ safely, and it does that. Now that we have safety data and promising preliminary results, there are between 25 and 30 human clinical trials testing NR’s effect on a variety of health outcomes .

Oxygen: Who would benefit from supplementing with NR?

CB: All of us experience metabolic stress, and NR is a way to replenish NAD+ stores that are under attack from those stressors and support people’s resiliency at the cellular level. Busy professionals, people that are concerned with their performance, or those who have noticed that they’re in a little bit of decline and don’t want to be that way—they could all benefit.

Oxygen: NR is a form of vitamin B3 that’s found in milk. Couldn’t you just get your fill from dairy foods?

CB: You’d have to have hundreds of liters of milk, so that’s the case for taking a supplement. (The NR technology is exclusively licensed by ChromaDex.)

Oxygen: How long would you need to supplement with NR to notice a difference?

CB: Some people feel something in as little as two or three weeks. It kind of works in the background like an antivirus operating system, maintaining your NAD+ levels so you don’t have a disruption.

Oxygen: Are there any downsides to taking NR?

CB: NR is generally recognized as safe and we haven’t seen any negative side effects from the human clinical trials. Of course like with taking any supplement, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor first.

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Love margaritas but not all that sugar? This festive cocktail takes the edge off without derailing your efforts in the gym.

Who doesn’t like to unwind after a long week with a margarita? The problem is, they are loaded with sugar and could clock in around 600 calories each. I knew there had to be a way to have my cake and eat it too, so I created the cocktail I lovingly refer to as the “Amberita.” Enjoy the recipe below guilt-free — you deserve it!

Amberita

1.5 limes, squeezed half lemon, squeezed .5 oz. Triple Sec 1 oz. Silver Tequila 1 packet of Truvia Salt rim with Tajin Seasoning

Yield: one serving

Calories: 129 Carbs: 9 Fat: 0 Protein: 0

Now in its fifth year, The Oxygen Challenge has helped thousands of participants all over the world transform their bodies and their lives. This summer, we are bringing you two of the most badass coaches of all time: lifetime athlete and CrossFit Games champion Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and All-American track competitor and body-positive trainer Amber Dodzweit Riposta.

So what are you waiting for? Start transforming your life and body now with this 90-day training and nutrition program designed exclusively for Oxygen — it’s guaranteed to awaken your inner athlete, buoy your spirit and empower your life! Join the Challenge today.

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Use these seven strategies to kick the calorie-counting habit once and for all.

When it comes to trimming down, counting your calories used to be the go-to plan. Thankfully, a new era of research has been steadily pounding nails into this antiquated calorie-counting coffin. Case in point: A study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while eating more whole foods without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year. And a New England Journal of Medicine investigation showed that people whose diets included more servings of junk food, potato-sweetened drinks and red/processed meats gained weight during four-year intervals while those who ate more vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and yogurt were protected from creeping weight gain — regardless of calorie intake.

This is not to say that calories don’t matter in the battle of the bulge; they do. But those 100 calories from bologna are not the same as 100 calories from broccoli, and the number of calories in a food absolutely does not indicate its healthfulness. “People would be better served by shifting their priorities away from counting calories and toward improving diet quality and eating habits,” says Lisa R. Young, Ph.D., RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim: 30 Days to Permanent Weight Loss One Portion at a Time (Center Street, 2019). “Not only can calorie counting be tedious and inaccurate, it doesn’t give the full picture.”  

Dump those tired calorie-counting apps and instead use these body-benefiting metrics to get your fit on.

1. Focus on Fiber

Your Goal: 25-plus grams per day

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that simply focusing on eating a higher-fiber diet is just as effective for weight loss as following a set diet plan. “Fiber is found in foods that are relatively low in calories,” Young says. “It also fills you up, so it’s a weight-loss win-win.”

More reason to rough it: An investigation in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming more fiber improves your microbiome — for example, the levels of beneficial bacteria in your gut — and a robust microbiome has been linked to everything from better digestion to improved mental health. Yet despite these results, dietary surveys show that more than 90 percent of American adults don’t get enough daily fiber.

If you’re among the fiber-fraught, look into some legumes: Just 1 cup of beans offers 15 grams of fiber, which brings you more than halfway toward your daily goal of 25 grams. Other fiber-friendly foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

2. The Chew

Your Goal: 20 to 30 percent fewer bites

It sounds too simple to be legit, but a Brigham Young University study found that people who counted their daily food bites and sips of non-water liquid and then committed to taking 20 to 30 percent fewer food bites and sips were successful at shedding several pounds over the course of a month — without making any other changes to their diet or exercise routine. “Counting bites slows down your food intake, which helps you eat more mindfully and better notice your body’s satiety signals,” Young notes. In other words, you’re less likely to eat and drink more than you actually need if you monitor how often you bring fork to mouth.

Want to try it? Simply count the number of bites of food or gulps of liquid other than water you take over the period of a week. Take the average and reduce that number by 20 to 30 percent per day to hit your goal. For example, if you average 120 bites/sips a day, you’d reduce that to 100 bites/sips daily.

3. Pumped-Up Protein

Your Goal: 20 to 30 grams per meal

The recommended amount of protein for active women is roughly 1.5 grams for every kilogram of bodyweight to support the repair and creation of muscles while keeping your appetite in check. The latest science also indicates that when you eat it is as important as how much you eat: Instead of consuming your daily protein quota at a single meal, distribute it more evenly throughout the day. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics showed that muscle protein synthesis increased when people consumed 30 grams of protein in a meal (about 5 ounces of chicken breast) and that taking in more than that didn’t bring about bigger gains. Remember that additional calories of any kind — protein, fat or carbs — will be stored as body fat.

To cover the spread, look over your weekly meal plan and include a protein with each and every meal and snack. Chicken, fish, Greek yogurt, legumes and eggs are all great options.

4. Don’t Dine Out

Your Goal: 3 or fewer meals per away from home per week

An American Journal of Preventive Medicine study found that adults who ate out more frequently consumed less nutritious diets and had higher food expenses, and a Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics study showed that women who ate lunch out at least once a week lost an average of 5 fewer pounds over the course of a year than those who brown-bagged it more often. Furthermore, women who consume lots of fast food may be more likely to experience infertility than women who rarely, if ever, eat fast-food meals, suggest researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

“While it’s hard to eat healthy if you’re always eating out, it’s also difficult to eat poorly if you’re cooking for yourself using mostly whole-food ingredients,” Young explains.

To reduce your weekly dining-out habit, plan a week’s worth of healthy meals and snacks, and then carve out some time to batch-cook your fare. Takeout is way less tempting when you’ve got a tasty homemade meal to nosh.

5. Volumize Your Vegetables

Your Goal: 3 cups daily

Most nutrition maxims come and go, but the push to eat more veggies will never wane. Beyond reducing the risk for nearly every disease under the sun, a large review of studies published in the journal Nutrients showed that women who eat more daily servings of vegetables tend to have slimmer waistlines and do a better job at staving off weight creep.

“When you eat more veggies, it tends to crowd out other higher-calorie foods in your diet to help with weight management,” says Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, author of Essential Sports Nutrition: A Guide to Optimal Performance for Every Active Person (Rockridge Press, 2018). “And their added fiber will slow down digestion, which promotes satiety to help put the brakes on overeating.” Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, only 1 in 10 Americans are eating the daily recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables.

Infuse all your meals and snacks with veggies to ensure you hit your optimal intake: Add shredded carrots to your morning oatmeal, dig into a big green salad for lunch and toss around a veggie-laden stir-fry for dinner. Frozen vegetables are a convenient and budget-friendly way to work more into everything from soups to smoothies.

6. Slash Added Sugar

Your Goal: Less than 40 grams (10 teaspoons) daily

Studies show that people who eat too much added sugar (extra sweet stuff added in as opposed to that naturally present) face an increased risk for conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease — not to mention unwanted belly flab — and those sugar spikes and crashes can leave you feeling haggard. “There’s a very different reaction in the body when foods with naturally occurring sugar are consumed like fruit and dairy as compared to foods such as cookies that are heavily processed with added sugar,” Sumbal says.

Chances are you’re overloading on sugar without even knowing it; various sugar aliases are pumped into nearly everything, from ketchup to salad dressing to almond butter. And so-called “natural sugars” such as added honey and coconut sugar do not get a free pass: They too count toward your daily added sugar allotment.

Thankfully, a new nutrition label calls out the grams of added sugar, making it way easier to keep tabs on your intake of the sweet stuff. Limit your intake to less than 6 to 12 teaspoons (24 to 48 grams) per day. Swap out products that list higher amounts of added sugar like flavored yogurt and granola with low- to no-sugar-added alternatives, such as plain yogurt and unsweetened muesli.

7. Beware of the Booze

Your Goal: Fewer than 3 drinks per week

The research against alcohol is bulletproof: A 2018 study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that people who abstained from alcohol were more successful at dropping pounds during a four-year lifestyle intervention program. And a report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that women who drink heavily when they’re younger have a higher risk of becoming overweight as they age. What’s more, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that consuming one to two alcoholic drinks more than three times a week raises the risk for dying earlier — especially from cancer — by about 20 percent because alcohol is broken down in the body into the carcinogenic compound acetaldehyde.

“When you drink, the liver is forced to metabolize the alcohol instead of fat, which may increase fat accumulation around the midsection,” Sumbal says. She adds that people often overlook the calories in booze (and sweet mixers), which can really add up over the course of a week. Factor in the lowered inhibitions when you get your buzz on, which make you more likely to mindlessly munch, and you could be in deep doo-doo.

You don’t have to totally swear off cheering in the weekend with your gal pals, but be smarter about imbibing: Trim a drink or two from your weekly routine, pour yourself smaller servings, and order cocktails made with soda water and wedges of whole fruit.

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