With all of the cooking yesterday, we were thinking about the eating today and how best to manage the process. Happy Thanksgiving by the way.
It turns out that scientists are studying the post meal recovery period (the Post Prandial phase) because in addition to the temporary Thanksgiving Turkey Coma and the strain on the waistline of your good pants, how you overeat can have an impact on your future health. We are all for overeating (once in a while) but let’s do it in the most healthful way possible.
The scientists are finding that all of us absorb fat differently and that how we do so makes us more, or less, likely to exhibit risk factors for strokes, heart afflictions and diabetes. The reason is that even in healthy people, our blood vessel linings temporarily act differently, and less efficiently, after a gorging on a high fat meal. High sugar meals seem to have less of an impact.
The best ways to reduce the risks, immediately after a fatty meal, during the “postprandial” phase, are being studied by researchers and include:
Exercising 12 to 48 Hours Before the Big Meal
Traditional activities like the family hike, chasing your heritage turkey, touch football, a boxing match for the remote or over a team, etc. are better for you than you thought. Early exercise can help fight a postprandial spike in your Triglycerides which the body must process or they can become plaque on your arteries, which is ultimately a bad thing called atherosclerosis, because Triglycerides, of all the fats, most easily penetrate the arterial walls. The risks are higher if you typically have elevated Triglyceride levels.
Studies have shown that measurements of the Triglyceride levels immediately after a big fat laden meal are more predictive of heart disease than studies conducted while the subject was fasting. Even light exercise, like a family stroll the night before, have been shown to improve how the body handles triglycerides according to the Center for Healthy Living at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Feed Your Metabolism with a Good Breakfast
Having your metabolism at peak performance is another way to make sure that your body processes the maximum amount of Triglycerides post-meal. Don’t make the trade-off a lot of us make and starve right up to the big event. Sure you will be extra hungry and have extra room but when you starve your body (including your fat processing) slows down too. Eat a good, balanced breakfast and have all your systems humming as you sit down to that perfectly prepared table.
Improving the Lipid Profile of your Meal
Good fats are still good fats. According to Shirley Wang, writing in the Wall Street Journal, Japanese researchers have shown that “fats from fish and nuts don’t appear to cause the same Triglyceride spikes, and may even help bring down Triglyceride levels.”
Eat a Few Less Bites
Though it pains us to write this, those last few bites, the ones that take you from “stuffed” to “Uber-Stuffed” are likely one of the unhealthiest activities at the big holiday meal. The research is limited but seems to be pointing to the benefits of avoiding a few big meals and eating smaller meals more frequently. If the human body has to process Triglycerides, the concept of not swamping the equipment, makes sense. As in most things, “Slow and Steady” seems to win the race, not stuffing pumpkin pie down your face. Which means also that fun is once again the enemy of the healthy.
How hard can it be to cut down that big meal by a forkful (or 6)? This year I plan to adjust, maybe I’ll fill the extra space with low fat/high sugar alcohol, or save some of the pumpkin pie for leftover breakfast, or scramble eggs with turkey and stuffing. Come to think of it, it doesn’t sound too bad.
Have a great walk and a Happy Thanksgiving.