Good news for junk food addicts: It’s possible to re-train your brain to crave things like steamed veggies and salmon. How? Results from a small study at Tufts University and Massachusetts General Hospital suggest that you can break the addiction cycle to bad foods by eating healthy options before your stomach starts growling. Hunger helps form neurological connections between taste and pleasure, so researchers believe that by eating healthy snacks before cravings hit, you can weaken the link between junk food and addiction circuits in the brain. MRIs showed that people who ate this way for six months ended up getting more pleasure from nutrient-dense foods, and less from indulgences like pizza and doughnuts.
The alertness-boosting effect of caffeine kicks in after about 10 minutes, reaches its peak in 45 minutes, then peters out after two to five hours, depending on your metabolism. So if you’re drinking up to push through a tough rehearsal, time it right to get the most powerful results.
Don’t pour out that weird liquid floating on top of your Greek yogurt. This mystery fluid is liquid whey—and it’s chock full of essential nutrients. A by-product of the production of casein, which is a protein found in milk (and, subsequently, in Greek yogurt), the liquid whey in a cup of yogurt can fulfill 25 percent of your daily calcium needs, and 10 percent of your daily potassium. It also contains protein and vitamin A, and contributes to gut health while strengthening your immune system. In other words, it’s liquid gold!
New Book: TuTu Thin
As a dancer, it’s likely that someone you know has struggled with an eating disorder: Meta-analysis of 33 studies from 1966 to 2013 found that dancers’ risk is three times as high as in other populations. Statistics like these are why Dawn Smith-Theodore wrote TuTu Thin. A former dancer and studio owner who is now a therapist specializing in eating disorders, Smith-Theodore offers guidelines for how dancers, teachers and parents of dancers can understand and cope with disordered eating. Although the writing is geared toward adolescents, advice like how to put together nutritious meals and when to seek treatment can be helpful for dancers of any age. See tututhin.com.
Learn Dance Medicine on Your Laptop
Want to learn more about your body straight from the experts? Harkness Center for Dance Injuries has launched a new online learning series to share information that can help performers prevent and manage common dance injuries. Courses such as “Influence of Nutrition on Dancer Health and Performance” and “The Use of Anti-Inflammatory Medications in Dancers” offer practical information based on the latest research for health-care professionals as well as dancers and dance teachers. Search the catalog at dancemedu.org to see which courses (which run from $24 to $67) might be applicable to you.