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Dr. Oz: Insomnia cures, fat-burning protein powerhouses and thyroid test

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Do you know how much protein your body really needs each day? While it's not as challenging for omnivores, getting enough protein can be tricky for vegans and vegetarians. On his Jan. 16 talk show, Dr. Mehmet Oz revealed some surprising sources of protein that can boost your weight loss and burn more fat. In addition, he talked about what to do for insomnia. Plus: Learn about a simple test to see if you might be suffering from thyroid disease.

How much protein does your body need? Aim for 50 grams, says Dr. Oz. Among the weight loss benefits of protein:

  • Satisfy your hunger with less food to curb cravings.
  • Boost fat-burning.
  • Increase your energy level.

While fish, eggs, poultry and meat are obvious choices, some excellent vegetarian sources include:

  • For a combination of healthy fats and protein, enjoy avocado on your salad: More than four grams of protein in one cup.
  • Chickpeas are great in your salad: A half-cup contains more than seven grams of protein.
  • Crunch on pumpkin seeds for snacks or sprinkle over cereal: Nine grams of protein in one ounce.
  • Serve sun-dried tomatoes with your vegetable or pasta dishes: Eight grams of protein in one cup.
  • Add hemp seeds to almost any meal: One ounce of hemp seeds contains six grams of protein.

Do you suffer from insomnia? You're not alone: Almost 40% of Americans experience insomnia symptoms each year, says Dr. Oz.

Your diet and your weight can both impact insomnia and related sleep problems. Slashing your caffeine intake can make a dramatic difference, and Dr. Oz recommends stopping your coffee consumption prior to 2 p.m.

If you think sipping an alcoholic nightcap can help, you're wrong, warns Dr. Oz. Although you might get sleepy initially, when it wears off, you'll be wide-awake. Avoid alcohol for at least three hours prior to bedtime.

Thyroid problems can cause symptoms ranging from weight gain to foggy thinking to feeling cold most of the time. Although only a doctor can test you for a thyroid, there's a way to see if you might have an under-active thyroid, says Dr. Oz.

To conduct this at-home check, take a pencil and look in the mirror. Hold the pencil at the outer edge of your eye. If your eyebrow does not extend to that point and you have other symptoms, talk with your doctor about getting tested.

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