Green Tea is a great antioxidant
Catechins are the group of antioxidants concentrated in the leaves of tea plants. One study published by the American Medical Association in 2006 followed more than 40,000 Japanese adults for a decade, and at the 7-year follow-up, those who had been drinking five or more cups of tea per day were 26 percent less likely to die of any cause compared with those who averaged less than a cup. Another Japanese study broke participants into two groups, only one of which was put on a catechin-rich green-tea diet. At the end of 12 weeks, the green-tea group had achieved significantly smaller body weights and waistlines than those in the control group. Why? Because researchers believe that catechins are effective at boosting metabolism.
Substitutes: Yerba mate, white tea, oolong tea, rooibos (red) tea
Garlic contains allicin, an antibacterial and antifungal compound
The chemical is produced by the garlic plant as a defense against pests, but inside your body it fights cancer, strengthens your cardiovascular system, decreases fat storage, and fights skin (acne) inflammation. To activate the most possible allicin, you’ve first got to crush the garlic as finely as possible. Peel the cloves, then use the side of a heavy chef’s knife to crush the garlic before carefully mincing. Then be sure not to overcook it, as too much heat will render the compound completely useless (and your food totally bitter).
Substitutes: Onions, chives, leeks
Grapefruit is known as the diet fruit
In a study of 100 obese people at The Scripps Clinic in California, those who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds over the course of 12 weeks. Some lost as much as 10 pounds. The study’s control group, in contrast, lost only 1/2 pound. But here’s something even better: Those who ate the grapefruit also exhibited a decrease in insulin levels, indicating that their bodies had improved upon the ability to metabolize sugar. If you can’t stomach a grapefruit-a-day regime, try to find as many ways possible to sneak grapefruit into your diet. Even a moderate increase in grapefruit intake should yield results, not to mention earn you a massive dose of lycopene-the cancer-preventing antioxidant found most commonly in tomatoes.
Substitutes: Oranges, watermelon, tomatoes
Greek Yogurt contains protein
Greek yogurt has been separated from the watery whey that sits on top of regular yogurt, and the process has removed excessive sugars such as lactose and increased the concentration of protein by as much as three times. That means it fills your belly more like a meal than a snack. Plus a single cup has about a quarter of your day’s calcium, and studies show that dieters on calcium-rich diets have an easier time losing body fat. In one of these studies, participants on a high-calcium dairy diet were able to lose 70% more body weight than those on a calorie-restricted diet alone.
Substitutes: Kefir and yogurt with “live and active cultures” printed on the product label
Avocado is good for you
More than half the calories in avocado comes from the healthiest fats, called monounsaturates. These fats differ from saturated fats. Numerous studies have shown that monounsaturated fats both improve your cholesterol profile and decrease the amount of triglycerides (more fats) floating around in your blood. That can lower your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Substitutes: Olive, canola and peanut oils, peanut butter, tahini
Eggs – whatever you think, get over it & eat them
Each large egg has about 6 grams of high-quality protein and only 70 calories. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who replace carbs (grains, fruit, cereal) with eggs for breakfast lose weight 65 percent quicker. Researchers in Michigan were able to determine that regular egg eaters enjoyed more vitamins and minerals in their diets than those who ate few or no eggs. By examining surveys from more than 25,000 people, the researchers found that egg eaters were about half as likely to be deficient in vitamin B12, 24 percent less likely to be deficient in vitamin A, and 36 percent less likely to be deficient in vitamin E. Want to hear something shocking? Those who ate at least four eggs a week had significantly lower cholesterol levels than those who ate fewer than one. Turns out the dietary cholesterol in the yolk has little impact on your serum cholesterol. Get over it, eat eggs!
Quinoa should replace your rice
It has about twice as much fiber and protein as brown rice, and those proteins consist of a near-perfect blend of amino acids. And get this, all that protein and fiber-in conjunction with a handful of healthy fats and a comparatively small dose of carbohydrates-help insure a low impact on your blood sugar. Quinoa has a soft and nutty taste and it cooks just like rice, ready in about 15-20 minutes.
Substitutes: Oats, amaranth, millet, pearl barley, bulgur wheat
Bell Peppers are loaded with antioxidants
Enjoy all the colored ones – red, yellow, and orange. These colors result from carotenoids concentrated in the flesh of the pepper, and it’s these same carotenoids that give tomatoes, carrots, and grapefruits their healthy hues. Peppers help improve immune function, protect against sun damage, and a provide protection for several types of cancer. Chili peppers are great too. They contain capsaicins, temperature-raising phytochemicals that have been shown to fight headache and arthritis pain as well as boost metabolism.
Substitutes: Carrots, sweet potatoes, watermelon
Almonds are better than peanuts
An ounce of almonds a day, about 23 nuts, provides nearly 9 grams of heart-healthy oleic acid. This monounsaturated fat is known to be responsible for improved memory. Rats in California were better able to navigate a maze the second time around if they’d been fed oleic acid. Nearly a quarter of an almond’s calories come from fiber and protein. Almonds are a better snack than a rice cake.
Substitutes: Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds
Swiss Chard has lots of multivitamins
It’s not only a low calorie food but you can get more than 300% of your recommended daily intake of bone-strengthening vitamin K, 100% of your day’s vitamin A, 16% of vitamin E. Plus, emerging research suggests that the combination of phytonutrients and fiber in chard may provide an effective defense against colon cancer.
Substitutes: Spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, watercress, arugula, romaine lettuce
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