Especially during this holiday season and every day of the year, try to include these foods into your diet. These foods are delicious and among the best foods you can eat to help boost your metabolism and melt fat, enhance the immune system, lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar, and manage your weight through these holidays.
GREEN TEA: Contains catechins that are antioxidants. The American Medical Association published a study in 2006 that 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. Catechins are also effective at boosting metabolism.
Substitutes: Yerba mate, white tea, oolong tea, rooibos (red) tea
GARLIC: My wife Maddy, being Italian, loves garlic. It contains natural antibacterial and antifungal compounds. Garlic is used to fight cancer, strengthen your cardiovascular system, decrease fat, and fight acne inflammation. Maddy says to activate the healing compounds, you’ve first got to crush the garlic as finely as possible. 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: 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. Grapefruit also helps decrease insulin levels.
TOMATOES: Again my Italian wife loves tomatoes. These contain lycopenes-a cancer-preventing antioxidant.
GREEK YOGURT: It contains good protein, and is a delicious desert mixed with almonds, oranges, or grapefruit. 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.
Substitutes: Kefir and yogurt with “live and active cultures” printed on the product label
AVOCADO: This fruit contains the healthy fats called monounsaturates. 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: I still think eggs are on of the best foods. You can have then everyday as breakfast or a snack. A large egg is low calorie (72 calories) and packs 6.3 grams of high-quality protein. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who replace carbs 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. 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.
Substitutes: Egg Beaters egg substitute – but why bother! Eat the whole egg.
QUINOA: You cook it like rice but it has about twice as much fiber and protein as brown rice. It has a near-perfect blend of amino acids, healthy fats and a comparatively small dose of carbohydrates. Quinoa’s in the morning mixed with eggs, garlic, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach is an amazing delicious, healthy meal.
Substitutes: Oats, amaranth, millet, pearl barley, bulgur wheat
BELL PEPPERS: All peppers are loaded with antioxidants, but none so much as the brightly colored reds, yellows, and oranges. 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. The range of benefits provided by these colorful pigments include improved immune function, better communication between cells, protection against sun damage, and a diminished risk for several types of cancer. And if you can take the heat, try cooking with chili peppers. The bell pepper cousins are still loaded with carotenoids and vitamin C, but have the added benefit of 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: An ounce of almonds a day, about 23 nuts, provides nearly 9 grams of heart-healthy oleic acid, which is more than peanuts, walnuts, or cashews. This monounsaturated fat is known to be responsible for improved memory. Nearly a quarter of an almond’s calories come from fiber and protein.
Substitutes: Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds
SWISS CHARD: It contains lots multivitamins. For a mere 35 calories worth of cooked chard, you get more than 300% of your recommended daily intake vitamin K, 100% of your day’s vitamin A, shown to help defend against cancer and bolster vision, and 16% of hard-to-get vitamin E, which studies have shown may help sharpen mental acuity.
Substitutes: Spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, watercress, arugula, romaine lettuce