Friday, January 31, 2014

Health Benefits of Wild Salmon

Wild salmon is a powerful food, and, in many ways, is a true super food. In fact, few single foods can bring as many health contributions to your diet in significant quantities as wild salmon.

Wild salmon helps to reverse Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.Wild salmon is an excellent source of Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids which helps people with diabetes and heart disease.

Wild salmon is low in saturated fat and calories but high in protein.

Note: Make sure that you choose wild salmon over farmed salmon. Farmed salmon is injected with antibiotics and color-enhancing chemicals.

Whereas wild salmon eat other fish, farmed salmon is fed corn and other foods so that they can be produced in mass quantities.

Nutrient Contents in Wild Salmon

Wild salmon provides key nutrients for your health, including:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Vitamins A, D, B6, E
  • Antioxidant known as astaxanthin
  • Essential amino acids
  • High quality protein
  • Appreciable amounts of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus
All of these nutrients combine to make wild salmon the natural choice for anyone concerned with their own health or their family’s health.

Health Benefits
Prevent High Cholesterol: Studies show that salmon helps to lower triglycerides. High triglycerides are associated with high bad cholesterol and low good cholesterol. When your triglyceride levels are high, you have a greater risk for cardiovascular disease. Eating wild salmon several times per week will help to lower your triglyceride levels. 

Prevent High Blood Pressure: Consuming more wild salmon will also help to lower your blood pressure. If you do not suffer from high blood pressure, the omega-3 fats in salmon will help to prevent an unhealthy rise in blood pressure in the future. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can lead to heart attack, stroke or heart failure. You can minimize your risks of these diseases by eating wild salmon regularly.

Prevent/Reverse Type 2 Diabetes: The Omega-3s and quality lean protein in wild salmon helps to stabilize blood glucose levels, and lower insulin levels which is very beneficial to Type 2 diabetics.

Prevent/Reverse Heart Disease: As previously mentioned, studies show that salmon helps to lower triglycerides. In addition, wild salmon reduces plaque formation with the arteries and lowers cholesterol levels, all of which is beneficial to anyone with heart disease. The carotenoid in salmon is a particularly potent antioxidant known as astaxanthin, which has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammation, eye diseases, general aging and many other conditions.

Note: Astaxanthin is produced by phytoplankton, tiny plants that use it to shield themselves from ultraviolet radiation. Shrimp, krill and other tiny crustaceans then eat the phytoplankton and accumulate astaxanthin in their bodies (which is what makes them pink), and then salmon eat them and store the astaxanthin in their skin and muscles. Sockeye, coho and king salmon have the deepest color orange whereas pink and chum salmon (most often canned) are the lightest. 

Protect Against Cancer: When your diet is rich in omega-3 fats, you run a lower risk for certain cancers. For example, consuming salmon and other cold water fish has been linked with a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Studies show that men who incorporate salmon into their diet one or more times each week are much less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who do not eat salmon. 

Promote Eye Health: Studies show that increasing your intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids may decrease the risk of dry eye syndrome. Other studies show that diets that are high in omega-3 fatty acids protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD affects over 30 million people globally and is the leading cause of vision loss in those over 50 years of age. Eating fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids a minimum of three times per week has been associated with a 75% reduction in AMD. Wild salmon is a great option for promoting eye health. 

Promote Bone Health: The combination of the Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous help to support good bone health. The Omega-3s help to support good joint health in the knees and in other parts of the body.

Prevent Excessive Weight Gain: Incorporating wild salmon into your diet will give you the protein you need without the high and unhealthy fat levels of red meat and chicken. Salmon is also an excellent source of niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, selenium, phosphorus and magnesium. You may choose to add wild salmon to your diet to replace excessive eating of tuna, which can contain mercury.

Promote Brain Health: The Omega-3s in wild salmon help to promote brain health and may help to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's Disease..

Prevent Depression: Fish oil may help combat a number of serious psychiatric illnesses. According to researchers at an international conference sponsored by the National Institutes of Health there is evidence which suggests that higher consumption of essential fatty acids in fish, particularly omega-3, appear to be linked to a lower risk for depression and better treatment of manic depression and schizophrenia.

"In a study of more than 1,000 people (average age 75), those with higher blood levels of an omega-3 called DHA were more than 40% less likely to develop dementia (including Alzheimer's) over the next nine years than people with low DHA levels. ...Experts advise eating a weekly serving of fish rich in omega-3's." (Information source: "Boost Your Brain Power With Omega-3's," by Holly McCord, R.D., "Prevention" (Nutrition News web site))

More Health Benefits
Based on hundreds of clinical studies, the Omega-3 fatty acids in wild salmon provide many health benefits, including:
  • Protect heart health
  • Reduce risk of sudden death from heart disease
  • Reduce risk of stroke
  • Reduce chance of heart disease in Type 2 Diabetes
  • Essential in infant brain and eye development during pregnancy and infancy
  • Improve blood lipid patterns
  • Improve blood vessel function
  • Improve symptoms of immune and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, Asthma and some skin conditions
  • Reduce the risk and severity of some psychological/mental disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Depression and Bipolar Disorder
  • May reduce the risk of certain cancers, particularly Breast Cancer
  • May help reduce the severity or development of Nephritis, Migraine, Alzheimer's Disease and Type 1 Diabetes
The Biology
The protective role of fish against heart disease, diabetes and cancer may be attributed to the type of oil found in certain species of cold-water fish, especially Alaska wild salmon. These fish oils, referred to as “Omega-3”, are polyunsaturated. Their chemical structure and metabolic function are quite different from the polyunsaturated oils found in vegetable oils, known as “Omega-6”.

The type of dietary fat (monounsaturated, saturated, or polyunsaturated) we consume alters the production of a group of biological compounds known as eicosanoids(prostaglandins, thromboxanes, and leukotrienes). These eicosanoids have biological influences on blood pressure, blood clotting, inflammation, immune function, and coronary spasms. In the case of Omega-3 oils, a series of eicosanoids are produced, which may result in a decreased risk of heart disease, inflammatory processes, and certain cancers.

Omega-3 oils also exert additional protective effects against coronary heart disease by:
  • decreasing blood lipids (cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins or LDL, and triglycerides)
  • decreasing blood clotting factors in the vascular system
  • increasing relaxation in larger arteries and other blood vessels
  • decreasing inflammatory processes in blood vessels
Findings from Clinical Studies
Additional studies have provided exciting news about the benefits of Omega-3 oils for individuals with arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, lupus erythematosus, asthma, and certain cancers. Research studies have consistently shown that Omega-3 fatty acids delay tumor appearance, and decrease the growth, size, and number of tumors.

A recent study at the University of Washington has confirmed that eating a modest amount of salmon (one salmon meal per week) can reduce the risk of primary cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest claims the lives of 250,000 Americans each year. Fresh, fresh-frozen, or canned Alaska sockeye salmon provides the highest amount of Omega-3 fatty acids of any fish — 2.7 grams per 100 gram portion.

Other studies, such as the Zupthen Study, a 20-year investigation of a Dutch population, confirmed similar benefits. The risk of coronary heart disease decreased (as much as 2.5 times) with increasing fish consumption. This suggests that moderate amounts (one to two servings per week) of fish are of value in the prevention of coronary heart disease, when compared with no fish intake.

The type of dietary fat we consume is very important. It has been well documented that saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease. The amount of saturated fat in both high-oil fish and lean fish is minimal. Fish, and other seafood, also offers lean, high-quality protein, as well as many other important vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin E:

  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • Prevents the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins
  • Reduces the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries
Salmon is also a good source of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants, which also include Vitamin C and beta carotene, act at the molecular level to deactivate free radicals. Free radicals can damage basic genetic material, and cell walls and structures, to eventually lead to cancer and heart disease. Vitamin E lowers the risk of heart disease by preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), thus reducing the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries. Other research has found that Vitamin E plays a protective role against cancer and the formation of cataracts, and may possibly boost the immune system in the elderly.

Cooking and Preparation Tips

You can eat wild salmon in a variety of ways. It is delicious on top of a salad with your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing. It can be made into a salmon burger or eaten with a side of brown rice and vegetables.

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when cooking wild salmon is that they overcook the salmon! This dries out the salmon and destroys some of the Omega-3 benefits. Instead bake the salmon in aluminum foil and add 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil on top -- this will prevent the salmon from drying out, providing a very succulent and scrumptious flavor.

If you really don't like the taste of salmon, place some tomatoes and other veggies along with some cayenne pepper, oregano and other spices on top of the salmon while cooking -- you'll just love the flavor!

If you like hot and spicy, just sprinkle some Tabasco sauce (and/or cayenne pepper) on top of the salmon after cooking it. (The cayenne/Tabasco is very beneficial to your cardiovascular system).

Another option is to place a ½ pat of organic butter on top of the salmon after cooking -- you'll just love the buttery flavor!

Another option is to place a thin slice of low-fat (organic) cheese or a ½ handful of mozzarella cheese on top of the salmon after baking -- you'll love it!

Canned wild salmon (like sardines and tuna) can be eaten right out of the can -- there is no need to cook it. You can also add it to your salad for some additional protein.

Note: The most popular and safest fish to eat include salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, and tilapia. Because of the well-known health benefits of these fish, fish such as tilapia and cod have become very popular. Unfortunately, because of the high demand, these fish are farmed-raised instead of wild-raised. But, you should avoid all farmed fish, because they're full of antibiotics, pesticides and carcinogens, plus, these farmed fish contain a lot less healthy nutrients than the wild-raised versions.

What Salmon to Buy and Where
Wild Alaskan salmon, which spend most of their lives in open oceans, generally have very low levels of toxins. Coastal and farmed salmon, depending on the fish and meal they are fed, may have higher levels. The Environmental Defense Fund lists farmed Atlantic salmon as an “Eco-Worst” choice and recommends people eat no more than two servings a month due to high PCB levels.

Two of the best websites that sell wild salmon are:

Thawing Tips
You can cook your salmon frozen , but we suggest that  you thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. Place the wrapped package on a plate and allow 8-10 hours (extremely large cuts may take a bit longer). Try not to speed up the process of thawing seafood by defrosting it in the microwave or thawing it under warm water. Doing this causes the salmon to lose flavor and texture.

Grilling Tips

Preparing the Grill:

  • Fish cooks best over a medium-hot fire.
  • Make sure the grill is hot before you start cooking.
  • Liberally brush oil on the grill just prior to cooking.

Grilling Salmon:

  • Cut large steaks or fillets into meal-size portions before grilling.
  • Oil fish lightly just before cooking.
  • Grill salmon with skin side down on parchment paper or foil. No need to flip!
  • Cook fish approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness.
  • Seafood continues to cook after it’s removed from the heat so take it off the heat just as soon as it starts to flake.
  • Slide a sharp knife tip into the center of the thickest part of a cooking salmon portion, checking for color (Our favorite is when the flesh is still red/rare on the inside). We have found that overcooking is one of the biggest mistakes our customers make when preparing salmon. This is quality salmon, no need to dry it out!

Plank Grilling Tips:

Planking is a traditional Northwest-style of cooking using aromatic pieces of wood. It’s a great way to add subtle flavors to your wild Alaska Seafood. Many stores sell pre-cut planks now, but it’s just as easy to make your own.
  • The best wood choices for planking are Cedar, Alder and Oak.
  • Pre-soak the plank in water for 30 minutes – two hours.
  • Pat planks dry with paper towels and spray-coat or lightly oil one side of the plank.
  • Season salmon lightly with an herb blend or just salt and pepper. Go easy, as you don’t want to overpower the flavor you will get from the plank.
  • Preheat the grill to medium-high.
  • Place the planked salmon on the grill over indirect heat and close the lid.
  • Turn the heat down to medium.
  • Check salmon frequently after 10 minutes.
  • Salmon will continue to cook after it is removed from the heat. (See grilling tips to know how to tell when salmon is finished)
  • Serving: the plank provides a beautiful, organic-looking platter for serving.

Baking Tips

  • Rinse and pat fillets dry.
  • Spread thin coat of olive oil over the salmon.
  • Wrap the salmon in aluminum foil with spices, tomatoes, etc. (to lock in the precious oils and juices)
  • Coat bottom of pan with olive oil if baking without the foil.
  • Sprinkle seasonings over fish.
  • Bake in 375°F oven for 10-12 minutes or until fish begins to flake.

Broiling Tips

  • Preheat the broiler to Med/High.
  • Rinse and pat fillets dry.
  • Place parchment paper inside a shallow, nonmetal dish. Put salmon fillets on top of parchment, skin side down.
  • Top with olive oil and seasoning of your choice.
  • Broil the fish 4 to 6 inches from the heating element for 5 to 6 minutes or until the fish is done. (No need to turn.)

Poaching Tips

  • Place poaching liquid in saucepan.
  • Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.
  • Place salmon in liquid and poach for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness (8 minutes per inch thick).
Wild salmon

Wild Salmon Health Benefits


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Health Benefits of Broccoli

Broccoli helps to reverse Type 2 diabetes.
Broccoli is known as being one of the world's best super foods. But while everyone knows it's good for you, few know exactly why it's good for you. 

If they did, perhaps more people would willingly eat it.Smile

In recent years, broccoli has made the headlines regarding three powerful phytonutrients found in the vegetable, enabling broccoli to provide multiple health benefits to various parts of the body

Those 3 powerful phytonutrients are:
-- Sulforaphane
-- Indole-3-carbinol (I3C)
-- Diindolylmethane (DIM)

A University of Warwick research team believes sulforaphane could reverse the damage caused by diabetes to the blood vessels. It encourages production of enzymes which protect the blood vessels, and a reduction in high levels of molecules which cause significant cell damage.

The Warwick team, whose work is reported in the journal Diabetes, tested the effects of sulforaphane on blood vessel cells damaged by high glucose levels (hyperglycemia), which are associated with diabetes.

The researchers found that sulforaphane activated a protein in the body called nrf2, which protects cells and tissues from damage by activating protective antioxidant and detoxifying enzymes. Sulphurophane also helps to protect your body from cancer by removing harmful toxins from your body.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale of the cruciferous (cabbage) family contain Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and Diindolylmethane (DIM), phytonutrients that have been found to provide protection from certain cancers. 

Indole-3-carbinol is a member of the class of sulfur-containing chemicals called glucosinolates that is formed from parent compounds whenever cruciferous vegetables are crushed or cooked. Indole-3-carbinol and other glucosinolates (e.g. sulforaphane) are antioxidants and potent stimulators of natural detoxifying enzymes in the body. 

Indole-3-carbinol and other glucosinolates are believed to be responsible for the lowered risk of cancer by increasing the conversion of the bad estrogen (estradiol) to a weaker estrogen (estrone), protecting against breast and prostate cancers. 

I3C promotes "good" hormones, while working against destructive ones. The sulforaphane in broccoli also helps to increase the level of enzymes that block cancer, while the beta-carotene in broccoli transforms into vitamin A within the body, providing an effective antioxidant that destroys free radicals (responsible for weakening the defense of cells).

Diindolylmethane (DIM) improves the breakdown and synthesis of substances in the body by improving the balance of testosterone and estrogen (estradiol). One of the many glucosinolates, sulforaphane, found in broccoli, protects the body against colon cancer. Interestingly, the bioavailability of indoles is increased by light cooking (e.g. steaming).

Other Phytonutrients in Broccoli
Broccoli provides a high amount of vitamin C, which aids iron absorption in the body, prevents the development of cataracts, and also eases the symptoms of the common cold.

The folic acid in broccoli helps women sustain normal tissue growth and is often used as a supplement when taking birth control pills and during pregnancies.

Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, as well as promotes regular muscle growth. The potassium in broccoli also aids those battling high blood pressure, while a large amount of calcium helps combat osteoporosis. 

Broccoli contains high levels of chromium, which helps to reduce insulin resistance in overweight people and people with Type 2 diabetes. 

Like all green vegetables, broccoli contains chlorophyll, one of the most powerful nutrients, especially for people with Type 2 diabetes. Chlorophyll has also been recognized for its anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and anti-oxidant properties. 

Chlorophyll has been cited as strengthening the immune response; therapeutic for inflammation of the ear and the mucous membrane of the nose and sinuses; supportive of normal kidney function; accelerating wound and ulcer healing; and reducing fecal, urinary and body odor in geriatric patients. This makes chlorophyll (within green foods) very beneficial to diabetics as well as non-diabetics.

The vegetable is also fiber-rich, which enhances the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, as well as helping to reduce blood cholesterol levels. 

Additionally, the health benefits of broccoli have been linked to preventing and controlling the following medical concerns: Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, calcium deficiencies, stomach and colon cancer, malignant tumors, lung cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and even the aging process. 

Grocery Shopping Tips
Always select broccoli that has a deep, dark, green color. The stalks should be firm and not soft.

Yellow and wilted leaves and stalks indicate much loss of nutrient value.
Broccoli is highly perishable.

Do not wash broccoli before refrigerating.

Food Preparation Tips
Some people feel the only way they can stomach broccoli is to smother it with cheese sauce.Smile But there are other ways to prepare it that are tasty.
  • Try steamed broccoli with cayenne pepper, garlic or onions
  • Try steamed broccoli with orange or yellow bell peppers
  • Try steamed broccoli with a small pat of organic butter
  • Hide the broccoli in a dish with other ingredients such as a healthy casserole.
Note: For those who don't particularly care for broccoli in its original state, they should try broccoli sprouts. Broccoli sprouts have very little flavor so they won't overpower a salad, which happens to be their most common use. But broccoli sprouts do manage to pack quite a boost to your health. As healthy as broccoli is, the sprouts carry approximately 100 times the benefits of regular broccoli.

Other Health Benefits of Broccoli
Blood Pressure: Along with a high amount of potassium, Broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure.

Bone Health: Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

Cancer Prevention: Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which with the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function. 

Digestion Support: Broccoli is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories. Broccoli helps the body to get rid of the H. Pylori bacteria. This bacterium is responsible for causing peptic ulcers, esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus or the food pipe), gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), and also increases the person’s risk of getting gastric cancer.

Eye Health: Studies have shown that the carotenoid lutein helps prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts,  Additionally, broccoli is a good source of vitamin A, which protects the retina from damage and is needed to form retinal, the light-absorbing molecule that is essential for both low-light and color vision. 

Heart Health: The carotenoid lutein may also slow down or prevent the thickening of arteries in the human body, thus fighting against heart disease and stoke. The Vitamin B6 and folate in broccoli also reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.

Immune System: One cup of broccoli bolsters the immune system with a large dose of beta-carotene. Trace minerals, such as zinc and selenium, further act to strengthen immune defense actions. Broccoli also helps the liver detoxify faster and help eliminate free radicals.

Skin Support: Broccoli is helpful in repairing skin damage thanks to the glucoraphanin it contains which helps the skin to detoxify and repair itself.

Vitamin C: One cup of broccoli contains the RDA of vitamin C, an antioxidant necessary for fighting against free radicals. Moreover, vitamin C is an effective antihistamine for easing the discomfort of the common cold. Beta Carotene is another excellent antioxidant that helps eliminate free radicals.

Type 2 Diabetes: Broccoli contains more chromium than any other land vegetable, helping it to reduce insulin resistance and making broccoli one of the key foods to use to fight Type 2 diabetes. In addition, the sulforaphane in broccoli is known to produce enzymes that protect the blood vessels and reduce the cell damage caused by Type 2 diabetes.

Note: There are agencies that claim scientific evidence that broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables lowered the risk for many forms of the disease, such as tumors of stomach, esophagus, lung, oral cavity and pharynx (throat), endometrium , and the pancreas.

How to Eat Broccoli
There are many ways to eat broccoli. However, do not overcook the broccoli! Otherwise, it loses many of its nutrients, especially the Vitamin C and other water-soluble nutrients. 

The best ways to eat broccoli include: lightly steaming, raw in a salad, raw as a snack, raw within a green smoothie, and roasted. Also, adding broccoli to pasta, brown rice, a stir-fry, a casserole or soup are other ways to enjoy this super food.

Q: What's your favorite way to eat broccoli? Share it by posting on our Facebook Page.

Tip: When you're steaming the broccoli,, if it loses its bright green color and sturdiness and looks kinda dingy green and limp, then, that means you overcooked the broccoli and killed it! Surprised So, don't overcook this super vegetable if you want to obtain its nutritional benefits.

Did you know that cutting the florets into smaller pieces and the stems into thin slices and letting them sit for 5 to 6 minutes before cooking will enhance their cancer protective properties? 

Cutting broccoli into smaller pieces breaks the cells and activates an enzyme called myrosinase. The myrosinase converts some of the sulfur-containing chemicals found in broccoli (call glucosinolates) into other sulfur containing chemicals (called isothiocyanates) which research has shown to contain cancer preventive properties not found in the glucosinolates . Studies have actually pinpointed specific mechanisms, like changes in cellular genetic processes, which are involved in increasing cancer protection.

Since myrosinase is specifically activated by ascorbic acid (vitamin C), sprinkling your sliced broccoli with a little lemon juice, an excellent source of vitamin C, before letting it sit may also help increase myrosinase activity. Once broccoli is heated, even if it is just lightly steamed, the myrosinase enzyme will become inactivated. For this reason, the slicing of broccoli 5-6 minutes before steaming will enable the enzyme to go to work and convert some of the sulfur-containing compounds prior to steaming.


Broccoli Health Benefits

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Weight Loss Myths

There is a lot of misinformation out there about weight loss. Here are some of the myths that can make losing weight a lot more difficult than it should be.

Myth: Low-fat diets help to lose weight.

Fact: Actually the low-fat diet is one of the reasons for the high rate of obesity! 
Myth: Eating less calories is the key to losing weight.
Fact: Actually eating less calories can turn your body into starvation mode and lead to weight gain. It’s not about eating less calories as much as it’s about eating the right less calories.
Myth: Walking every day helps to burn fat.
Fact: Walking is good for your cardiovascular system, and is a good way to get into the habit of exercise. Walking is also a good way to loosen up and warm up your muscles, but walking doesn’t burn fat.
Myth: Working with a dietitian will help to lose weight.
Fact: Dietitians may know more than you, but many of them are out-dated in their thinking. In fact, many of them subscribe to many of these myths. You should interview your dietitian before paying them your hard-earned money.
Myth: Following one of the famous weight loss programs will help me to lose weight.
Fact: These weight loss programs can work as long as you follow their rules, but they also subscribe to many of these myths. One of the advantages though is that these programs provide structure to your life, and some provide pretty good meals – to get you started and going in the right direction..
Myth: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are a healthy way to lose weight.
Fact: The long-term health effects of a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet are unknown. But getting most of your daily calories from high-protein foods like meat, eggs, and cheese is not a balanced eating plan. 

You may be eating too much fat and cholesterol, which may raise heart disease risk. You may be eating too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which may lead to constipation due to lack of dietary fiber. Following a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet may also make you feel nauseous, tired, and weak. 
Myth: Certain foods, like grapefruit, celery, or cabbage soup, can burn fat and make you lose weight.
Fact: No foods can burn fat. Some foods with caffeine may speed up your metabolism (the way your body uses energy, or calories) for a short time, but they do not cause weight loss.
Myth: Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain.
Fact: It does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat.
Myth: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.
Fact: Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. This may be because people who skip meals tend to feel hungrier later on, and eat more than they normally would. It may also be that eating many small meals throughout the day helps people control their appetites.
Myth: Lifting weights is not good to do if you want to lose weight, because it will make you “bulk up.”
Fact: Lifting weights or doing strengthening activities like push-ups and crunches on a regular basis can actually help you maintain or lose weight. These activities can help you build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than body fat. So if you have more muscle, you burn more calories—even sitting still. Doing strengthening activities 2 or 3 days a week will not “bulk you up.” Only intense strength training, combined with a certain genetic background, can build very large muscles.
Myth: Nuts are fattening and you should not eat them if you want to lose weight.
Fact: In small amounts, nuts can be part of a healthy weight-loss program. Nuts are high in calories and fat. However, most nuts contain healthy fats that do not clog arteries. Nuts are also good sources of protein, dietary fiber, and minerals including magnesium and copper.
Myth: Spot reduction exercises work for reducing belly fat.
Fact: Contrary to what the infomercials suggest there is no such thing as spot reduction. Fat is lost throughout the body in a pattern dependent upon genetics, sex (hormones), and age. Overall body fat must be reduced to lose fat in any particular area. Although fat is lost or gained throughout the body it seems the first area to get fat, or the last area to become lean, is the midsection (in men and some women, especially after menopause) and hips and thighs (in women and few men). Sit-ups, crunches, leg-hip raises, leg raises, etc. will only exercise the muscles under the fat.
Myth: You have to do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Fact: It doesn't matter when you exercise - as long as you exercise intensely and consistently. Focus on relatively high-intensity workouts to increase your metabolism for as many hours after exercise as possible. That is best done with interval training and resistance training.
Note: Exercising in the morning is a good thing because the day won't get in the way of your exercise regimen. If you exercise in the evening, a lot of things tend to happen that get in the way.
As you can see, there are quite a few myths and misunderstandings about weight loss that can explain why you are struggling with losing weight. The bottom line here is that having the proper knowledge is one of the keys to achieving successful weight loss. So, let’s get started on acquiring that proper knowledge and on your journey to better health. 

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Weight Loss Super Foods

The following vegetables, fruits, lentils and legumes have been identified as some of the super foods that enable proper weight (fat) loss and blood glucose stabilization. 
Amaranth: is a tiny, yellow high-protein grain that helps to slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This in turn reduces hunger by reducing insulin levels and making it easier for the body to burn fat. It can be bought as a whole grain ("pearled" amaranth), as a flour, or as rolled flakes. It's also found as an ingredient in cereals and crackers.
Amaranth offers a bonanza of near-complete protein. It's not as low in the amino acid lysine, as many other grains are. It is also much richer in iron, magnesium, and calcium than most grains, so it can help keep anemia and osteoporosis at bay. 

Amaranth excels as a source of fiber, mostly insoluble, which is of help in reducing the risk of a variety of diseases, including heart disease, certain cancers and digestive-tract conditions.
Apricots: are well-suited for low-fat diets because they are particularly rich in fiber, especially insoluble, which absorbs water and helps contribute to a feeling of fullness.
Apricots are also abundant in good-for-your-heart soluble fiber, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels. But the real heart-healthy news about apricots is that they are brimming with beta-carotene, an important antioxidant that's a member of the Vitamin A family. Researchers have linked beta-carotene-rich foods to the prevention of certain cancers, cataracts, and heart disease.
Asparagus: is ideal for young women; it's a winner when it comes to folic acid -- a vitamin that helps prevent neural-tube birth defects. 

Two major antioxidants -- beta-carotene and Vitamin C -- are also abundant in asparagus. By neutralizing damaging particles in our bodies like smog and cigarette smoke, antioxidants are major contenders in the fight against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.

Beans: are a great substitute for higher-fat protein sources like meats when combined with grain foods, like rice. Beans are also filling enough to stave off hunger. The low-fat, high-fiber nature of a bean-centered diet means chances are good that you'll lose weight eating this way.
Not only are beans low in fat and high in quality protein, but they also have the added bonus of soluble fiber's disease-preventing qualities. The soluble fiber in beans dissolves in water, trapping bile acids in its gummy goo. This lowers blood levels of damaging LDL cholesterol, especially if LDL cholesterol levels were high to begin with, without compromising the level of protective HDL cholesterol.
Because beans are singled out for their soluble fiber, you may not realize they also provide substantial insoluble fiber, which helps combat constipation, colon cancer, and other conditions that afflict your digestive tract. How? Insoluble fiber absorbs water, which swells the size of stool, puts pressure on the intestines, and moves everything along faster. To help combat the gas problem -- caused by indigestible carbohydrates -- let your body get used to eating beans. Start slowly, eating only small amounts at first, and try to eat them when you know you'll be active afterward; it helps break up the gas. Berries will help with weight loss
Blackberries: are packed with pectin. By dissolving in water and forming gels that tie up blood sugar and cholesterol, pectin helps keep blood-sugar levels on an even keel.
Two-thirds of blackberries' fiber is insoluble, the kind that keeps your digestive tract running smoothly. It absorbs water and swells, speeding stool and toxins through your system.
Brussels sprouts: are loaded with Vitamin A, folate, potassium, calcium. They have 3-5 grams of fiber per cup, and at 25 calories per 1/2 cup cooked, they give us a reason to eat them more often. 
Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts are one of those foods that will fill you up, without filling you out, always a plus for weight loss.
Unlike most vegetables, Brussels sprouts are rather high in protein, accounting for more than a quarter of their calories.
Bulgur: which is high in fiber and protein, and low in fat and calories, is another food that offers bulk and nutrients to fill you up without adding pounds. One thing to keep in mind, a cup of bulgur has fewer calories, less fat, and more than twice the fiber of brown rice.

Cabbage: ranks right up there with broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts with a reputation for fighting cancer. It's also a good source of Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and other nutrients. Cabbage also offers a major payoff -- the fewest calories and least fat of any vegetable. This powerful veggie is a must for dieters trying to lose weight.
Two types of cabbage, savoy and bok choy, provide beta-carotene -- an antioxidant that battles cancer and heart disease. For those who don't eat dairy products, bok choy is an important source of calcium, which may help prevent osteoporosis and aid in controlling blood pressure.
Carrots: contain an uncommon amount of beta-carotene. And they can masquerade as a fat substitute by serving as a thickener in soups, sauces, casseroles, and quick breads. Carrots

Because of its terrific replacement qualities, you don't have to add any cream, or fat for that matter, to cream of carrot soup.

One of carrots' fat-fighting features is their respectable fiber content, half of which is the soluble fiber calcium pectate. Soluble fiber may help lower blood-cholesterol levels by binding with and eliminating bile acids, triggering cholesterol to be drawn out of the bloodstream to make more bile acids.
Carrots have few rivals when it comes to beta-carotene. A mere half-cup serving of cooked carrots packs a walloping four times the RDA of Vitamin A in the form of protective beta-carotene. One raw carrot supposedly contains as much, though it's not clear if all of it's usable by your body. Beta-carotene may ward off cancers of the stomach, cervix, uterus, and the oral cavity, and it helps prevent heart disease due to its antioxidant abilities.
Cauliflower: one of several cruciferous vegetables, is an ideal weight-loss companion for meatless meals. Its strong flavor allows it to stand alone without meat or other fatty foods. 

And if you're really hungry, raw cauliflower makes a wonderful snack. Because it's extra crunchy, cauliflower takes longer to chew, giving your body time to realize you're full before you eat yourself out of house and home.
Cauliflower has no fat, is high in Vitamin C, and can pass for a low-carb version of mashed potatoes with ease. After citrus fruits, cauliflower is your next best natural source of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that appears to help combat cancer. It's also an important warrior in the continuous battle our bodies wage against infection.

Cauliflower is also notable for its fiber, folic acid, and potassium contents, proving it's more nutritious than its white appearance would have you believe. Cauliflower may also be a natural cancer fighter. It contains phytochemicals, called indoles, that may stimulate enzymes that block cancer growth.
Collard greens: (most often thought of as a Southern dish) and its cousins -- beet greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens -- are gaining new respect as nutrition powerhouses -- they're loaded with disease-fighting beta-carotene and offer respectable amounts of Vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. All these attributes make cooking greens a wise choice for your diet and for weight loss.
Collard greens
As fat-fighters, collard greens play the part of most vegetables, providing few calories but filling stomachs with some fiber and furnishing nutrients galore. Just avoid the traditional way of cooking them in bacon grease to keep your weight-loss routine and turn them into true fat-fighting foods.
If you're keeping calories to a minimum, you depend on certain foods to provide more than their share of certain nutrients. And cooking greens fill that role for two nutrients in particular.
First, greens contribute an important non-dairy source of calcium that's absorbed almost as well as the calcium found in dairy products. That's good news for those facing the threat of osteoporosis, as calcium is one of many factors crucial to bone health.
Second, most greens are superb sources of Vitamin A, mostly in the form of beta-carotene, which has been shown to help protect against cancer, heart disease, cataracts, and other diseases of aging through its antioxidant properties. Vitamin A also helps keep the immune system in tiptop shape. Other carotenoids found in greens may be just as potent cancer conquerors as well, but research is continuing. The outer leaves of greens usually contain more beta-carotene than do the inner leaves. Dandelion greens are bursting with twice the vitamin A of other greens.
Some greens -- collard, mustard, and turnip -- belong to the cruciferous family, which also includes broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. Research has shown that people who eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables are less likely to suffer from cancer than those whose diets contain fewer servings due to a variety of sulfur compounds.
Dark, leafy greens are also a good source of the antioxidant Vitamin C. Many of the greens contain appreciable amounts of magnesium (good for bone and heart health) and the B-vitamin team of folate and B6 (also good for heart health).
Folate by itself offers a few additional health boosters. It helps in the production of red blood cells and in normal nerve function. And by helping to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood, it may help prevent dementia and bone fractures in people with osteoporosis.
These greens are also rich sources of phytonutrients, such as the carotenoid called lutein and lipoic acid. Lutein is proving itself to be a protector of vision -- helping to prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Lipoic acid is an antioxidant and also helps to regenerate Vitamin C and Vitamin E in the body. Because of the particular role lipoic acid plays in energy production, it has been shown to be a possible regulator of blood sugar.
To reap the benefits of all the nutrients in dark, leafy greens, include them often in your 21/2 cups of daily vegetables. They will be a boon to your health while helping with weight loss, since they are so low in calories.
Dates: are among the most ancient of fruits, growing along the Nile as early as the 5th century B.C. Perhaps the Egyptians knew dates' sweetness hit a bounty of nutrients. Dates are nuggets of nutrition that satisfy a sweet tooth, making them ideal snacks to stave off hunger. True, dates provide more calories than most fruits, but they make a great substitute for processed sweets, like candy, to help you stick to your weight-loss routine.
California dates are sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, and a good source of fiber -- all of which are important factors in keeping the pounds off. Learn about this sweet fruit and how it can help slim your waistline and improve your overall health.
Loaded with fiber -- both soluble and insoluble -- dates are able to fill you up and keep your bowel habits regular. They are an excellent source of potassium and provide numerous other important vitamins and minerals -- quite a powerhouse packed in a tiny, portable package.

Eggs: are the perfect protein food that helps to provide nutritional balance to any meal, especially breakfast. This prevents glucose spikes that trigger cravings, excess insulin and fat production. 

Despite all the “bad press” about the cholesterol, eggs (especially raw organic eggs) are healthy for you as they provide protein, essential fatty acids, niacin, riboflavin, biotin, choline, vitamins A, D and E, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, iron, iodine, copper, zinc and sulphur. Egg yolks are one of the few foods that contain vitamin D. 
Fish: is a fabulous addition to any healthful diet because its low saturated fat content makes it the perfect protein substitute for fatty cuts of beef and pork. Even shellfish is low in saturated fat and isn't as high in cholesterol as many people believe.
Although fish is lean, it does contain some healthy oil. Known as Omega-3 fatty acids, these fish oils are thought to offer some amazing health benefits, such as helping to prevent heart disease and cancer, treating psoriasis and arthritis, and relieving the agony of migraine headaches and helping with weight control. 
Wild salmon

Fatty fish tend to have more Omega-3s than leaner fish, but even "fatty" fish contain less fat than lean beef or chicken. Even canned fish like tuna, sardines, and salmon, when eaten bones and all, pack your meal with plenty of good-for-your-bones calcium, too.
For the uninitiated, fish is most perplexing to prepare. But the number one rule is: Preserve moistness. That means avoiding direct heat, especially when preparing low-fat varieties of fish; you'll get the best results if you use moist-heat methods such as poaching, steaming, or baking with vegetables or in a sauce. Dry-heat methods such as baking, broiling, and grilling work well for fattier fish.
Fish cooks fast, so it's easy to overcook it. You can tell fish is done when it looks opaque and the flesh just begins to flake with the touch of a fork. If it falls apart when you touch it, it's too late; the fish is overdone. The rule of thumb for baking fish is to cook 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the fish's thickest point. For grilling and pan-frying or broiling, cook 4 to 5 minutes per inch of thickness.
For fish soups, stews, and chowders, use lean fish. An oily fish will overpower the flavor of the broth. Citrus juices enhance the natural flavor of fish. Some favorite fish seasonings are dill, tarragon, basil, paprika, parsley, and thyme.

Garlic: appears to be a miracle food when it comes to weight loss. It contains the compound allicin which has anti-bacterial effects and helps reduce unhealthy fats and cholesterol.
The list of health benefits just seems to grow and grow. From preventing heart disease and cancer to fighting off infections, researchers are finding encouraging results with garlic.
Behind all the grandiose claims are the compounds that give garlic its biting flavor. The chief health-promoting "ingredients" are allicin and diallyl sulfide, sulfur-containing compounds. 

Although allicin is destroyed in cooking, other helpful compounds are formed by heat or aren't destroyed by it. This lets cooked garlic give you a health boost. Garlic also contains the powerful antioxidants C and E, and the mineral selenium.
Garlic has been found to lower levels of LDL cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol, and raise HDL cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol in the short term. Its effects last about three months when taken daily. It may also help to dissolve clots that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Even when cooked, garlic helps keep cholesterol in your bloodstream from oxidizing and damaging the lining of your blood vessels, which helps prevent the formation of plaque.
Garlic has also been found to inhibit the growth of, or even kill, several kinds of bacteria, including Staphylococcus and Salmonella, as well as many fungi and yeast. Animal studies have found that garlic helps prevent colon, lung, and esophageal cancers. How much is enough? Researchers suggest you can enjoy the benefits of garlic every day by eating a typical clove weighing 3 grams.
Grapefruit: can help you lose weight, just not as easily as some would say. And it's nutritious, to boot. Grapefruit is a tart-tasting fruit not everyone enjoys. But for those who do, grapefruit offers a lot of nutrition for few calories.
Grapefruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C. Pink and red grapefruit are good sources of disease-fighting beta-carotene. If you peel and eat a grapefruit like you would an orange, you get a good dose of cholesterol-lowering pectin from the membranes -- the same soluble fiber that fills you up by dissolving in water and creating gels. 

As a member of the citrus family, grapefruit is also a storehouse of powerful phytochemicals such as flavonoids, terpenes, and limonoids. These naturally occurring substances may have cancer-preventing properties.
Grapes: may not be packed with traditional nutrients, but they do contain a collection of phytochemicals that researchers are just beginning to appreciate. Among them is ellagic acid, a natural substance also found in strawberries that is thought to possess cancer-preventing properties. Grapes also contain boron, a mineral believed to play a role in bone and joint health.
Grapes contain a phytonutrient called resveratrol, which is an antioxidant that helps fight cancer and heart disease. Resveratrol is being researched for a possible role in protecting and maintaining brain and nerve health. Grapes also contain additional phytonutrients such as catechins, anthocyanins, and quercetin, which are also antioxidants.
Kale: is one of the nutrition stand-outs among vegetable, along with broccoli. It fights fat through its ability to mingle in a variety of roles -- in side dishes, combined in main dishes, or in salads.
For a green, kale is unusually high in fiber. This helps create the bulk you need to fill you up and to keep you full for a good amount of time. Kale is also an excellent source of nutrients, especially Vitamin A and calcium. With a combination of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, kale is a dieter's dream food.
Though greens in general are nutritious foods, kale stands a head above the rest. Not only is it one of your best sources of beta-carotene, one of the antioxidants believed by many nutrition experts to be a major player in the battle against cancer, heart disease, and certain age-related chronic diseases, it also provides other important nutrients.
In addition to beta-carotene, kale posses other important carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids help keep UV rays from damaging the eyes and causing cataracts.
Kiwis: carry a lot of nutrition in a small package. They aren't high in calories, yet they pack a powerful punch with their strong tart taste, which allows them to jazz up the flavor of any fruit or vegetable salad.
Kiwi fruit is also a very good source of dietary fiber. Diets that contain plenty of fiber can reduce high cholesterol levels, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Fiber is also good for filling you up and suppressing your appetite -- a great advantage for those wanting to lose weight. Lemons help with weight loss

Lemons and limes: exude Vitamin C, the antioxidant that helps fight heart disease, inflammation, and cancer. Moreover, lemons and limes contain phytochemicals, such as terpenes and limonenes, which may play a role in preventing some cancers.
Their tart juice adds life to everything from salads to pies. This gives them carte blanche to fight fat by perking up all the fresh, low-calorie foods in your new weight-loss plan.
Lentils: are brimming with fiber, which is crucial to satisfying your hunger and reducing your appetite. This food is rich in soluble fiber, which also lowers blood cholesterol as it gives you that full feeling you need to avoid temptation and help with weight loss.
Romaine Lettuce: provides more nutrients than iceberg lettuce, although iceberg lettuce has a high water content. But, to make the ultimate fat-fighting salad, use plenty of leafy greens. 
Romaine Lettuce

Wonderfully flavored greens like radicchio, arugula, endive, chicory, and escarole make a salad stand out in taste and nutrition. Some greens back up their fat-fighting bulk with a decent amount of fiber. When fighting off pounds, fiber can curb your appetite by filling you up faster.
The darker the color of the salad green, the more nutritious it is. Beta-carotene is the chief disease-fighting nutrient found in the darker-colored greens. As an antioxidant, it battles certain cancers, heart disease, and cataracts. A dark-green color also indicates the presence of folic acid, which helps prevent neural-tube birth defects in the beginning stages of pregnancy.
Melons: The juicy sweetness of melons gives you the satisfaction of dessert without the hit to your waistline. The natural sweetness found in watermelons and cantaloupes can help you turn away from those ingredients to avoid: white table sugar (known as sucrose), corn syrup, and honey, all of which provide calories and few nutrients.
Most melons are rich in potassium, a nutrient that may help control blood pressure, regulate heart beat, and possibly prevent strokes.

Mushrooms: When you're trying to lose weight, calories are the name of the game. And mushrooms provide a big blast of deliciousness for very few calories. When watching your weight, it's important to take out the fat, not the flavor.
Mushrooms are standard fare in Asian cultures, and Americans are learning to appreciate them for their texture and flavor. They are low in fat and sodium, and they contain a super-powerful flavor enhancer called glutamic acid, the same amino acid (a building block of protein) found in MSG (monosodium glutamate). Besides lending wonderful flavor to foods, mushrooms contribute more nutrition than you might think.
Mushrooms provide an unusual array of nutrients, not unlike those in meat, making them a particularly appropriate food for vegetarians.
Cooked mushrooms are an unexpected protein source, which, even though incomplete, is easily complemented by grains. They also shine in iron, riboflavin, and niacin; offer decent amounts of potassium, selenium, copper, and zinc; and they are full of fiber.
Nuts and seeds: are high in protein and nutrients, though their fat content (75 to 95 percent of total calories) means you shouldn't eat too many at a time. Macadamia, the gourmet of nuts, is the highest in fat. Walnuts and Brazil nuts are your best bet because they're rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Of all the nuts, peanuts provide the most complete protein. Other nuts are missing the amino acid lysine. But all are easily complemented by grains. As an alternative protein source, they also provide a good dose of healthy fats, including oleic acid, the healthy fat found in olive oil. Peanuts are rich in antioxidant polyphenols like those found in berries.
Studies at Loma Linda University in California found that eating nuts five times a week (about two ounces a day) lowered participants' blood cholesterol levels by 12 percent. Walnuts were used, but similar results have been reported with almonds and peanuts. 

It appears that replacing saturated fat in the diet with the monounsaturated fat in nuts may be the key. It makes sense, then, to eat nuts instead of other fatty foods, not just to gobble them down on top of your regular fare.

Some nuts, notably walnuts and Brazil nuts, are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which may contribute further to the fight against heart disease and possibly even arthritis. These healthful nuts also may play a role in weight loss and help you manage your weight better. 

Golden FlaxseedAlso, nuts and some seeds (such as flaxseed) contain significant amounts of vitamin E. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E can help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which can damage arteries. 

Note: Golden flaxseed is more plump and is richer in the good fats than the traditional brown (flat) flaxseed. Flax hulls are an excellent alternative because of the concentrated nutrients including more fiber and lignans.

More heartening news: Seeds are a good source of folic acid. Researchers have found that folic acid helps prevent the buildup of homocysteine. High levels of this amino acid have been linked to heart disease, dementia, and broken bones in people with osteoporosis. Eat plenty of folate to keep your homocysteine levels in check.
Onions: are a surprising source of fiber and a rich source of healthy sulfur compounds, similar to those found in garlic. Research on onions has lagged behind garlic research, but onions appear to have similar cardiovascular benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, at least in the short term.

Onions also contain phytochemicals called flavonoids, which help vitamin C in its function, improving the integrity of blood vessels and decreasing inflammation. All this spells help for your cardiovascular system. One particular flavonoid, quercetin, may inhibit tumor growth and help keep colon cancer at bay.
In addition, a newly identified compound appears to rival the prescription drug Fosamax in inhibiting bone loss in menopausal women.
Onions also contain Vitamin C and chromium. Chromium is a mineral that helps cells respond to insulin, ultimately assisting with blood glucose control. Green onions, because of their bright green tops, provide a wealth of Vitamin A.
Pears: contain a lot more fiber than other fruits. Its gritty fiber may help prevent cancerous growths in the colon. Enough of the fiber is soluble that it provides the same stomach-filling, cholesterol-lowering, sugar-blunting effect as other fruits. It's rich in heart-healthy potassium, too.
Pears provide a decent amount of copper and Vitamin C. They also have boron, which is needed for proper functioning of calcium and magnesium. So pears may indirectly contribute to your bone health. Pears also contain the flavonoid quercetin as well as other flavonoids and carotenoids. Quercetin is a potent antioxidant that helps prevent cancer and artery damage that can lead to heart disease.
Peppers: don't have that spicy image for nothing. This vegetable is an excellent way to spice up otherwise bland dishes, keeping you interested in your new healthy-eating lifestyle.
Peppers come in a beautiful array of colors and shapes. They add flavor, color, and crunch to many low-calorie dishes. For example, adding orange and yellow peppers when you steam Brussels sprouts actually helps to sweeten the taste of the Brussels sprouts!
All peppers are rich in Vitamins A, C, and K, but red peppers are simply bursting with them. Antioxidant Vitamins A and C help to prevent cell damage, cancer, and diseases related to aging, and they support immune function. They also reduce inflammation like that found in arthritis and asthma. Vitamin K promotes proper blood clotting, strengthens bones, and helps protect cells from oxidative damage.

Red peppers are a good source of the carotenoid called lycopene, which is earning a reputation for helping to prevent prostate cancer as well as cancer of the bladder, cervix, and pancreas. Beta-cryptoxanthin, another carotenoid in red peppers, is holding promise for helping to prevent lung cancer related to smoking and secondhand smoke.
Besides being rich in phytonutrients, peppers provide a decent amount of fiber.
Hot peppers' fire comes from capsaicin, which acts on pain receptors, not taste buds, in our mouths. Capsaicin predominates in the white membranes of peppers, imparting its "heat" to seeds as well. The capsaicin in hot peppers has been shown to decrease blood cholesterol and triglycerides, boost immunity, and reduce the risk of stomach ulcers. It used to be thought that hot peppers aggravated ulcers. Instead, they may help kill bacteria in the stomach that can lead to ulcers.
Both hot and sweet peppers contain substances that have been shown to increase the body's heat production and oxygen consumption for about 20 minutes after eating. This is great news; it means your body is burning extra calories, which helps weight loss.
Prunes: are primarily famous for being a laxative because they are rich in fiber. It's this same vital component that makes them perfect for healthy eating and keeping your hunger to a minimum.
A prune is a dried plum, typically the European variety of plum. The fruit's name was officially changed from "prunes" to "dried plums" by the Food and Drug Administration in 2001.

Though relatively high in calories for their size, prunes have a reputation as a dieter's friend. They add a powerful dose of fiber and some nutrients to your diet that are needed when you follow a lower-calorie meal plan.
Prunes are a sweet way to add fat-free laxative fiber to your diet. A single prune contains more than half a gram of fiber and more than one gram of sorbitol (a carbohydrate that our bodies do not absorb well). Large amounts of sorbitol can cause diarrhea. Prunes also contain the laxative, diphenylisatin to help prevent constipation.
Pumpkin: is perfect when you want a healthy treat. Pumpkins, belonging to the squash family, have an understated taste that lends itself well to a variety of dishes. Besides, pumpkins make a great fat substitute in baking.
The distinctive bright orange color of pumpkin clearly indicates that it's an excellent source of that all-important antioxidant beta-carotene. Research shows that people who eat a diet rich in beta-carotene are less likely to develop certain cancers than those who fail to include beta-carotene-rich foods in their diet. Pumpkin also has another carotenoid, beta-cryptoxanthin, which may decrease the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
Raspberries: are low in calories and high in fiber, a vital one-two punch in the fight against fat.
This fragile, exquisite, and expensive berry is actually a member of the rose family. But there is nothing delicate about the low-calorie fiber you get from this tiny fruit.
They are low in fat and calories and have 2 grams of fiber per half cup. Some of the fiber is insoluble, so it helps keep you regular. But much of it is found as pectin, a soluble fiber known to help lower blood cholesterol.
Besides being a good source of Vitamin C (an antioxidant beneficial in the fight against cancer), raspberries contain a phytochemical, ellagic acid, believed to have additional anticancer properties.

These melt-in-your-mouth berries also contain anthocyanins, which possess antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, helping to keep certain bacteria and fungi from getting out of hand. Raspberries are a great source of manganese, another player in the antioxidant scene. All in all, berries are fantastic sources of antioxidants and should be a part of your recommended daily two cups of fruit as often as possible.
Spinach: is a nutrition superstar, even a fairly good source of iron. It's loaded with vitamins and minerals, some of which are hard to find in other foods.

Like other dark greens, spinach is an excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant that's been shown, among other things, to reduce the risk of developing cataracts. It fights heart disease and cancer as well.
As a dark, leafy green, spinach possesses several important phytochemicals, including lutein, which helps prevent age-related macular degeneration. Spinach also contains lipoic acid, which helps antioxidant Vitamins C and E regenerate. Because of its role in energy production, lipoic acid is being investigated for regulating blood sugar levels.
Served raw, spinach is a good source of Vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant. Overcook it, however, and you lose most of this important vitamin. Though spinach is rich in calcium, most of it is unavailable, because oxalic acid in spinach binds with calcium, preventing its absorption. The abundant potassium in spinach is available, and it will promote heart health.
When you cook spinach, it cooks down tremendously. Because cooking concentrates nutrients and fiber, a serving of cooked spinach gives you even more bang for your buck than a serving of raw.
Squash: has a reputation for fiber. Eating squash is particularly satisfying, because the bulk fills you up, allowing you to forgo second helpings.
Because squash is actually the fruit of various members of the gourd family, it comes in a wide array of colors and sizes. Whether it's tasty summer squash or sweet, flavorful winter squash, this vegetable is a great help for your weight-loss plan.

Though all varieties of squash are good nutrition choices, winter varieties tend to be more nutrient-dense. They generally contain much more beta-carotene and more of several B vitamins than summer squash.
Strawberries: are bursting with delicious flavor, and they help with weight loss by eliminating the need for a fatty sweet.

Luscious strawberries are the most popular berries and are unique because they are the only fruit with seeds on the outside rather than on the inside. In season, quality strawberries need no extra sweeteners or toppings.
As with all berries, they are a fabulous fiber find, with those little seeds providing insoluble fiber that keeps you regular and helps fend off digestive system woes, including hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
Most of all, strawberries are a super source of Vitamin C, even better than oranges or grapefruit. Strawberries are also a good source of potassium. Because it keeps blood pressure in check, potassium may keep you from becoming a stroke statistic. Also, strawberries contain ellagic acid, a phytochemical with cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory power.
Sweet potatoes: are one of the unsung heroes of a fat-fighting diet. For a reasonable number of calories, you get a load of nutrients.
Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids that appear to help stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, making cells more responsive to insulin. This can ultimately help with your weight-loss efforts.
This starchy vegetable has bulk to keep your tummy full for hours. Yet its nutritional profile makes the calories worth it, especially since they are fat free. Its fiber alone is enough to make a sweet potato worth eating.
If a beta-carotene contest were held, sweet potatoes would tie carrots for first place. That may make them top-notch for fighting chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as disease related to inflammation, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Sweet potatoes are also rich in potassium and Vitamin C; a small potato provides almost half the daily allowance.

Tomatoes: are at the center of low-calorie living. They naturally lend themselves to health-conscious cooking, being sweet yet low in calories.

Tomatoes are one of the most frequently consumed "vegetables" in the United States, whether raw, steamed, fried, stewed, crushed, pureed, or reduced to a sauce. Though thought of as a vegetable, tomatoes are botanically classified as fruits. They are also one of our best sources of vitamin C. 

While not bursting at the seams with vitamins and minerals, tomatoes are indeed rich in Vitamin C. This antioxidant plays a key role in maintaining a healthy immune system. They also contain beta-carotene and several other carotenoids that may have their own disease-preventing properties, particularly against heart disease and cancer. One carotenoid, lycopene, may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes also offer a good dose of that possible stroke preventer, potassium.
Wheat germ: is the embryo of the wheat kernel. It is one portion of the wheat kernel that is removed when it is processed into refined flour. Wheat germ certainly deserves its reputation for being a powerhouse of nutrients.
Wheat germ is a nutrition standout. It's one of the best sources of folic acid. That's good news, since it's recommended that all women of childbearing age get sufficient amounts of this nutrient to prevent neural-tube birth defects. Folic acid reduces a compound in your body called homocysteine. Lower levels of homocysteine have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis bone fractures, and dementia.
Wheat germ also contains a phytonutrient called L-ergothioneine, which is a powerful antioxidant that is not destroyed by cooking. The fiber boost you get from wheat germ is phenomenal.

Yogurt: certainly has a lot to offer. As a protein source, it is complete, so it can be used as the basis for meals, substituting for high-fat meats. It provides bone-building calcium in a dose as great as that from a glass of milk but can be digested more easily when live, active bacterial cultures are present. 

It also features riboflavin, vitamin B12, and many minerals. But, avoid many of the fruit-based yogurts – they tend to contain high fructose corn syrup.
It's believed that the bacterial cultures used to make yogurt (Lactobacillus bulgaricus and L. acidophilus, L. bifidus, and Streptococcus thermophilu) carry their own health benefits. Research suggests that eating yogurt regularly helps boost immune function, warding off colds and possibly cancer. It's also thought that the friendly bacteria in yogurt help improve colon health as well as prevent and cure diarrhea.
Note: For more information about this weight loss program and how to increase your weight loss and reduce the belly fat, refer to the Death to Obesity Weight Loss ebook and the Power of Juicing ebook.for more details.

Weight Loss Super Foods: