Get a jump start on losing extra pounds with these essential cleanse foods.
* Artichokes contain antioxidant plant compounds called caffeoylquinic acids, which are used to treat hepatic (liver) disorders because they stimulate bile flow. Bile helps the body to digest fats, and efficient bile flow clears the system of potentially inflammatory substances contained in fatty foods.
* Avocado provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and glutathione, a compound that blocks the absorption of certain fats by the intestines that cause oxidative damage and is essential for liver pathway cleansing.
* Beets are among the few edible plants that contain betalains, plant pigments that give some beets their deep red color and have powerful anti-inflammatory and fungicidal properties. Betalains promote cell structure, repair and regeneration, especially in the liver-the body's primary detox center.
* Broccoli is one of the cruciferous vegetables, which are named for their cross-shaped flowers and known for powerful antioxidant properties. Science has shown that a diet rich in cruciferous veggies reduces the risk of certain cancers. Other cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale.
* Collard greens increase bile acid binding, which makes it easier for bile to bind to large lipid molecules and pull them apart. Leftover bile acids are then excreted from the GI tract normally, taking leftover lipid molecules with them. Bile acid binding therefore helps to keep LDL "bad" cholesterol in check.
* Dandelion root acts as a diuretic by increasing urine production.
* Dill and fennel are plants rich in vitamins and anti-inflammatory chemicals. Dill contains chemicals that help with the activation of glutathione, a live antioxidant that attaches to free radical molecules and disarms them. Fennel is rich in Vitamin C, which had antimcrobial and antioxidant properties. Fennel is also high in fiber but low in calories-an ideal cleanse food.
* Green tea is richer in antioxidants than white, black, and oolong teas, even though they all come from the same plant. The caffeine in green tea also gives this energizing drink a diuretic effect, which helps to alleviate bloating by counteracting water retention.
* Lemon, like all citrus fruits, is rich in antioxidant Vitamin C.
* Milk thistle is one of the frequently researched plants in association with promoting liver detoxification. While more scientific inquiry is needed for firm recommendations, Milk thistle contains a mixture of polyphenolic compounds (plant protectors) that assist liver cells in removing toxins from healthy blood cells.
* Onions and garlic are both members of the allium family of vegetables, which provide pungent flavors to foods. These plants contain flavonoids that stimulate the production of glutathione, one of the liver's strongest antioxidants. As a result, onion and garlic have powerful anti-bacterial and immune-boosting properties.
* Other fresh veggies (greens) are a good source of glutathione-essential for detox of liver pathway. Fresh vegetables can also provide excellent sources of insoluble fiber, which get the gut moving. Crisp, crunchy raw veggies are highest in this sort of fiber. Think kale, collards, and broccoli!
* Wheat grass is a vitamin and mineral-rich grass commonly served in powder or juice form. While scientific evidence to support health claims about wheat grass id lacking, products containing wheat grass may add some yummy, low-calorie variety to your selection of cleanse foods and beverages.
* Yogurt that contains probiotics-make sure to read your yogurt label-supplies healthy bacteria that fortify the GI tract's natural flora, aiding digestion and boosting the body's immune responses.
I have been posting articles that I have found very helpful for keeping us informed about all different aspects of diet and nutrition. I thought this one was helpful for those who are dieting and question what choices to make when eating in or dining out.
Buyer Beware: Just because a food is labeled "healthy," "smart," or "all-
natural" does not mean it's the best choice for someone who is trying to lose weight. For example, honey, vegetable chips, and granola are just a few of the supermarket staples that have tricked dieters into believing they're healthy choices, when in fact, they are as equally loaded with calories, fat, sodium, and glucose as their more vilified counterparts of table sugar, potato chips, and sweet cereals.
In an effort to help dieters keep it straight, obesity researchers at Otago University in New Zealand have identified a list of 49 foods that they say are extremely calorie-dense, but are almost totally lacking in nutritional benefit. Published in the current issue of the New Zealand Medical Journal, researchers say the list was primarily developed to help overweight and obese people easily identify which foods they should avoid. Lead researcher Jane Elmsile says it's important to note that the list represents not only high-calorie foods, but also foods that are almost totally lacking in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Here's the list, in alphabetical order:
1. Alcoholic drinks
3. Butter, lard, dripping of similar fat (used as a spread or in baking/cooking etc.)
5. Candy, including lollipops
7. Coconut cream
8. Condensed milk
10. Corn chips
11. Cream (including creme fraiche)
12. Chips (including vegetable chips)
13. Deli meats
15. Energy drinks
16. Flavored milk/milkshakes
17. Fruit canned in syrup
18. Fruit roll-ups
19. Fried foods
20. Fried potatoes/French fries
21. Frozen foods
22. Fruit juice (except tomato juice and unsweetened black currant juice)
24. High fat crackers
26. Hot chocolate, chocolate milk
27. Ice cream
31. Muesli/granola bars
33. Nuts roasted in fat or oil
36. Popcorn with butter or oil
40. Regular powdered drinks
43. Soft drinks
44. Sour cream
45. Sugar (added to anything including drinks, baking, cooking, etc.)
46. Syrups such as golden syrup, treacle, maple syrup
47. Toasted muesli, granola, and any other breakfast cereal with more than 15 grams of
sugar per 100 grams of cereal
48. Whole milk
49 Yogurt with more 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams of yogurt
Wow! After seeing this on paper it really has opened my eyes to how many foods I like that may not be such great choices. Maybe I will think twice about what I'm putting in my mouth!!
Fat-free! All-natural! Vitamin-enriched! Labels like these guide us through the grocery store. But products that tout nutritional benefits are often anything but good for you. The food industry is given a wide leeway to promote their product, so it's up to us to ferret out the imposters.
That means reading nutrition labels to see what ingredients products actually contain. Some of the worst offenders turn up in foods you'd least suspect. Those so-called health bars, for example, may contain protein and some vitamins and minerals, but they're loaded with salt and sugar as well.
And just because something is seasoned with sea salt, doesn't mean it's any healthier. "It's going to have the same amount of sodium as table salt," says Denise Cole, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic, but "we need less of it to make our food taste better because it's a coarser grind than table salt. So, just remember, we're still getting the same amount of sodium, it's just in a different form."
And the next time you reach for that low-fat peanut butter, think again. Often, the healthy peanut fat has been removed and replaced with added sugar to make up for the loss in flavor. That's actually the case for many fat-free and low-fat products.
Of course, you don't have nutrition labels to guide you to the healthiest choices at the market. And when your're in the produce section, all those greens can be overwhelming. In that case, let color be your guide.
"Iceberg lettuce actually has very little nutritional value. It's mostly water, so if you're looking to get good vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, you want to look at darker, greener lettuces, like romaine and spinach and kale," Cole says. "The darker a lettuce, the more nutrition it has."
Here's another tip: "Whole grain" and "multigrain" are not interchangeable terms. Whole grains are healthier because they contain all parts of the grain kernel. But multigrain simply means the food contains more than one type of grain.
When in doubt, just remember to read the type behind the hype!!
Food, like fashion, has its trends. And when it comes to the best foods for dieting and weight loss, trends come and go--what's cool one day, is passe' the next. Usually, foods come into fashion because they're thought to be more healthful than their more mainstream counterparts (think swapping brown rice for quinoa). Here's what you need to know about the most recent batch of trendy foods.
This sugar substitute is made from cacti, and is thought to be a healthy alternative to granulated sugar in baking. "Cup for cup, agave and table sugar are about equal in the calorie department, but because agave is about 1.5 times sweeter than table sugar, you can use less of it to reach the same sweetness," says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and owner of Essential Nutrition for You, a nutrition consulting firm. Agave's main benefit, she says, is that it scores low on the glycemic index--between 15 and 30 compared with table sugar's 65. "This means that consumption won't result in dangerous spikes in blood sugar that table sugar so often causes, making it a possible safe alternative for diabetics," says Batayneh.
If you're trying to cut calories for weight loss, agave doesn't offer much of a benefit. Instead, stick to a zero-calorie sugar substitute like stevia, or better yet, skip refined sugar foods altogether.
For those lactose-intolerant and those wanting to avoid all animal foods, rice milk, almond milk, and soy milk are becoming increasingly popular food trends for good nutrition. "More and more people are becoming sensitive to dairy products," says Sally Kravich, MS, a natural health expert and consultant in New York City. "I recommend almond milk and rice milk to many of my clients. For those who have a sensitive digestive system, rice milk is best. For those who are vegans and need more protein and naturally occurring calcium, I recommend almond milk, I only recommend soy milk to women who need to boost their hormones or for older men with prostate issues."
If you're watching your sugar intake, try an unsweetened nondairy milk, as most brands have either no sugar or less sugar that naturally occurs in dairy milk. Plus, nondairy milks are often fortified with extra calcium or vitamin D.
Almond butter is another almond-based food trend that has some advantages over conventional peanut butter. "I brought up my own children on almond butter," Kravich says. "Almond butter is preferable over peanut butter as it contains more protein and less sugar than the peanut.
Still, it's important to eat nut butters in moderation, as most varieties are heavy in calories and fat.
Nutrient-rich whole grains and their high levels of digestion-friendly fiber are an essential component of any balanced diet. A new choice on the whole grain market that's become wildly popular is the South American grain quinoa. prized for its versatility and high protein content, quinoa has fast become a restaurant and supermarket staple. "My favorite grain recommendations across the board are millet, quinoa, and brown rice," Kravich says. "For the who need a higher protein grain, quinoa is my first choice."
CHIA SEEDS AND TEFF
Chia and teff are two other whole-grain foods that Kravich recommends adding to your dieting arsenal. "Chia can be added to smoothies for added protein and easier bowel movements," she says. "The Ethiopian grain teff is a good flour product for those who have digestive issues and cannot tolerate gluten."
Coconut oil was once thought to be a fat to avoid, but recent research has found that its negative effects may have been overstated. "Coconut oil has received controversial attention due to the fact that, of its 15 grams of fat per serving, 13 of these are saturated fats," Batayneh says. "The saturated fats found in coconuts, however, are medium-chain fatty acids, as opposed to the long-chain fatty acids found in meat, milk, eggs, and vegetable oils. Because of coconut's unique form of saturated fat, i t has been shown to raise metabolism and slow digestion, promoting fullness and decreasing feeling of hunger." Coconut oil has other nutrition benefits, too. "Its lauric acid enhances the immune system and promotes health development in infants," she adds. "It has also been shown to increase endurance and speed in cyclists, making it an ideal supplement for athletes."
"I think fermented foods are the next big thing," says Pamela Schoenfeld, RD, a registered dietitian in private practice in Morristown, N.J., and executive director of the Healthy Nation Coalition. "Foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and real kosher pickles have been popular for years, but now we have kimchi, fermented beets, radishes, carrots--you name it. If these foods are not pasteurized after fermentation, they contain beneficial bacteria that promotes digestive health. These foods are not difficult to make and are a great way to preserve the bounty from the garden or farmers' market."