Category Archives: superfoods

Foods, Antioxidants, Vitamins, & Supplements for Immune System Health

One of the best ways to keep your immune system strong and prevent colds and fluis to shop your supermarket’s produce aisle.
Experts say a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help you ward off infections likecolds and flu. That’s because these super foods contain immune-boostingantioxidants.
What are antioxidants? They are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protectand repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. Many experts believe thisdamage plays a part in a number of chronic diseases, including hardening of thearteries (atherosclerosis), cancer, and arthritis. Free radicals can also interfere withyour immune system. So, fighting off damage with antioxidants helps keep yourimmune system strong, making you better able to ward off colds, flu, and otherinfections.

Antioxidants for Immunity: Where to Find Them

Adding more fruit and vegetables of any kind to your diet will improve your health.But some foods are higher in antioxidants than others. The three major antioxidantvitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. You’ll find them in colorfulfruits and vegetables – especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellowhues. To get the biggest benefits of antioxidants, eat these foods raw or lightlysteamed; don’t overcook or boil.
Beta-carotene and other carotenoids: Apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli,cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnip and collard greens,nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato,tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon
Vitamin C: Berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit,honeydew, kale, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, orange, papaya, red, green or yellowpeppers, snow peas, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes
Vitamin E: Broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts,papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds
Other super foods that are rich in antioxidants include:
  • Prunes
  • Apples
  • Raisins
  • All berries
  • Plums
  • Red grapes
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Beans
Vitamins aren’t the only antioxidants in food. Other antioxidants that may helpboost immunity include:
  • Zinc: Found in oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains, fortified cereals, and dairy products
  • Selenium: Found in Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, poultry and fortified breads, and other grain products.
  • For optimal health and immune functioning, you should eat the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of the antioxidant vitamins and minerals. That’s the amount of a vitamin or nutrient that you need to stay healthy and avoid a deficiency.
    Here are the RDAs for some antioxidants:  
    Zinc: 11 milligrams for men, 8 milligrams for women; if you are a strict vegetarian, you may require as much as 50% more dietary zinc. That’s because your body absorbs less zinc when you have a diet rich in plant-based foods.
    Selenium: 55 micrograms for men or women
    Beta-carotene: There is no RDA for beta-carotene. But the Institute of Medicine says that if you get 3 to 6 milligrams of beta-carotene daily, your body will have the levels that may lower risk of chronic diseases.
    Vitamin C: 90 milligrams for men, 75 milligrams for women; smokers should get extra vitamin C: 125 milligrams for men and 110 milligrams for women.
    Vitamin E: 15 milligrams for men and women

    How Foods Boost Immunity

    Can’t you get antioxidants from taking a vitamin or a supplement? Yes, but you may be missing out on other nutrients that could strengthen the immune system. Foods contain many different nutrients that work together to promote health. For example, researchers delving into the mysteries of fruits and vegetables and the complex antioxidants they contain have discovered benefits of:
    • Quercetin: a plant-based chemical (phytochemical) found in apples, onions, teas, red wines, and other foods; it fights inflammation and may help reduce allergies.
    • Luteolin: a flavonoid found in abundance in celery and green peppers; it also fights inflammation, and one study showed it may help protect against inflammatory brain conditions like Alzheimer’s.
    • Catechins: a type of flavonoid found in tea; catechins in tea may help reduce risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
    If you can’t get enough antioxidants in your diet by eating fresh produce, some experts recommend taking a multivitamin that contains minerals, too. But be cautious about taking individual immune system supplements to boost immunity. With antioxidants, as with most anything, moderation is key. Vitamins A and E, for example, are stored in the body and eliminated slowly. Getting too much can be toxic.

Heal the gut with these five superfoods


by Derek Henry 

(NaturalNews) In a world where digestive problems run amok, it’s little wonder that people are desperately looking for remedies that will help fix their gut issues. Although it is not simple, these five superfoods can help clean up the ‘internal trash’, balance your bacteria, and heal any damage that has been done, so you can get your gut back to normal.

Garlic

Garlic is an amazing superfood that can dramatically alter your inner ecology with its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Quite simply, it helps safely remove all those little critters that are destroying your digestive system.

In fact, Washington State University has confirmed that garlic is far more effective than pharmaceutical antibiotics in fighting a common bacteria known as campylobacter bacterium, which currently infects 2.4 million Americans per year.

Keeping your gut clear of these harmful bacteria will go a long ways to healing your digestive system.

Coconut kefir

Coconut kefir is somewhat of a lesser-known superfood, but is powerful nonetheless.

Coconut kefir is the simple process of using young coconut water and fermenting it to a state that leaves it teeming with billions of beneficial microorganisms. These friendly bacteria help balance your inner ecosystem, which in turn facilitates digestion, nutrient absorption, and toxin removal.

Bottom line, if you want to clean up your gut, repopulating it with beneficial bacteria is a requirement. Taking an ounce of kefir in the morning, at meals, and before bed is a great way to start.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is essentially fermented cabbage, which contains a vast array of nutrients and a hardy strain of probiotics, and does an exceptional job of cleaning and ‘furnishing’ your gut with beneficial bacteria so that it can heal and work efficiently again.

Add it as a side to any meal, or get creative and incorporate it into dishes where you would normally add vegetables.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a highly medicinal plant, and most of the benefits seem to come from the gel.

Aloe gel contains active compounds that help temper inflammation and block bacteria from infecting various areas of our body, including our digestive tract. They are also believed to help regenerate cells for faster healing times, which is vitally important in healing your gut after significant damage has occurred.

Aloe gel has also showed promise in healing gastric ulcers. According to a study in the World Journal of Gastroenterology in April 2006, when given internally, aloe gel reduced gastric inflammation and generated ulcer healing in mice.

Sangre de drago

Sangre de Drago is a latex-like red sap that comes from the Croton species of tree in the Amazon rainforests. This medicinal sap has been used for a variety of ailments, including ulcers in the stomach and intestines.

The two main phytochemicals responsible for its healing properties are an alkaloid known as Taspine (documented as anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorous, and antiviral) and a lignan known as Dimethylcedrusine, which plays a central role in sangre de drago’s wound healing capabilities.

When smeared onto a sterile plate and allowed to dry, then doused with E. coli bacteria, it was found that the bacteria promptly died in the presence of the sangre de drago.

A clean gut can create a clean bill of health

Eighty percent of our immunity, and conversely, where 80 percent of things go wrong, starts in the gut. It is perhaps the most important factor to consider when deciding to clean up your health.

Start with these five superfoods, and continue to add to your arsenal in order to keep your gut free of damaging pathogens, and full of beneficial bacteria.

My gut says go for it.

Sources for this article include:

http://news.wsu.edu

http://ajpgi.physiology.org/content/279/1/G192.full

http://www.rain-tree.com/sangre.htm#.Ucifa-BQPTQ

Change your life with these top superfoods

Change your life with these top superfoods

by Carolanne Wright 

(NaturalNews) Let’s face it. When we are feeling run down, muddled, overweight or unwell, it’s difficult to achieve our goals or live life to the fullest. Traditionally, Asian cultures believe nutrient dense food is one of the most powerful allies for attracting positive experiences into our lives. Whether concerning prosperity or solid relationships, joy or success – a healthy body and mind are key. Below are eight edibles that can help transform your life for the better.

Stunning superfoods

Camu camu

The best source of vitamin C on the planet, camu camu is a spectacular, health promoting superfood. Daily use of the berry will keep the immune system strong, improve eyesight, maintain ligaments, tendons and collagen while reducing inflammation. It also protects the skin from aging and supports brain as well as liver function.

Maqui

Containing 300 percent more anthocyanins and 150 percent more polyphenols than any other food or drink known to man, maqui berry is one of the most stunning foods you can enjoy. Cancer, inflammation, diabetes, fevers and diarrhea are curbed by the berry. Maqui also encourages a healthy heart, high energy levels and weight loss. It helps to minimize the effects of aging and promotes a radiant complexion too.

Fatty fish

Cold water fish like sardines and Alaskan salmon support a stable and clear mind – vital for living our dreams, productivity and making sound decisions. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, consuming fish balances our mental states and can help with depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. These nutritious oils are also a boon for heart health.

Coconut

Long shunned as a high fat, health harming food, coconut has risen above the misinformation and has achieved its rightful place as a superfood. Coconut water is an excellent source of electrolytes which support energy and hydration. And blood sugar levels stay balanced and the digestive system is kept humming with the high fiber meat. Teeming with lauric acid, coconut oil fosters balanced thyroid function, weight loss and energy.

Graviola

Used in traditional medicine around the world, graviola trees are found in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Extracts taken from the leaves, twigs and bark have demonstrated many exciting properties in lab tests – one of the most dramatic findings involved the reduction of pancreatic and breast cancer tumors. Inflammation, parasites, bacteria and viruses were also curtailed. Graviola fruit is classically known to calm the nerves, lower blood pressure and soothe depression. A word of caution: Excessive consumption is neurotoxic and can trigger similar symptoms to Parkinson’s disease.

Cacao

Raw, organic cacao is one of the finest feel good, energy enhancing, heart health boosting foods you can add to the diet. Bursting with antioxidants, magnesium, iron, zinc and chromium, this nutrient dense and delicious superfood defeats anemia, hypoglycemia and poor immune response. Theobromine and phenethylamine (PEA) substantially lift mood, energy and libido.

Goji berries

Packing a number of amazing nutrients like amino acids, human growth hormone (HGH), polysaccharides, vitamins and minerals, goji berries are a powerhouse of nutrition. The fruit improves eyesight, shields the liver and heart, slows aging and reduces free radical load – effectively reducing the chance of degenerative diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Chia seed

Known as “running food,” ancient Aztec warriors recognized the incredible benefits of this remarkable seed. Packed with protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, chia supports digestion, cardiovascular health, detoxification, endurance and vitality. It also provides a nice boost of sustainable energy as well.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.naturalnews.com/037543_maqui_berry_cancer_heart_health.html

http://www.eatingwell.com

http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/herb/graviola

http://www.chinese-herbs.org/graviola/graviola-health-benefits.html

http://www.naturalnews.com/036559_chia_seeds_Aztec_foods.html

http://www.beliefnet.com

These five superfoods are scientifically proven to halt the spread of breast cancer

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer 

(NaturalNews) Though there is little meaningful talk about this important subject in the mainstream media, cancer prevention is something that every single person needs to be thinking about, especially in light of the excess of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), environmental chemicals, and other modern exposures linked to rapidly rising rates of this deadly disease. And one of the best ways to avoid getting cancer is to fortify your body with a robust nutritional profile rich in cancer-fighting “superfoods.”

Research out of the City of Hope Cancer Center near Los Angeles, California, has determined that five specific superfoods possess demonstrable cancer-fighting benefits — and the good news is that most of them are generally available year-round at grocery stores nationwide. These superfoods include:

1) Mushrooms. Scientists from City of Hope were among the first to identify some of the cancer-fighting properties of mushrooms, having discovered that common white-button mushrooms are capable of slowing the growth of breast cancer tumors by targeting aromatase, a protein enzyme that biosynthesizes estrogen in the body. Since aromatase is linked to spurring breast cancer tumors, eating mushrooms can help stop these cancer cells from growing and spreading.

Researchers observed a similar benefit in men concerning prostate cancer. Mushroom extract was found not only to lower levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a hormone linked to the development of the disease, but also to fortify the body’s own natural defenses in blocking lung and potentially other forms of cancer. (http://www.cityofhope.org)

2) Blueberries. Numerous studies have confirmed that blueberries effectively prevent breast cancer cells from not only multiplying and spreading, but also from surviving. Blueberry compounds have been shown to shrink the size of existing tumors, as well as block the proliferation of triple-negative breast cancers. (http://www.cityofhope.org)

3) Pomegranates. A superfood with a variety of unique benefits, pomegranates possess six unique substances that, like mushrooms, suppress aromatase, which roughly 70 percent of breast cancers need in order to grow and thrive. Besides preventing and fighting breast cancer, pomegranates have been shown to target many other forms of cancer as well, including colon cancer.

The specific cancer-fighting compounds in pomegranates include urolithin A (UA), methylated UA, acetylated UB, methylated UB, and UB sulfate, all of which are naturally-occurring phytochemicals that inhibit multiple estrogen-producing mechanisms responsible for spurring tumor growth. (http://www.cityofhope.org)

4) Cinnamon. Long utilized as both a spice and a medicine, cinnamon is a powerful cancer fighter in its own right, as it effectively blocks a protein that tumors need to establish a life-giving blood supply. Known as angiogenesis, this blockage of blood vessel growth prevents tumors from both growing and surviving. (http://www.cityofhope.org)

5) Grape seed extract. This one might be a little bit harder to find, as many grape varieties sold in stores are now seedless. But the compounds found in grape seeds are worth the extra effort to find, as they have been shown to help inhibit aromatase, which in turn blocks the formation of breast cancer. Grape seed extract also blocks the action of another protein responsible for spurring the growth and spread of cancer cells.

“City of Hope is uncovering important links between nutrition and the fight against cancer,” says the group on its website about this fascinating and ongoing research. “We have found that mushrooms may slow the growth of breast cancer, blueberries could slow down the spread of cancer, and grape seed extract might starve cancer cells.”

Sources for this article include:

http://nationalevents.cityofhope.org

http://www.nbcsandiego.com

Brain Food: Superfoods To Improve Your Cognitive Function

Sardines
We’ve all had those days when we just can’t seem to concentrate. And while there’s no magic pill to bring us back to the height of our cognitive powers, there aresome foods that have been shown to improve brain function, protect against age-associated cognitive decline and encourage focus and clarity.
But before you dismiss the diet-brain connection as mere conjecture, keep in mind that study after study has found a relationship between what we put in our mouths and how well we can perform important thinking and memory tasks. While certain nutrients may specifically assist brain function, there is also the totality of our diets to consider. One recent U.K. study found that a diet high in saturated fat actually caused damage to neurons that control energy and appetite in mice. And several well-regarded studies have shown that meal timing is an important predictor of performance. For example, research shows that eating breakfast can improve the memory and acquisition skills of schoolchildren.
We put together the top brain foods — tell us in the comments if any have made a difference for you. After all, who couldn’t use a little extra oomph up there?

Six foods for a happy belly

by PF Louis 

(NaturalNews) What is a happy belly? Well, an unhappy belly will produce flatulence, bloating, nausea, cramps, and so called heartburn. You should be able to digest foods without any hassles, providing you don’t overeat. That’s a happy belly.

Considering that digestion begins in the mouth, it’s wise to chew your food thoroughly. In addition to reducing the food into smaller, easier to digest pieces, the saliva from chewing produces more digestive enzymes early in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

It’s also important to take your time and relax while eating. Rushed eating while stressed or hassled in any way will result in digestive stress that can create a very unhappy belly while depriving you of the food’s nutritional value.

Foods and beverages to help your belly’s happiness

As usual, organic food sources are the best choices. If you can purchase reliably clean raw milk for milk kefir, do so. Always use purified fluoride-free water.

Reverse osmosis is the best accessible system. Stations are available for filling containers in larger food markets. Make sure to re-mineralize with sea salt or some other mineral solution.

(1) Fermented foods provide probiotics that aid digestion and more. Having an intestinal flora microbial balance of 80 percent to 20 percent healthy bacteria to pathogenic bacteria is vital for even more than good digestion. It’s an important part of our immune system.

Without a well balanced intestinal flora stocked heavily with an abundance of healthy bacteria, Candida overgrowth is given a nice breeding ground. (http://www.naturalnews.com)

Fermented foods include sauerkraut, yogurt (unflavored and unsweetened) kimchi, miso, pickles, and tempeh or fermented soy, which is the only soy that’s consumable without digestive issues.

You can always add good honey or maple syrup to plain yogurts. Yes, you can make your own sauerkraut. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034788_sauerkraut_probiotics_recipes.html)

If you can get a good sourdough bread baked with sprouted grains without using bromide, that’s good for making your belly happy too. Sourdough is fermented. Sprouted grains reduce gluten’s harmful effects. Bromides block the enzyme that helps your thyroid produce adequate hormones for metabolism.

(2) Probiotic beverages can be as potent as some probiotic supplements, and a lot cheaper. Kombucha is a popular item that offers the same probiotic potential as fermented foods. Even more powerful are water and milk kefirs. You need starter grains specific to either purified water or milk, best to find raw milk.

Then you can make your own. (http://www.naturalnews.com/036419_probiotics_immunity_bacteria.html)

A woman who cured her really bad case of colitis with milk kefir showed this author how to make it. She didn’t even use raw milk, which is recommended. Here’s a good source for milk kefir starter grains with excellent instructions. (http://kefirlady.com/)

There are also several DIY kefir YouTube videos online.

(3) Prebiotic foods are essential for helping the healthy bacteria from probiotics flourish. They don’t contain healthy probiotic bacteria, but they provide the food energy to help probiotics maintain a GI tract stronghold.

Bananas, berries, artichokes, garlic, honey, legumes (beans) and whole grains such as brown rice are good prebiotic food sources.

(4) Apple cider vinegar is regarded as an excellent digestive aid by many alternative practitioners and nutritionists, but not so much by MDs and mainstream dieticians.

Us an apple cider vinegar that has not been pasteurized or filtered for best results. Before each meal, one or two tablespoons downed in a half glass of water can be beneficial. Water with meals should be room temperature for optimum digestion.

(5) When your stomach becomes unhappy, stay away from the Tums and try something healthier. Ginger root is one such choice. Only a few dare chew on a ginger root. It’s usually converted into a tea by peeling the root and cutting it into thin slices.

Make enough thin slices to cover the bottom of a pan, fill the pan with good non-fluoridated water from reverse osmosis. Simmer for 30 minutes after boiling. It can be refrigerated for several days. Ginger has been known to remedy queasy or cramping stomachs, and it’s good for general inflammation as well.

(6)The king of natural GI tract and stomach disorders is Aloe vera juice. Aloe vera juice needs to be shopped wisely. The cheap adulterated ones with preservatives or pasteurized stuff won’t cut it. Get only pure, whole unpasteurized aloe vera juice. Yes it’s pricier, but worth it.

Stomach ulcer sufferers swear by it. There have been many, many reports of Celiac disease and Crohn’s disease sufferers curing themselves with aloe vera juice, as well as some experiencing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

With a disease as intense as Celiac, Crohn’s or IBS, it takes several days to a few weeks of daily use to get results. (http://www.naturalnews.com/021858_aloe_vera_gel.html#ixzz25fIbagIM)

Pure aloe vera juice has many, many other curative capabilities and health benefits. It has been clinically tested successfully on AIDS and cancer patients. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034738_aloe_vera_cancer_AIDS.html)

Superfoods All Week Long

From the August 2010 Issue
Some foods get all of the glory. (Pomegranates, we’re looking at you.) But new research is uncovering the age-defying, disease-fighting, fat-blasting super-powers of common foods you already love. These 22 edibles are cheap, quick to prep, mouthwateringly delicious‚ and most are probably already in your kitchen. And to make it even easier for you to tap into their head-to-toe benefits, we created a tastyseven-day diet plan featuring every age eraser on our list. A diet that fights fine lines, fatigue and heart disease and helps you lose 2 pounds per week‚ what are you waiting for? Dig in!


Fight weight gain, wrinkles, cancer and colds all at once with this yummy, satisfying, superfood-packed plan. A younger, slimmer you is only one week away.

Key to the icons

Increases energy = Increases energy
Enhances immunity = Enhances immunity
Good for your heart = Good for your heart
Peels off pounds = Peels off pounds
 = Smooths wrinkles
Helps fight cancer = Helps fight cancer
Sharpens your brain = Sharpens your brain

Almonds

Good for your heart Peels off pounds 
Savor this snack. Dieters who noshed on almonds daily shed 62 percent more weight and 56 percent more fat than those who didn’t, a study from Loma Linda University in California finds. “The fiber in nuts may prevent your body from absorbing some fat, speeding weight loss,” says lead author Michelle Wien, R.D. Almond eaters also lowered their blood pressure, and the vitamin E in these nuts may keep skin supple.
Reap the rewards. Chomp on 1 1/2 ounces (about 35) raw or roasted almonds daily.

Barley

Good for your heart Peels off pounds Helps fight cancer
Give your usual brown rice an upgrade. Barley has almost twice the fiber, plus cancer-fighting selenium. And beta glucan, a form of fiber in barley, helps lower cholesterol and reduces your body’s rate of fat absorption. When people with high cholesterol ate 3 to 10 grams of beta glucan daily, their levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides fell, a study in theAnnals of Family Medicine shows.
Reap the rewards. Quick-cook barley takes less time to prep but offers the same perks.

KEYWORDS

 

healthy eating

 

superfoods

 

healthy snacking

 

calories

 

diet advice
Levi Brown

Wikio

20 superfoods for weight loss

It’s time for a new slim-down mantra: Eat more to weigh less. No joke! The right foods help you drop pounds by revving your calorie burn and curbing cravings. We consulted top experts for the best picks and asked leading chefs for easy, tasty ways to prepare them. Add these eats to your plate today and you’ll be slimmer and healthier in no time!

From the August 2008 Issue

Steak

Beef has a rep as a diet buster, but eating it may help you peel off pounds. In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women on a diet that included red meat lost more weight than those eating equal calories but little beef. “The protein in steak helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss,” says study author Manny Noakes, Ph.D. Try to consume local organic beef; it’s healthier for you and the environment.

Eat more Grill or broil a 4-ounce serving of top round or sirloin; slice thinly to top a salad, or mix with veggies for fajitas.

Eggs

Dig in to eggs, yolks and all: They won’t harm your heart, but they can help you trim inches. Women on a low-calorie diet who ate an egg with toast and jelly each morning lost twice as many pounds as those who had a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories but no eggs, a study from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge reports. “Egg protein is filling, so you eat less later in the day,” says David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life (Bantam).

Eat more Omelets and scrambles are obvious choices, but if you can’t cook before work, bake a frittata on Sunday; chill it and nuke slices for up to a week. An easy recipe: Vegetable Frittata.

Kale

Long sidelined as a lowly garnish, this green belongs center stage on your plate. One raw chopped cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, as well as a hearty helping of iron and calcium. But kale’s earthy flavor might take some getting used to. Spinach, another nutrient powerhouse, is a milder-tasting option.

Eat more Mix chopped raw kale into cooked black beans, says Jennifer Iserloh, founder of Skinny Chef Culinary Ventures, in New York City. Or slice kale into thin strips, sauté it with vegetable broth and top with orange slices. Make it a meal by tossing the mix with quinoa.

Oats

“Oatmeal has the highest satiety ranking of any food,” Grotto says. “Unlike many other carbohydrates, oats—even the instant kind—digest slowly, so they have little impact on your blood sugar.” All oats are healthful, but the steel-cut and rolled varieties (which are minimally processed) have up to 5 grams of fiber per serving, making them the most filling choice. Instant oats contain 3 to 4 grams per serving.

Eat more “Instead of using breadcrumbs, add oats to meat loaf—about 1 cup for a recipe that serves eight,” Iserloh recommends. Or try her recipe for turkey and oatmeal meatballs.

Lentils

Lentils are a bona fide belly flattener. “They’re high in protein and soluble fiber, two nutrients that stabilize blood sugar levels,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., author of The F-Factor Diet (Putnam Adult). “Eating them helps prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to create excess fat, especially in the abdominal area.”

Eat more There are many varieties of lentils, but red and yellow cook fastest (in about 15 to 20 minutes). Add cooked lentils to pasta sauce for a heartier dish, Zuckerbrot suggests. “Their mild flavor blends right in, and because they’re high in protein, you can skip meat altogether.”

Goji berries

These chewy, tart berries have a hunger-curbing edge over other fruit: 18 amino acids, which make them a surprising source of protein, says chef Sarah Krieger, R.D., spokeswoman in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the American Dietetic Association. (They also have more beta-carotene than carrots.) Snack on them midafternoon to stay satisfied until dinner. The calorie cost? Only 35 per tablespoon.

Eat more Mix 1/4 cup of the dried berries (from health food stores) with 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts for a nourishing trail mix. Or for dessert, pour 1/4 cup boiling water into a bowl with 2 tbsp dried berries; let sit 10 minutes. Drain, then spoon over 1/2 cup lowfat vanilla frozen yogurt.

Wild salmon

Not only do fish fats keep your heart healthy, but they shrink your waist, too. “Omega-3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity—which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat,” Grotto explains. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns. Opt for wild salmon; it may contain fewer pollutants.

Eat more You don’t need to do much to enhance salmon’s taste, says Sidra Forman, a chef and writer in Washington, D.C. “Simple is best. Season a fillet with salt and pepper, then cook it in a hot pan with 2 tsp oil for 1 to 3 minutes on each side.”

Apples

An apple a day can keep weight gain at bay, finds a study from Penn State University at University Park. People who chomped an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack. “Apples are high in fiber—4 to 5 grams each—which makes them filling,” says Susan Kraus, R.D., a clinical dietitian at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Plus, the antioxidants in apples may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an “apple shape.”

Eat more Apples are the ideal on-the-go low-calorie snack. For a pielike treat, chop up a medium apple and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Pop in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.

Buckwheat pasta

Swap plain noodles for this hearty variety; you’ll slip into your skinny jeans in no time. “Buckwheat is high in fiber and, unlike most carbs, contains protein,” Zuckerbrot says. “Those two nutrients make it very satiating, so it’s harder to overeat buckwheat pasta than the regular stuff.”

Eat more Cook this pasta as you do rice: Simmer it, covered, over low heat. For a light meal, toss cooked buckwheat pasta with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and onions. Or make buckwheat crepes using our tasty recipe.

Blueberries

All berries are good for you, but those with a blue hue are among the best of the bunch. They have the highest antioxidant level of all commonly consumed fruit, according to research from the USDA Agriculture Research Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. They also deliver 3.6 grams of fiber per cup. “Fiber may actually prevent some of the fat you eat from being absorbed because fiber pulls fat through the digestive tract,” Zuckerbrot says.

Eat more Instead of topping your cereal with fruit, fill your bowl with blueberries, then sprinkle cereal on top and add milk or yogurt, Iserloh recommends.

Almond butter

Adding this spread may lower bread’s glycemic index (a measure of a food’s effect on blood sugar). A study from the University of Toronto found that people who ate almonds with white bread didn’t experience the same blood sugar surges as those who ate only the slice. “The higher blood sugar levels rise, the lower they fall; that dip leads to hunger, causing people to overeat,” says study author Cyril Kendall, Ph.D. “Furthermore, blood sugar changes cause the body to make insulin, which can increase abdominal fat.”

Eat more Try it for a change from peanut butter in sandwiches, or make a veggie dip: Mix 1 tbsp almond butter with 2 tbsp fat-free plain yogurt, Iserloh suggests. Or add a dollop to oatmeal for flavor and protein.

Pomegranates

The juice gets all the hype for being healthy, but pomegranate seeds deserve their own spotlight. In addition to being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, they’re low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet, Krieger says.

Eat more Pop the raw seeds on their own (many grocery stores sell them preshucked) as a snack at your desk. “Use them in salads instead of nuts,” Iserloh says. “They’re especially delicious on raw baby spinach with lemon–poppy seed dressing.” For another take on the seeds, use our easy recipe for sweet and spicy pomegranate salsa.

Chiles

One reason to spice up your meals: You’ll crank up your metabolism. “A compound in chiles called capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, meaning it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chiles,” Zuckerbrot explains. Plus, “you can’t gulp down spicy food,” she adds. “Eating slowly gives your brain time to register that your stomach is full, so you won’t overeat.”

Eat more Stuff chiles with cooked quinoa and marinara sauce, then roast them. To mellow a chile’s heat, grill it until it’s almost black, peel off charred skin and puree the flesh, Krieger says. Add the puree to pasta sauces for a one-alarm kick. Or stir red pepper flakes into any dish you enjoy.

Yogurt

Dietitians often refer to plain yogurt as the perfect food, and for good reason: With its trifecta of carbs, protein and fat, it can stave off hunger by keeping blood sugar levels steady. In a study from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, people on a low-calorie diet that included yogurt lost 61 percent more fat overall and 81 percent more belly fat than those on a similar plan but without yogurt.

Eat more “Use lowfat plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise in chicken or potato salad, or top a baked potato with a bit of yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice,” Krieger says. You’ll save 4.7 grams of fat per tablespoon. Look for Greek yogurt, which has more protein than other versions.

Quinoa

Curbing hunger is as easy as piling your plate with this whole grain. It packs both fiber (2.6 grams per 1/2 cup) and protein, a stellar nutrient combo that can keep you satisfied for hours, Krieger says.

Eat more Serve quinoa instead of rice with stir-fries, or try Krieger’s take on a scrumptious hot breakfast: Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup orange juice for 15 minutes. Top with 1 tbsp each of raisins and chopped walnuts.

Sardines

These tiny fish are the unsung stars of the sea. They are high in protein and loaded with omega-3s, which also help the body maintain muscle. And they’re low in mercury and high in calcium, making them a smart fish pick for pregnant women. If the flavor doesn’t appeal to you, “soak them in milk for an hour; it will remove any trace of fishiness,” Iserloh says.

Eat more “Use sardines in recipes you like that call for anchovies, including Caesar salad and stuffing,” Iserloh says. Or make a sardine melt: Toss whole sardines with chopped onions, fresh herbs and diced bell peppers. Put the mixture on top of a slice of pumpernickel or rye bread, cover with a slice of cheddar and broil.

Tarragon

You can use this herb, a staple in French cooking, in place of salt in marinades and salad dressings. Excess sodium causes your body to retain water, so using less salt can keep bloating at bay. Plus, tarragon lends a sweet, licoricelike flavor to bland foods. (Use the French version of the herb when possible; it’s sweeter than other varieties.)

Eat more Rub 2 tbsp dried tarragon on chicken before baking or grilling. Or make a tasty dip by mixing 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon into 4 oz lowfat plain yogurt and 1 tsp Dijon mustard, recommends Jacquelyn Buchanan, director of culinary development at Laura Chenel’s Chèvre, a fromagerie in Sonoma, California.

Parmesan

Drop that rubbery lowfat cheese and pick up the real stuff. Women who had one serving of whole milk or cheese daily were less likely to gain weight over time, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds. Lowfat-dairy fans didn’t experience the same benefit. Whole dairy may have more conjugated linoleic acid, which might help your body burn fat. “Parmesan is so flavorful, it’s easy to stick to one serving,” Buchanan says.

Eat more “Grate Parmesan over roasted vegetables,” Buchanan offers. Or snack on a 1-ounce portion with an apple or a pear.

Avocado

Don’t let the fat content of an avocado (29 grams) scare you—that’s what makes it a top weight loss food, Kraus says. “The heart-healthy monounsaturated fat it contains increases satiety,” she says. And it’s terrific summer party food.

Eat more Add avocado to your sandwich instead of mayo for a creamy texture and a shot of flavor. Avocados do contain a lot of calories, so it’s best to watch your portions. One easy way to do it: Try Wholly Guacamole’s 100-calorie fresh guacamole packs ($3; grocery stores or WhollyGuac.com). They’re easy to pack in your lunch and pair with chopped vegetables.

Olive oil

Like avocados, olive oil has healthy fat that increases satiety, taming your appetite. But that’s hardly its only slimming feature. “Research shows it has anti-inflammatory properties,” Kraus says. Chronic inflammation in the body is linked to metabolic syndrome.

Eat more Drizzle your salad with olive oil and you’ll increase the antioxidant power of your veggies, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition notes. Or toss pasta with a few teaspoons of olive oil, fresh basil and sautéed garlic, Kraus suggests. Add this oil to your summer menus for a flatter tummy by fall.

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