Add these fresh foods to your weekly shopping list to help your weight loss.
These 10 foods pack a nutritious punch with vitamins and minerals, which can help kick your weight loss into gear and fuel your body with the good stuff.
Loaded with anti-oxidants, phyto flavonoids and vitamin C, berries may help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and act as an anti-inflammatory. Studies have also shown that blueberries may help with short-term memory loss associated with brain-ageing. The darker the colour, the more anti-oxidants. Best of all, you can enjoy berries all year round as frozen are just as good as fresh.
A common nutrient deficiency in women is iron. Enjoying extra-lean beef in your diet is a guaranteed iron injection, without excess saturated fat. Iron helps make up haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrier in the blood. Without enough iron, you can suffer from fatigue, poor concentration and even increase your body's susceptibility to colds and infections.
Of the 50 foods highest in anti-oxidants, 13 are fresh herbs and spices. One study at the University of Oslo in Norway found oregano had 42 times more anti-oxidants than apples. One tablespoon of fresh oregano has the same free-radical fighting power as one medium-sized apple.
Legumes, including chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans are low-GI foods which help regulate blood sugar and appetite. Black beans are particularly rich in fibre and nutrients, plus they're almost fat-free. Legumes can aid weight loss as they fill you up on fewer kilojoules and POINTS values than many meat sources of protein.
Not only packed with fibre, oats are brimming with protein, good fats and vitamins and minerals. They've been known to help ease the harmful effects of "bad" cholesterol and reduce blood pressure. Buy natural rolled oats (leave the sugar-loaded sachets on the shelf) and cook them in the microwave with skim milk, topped with banana and a drizzle of honey for a super-nutritious breakfast.
Most famously know for their vitamin C, oranges also contain many phytochemicals thought to lower the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and inflammatory conditions in women. Oranges also contain potassium, good for water balance between cells and assisting with high blood pressure.
Each nut contains its own unique profile of phytochemicals, types of fatty acids, and amounts of fibre. Most nuts contain monounsaturated fat, which may help lower "bad" cholesterol. Remember to watch your portions as it's easy to eat too many.
Popeye wasn't right about the iron content of spinach, as the form of iron in spinach is not as absorbable as animal sources. However, he was getting a great daily dose of B vitamin folate. Spinach is one of nature's best sources of folate, which helps prevent birth defects and may lower the risk of heart disease, dementia and even colon cancer.
Tomatoes are well known for their high amounts of lycopene, which is considered a potential agent for prevention of some types of cancer. But this tasty fruit also packs other anti-oxidants, too, including betacarotene, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Tomatoes are truly one of nature's superfoods!
Our digestive system needs a healthy amount of "good" bacteria in the digestive tract. One way we can assist good bacteria is by boosting probiotic intake. Look for low-fat yoghurt with active cultures such as acidophilus, but keep an eye on the sugar content. Yoghurt is also rich in protein, making it a filling snack.
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