Posted by: Andi Angel | March 13, 2010

Super-charge your diet with SuperFoods!


Some of the best-kept secrets to battling the bulge: Protein, Fiber, and good old-fashioned nature-made nutraceuticals.  Nutra-what? Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, enzymes and other substances in food) can have just as much impact on your health as pharmaceutical drugs.

Protein and fiber are powerful, because they help you to feel full even when you cut back calories. They also balance the release of carbs into the blood stream as sugar, which affects some of your bodily hormone balances… so not only micronutrients, but macronutrients can act like a drug.

So, everyone knows how to manipulate their macronutrient intake – or in other words, calorie intake. But how do you get more of those micronutrients? Switch from processed foods to whole, REAL foods.

The reason is, when you feed your body junk and empty processed nutrient-stripped calories, it knows it hasn’t gotten the good stuff it needs, so you get hungry right away. Your body will happily pack away any extra calories in case it wants to burn them later… and then it will ask you to eat more, in an attempt to get the micronutrients you didn’t get from that processed convenience food! And if what you ate was sugary, it interferes with the “I’m-full” hormone, leptin – so you overeat even more.

There are so many choices to help you switch from low-nutrient, calorie-packed foods to their opposite…

First, here are some foods that you could practically binge on without gaining weight: apples, beans, bell peppers (especially orange ones), berries (like cherries, açaí, or blueberries, fresh or frozen), broccoli, cinnamon, garlic, kiwi, oats/oatmeal, onions, oranges, pomegranates, pumpkin, soy, spinach, sweet potatoes, tomatoes. Berries are not only high in antioxidants, but fiber as well.

Some other foods that are nutritional power foods you can enjoy in moderation: avocado, bananas, dark chocolate, dried berries or apricots or figs, extra virgin olive oil, honey, low-fat or fat-free yogurt, turkey, peanuts or walnuts, wild salmon. Just take note of your fat or sugar intake with these foods.

But you could probably still eat a lot of these and not gain much weight.

Last, but not least diet-wise, plan to splurge. Cut yourself some indulging opportunities and DO NOT feel guilty. Just think a little bit ahead to that party or that holiday table and save aside a few calories from earlier meals in the day (or even in the week, depending on how much feasting you want to enjoy). And if you slip up here and there, don’t waste emotional energy beating yourself up, when you could be focusing on what you’ll do to recover and avoid the same mistakes next time!

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