High in fiber but low in carbs, avocados are your new best friend for weight loss. Ironic since avocados are loaded in fat, but it's the good fats, the fats your body needs. Olive oil good fats, the ones that reduce inflammation and fight cancer. They reduce the bad (LDL) cholesterol and increase the good (HDL) cholesterol. All eyes are on the avocado as studies have shown that the nutrients within drastically reduce the risk of cataracts and muscular degeneration. And did you know? Avocados contain more potassium than bananas, and high potassium intake translates into reduced blood pressure. People who eat avocados regularly also weigh less, had a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat according to one study.
Have you had your vitamin D checked lately? For many people, it's way too low. Well broccoli just might help us solve our vitamin D deficiency problem. When you're taking vitamin D, you also need ample supplies of vitamin K and vitamin A to keep everything in balance, both of which broccoli is famous for. Allergy sufferer? Broccoli is a rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol which lessens the impact of allergy-related substances in our body. Broccoli can also prevent osteoarthritis, reverse diabetic heart damage, reduce cancer risk as well as protecting your skin against the effects of UV light.
Your heart, liver and stomach all love it when you eat artichokes. Packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients they are chock-full of antioxidants that fight cancer, aging and illness. A big boost to your immune system, they can also lower your cholesterol. Artichokes have been shown to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). Eat three of these beauties a day to detoxify the body and settle your digestive tract (think bloating and gas). Artichoke leaf extracts protect and regenerate the liver. Moreover, artichokes help to maintain a normal heart rhythm and healthy blood pressure. They also reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Not only a great source of fiber, asparagus is jam-packed with nutrients including folate, vitamins A, C, E and K and also contains chromium, one of those trace minerals that help us regulate blood sugar. Maybe it's the chromium in asparagus that helps suppress the appetite so well. These spears sure look like weapons, and it's no wonder as the antioxidants within fight bone, breast, colon larynx and lung cancers. So neutralize those cell-damaging free radicals and eat asparagus to stave off aging and prevent cancer. Ward off cognitive decline too when you pair asparagus with vitamin B12. And as a natural diuretic, these spears will help the body rid itself of fluids and excess salts, particularly helpful for those suffering from edema or PMS!
Brussels Sprouts are loaded with healthful benefits that help fight cancer and boost your immune system. And unlike many cruciferous veggies, these mini-cabbages are a good source of muscle-building, hunger-squashing protein. One-half cup of cooked Brussels contains 2 grams of protein and come loaded with fiber as well as vitamins A and C.
Greens (swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, collards)
You already know that fiber rich leafy greens are bursting with vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals. And all that fiber keeps you feeling full longer which is important for weight loss. Equally important is controlling those hunger cues by keeping your blood-sugar in check. And since leafy greens contain lots of water, you'll feel more hydrated which promotes beautiful skin and hair. The beta-carotene will also protect your skin against sun damage. The vitamin C is helpful in reducing your risk of cataracts and muscular degeneration. The vitamin E teams up with the vitamin C to keep your skin healthy as you age. And the folate reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and memory loss. Since folate contributes to the production of serotonin, it may even stave off depression and improve mood.
A diabetics dream, kiwi is in the "low" category for the glycemic index meaning it does not raise your blood sugar quickly. High in fiber, a kiwi doesn't create that sugar rush like many other fruits - so your body won't store it as fat. It's the smart carb for weight loss! Naturally organic, kiwi boosts immunity, helps clean out toxins from your body, improves digestive health and helps manage blood pressure. Eating 2-3 kiwis a day has been shown to reduce the potential of blood clotting by 15%. So you can take an aspirin as an anti-clotting agent (side effects including inflammation and intestinal bleeding) or eat a few kiwi's (no side effects).
Low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin K and A, it's a good idea to infuse leeks in your diet. They fight cancer, protect against heart disease, have numerous anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and aid in weight loss. Perhaps leeks are most famous for their ability to protect the linings of blood vessels, which lowers your risk of hypertension. Fabulous for any pregnant women, leeks are loaded in folate.
From digestion to constipation to arthritis, there's no shortage to the benefits of lime even to the extent of skin care. The citric acid present in lime burns fat. A squeeze of fresh lime in water makes for a great antioxidant and weight loss drink. And drink up because the high potassium content of limes is helpful in removing toxic substances from the body which get stuck in the kidneys and bladder. Cure those urinary infections while your at it due to the limes natural disinfectant properties. And for those suffering from respiratory disorders, just scratching the peel of a lime and inhaling it gives immediate relief for congestion and nausea. Vitamin C, found in high concentrations in citrus fruits lowers the temperature of the body, making lime an ideal choice for those burning with fever.
I love peas for their anti-aging, weight management, immune system building, and energy giving properties. They are also noted for their ability to prevent stomach cancer. Peas are also helpful in decreasing inflammation which is linked to heart disease, cancer and aging. They help with blood sugar regulation as peas' carbohydrates are natural sugars and starches (not that bad white stuff). Peas prevent constipation, support healthy bones and reduce bad cholesterol. They taste delicious as well!
And I'm so sorry, I should have included cabbage on this list (especially for St. Patrick's Day) Anyhow, what are you eating these days?