By Nicolette M. Pace MS,RD,CDE,CDN,CFCS
Just in time to ring in Spring, these healthy farm fresh foods kick off a slimming season of health and vitality and will help you to build a great weight loss program. Each of these foods has a unique set of vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant chemicals that will give you a metabolic edge and the tools you need to balance out your nutrition and help you to shed unwanted pounds.
Slightly sweet but yet bitter, the unique flavor of grapefruit comes from a natural compound called naringenin that holds scientific promise in the battle of the bulge. Packed with vitamin C, folate and fiber, grapefruit works well into a low fat, low calorie diet that can help you to lose weight by improving fat metabolism and insulin resistance and they taste great!
Dieters may be familiar with the soup diet that includes this nutrient rich, very low calorie vegetable that promises to get weight off fast. In reality, cabbage and its cousins, kale, collard, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts are part of a family of inflammation fighters that contain glucosinolates that can help you to detox your metabolism and encourage fat burning. Be sure to include one of these foods daily for a complete, balanced diet that may help to ward off your risk of some weight related cancers too!
These pesky lawn intruders are actually edible weeds and a nutrition powerhouse! Spring leaves are packed with an alphabet of nutrients that include A, B, C, D, iron and fiber. Dandelions work as a diuretic to help you reduce bloat and cleanse your system and contain Taraxcin a chemical that can improve fat digestion and liver sluggishness to rid you of unsightly and unhealthy belly fat!
With a mild, but yet savory flavor, spring onions, chives and garlic greens enhance all of your vegetable dishes with a blend of nutrients and plant compounds that can boost your weight loss diet. They contain ally propyl disulphide, quercitin and chromium which have been studied for their ability to improve inflammation associated with high blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides) and for blood sugar metabolism to help you feel more satisfied with smaller portions.
While many recognize it as a pie ingredient, red rhubarb stalks are popping up in Spring markets and are gaining attention not only for their nutrient profile but a myriad of therapeutic uses. Just a small amount of chopped stalks added to naturally sweet cooked fruit or combined with spices in a flavorful chutney or sauce can infuse your body with catechins, an antioxidant fat burner, and anthraquinone, an inflammation fighter. These compounds can slow weight gain and act as a mild laxative to stay regular, keeping your mid-section slim.
Be sure to work these foods into your diet for weight loss and good health and be alert to supplements that extract the nutrients and leave the plant behind. Shortcuts like these may not give you the same benefit and ignore the synergy that is created when you eat combinations of whole food.
Be Healthy! Be Happy!
Nicolette M. Pace MS,RD,CDE,CDN,CFCS