The real secret to eating better? Fill your diet with healthy fare that tastes good.
Here are six foods to make that task easier than ever.
Taste isn't the only great thing about the pig meat in your butcher's case. Compared with other meats, pork chops contain relatively high amounts of selenium, a mineral that's linked to lower risk of cancer. Per gram of protein, pork chops pack almost five times the selenium of beef, and more than twice that of chicken. They're also loaded with riboflavin and thiamin, B vitamins that help your body more efficiently convert carbs to energy. But perhaps most important, Purdue researchers found that a 6-ounce daily serving helped people preserve their muscle as they lost weight on very low-calorie diets.
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Never mind that these edible fungi are more than 90 percent water—at least 700 different species are known to have a medicinal effect. Credit their metabolites, by-products that are created when mushrooms are broken down during the digestion process. Researchers in the Netherlands recently reported that metabolites have been shown to boost immunity and prevent cancer growth.
These hot little numbers may help extinguish your appetite. Dutch researchers have discovered that consuming a gram of red pepper—about 1/2 teaspoon—30 minutes prior to a meal decreased total calorie intake by 14 percent. The scientists believe the appetite-reducing effect is due to capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives red peppers their heat. Emerging research suggests that capsaicin may also help kill cancer cells.
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Besides enhancing the flavor of broccoli, healthy cheese is an excellent source of casein—a slow-digesting, high-quality protein that may be the best muscle-building nutrient you can eat. What's more, casein causes your body to utilize more of the bone-building calcium in cheese, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Worried about your cholesterol? Don't be. Danish researchers found that even when men ate between seven and ten 1-ounce servings of full-fat cheese daily for 2 weeks, their LDL ("bad") cholesterol didn't budge.
Scientists in Sweden discovered that when people consumed two tablespoons of vinegar with a high-carb meal, their blood sugar was 23 percent lower than when they skipped the antioxidant-loaded liquid. They also felt fuller.Vinegar is packed with polyphenols, powerful chemicals that have been shown to improve cardiovascular health, report Arizona State University scientists. Besides combining it with olive oil for a homemade salad dressing, you can use it to punch up your cooking: Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to mayonnaise before spreading it on a sandwich, drizzle a few tablespoons of red or white wine vinegar on a hot pan of sautéed vegetables (especially caramelized onions), or throw a shot of sherry vinegar into your next bowl of tomato soup.
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If you're bored with chicken breasts, try the thighs for a change. Sure, they have a little more fat, but that's why they taste so good. Nutritionally speaking, per ounce, thighs have just one more gram of fat and 11 more calories than breasts. Of course, if you judged all foods by calories per ounce, you'd end up on the celery diet. The key is portion size: If you like chicken thighs—or prime rib, for that matter—adjust the amount you eat so that it fits into your caloric budget. And don't forget that fat satisfies, so it may keep you full longer after your meal, causing you to eat less at your next.
From Rodale Wellness
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