These marvels of nature deserve their reputation for keeping the doctor away when you eat
one a day. And now, it seems, they can help you melt the fat away, too.
First of all, they elevate your blood glucose (sugar) levels in a safe, gentle manner and keep
them up longer than most foods. The practical effect of this is to leave you feeling satisfied
longer, say researchers.
Secondly, theyâ€™re one of the richest sources of soluble fiber in the supermarket. This type of
fiber prevents hunger pangs by guarding against dangerous swings or drops in your blood
sugar level, says Dr. James Anderson of the University of Kentuckyâ€™s School of Medicine.
An average size apple provides only 81 calories and has no sodium, saturated fat or
cholesterol. Youâ€™ll also get the added health benefits of lowering the level of cholesterol
already in your blood as well as lowering your blood pressure.
Easy does it is the password here. Weâ€™ve all heard about potential dangers of caffeine â€“
including anxiety and insomnia â€“ so moderation is the key.
The caffeine in coffee can speed up the metabolism. In nutritional circles, itâ€™s known as a
metabolic enhancer, according to Dr. Judith Stern of the University of California at Davis.
This makes sense, since caffeine is a stimulant. Studies show it can help you burn more
calories than normal, perhaps up to 10 percent more. For safetyâ€™s sake, itâ€™s best to limit your
intake to a single cup in the morning and one in the afternoon. Add only skim milk to tit and
try doing without sugar â€“ many people learn to love it that way.
Thereâ€™s good reason for this traditional diet food to be a regular part of your diet. It helps
dissolve fat and cholesterol, according to Dr. James Cerd of the University of Florida. An
average sized grapefruit has 74 calories, delivers a whopping 15 grams of pectin (the special
fiber linked to lowering cholesterol and fat), is high in vitamin C and potassium and is free of
fat and sodium.
Itâ€™s rich in natural galacturonic acid, which adds to its potency as a fat and cholesterol
fighter. The additional benefit here is assistance in the battle against atherosclerosis
(hardening of the arteries) and the development of heart disease. Try sprinkling it with
cinnamon rather than sugar to take away some of the tart taste.
Try the hot, spicy kind you find in Asian import stores, specialty shops and exotic groceries.
Dr. Jaya Henry of Oxford Polytechnic Institute in England, found that the amount of hot
mustard normally called for in Mexican, Indian and Asian recipes, about one teaspoon,
temporarily speeds up the metabolism, just as caffeine and the drug ephedrine do.
â€œBut mustard is natural and totally safe,â€ Henry says. â€œIt can be used every day, and it really
works. I was shocked to discover it can speed up the metabolism by as much as 20 to 25
percent for several hours.â€ This can result in the body burning an extra 45 calories for every
700 consumed, Dr. Henry says.
Soup is good for you! Maybe not the canned varieties from the store â€“ but old-fashioned,
homemade soup promotes weight loss. A study by Dr. John Foreyt of Baylor College of
Medicine in Houston, Texas, found that dieters who ate a bowl of soup before lunch and
dinner lost more weight than dieters who didnâ€™t. In fact, the more soup they ate, the more
weight they lost. And soup eaters tend to keep the weight off longer.
Naturally, the type of soup you eat makes a difference. Cream soups or those made of beef
or pork are not your best bets. But hereâ€™s a great recipe:
Slice three large onions, three carrots, four stalks of celery, one zucchini and one yellow
squash. Place in a kettle. Add three cans crushed tomatoes, two packets low-sodium chicken
bouillon, three cans water and one cup white wine (optional). Add tarragon, basil, oregano,
thyme and garlic powder. Boil, then simmer for an hour. Serves six.
Popeye really knew what he was talking about, according to Dr. Richard Shekelle, an
epidemiologist at the University of Texas. Spinach has the ability to lower cholesterol, rev up
the metabolism and burn away fat. Rich in iron, beta carotene and vitamins C and E, it
supplies most of the nutrients you need.
You just canâ€™t say enough about this health food from Asia. Also called soybean curd, itâ€™s
basically tasteless, so any spice or flavoring you add blends with it nicely. A 2Â½ â€ square has
86 calories and nine grams of protein. (Experts suggest an intake of about 40 grams per day.)
Tofu contains calcium and iron, almost no sodium and not a bit of saturated fat. It makes
your metabolism run on high and even lowers cholesterol. With different varieties available,
the firmer tofus are goof for stir-frying or adding to soups and sauces while the softer ones
are good for mashing, chopping and adding to salads.