This may be the simplest diet ever. When it comes to eating for a healthy, lean body, everything else is just details.
SIX STEALTH HEALTH FOODS
The secret to eating better? Fill your diet with healthy fare that tastes good
1. Iceberg lettuce
Half a head of iceberg lettuce has significantly more alpha-carotene, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant, than romaine lettuce and spinach.
This fungi’s metabolites— by-products created when mushrooms are broken down during digestion —boost immunity and prevent cancer growth, report researchers in Holland.
Scientists in Sweden found that when people consumed two tablespoons of vinegar with a high-carb meal, their blood sugar was 23 per cent lower than when they skipped the antioxidant-loaded liquid. They also felt fuller.
4. Red-chilli flakes
Consuming a gram of red pepper flakes—about half a teaspoon—30 minutes prior to a meal reduced calorie intake by 16 per cent. Plus, its active ingredient, capsaicin, may help kill cancer cells.
5. Full-fat cheese
An excellent source of casein protein—a great muscle-building nutrient. What’s more, Danish researchers found that even when men ate 300gm of full-fat cheese daily for three weeks, their LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol didn’t budge.
6. Meat chops
Per gram of protein, meat chops contain almost twice the selenium—a mineral that’s linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer—of chicken. And a 200gm serving daily helped people preserve their muscle while losing weight.
What to do ?
1. Embrace fat
You won’t store it if you aren’t eating too many total calories. For example, research shows that diets containing upward of 50 per cent fat are just as effective for weight loss as those that are low in fat. “Fat is fi lling and it adds fl avour to your meals, so it helps you avoid feeling deprived,” says Shalini Pande, chief of clinical nutrition and dietics department. So go ahead: Enjoy the fat in meat, dairy, peanut or mustard oil and nuts. Pandey’s rule of thumb: Aim for a gram of fat for every kilo of your desired body weight daily.
2. Prepare your own meals (or help your girl or Mom as they do)
Think of it this way: as your number of homecooked meals increases, your fast-food visits decrease. Scientists have found that men eat 500 more calories on days they consume fast foods compared with days they don’t. Not sure where to start? Try our list of great recipes for 2010. You’ll fi nd that home-cooked meals or sometimes even cooking for yourself is your gateway to delicious meals made with healthy, fresh ingredients (there are other benefits too).
3. Eliminate added sugars
“This is the simplest way to clean up any diet,” says New Delhi-based nutritionist Dr Madhvi Kakar. The average Indian eats about 10 teaspoons of added sugar daily, or about 800 empty calories. The researchers report that 82 per cent of that added sugar can be attributed to soda, breakfast cereals, sweets and fruit drinks. What’s not on the list? Chicken, fi sh, vegetables, whole fruit, multigrain breads and eggs, along with unsweetened whole-grain and dairy products. Eat accordingly, says Dr Kakar.