Top 10 Foods to Eat in the New Year
by Susan Greeley, MS, RD
At the start of a new year, we all resolve to eat better and live better, so it’s time for another “Top 10” list. With the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans coming out soon, there will be even more emphasis on getting us all to eat more whole grains and fiber and reduce sodium. It’s not as daunting a task as some may think. To help get you started, here’s a list of “Foods to Eat in 2011” and a recipe to get you on your way to boosting your metabolism and fighting belly fat. (Now who doesn’t want that?!
Mushrooms — can we say Vitamin D, metabolism boosting and cancer-fighting compounds? Mushrooms are it! Don’t discount these low-calorie, fat-fighting fungi — they’re one of nature’s nutritional best.
Beans/Legumes — we know they’re good for our hearts, so why not eat more of them? Loaded with fiber, legumes just may save your life.
Quinoa — this “Queen” of the ancient grains is worth her weight in gold. A complete protein source with iron and fiber and other micronutrients, this great grain reigns on.
Hot Pepper Sauce — Kick it up this year! Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which may be a metabolism booster by increasing both fat and calorie-burning after a meal. Now that’s some good stuff!
Lemons — see my blog about “When life gives you lemons…”
Ginger — It’s known as the “universal remedy” and has multiple health benefits. It aids with digestion by stimulating saliva and is known to help prevent nausea and vomiting (it’s an anti-emetic.)
Vinegar — The main chemical found in vinegars is acetic acid, which can help control blood pressure and blood sugar. What’s more exciting is that the action of acetic acid also helps break down fats, prevent fat buildup in the body and help ward off weight gain. Pour some on!
Apples — an apple a day really may keep the doctor away. They’re a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Buy organic and be sure to eat the skin, which contains quercetin, a potent antioxidant and metabolism booster.
Nuts & Seeds — Is one nut better than another? No splitting hairs here. The healthy fats, fiber and minerals you get in a variety of nuts & seeds is what you want. Go for whichever you like. Eat them daily but in moderation — a palm-sized portion is perfect and can help with weight loss.
Eggs — The whole egg and nothing but the whole egg. In addition to many amino acids, minerals, vitamins and good omega 3 fats, they contain choline & lecithin. Choline is an essential part of a phospholipid that helps us regulate cholesterol and fat (and prevent both from accumulating in the liver,) and it is a building block for cell membranes (most liver metabolism occurs on cell membranes.) It’s essential for brain & cardiovascular health. Lecithin is an emulsifier & main component of bile — part of digestive health.
What’s best about these metabolism-boosting foods is — they’re not expensive, they’re available year-round, and they’re easy to combine in lots of recipes. Try some Spicy Quinoa, Black Bean & Mushroom Soup for starters. Here’s to your health in 2011!