According to Jillian Micheals, here are some healthy foods to pick up next time you're in the grocery store. These are power foods that can help to achieve weight loss or simply help with an overall healthy diet.
These beans are loaded with fiber and help you fight inflammation, cancer, and harmful bacteria; in addition, it's been shown to help lower insulin levels. The hefty fiber content of beans also helps you feel fuller, and store less fat, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, and improves insulin sensitivity.
The B vitamins and zinc in beans boost testosterone, which is a good thing! Testosterone helps to increase our energy and build more calorie-burning muscle.
Dried beans are better for you than canned beans, plus you avoid concerns about possible BPA in the lining of the cans. Soak them for six to eight hours in room temperature water, then drain before cooking.
Look for no-salt varieties.
Rinse thoroughly before cooking — especially if you end up using canned.
Found in most Chinese cuisine is so easy to incorporate in your diet. This goes for other foods in the allium family (onions, leeks, chives, shallots, and scallions). These foods work to stimulate the production of glutathione, an antioxidant that is especially important in the liver, where it helps remove hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Alliums also lower total cholesterol while raising the level of HDL cholesterol (the "good" kind). Preliminary research suggests that garlic may boost testosterone, giving you more energy, while onions have anthocyanins, effective free-radical destroyers that might also help combat obesity and diabetes. Crushing, chopping, or chewing garlic helps release enzymes that trigger many of its beneficial actions.
Red berries contain anthocyanins, which some studies have found stop individual fat cells from getting larger, while also encouraging them to release adiponectin, a hormone that helps reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar, and reverse leptin and insulin resistance. Certain polyphenols found in raspberries and strawberries block the digestive enzyme activity of specific starches and fats, reducing your body's absorption of them.
All these great metabolism-boosting qualities make these berries serious power foods. Add strawberries to a yogurt or cup of cottage cheese for breakfast, cut some up for a dessert, or mix them into a smoothie.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage pack serious nutritional power in just a few calories per bite. They have high water and fiber content; this combination helps you feel full AND increases your body's ability to burn fat by as much as 30 percent. Plus, studies have consistently shown that people who eat the most fiber gain the LEAST amount of weight and these veggies are a great fiber source.
Just remember: don’t overcook cruciferous veggies, they will lose their nutritional power — and flavor!.
Whole grains like oats and barley have great nutritional value and can even help control your appetite. The short-chain fatty acids from whole grains help us eat less because they stimulate fat cells in our stomachs to release leptin, the satiety (or the "I'm full") hormone . The high levels of fiber in whole grains also help us feel full by slowing blood-sugar release and steadying insulin levels. The trick is to eat grains that are truly whole — no refined carbs like white bread.
When caffeine is abused, it damages your metabolism and hormone balance. On the other hand, caffeine, when used correctly, can be an excellent energy and metabolism boost. When you overdose on it, it taxes your adrenal glands, stressing you out, leaving you tired and run down. The key with caffeine is to not consume more than 400 mg in a day. That's the equivalent to two strong cups of coffee. The healthier choice? Green tea. You will still get a caffeine boost, but green tea has been shown to promote fat oxidation at rest and is believed to prevent obesity and improve insulin sensitivity. Limit yourself to one or two caffeinated beverages a day, and drink one extra glass of water for each caffeinated beverage you consume.
[photo via Flickr]