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Five health foods that keep you lean

Weight loss is a billion dollar industry and health food alternatives and -supplements are becoming increasingly popular. There is a new fad diet to go with every fashion trend and wherever you look there is a celebrity touting their own brand of weight loss paraphernalia on health food stores online. The question is how you, as a consumer, should distinguish between those products that have merit and those that are just pure baloney.

The easiest way is to simplify things. Instead of spending a bundle of your hard-earned cash on a ‘miracle’ shake or formula, why don’t you first try the old-fashioned way instead? We look our best when we sleep enough, get sufficient exercise, drink enough water and, most importantly – eat right. We have taken the liberty of putting together a list of the most potent health foods to send you on your merry weight loss way. These include:

1. Sardines: Aside from being convenient, affordable and readily available just about everywhere, these little guys are also a friend to anyone who is looking to shed a few pounds. They are packed with protein, which means indulging in a sardine sandwich for lunch will keep your blood sugar stable, keep you satiated and give your metabolism a boost. Oily fish is also rich in Omega 3, a compound that aids in strengthening the heart and digestive system.

2. Pumpkin: Yes, technically it does qualify as a starch, but in reality this humble vegetable is one of the most potent weapons in your weight loss arsenal. A health food par excellence, it is easy to prepare, delicious to eat and simply packed with fibre at a mere 160 kilojoules per serving (if you leave the sugar and butter out of the picture of course!). Sufficient fibre intake is associated with a number of health benefits, of which weight loss is one. Enjoy it with some cinnamon and lower your blood sugar to boot!

3. Green tea: Is there anything this brew is NOT good for? It’s rich in antioxidants, good for your heart, helps the body to metabolise fats, regulates blood sugar and even has a hand in core body temperature. By raising the metabolism and speeding up the oxidation of fat it also aids in weight loss. Research has shown that five cups a day is the magic number and there really is no simpler way to keep the pounds at bay. Simply switch from coffee to green tea and feel the benefits.

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4. Grapefruit: There is apparently a reason why thousands of women tortured themselves with the so-called grapefruit diet in the late eighties and early nineties. Although every doctor or nutritionist you are liable to meet will wholeheartedly concur that it is absolutely ridiculous to try to subsist on grapefruit alone, it does however seem to have a substantial effect on how the body metabolises starches and fats. A study conducted in California in 2004 tested the effects of grapefruit on weight loss by having test subjects eat half a grapefruit before each meal. Although the mechanism is not fully understood just yet, the results were astounding. And best of all? The test group that ate fresh grapefruit (as opposed to capsules and juice) got the best results.

5. Oats: Harking back to the days when mothers still force-fed their children hot breakfasts, oats is one of the cheapest and easiest breakfast foods available and a belly-flattener to boot! Oatmeal has the highest satiety ranking of any food on the planet and since it is inherently low-GI is has no impact whatsoever on your blood sugar. Why not swop the bread crumbs in your meatballs for oats and feel the benefits of some friendly fibre?

And there you have it – five health foods that will have you on the right track in no time at all. Take along a list the next time you visit your natural health food store and stock up!

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