Thursday, November 22, 2007

Top 5 Brown Foods

by Etella Hom

The colour brown has been associated with a lot of healthy foods. The first thing that comes to mind is fiber. This is the secret to slimming down and getting rid of that unwanted fat. Why? because fiber is digested and slowly released into the bloodstream. This keeps insulin levels low and will prevent blood sugar levels from spiking, which as a result will prevent you body from storing fat.

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks - to good family, friends, health and of course good food. To commemorate this event and as part of my continuing food colour series, I give you my top 5 brown foods. These are the perfect foods to include as part of a healthy lifestyle and if you haven't already done so, you'll be very thankful that that you did.

1. Whole Grain Bread & Cereals
Carbs are fuel. You crave carbs because your body needs them. The key is to replace your refined (white) grains with whole grains. A grain is considered whole when all three parts – bran, germ and endosperm – are present. Whole grains breads and cereals are low in calories, pack 4x the amount of fiber as refined grains, and are a good source of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron. Increasing your intake will fight against obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease.

Studies have shown that people who consume more whole grains consistently weigh less than those who consumed fewer whole grain products.

2. Oatmeal
Oatmeal is the breakfast of champions. A perfect start to the day or fuel before an intense weight training session. They are a good source of B vitamins and packed with good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. This complex carb maintains your energy over a longer period of time and curbs appetite by slowing the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber which will soak up LDL (bad) cholesterol and unwanted fats in the bloodstream and promote weight loss. Buy the unsweetened oats and mix it with milk, fresh fruits, and whey protein powder for the ultimate pre-workout meal.

3. Almonds
A high-fat food that's good for your health? That's right! Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fat found in olive oil, which has been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. Almonds are an excellent source of protein and vitamin E. A quarter-cup contains 7.62 grams-more protein than is provided by the typical egg, which contains 5.54 grams. Almonds make a perfect snack or can be mixed with fresh fruit, yogurt and cereals.

4. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms have been used medicinally by the Chinese for over 6,000 years and have long been a symbol of longevity in Asia. Aside from their rich, smoky flavor, these mushrooms have great health-promoting properties. Recent studies have traced shiitakes' legendary benefits to an active compound contained in these mushrooms called lentinan. Its healing benefit includes its ability to power up the immune system, strengthening its ability to fight infection and disease. Shiitake mushrooms also contain an active component called eritadenine which lowers cholesterol levels. These make a great addition to any vegetable stir fry.

5. Dark Chocolate
Yes, chocolate can be good for you! Many studies have found that chocolate contains flavonoids, a type of polyphenol antioxidant, which is known to lower blood pressure. Antioxidents protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, destructive molecules that cause heart disease and other ailments. Dark chocolate contains about eight times the polyphenol antioxidants found in strawberries. Not only is it good for your heart but it also stimulates endorphin production and has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent

Estella Hom

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