Foods that help you stay young (Part2)
Benefit: Weight loss
Substitutes: Oranges, watermelon, tomatoes
Just call it the better-body fruit. In a study of 100 obese people at the Scripps Clinic in California, those who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds over the course of 12 weeks, and some lost as many as 10 pounds. The study’s control group, in contrast, lost a paltry 1/2 pound. But here’s something even better:
Those who ate the grapefruit also exhibited a decrease in insulin levels, indicating that their bodies had improved their ability to metabolize sugar.
If you can't stomach a grapefruit-a-day regime, try to find as many ways possible to sneak grapefruit into your diet. Even a moderate increase in grapefruit intake should yield results, not to mention earn you a massive dose of lycopene—the cancer-preventing antioxidant found most commonly in tomatoes.
Bonus tip: Eat well and you’ll feel younger and more vibrant. Add exercise to the mix and you’ll practically erase markers of age.
Benefit: Reduced risk of heart disease
Substitutes: Olive, canola, and peanut oils; peanut butter; tahini
Some fats are actually good for you. More than half the calories in each creamy green fruit comes from one of the world’s healthiest fats, a kind called monounsaturates. These fats differ from saturated fats in that they have one double-bonded carbon atom, but that small difference at the molecular level amounts to a dramatic improvement in your health. Numerous studies have shown that monounsaturated fats both improve you cholesterol profile and decrease the amount of triglycerides (more fats) floating around in your blood. This can lower your risk of stroke and heart disease. Worried about weight gain? Don’t be. There’s no causal link between monounsaturated fats and body fat.
Benefit: Improved immune function
Substitutes: Carrots, sweet potatoes, watermelon
All peppers are loaded with antioxidants, but none so much as the brightly colored reds, yellows, and oranges. These colors result from carotenoids concentrated in the flesh of the peppers, and it’s these same carotenoids that give tomatoes, carrots, and grapefruits their healthy hues. The range of benefits provided by these colorful pigments include improved immune function, better communication between cells, protection against sun damage, and a diminished risk of several types of cancer. And if you can take the heat, try cooking with chili peppers.
The bell pepper cousins are still loaded with carotenoids and vitamin C, but have the added benefit of capsaicins, temperature-raising phytochemicals that have been shown to fight headache and arthritis pain as well as boost metabolism.
Benefit: Improved memory
Substitutes: Walnuts, pecans, peanuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds
An ounce of almonds—or about 23 nuts—a day provides nearly 9 grams of heart-healthy oleic acid; that’s more than the amounts found in peanuts, walnuts, or cashews. This monounsaturated fat is known to be responsible for a flurry of health benefits, the most recently discovered of which is improved memory. Rats in California were better able to navigate a maze the second time around if they’d been fed oleic acid, and there’s no reason to assume that the same treatment won’t help you navigate your day-to-day life. If nothing else, snacking on the brittle nuts will take your mind off your hunger.
Nearly a quarter of an almond’s calories come from belly-filling fiber and protein. That’s why, when researchers at Purdue fed study participants nuts or rice cakes, those who ate the nuts felt full for an hour and a half longer than the rice cake group did.
Bonus Tip: Before you go out to eat, grab a handful of almonds; it could help keep your hunger at bay.
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