By K Kristie on July 29th, 2011
Cantaloupes and carrots, with their distinctive orange flesh, are two of the well-known foods that are brimming with beta-carotene. Discover what other fruits and vegetables to be had if you want to increase your natural supply of this antioxidant.
Beta-carotene is one of the well-known carotenoids, the naturally occurring pigments in plants. Together with alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin, they are converted to vitamin A in the body which is needed for good eyesight, healthy lungs, bones, skin, immune system, and in protein formation.
Although fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene are best-known for their orange and yellow hues, those with pink, red, white and other colors may also contain this carotenoid as other phytonutrient pigments combine with the beta-carotene to give plant food its color.
Study participants have shown that those who eat at least four servings of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene daily may lower their risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers. It has also been found to help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and high doses may lower sun sensitivity.
Experts said that beta-carotene may only be beneficial when consumed naturally rather than in supplemental form. In fact, preliminary studies have shown that supplements may raise the risk of lung cancer in smokers.
For every 100 grams, here’s how much beta-carote you will get from the top sources among fresh fruits and vegetables.
1. Cantaloupe – 2020 mcg
2. Apricots – 1094 mcg
3. Cherries, sour, red – 770 mcg
4. Purple passion-fruit – 743 mcg
5. Pink and red grapefruit – 686 mcg
6. Plantains – 457 mcg
7. Mangoes – 445 mcg
8. Guavas – 374 mcg
9. Watermelon – 330 mcg
10. Papayas – 276 mcg
1. Grape leaves – 16193 mcg
2. Kale – 9226 mcg
3. Turnip greens – 6952 mcg
4. Baby carrots – 6391 mcg
5. Mustard greens – 6299 mcg
6. Dandelion greens – 5854 mcg
7. Spinach – 5626 mcg
8. Romaine lettuce – 5225 mcg (also red and green leaf lettuce)
9. Parsley – 5054 mcg
10. Butternut squash – 4226 mcg
Nutrient data source: USDA
By K Kristie on September 26th, 200
The avocado is widely known as the most nutritious fruit. More recently, the kiwi and the guava want to claim the title. Here are 10 of the most commonly mentioned most nutritious fruits.
I grew up believing that avocados are the most nutritious fruits in the planet. The Guinness World Records also says so.
Some experts believe that berries, packed with anti-oxidants are the most nutritious but other experts also suggest that the kiwi and the guava deserve the title better.
The results are surprising, but these are 10 of the most commonly mentioned most nutritious fruits.
Watermelon is more than delicious, it is also very nutritious. It’s color alone says that it is blushing with vitamin A in the form of lycopene and beta-carotene, antioxidants which may help reduce cancer risk. It is also a very good source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamin B1, potassium and magnesium, nutrients which promotes a healthy immune and cardiovascular system. Recently, it was found to have Viagra-like effects to the blood vessels of the body due to its rich citrulline content.
Also known as aguacate, butter pear and alligator pear, avocadoes are a treasure-trove of nutrients. They contain more than 25 essential vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, C and E. They also supply lutein, copper, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They have more fiber, folate, niacin, thiamine and riboflavin than any other fruit. They’re also one of the few fruits that have monounsaturated (good) fats. A cup of avocado contains 29 mcg of vitamin K, 874 mg of potassium and 90 mcg of folate.
Raspberries are brimming with a wide variety of nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber and manganese and good source of vitamins B2 and B3 as well as folate, magnesium, potassium and copper. Raspberries, just like most berries are known for being an antioxidant powerhouse that may provide protection from various ailments including cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
A cup of cantaloupe (also known as netted melon) contains 5158 IU of vitamin A and 67 mg of vitamin C, both more than the recommended daily value. It’s a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, B3, dietary fiber and folate. It contains the largest amount of digestive enzymes of any fruit, surpassing papayas and mangoes. These marvelous melons are recommended by the American Cancer Society as healthful agents in the battle against intestinal cancer and melanoma. Cantaloupes are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, chemicals which are known to provide certain health benefits to the cardiovascular system and immune system.
Grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C and carotenoids, a good amount of fiber of the cholesterol lowering type, pectin, plus phytochemicals such as flavonoids, terpenes, and limonoids. Studies have shown grapefruit helps lower cholesterol and there is evidence that the seeds have high levels of antioxidant properties. Grapefruit forms a core part of the “grapefruit diet”, the theory being that the fruit’s lowglycemic index is able to help the body’s metabolism burn fat.
Some researchers say that guava is in fact the most nutritious fruit. Guavas are high in dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, vitamin B3 and G4 and polyunsaturated fatty acids especially the seeds. It has four times the amount of vitamin C in orange, has good levels of the dietary minerals, potassium, magnesium, and an otherwise broad, low-calorie profile of essential nutrients. Guavas contain both major classes of antioxidant pigments — carotenoids and polyphenols. Guavas that are red, yellow or orange in color have more potential value as antioxidant sources than unpigmented species.
This fuzzy-skinned, egg-shaped fruit is a rich source of vitamin C and potassium. It also contains Vitamins A and E and the skin is a good source of flavonoid , an antioxidant. More than 90% of the fruit is water so it only has 90 calories per serving. It has higher potassium content than the banana and the orange. It is also filled with fiber, lutein,inositol, serotonin, arginin and glutamate, pectin, magnesium and the protein-dissolving enzyme actinidin . From a study of 27 different fruits, kiwi was named one of the most nutritionally dense, says Stephanie Dean, R.D., dietitian with Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.
Sometimes called “tree melon” or “pawpaw”, the papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C, a very good source of folate and potassium and good source of dietary fiber and the vitamins A, E and K. A cup of papaya has 782 mg of potassium and 187 mg of vitamin C—thrice the recommended daily value. Papaya was named “the most nutritious fruit” by the Centre for Science, USA and Christopher Columbus called it ‘the fruit of the angels’.
The most popular berries in the world are an exciting source of essential vitamins and minerals. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese; a very good source of iodine and fiber and a good source of B complex and minerals including potassium, folate and omega-3 fatty acids. A cup of strawberries contains 136% of the needed daily value of vitamin C.
Don’t be fooled by this small fruit’s size as it can be one of our body’s ally for healthy living. Its nutritional punch includes loads of anti-oxidants in the form of vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene. Apricots are also rich in fiber and the blood pressure-lowering potassium.
Any fruit is good fruit. It should be part of our everyday diets. Three to five servings of fresh fruits a day are ideal and eating a variety of fruits daily keep our bodies and immune system in top shape.
Perhaps it’s time to change an old adage into “Five servings of fruits a day keep the doctor away.”
*All images via Flickr Creative Commons.
Vegetables are some of nature’s most nutritious foods. Here are ten of the most nutritious ones.
Vegetables are among the must-eat food around if you talk about nutrition and protection from cancer, heart ailments, various forms of inflammation such as asthma and arthritis, and other health problems. Here are some of the most nutritious ones.
A cup of raw carrots contains a whopping 34317 IU of vitamin A, making it the richest vegetable source of pro-vitamin A carotenes, a phytonutrient which has shown to help protect vision and is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers. This orange root crop is also a very good source of vitamins C and K, dietary fiber and potassium and a good source of B complex, manganese, molebdenum, phosphorus, magnesium and folate.
Tomatoes are bursting with more than 20 vitamins and minerals. A cup of ripe red tomatoes supplies an excellent amount of vitamins A, C and K. It is a very good source of molebdenum , potassium, manganese, chromium and vitamins B1 and B6. It is also a good source of folate, copper, iron, B complex and other essential nutrients. Tomatoes are well known for their lycopene content, a phytonutrient with antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
A cup of baked sweet potatoes with skin is an excellent source of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene as it contains 13107 IU of this powerful antioxidant. It is also a very good source of manganese and vitamin C and a good source of vitamin B6 and the minerals copper, fiber, potassium and iron. Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes are rich in anthocyanins and have the highest antioxidant activity among sweet potato varieties.
Soybeans are one of the most well researched health-promoting foods in the world today. A cup of cooked soybeans can supply the body with excellent amount of molebdenum and tryptophan, a very good amount of manganese and protein and a good amount of more than 10 other essential nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and potassium. One cup of soybean provides more than 50% of the daily value of protein.
This almost leafless member of the lily family with fleshy green spears has been considered a delicacy since ancient times. A cup of boiled asparagus is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K and folate. It is a very good source of more than 10 vitamins and minerals including B complex, potassium and fiber. Asparagus has been described by second century physician, Galen, as “cleansing and healing.”
With their beautifully shaped glossy exterior that comes in a wide variety of vivid colors ranging from green to black, bell peppers are known as the Christmas ornaments of the vegetables world. A cup of sliced, red, raw bell pepper provides 5244 mg of vitamin A which is more than 100% of DV. It is also an excellent source of vitamins C and B6 and a very good source of fiber, molebdenum, manganese and folate.
Spinach is a treasure-trove of nutrients as it boasts more than 35 essential vitamins and minerals. A cup of boiled spinach is an excellent source of over a dozen nutrients. It can provide the body with three times the DV of vitamin A and over 1000% of the DV of vitamin K as it contains 1023 mcg of the nutrient. More than a dozen flavonoids has also been identified with this leafy green.
A cup of boiled Brussels sprouts is an excellent source of vitamins C and K and a very good source of B complex, folate, fiber, potassium and vitamin A, one of the most important antioxidant found in nature. This miniature cabbage look-alike is also rich in vitamin E, calcium and copper. Studies have shown that diets high in cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are linked to lower incidence of certain cancers, including lung, colon, breast and ovarian cancer.
Broccoli has been considered a uniquely valuable food among Italians since the Roman Empire. A cup of boiled broccoli supplies an excellent amount of vitamins A, C and K, folate and fiber. It contains 505 mg of potassium and 102 mg of phosphorus. It is also rich in iron, zinc, vitamin E, B complex and over 20 other essential nutrients. Broccoli may be eaten raw, boiled or steamed, but steaming, microwaving and stir-frying are recommended so as not to reduce the presence of its suspected anticancer compounds.
Kale, also known as borecole, is considered as the most nutritious vegetable. A cup of cooked, boiled and drained without salt contains a massive 1062 mcg of vitamin K and 9620 IU of vitamin A –almost double the daily value. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and a very good source of fiber, copper, calcium and potassium. Its phytonutrients include glucosinolates and flavonoids and is well known for its carotenoid content, especially lutein and zeanthin.
Diet can play an important role in dealing with arthritis. Discover six foods which help ease the pain of inflammation.
Arthritis affects one in every five people in the United States, this according to the National Institutes of Health. Arthritis is a disease of inflammation, and the most effective treatment is anything that fights inflammation. Thought food can’t cure arthritis, it can reduce the severity of the condition.
These six fruits and veggies can help ease the pain of this ailment.
The cantaloupe’s anti-inflammatory abilities are due to its being a rich source of vitamins A and C. These two potent antioxidants neutralize free radicals which are the cause of increase in inflammation that occurs in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and cause most of the joint damage. Scientific studies have also shown that high intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce airway spasm that occurs in asthma and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Anthocyanins, the pigment that gives cherries their color is also the ingredient that provides their powerful antioxidant properties that ease inflammation. Study participants have shown that regular consumption of tart cherries cut inflammation by 50%. Eating cherries may also help lessen the severity of other inflammatory conditions, such as heart disease and cancer. Anthocyanins were found to have the most potent anti-inflammatory effect among any flavonoid tested.
Papaya is loaded with several unique protein-digesting enzymes including papain and chymopapain (and glutathione, the activator of these enzymes) which has shown to help reduce inflammation. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamins A and E. People with conditions worsened by inflammation, such as asthma and arthritis found that it helps alleviate the severity of their condition when they get more of these nutrients.
The easiest way to eat ripe papaya is to slice it lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and then scoop out the flesh using a spoon.
A cup of red, raw bell pepper slices is bursting with vitamins A and C. Studies revealed that vitamin C-rich foods such as bell pepper and chili peppers provide protection against rheumatoid arthritis (RA) involving two or more joints. Vitamin C is essential for the repair and maintenance of cartilage and bones and in the formation of collagen, an important protein used to make tendons, cartilage and ligaments. Vitamin A is needed to promote healthy bone development. Bell pepper is also rich in vitamin E and beta-cryptoxanthin, two antioxidants which mop up free radicals that cause inflammation while increasing joint flexibility.
The secret to the ginger root’s anti-inflammatory properties come from gingerol, a very potent anti-inflammatory compound which has shown to reduce pain and improve mobility in people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis when they regularly consume ginger.
The best way to take this tuber is to grate two teaspoons and mix with very hot water. Steep for five minutes, strain and stir slowly.
In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin A and a very good source of vitamin C, the sweet potato is also a good source of manganese, a mineral essential to healthy cartilage formation. Thus, not only is manganese extremely helpful in fighting arthritis but evidence has also shown that it also helps keep the bones strong as well as prevent osteoporosis. A cup of baked sweet potato with skin is also a good source of vitamin B6. Women with RA have been found to have lower levels of this nutrient which is due to metabolism changes as a result of the disease.
By K Kristie on January 13th, 2011
These fruits are not just packed with nutrients, they contain the lowest in calories, too.
Based on 100 gram serving:
Rhubarb – 21 calories
Rhubarbs are typically made into jams, juices and as a pie, tart and crumble filling. The simplest way they are prepared is to boil the stems and then dipped in sugar. Rhubarb is rich in calcium, potassium and fiber, and is packed with the highest water content among fruits. It is also among the fruits with highest lutein and zeathin content, two of the carotenoids known to promote good eyesight.
Rose-apples – 25 calories
One fun way to replenish or supply your body with water on a hot summer day is to pig out on rose-apples (also known as wax apples, love apples, and java apples). These light pink to red colored-fruits are crunchy and can provide an additional supply of vitamins A and C and potassium in your body. Some people enjoy eating them with a little salt.
Casaba melons – 28 calories
Casaba melon is one of those melon varieties you probably aren’t so familiar with. It’s probably because it’s not as flavorful as the other more colorful melons. It also does not have an aroma. Casaba melon is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium and every 100 grams has only 28 calories.
Ohelo berries – 28 calories
If it’s the first time you have heard of ohelo berries it’s probably because it is mostly commonly found at high elevations on the islands of Maui and Hawaii. They range in color from bright red to yellow and orange. This cranberry relative can be slightly tart to deliciously sweet. They are high in water and low in calories.
Limes – 30 calories
Watermelon – 30 calories
Subtly crunchy and refreshingly sweet with almost zero calories, that’s watermelon. Watermelon is an ally for a healthy body through its rich supply of vitamins and minerals especially lycopene, the carotenoid which studies have shown helps prevent heart disease and various types of cancer.
Carambola (starfruit) – 31 calories
The carambola, also known as starfruit is another crunchy and juicy fruit. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of fiber. People with kidney problems, gout, osteoporosis and arthritis are advised to avoid eating this fruit due to its oxalic acid, a compound which can be harmful for them. Parsley, spinach, beets, chocolates and beans also contains oxalic acid.
Acerola (west indian cherry) – 32 calories
Do your gums easily bleed? Do your wounds heal poorly? If your answer is “yes” to both questions then you are most probably deficient in vitamin C. Look for acerola, the fruit with the highest vitamin C among fruits and veggies. Acerola is also big in water and vitamin A.
Grapefruit – 32 calories
Grapefruit is a subtropical citrus fruit brimming with nutrients and phytochemicals. One small fruit can already supply over 100% of the daily value of vitamin C and almost half of the DV of vitamin A. Studies reveal that it helps reduce cholesterol.
Strawberries – 32 calories
Another high water and low calorie fruit is the strawberry. This heart-shaped berry is considered as one of the most nutritious fruits. It is rich in fiber, folate and manganese, a mineral that helps calcium keeps bones strong and healthy.
Other low calorie fruits include:
- Pitanga (Surinam cherry) – 33 calories
- Cantaloupe – 34 calories
- Honeydew melon – 36 calories
- Pomelo – 38 calories
- Papayas – 39 calories
* Nutrient data source: USDA
Watch out for these fruits if you’re concerned about calories.
These fruits are deliciously nutritious, but if you’re watching your caloric intake you might want to limit your consumption
Based on 100 gram serving:
1. Tamarinds – 239 calories
Tamarinds are packed with the highest sugar and calories. The good news is they are also loaded with the richest protein, iron and potassium among fruits.
2. Avocados – 160 calories
Don’t let the high calorie content of avocados be the reason for you to avoid this fruit as they are one of the most nutritious. They’re highest in folate, vitamin E, tryptophan, and zinc which helps strengthen the immune system and promote prostate health.
3. Durian – 147 calories
Notorious for its smell and taste, many people shun durian the same way that others are totally drawn into it. If you’re one of those who dig this fruit, you’re providing your body with a high dose of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and B complex.
4. Sapotes – 134 calories
High in vitamin C, fiber, potassium and magnesium and one of the top fighters in the combat against depression with their tryptophan content—these are just some of the healthy goodness that sapotes have to offer.
5. American persimmons – 127 calories
Persimmons can provide over 100% of the DV in vitamin C. It helps prevent anemia with its rich iron supply and the potassium content helps lower blood pressure.
6. Plantains – 122 calories
7. Rowal – 111 calories
Forget about the rowal’s high calorie content but instead think about their high copper supply which can offer many health benefits including helping maintain healthy bones and keeping the thyroid healthy.
8. Breadfruit – 103 calories
9. Custard-apple – 101 calories
This heart-shaped fruit is tasty and nutritious. It can be made into a sweet drink and can be used as a milk substitute. It is called sugar-apple or sweetsop in other countries and California and Britain refers to it as the cherimoya. Sugar-apple and cherimoya are actually two different fruits from the same genus.
10. Purple passion-fruit – 97 calories
The purple passion-fruit is loaded with the highest fiber among fruits. Fiber helps keep the digestive system healthy so it can absorb nutrients. Purple passion-fruit can be made into soufflé or a deliciously refreshing lassi.
Other high-calorie fruits:
* Jackfruit – 94 calories
* Soursop – 94 calories
* Bananas – 89 calories
* Pomegranates – 83 calories
* Sapodilla – 83 calories
* Nutrient data source: USDA
(some of these will surprise you!)
These 7 shocking Fatty (but healthy) super-foods can actually help you to burn body fat faster!
At this point, the anti-fat propaganda has died and almost everybody understands by now that eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. In fact, it’s absolutely imperative to get enough healthy fats in your diet to keep your hormones balanced, blood sugar under control, and prevent cravings. Here are 7 examples of “fatty” foods that can actually HELP you to get lean…
1. Super Dark Chocolate (at least 72% cacao content or higher) – It might not be a secret anymore, but yes, dark chocolate (NOT milk chocolate) can be a very healthy food, even though it is technically calorie dense.
However, I would contend that dark chocolate can actually HELP you to burn off more body fat if you’re the type of person that has a sweet tooth and likes to eat a lot of desserts. In this case, just 1 or 2 small squares of dark chocolate can many times satisfy your sweet tooth for only 30 or 40 calories as opposed to 500 calories for a piece of chocolate cake or a piece of pie.
Also some brands of dark chocolate that are in the mid 70’s in % cacao content or higher, can have a fairly high ratio of fiber content (I’ve seen some brands have 5 grams of fiber out of 15 grams of total carbs per serving), and relatively low sugar content compared to the amount of healthy fats. In fact, that’s one of the “tricks” I use to select a good quality chocolate… I look for more total fat than total carbs (or about the same number of grams of each).
The importance of that fact is that it means many dark chocolates will not greatly affect your blood sugar and will have a fairly blunted blood sugar response compared to other “sweets”.
In addition, dark chocolate is also very rich in healthful antioxidants, including a powerful compound called theobromine which has been shown to help lower blood pressure and have other health benefits. The fat content in a good dark chocolate should come solely from the natural healthy fats occuring in cocoa butter and not from any other added fats. Any chocolates with added fats or other additives will generally not be as healthy.
The reason I say to choose dark chocolates with at least 72% cacao content is that the higher the % of cacao, the lower the % of sugar. However, this does mean that any chocolate over 80% cacao content will generally start to get a more bitter taste and have very little sweetness. If you like this type of taste, then the higher % cocao, the better. Otherwise, a good 75% dark chocolate is in my opinion an almost perfect combination of lightly sweet with a rich chocolate taste. Just remember to keep those daily quantities of chocolate small as it is calorie dense!
You can also reap the benefits of the antioxidants and fiber without all of the calories by using organic unsweetened cocoa powder in your smoothies or other recipes.
2. Coconut milk, coconut flour, and coconut oil — Coconut milk and oil are great sources of a super healthy type of saturated fat called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), including a component called lauric acid, which is a powerful nutrient for your immune system, and is lacking in most western diets. In addition, MCTs are readily used for energy by the body and less likely to be stored as bodyfat compared to other types of fats.
Along with coconut milk and coconut oil as healthy fat choices, we’ve also got coconut flour as a healthier flour option for baking. Coconut flour is an extremely high fiber flour alternative (almost ALL of the carbs in this flour are fiber and not starch!). Coconut flour is also VERY high in protein compared to most flours and is also gluten free!
Just beware that if you’re going to use coconut flour for baking, it absolutely NEEDS to be mixed with other flours as it sucks up moisture like crazy… I’ve made delicious baked goods by mixing coconut flour with almond flour and quinoa flour in equal parts, and adding slightly more liquid ingredients than the recipe calls for.
3. Grass-fed (pasture-raised) butter — yes, delicious smooth and rich BUTTER (real butter, not deadly margarine!)… It’s delicious, contains loads of healthy nutritional factors, and does NOT have to be avoided in order to get lean. In fact, I eat a couple pats of grass-fed butter daily and maintain single digit bodyfat most times of the year.
There’s a lot of confusion about this topic… in fact, I just saw a TV show today that was talking about unhealthy foods and one of the first things they showed was butter. It just shows that the majority of the population has zero idea that butter (grass-fed only!) can actually be a healthy part of your diet.
In fact, there’s even ample evidence that REAL butter can even help you to lose body fat for a couple of main reasons:
a. Grass-fed butter is known to have high levels of a healthy fat called CLA, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties, and also has been shown to help burn abdominal fat and build lean muscle.
b. Grass-fed butter also has an ideal balance of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids (unlike conventional grain-fed butter) which helps fight inflammation in your body, and can help balance hormones.
c. The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also contain MCTs, which help to boost your immune system and are readily burned by the body for energy. The healthy fats in grass-fed butter also help to satisfy your appetite and control blood sugar levels, both of which help you to stay lean!
If you have a hard time finding a grass-fed butter at your grocery store, Kerrygold Irish butter is one of my favorites, and even though the label doesn’t clearly state “grass-fed”, the cows are 100% grass-fed on lush green pastures in Ireland. It’s one of the richest butters in color that I’ve seen, which indicates high levels of carotenoids.
4. Whole Eggs, including the yolk (not just egg whites) — Most people know that eggs are one of the highest quality sources of protein. However, most people don’t know that the egg yolks are the healthiest part of the egg… that’s where almost all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (such as lutein) are found in eggs.
In fact, the egg yolks contain more than 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and panthothenic acid of the egg. In addition, the yolks contain ALL of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K in the egg, as well as ALL of the essential fatty acids. Also, the protein of whole eggs is more bio-available than egg whites alone due to a more balanced amino acid profile that the yolks help to build.
Just make sure to choose free-range organic eggs instead of normal grocery store eggs. Similar to the grass-fed beef scenerio, the nutrient content of the eggs and the balance between healthy omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids (in excess) is controlled by the diet of the hens.
Chickens that are allowed to roam free outside and eat a more natural diet will give you healthier, more nutrient-rich eggs with a healthier fat balance compared with your typical grocery store eggs (that came from chickens fed nothing but soy and corn and crowded inside “egg factories” all day long).
If you want more details on eggs, here is an article that details more about why egg yolks are BETTER for you than egg whites.
5. Grass-fed beef or bison (NOT the typical grocery store beef!) — I know most people think that red meat is unhealthy for you, but that’s because they do not understand how the health of the animal affects how healthy the meat is for consumption. Keep this in mind — “an unhealthy animal provides unhealthy meat, but a healthy animal provides healthy meat”.
Typical beef or bison that you see at the grocery store is raised on grains, mainly corn (and to some extent, soybeans). Soy and corn are NOT the natural diet of cattle or bison, and therefore changes the chemical balance of fats and other nutrients in the beef or bison. Grain-fed beef and bison is typically WAY too high in omega-6 fats and WAY too low in omega-3 fats. In addition, the practice of feeding cattle corn and soy as the main portion of their diet upsets their digestive system and makes them sick… and it also increases the amount of dangerous e-coli in the meat. This is not the case with grass-fed meat.
On the other hand, grass-fed beef from cattle and buffalo (or bison) that were raised on the type of natural foods that they were meant to eat in nature (grass and other forage), have much higher levels of healthy omega-3 fats and lower levels of inflammatory omega-6 fats (that most people already eat way too much of) compared to grain fed beef or bison.
Grass fed meats also typically contain up to 3 times the Vitamin E as in grain fed meats.
In addition, grass-fed meat from healthy cattle or bison also contain a special healthy fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in MUCH higher levels than grain-fed meat. CLA has been proven in scientific studies in recent years to help in burning fat and building lean muscle (which can help you lose weight!). These benefits are on top of the fact that grass-fed meats are some of the highest quality proteins that you can possibly eat… and this also aids in burning fat and building lean muscle.
Grass-fed meats are a little harder to find, but just ask your butcher or find a specialty grocery store and they usually have cuts available. I’ve also found a great site to order grass-fed meats online and have gotten to know the owner of this company well, and they are dedicated to the quality of their foods.
6. Avocados — Even though avocados are typically thought of as a “fatty food”, they are chock full of healthy fats! Not only is this fruit (yes, surprisingly, avocados are actually a fruit) super-high in monounsaturated fat, but also chock full of vitamins, minerals, micro-nutrients, and antioxidants.
Also, in my opinion, guacamole (mashed avocados with garlic, onion, tomato, pepper, etc) is one of the most delicious food toppings ever created, and you can be happy to know that it’s also one of the healthiest toppings you can use on your foods. Try sliced avocados or guacamole on sandwiches, burgers, eggs or omelets, on salads or with fish, or as a delicious side to just about any meal.
The quality dose of healthy fats, fiber, and micronutrients that you get from avocados helps your body to maintain proper levels of hormones that help with fat loss and muscle building. Also, since avocados are an extremely satiating food, eating them helps to reduce your appetite in the hours after your meal. Say goodbye to junk food cravings and bring on that fat burning! I personally eat anywhere from a half to a full avocado DAILY and it only helps to keep me lean.
7. Nuts: Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Pecans, Brazil Nuts, Macadamias, etc — Yes, this is yet another “fatty food” that can actually help you burn belly fat! Although nuts are generally between 75-90% fat in terms of a ratio of fat calories to total calories, this is another type of food that is all healthy fats, along with high levels of micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Nuts are also a good source of fiber and protein, which of course, you know helps to control blood sugar and can aid in fat loss.
Nuts also help to maintain good levels of fat burning hormones in your body (adequate healthy fat intake is vitally important to hormone balance) as well as helping to control appetite and cravings so that you essentially eat less calories overall, even though you’re consuming a high-fat food. My favorite healthy nuts are pecans, pistachios, almonds, macadamias, and walnuts, and by eating them in variety, you help to broaden the types of vitamins and minerals and also the balance of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated fats you obtain.
Try to find raw nuts instead of roasted nuts if you can, as it helps to maintain the quality and nutritional content of the healthy fats that you will eat.
Also, try to broaden your horizons beyond the typical peanut butter that most people eat, and try almond butter, cashew butter, pecan butter, or macadamia butter to add variety to your diet.
One of the little “tricks” that I’ve used with clients when trying to cut down body fat is to have them eat a handful of nuts such as almonds or pecans about 20 minutes before lunch and dinner. This ends up being a perfect time to control your appetite before lunch or dinner and helps you to eat less overall calories on that meal.
I hope you enjoyed this look at some of the healthiest “fatty” fat-burning foods you can possibly eat. I could list a ton more, but wanted to give you a few of my favorites for now. Enjoy!