01.05.2013 Weight Loss

Nature's Power Foods for Weight Loss

Nature's power foods for weight loss. Writer Julie Rennie

From The Metabolic Clock Cookbook by Julie Rennie published by Rockpool Publishing

Nature has provided so many wonderful natural foods, each with their own unique nutritional benefits. The following list highlights a few that are nature's power foods for weight loss. They are readily available and can be easily included in your daily meals.

Apples stimulate the digestive system and cleanse it by eliminating toxins from the small intestine. The pectin in apples, especially in green Granny Smiths, slows the rise in blood sugar, reduces the build up of arterial plaque and promotes proper protein digestion. The alkaline elements of apples increase the flow of saliva for carbohydrate digestion.

Almonds are the perfect alkalising protein. The good fats in almonds reduce cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. Other properties in almonds improve memory and concentration, help the nerves to relax, provide calcium and assist with fat metabolism.

All berries have their special qualities and when you put strawberries, blueberries and raspberries together, you have a fruit mix full of antioxidants, vitamin C, iron and enzymes with anti-inflammatory qualities.

Brazil nuts
Brazil nuts are rich in the mineral selenium, which is vital for diabetics because it stimulates glucose absorption. These nuts have a remarkable supply of amino acids, making them a complete protein source. They also have a good supply of calcium.

This amazing vegetable has cholesterol-lowering properties and can decrease blood pressure. Celery juice can prevent hardened arteries and naturally thins the blood. It reduces the pain of arthritis and rheumatism. Celery is a good food source for diabetics because it stimulates the pancreas glands, producing insulin for carbohydrate digestion.

Carrot juice is great for cleansing the liver. Carrots are a rich source of carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. This vitamin is required to promote the secretion of the gastric juices required for protein digestion.

Cherries have a very low GI, which makes them an ideal fruit for diabetics. Cherries provide melatonin, the hormone that relaxes and promotes sleep. They have pain killing power and can assist with the pain of headaches, gout and arthritis because they retard the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation.

Chia seeds
These amazing seeds will nourish you and make you feel full. They contain high amounts of omega 3 essential fatty acids and are high in protein and calcium. They are high in soluble fibre and also boost your metabolic rate. Mix a teaspoon of seeds in a glass of water and drink.

Lemons are packed with vitamin C and provide an alkaline balance while cleansing the digestive system. Lemons reduce uric acid in conditions such as gout, rheumatism and gallstones. Half a lemon squeezed into hot water is a simple way to detoxify your body.

Linseeds have more essential fatty acids than fish. The omega 3 fatty acids prevent the build-up of toxic biochemicals that the body produces under stress. The essential fatty acids benefit the heart by lowering bad cholesterol. This lowers the probability of clots in the arteries, which may lead to stroke and heart attack. Linseeds are also an excellent source of dietary fibre.

Parsley is a rich source of vitamins A and C. It supports the immune system by providing antioxidants that clean up the blood. It's also a rich source of iron that builds up the blood. Add chopped parsley to salads and cooked foods.

Pineapple is a natural blood thinner. It also contains an enzyme called bromelain, which helps the pancreas produce the chemicals that digest protein, fats and carbohydrates. The anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple can also assist with easing the symptoms of gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

Rolled oats
Oats are good news for diabetics because they contain manganese, which helps stabilise glucose levels. They have good iron content and when you add mixed berries to your muesli, the vitamin C content of the berries assists in the absorption of the iron. Oats contain a special ingredient in the fibre called beta glucan, which slows the rise in blood sugar levels and reduces blood cholesterol.

Sesame seeds
The calcium content of sesame seeds is excellent, making them an ideal non dairy calcium food. Sesame seeds inhibit the absorption of cholesterol and assist with controlling blood sugar levels for diabetics. They also assist with inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis and are an excellent supply of iron and protein.

Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds absorb a lot of the sun's energy. They are rich in vitamin E, which protects from ageing and skin cell damage. They are an excellent source of good fats and are a complete protein.

Walnuts are a valuable supply of omega 3 essential fatty acids and iron. The minerals in walnuts make them a great brain food. They also contain melatonin, which promotes restful sleep. Chop up a handful of walnuts to have with your evening salad or steamed vegetables.

Recipes: Lemon ricotta bake with mushrooms and spinach and Coq au vin with butter (lima) beans

Julie Rennie

Julie Rennie is the author of The Metabolic Clock Cookbook published by Rockpool Publishing