Sunday, 20 April 2014

Guest Post: Spring/Summer Super Foods


After what seemed like a never ending winter, the clocks have gone forward, we are enjoying the warmer spring temperatures, and dare we say it, looking forward to a BBQ summer… Across the country, the sight of daffodils and leaves on the trees reminds us that some of our favourite seasonal produce is on its way. But in terms of our health, and our weight control, which of these seasonal fruits and vegetables should we try and incorporate into our diet? We asked Laurence Beeken, Food Information Executive at Weight Loss Resources, for his top picks:



STRAWBERRIES
Image source: Cherry PR
Strawberries are packed full of health benefits. Compared to other fruits such as apples and bananas, strawberries have more nutrients, and are known to burn stored fat (the anthocyanins stimulate the burning of stored fat), and are good for weight loss - the compound nitrate found
promotes blood flow and oxygen in our body.

Laurence says: “Best eaten at room temperature to bring out the lovely summer flavour, strawberries are not only good as a sweet treat - try slicing them onto a fresh leafy salad and add a splash of balsamic vinegar to highlight their taste.”

SPRING ONIONS
Image source: Cherry PR
Spring Onions contain allicin, which may keep you from overeating by stimulating satiety in the brain. Spring onion has a milder, sweeter taste than the dried white bulbs you buy later in the season. Enjoy it diced on salad for a fat-fighting side or lunch.
Laurence says: “Milder than ordinary onions, remember that you can also eat the green leaves. Slice the whole onion thinly with a diagonal slant and toss into your omelette for a tasty savoury treat“

ASPARAGUS
Image source: Cherry PR
One of the first foods that signals the start of spring is the appearance of fresh asparagus at local farmers’ markets. Asparagus is a good source of fibre and protein, both essential for good digestion and immunity. It also contains a unique carb called inulin, which remains undigested until it reaches the large intestine, where it helps to absorb nutrients better.

Laurence says: “Purported to be an aphrodisiac, asparagus is one of those vegetables best served as natural as possible. Best cooked lightly in a steamer and served with just a quick grind of black pepper or a dash of lemon juice.”

ARTICHOKES
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Artichokes may seem intimidating, and those prickly leaves can lead to plenty of frustration, but this vegetable should not be discounted. One medium artichoke contains 64 calories, 10 grams of fibre and three grams of protein, and is also a very good source of vitamins C and K and folate.

Laurence says: “Another great vegetable best appreciated with as little fuss as possible, artichokes are best served steamed with a dash of lemon and sprinkling of fresh, chopped parsley. Artichoke hearts are particularly tasty and can be added to all manner of meals both as an accompaniment and a main ingredient.”

FENNEL
Most often associated with Italian cooking, be sure to add fennel to your
Image source: Cherry PR
selection of fresh vegetables in early spring when it is readily available and at its best. Just an ounce of the bulb in your salads adds a gram of fibre for only nine calories. Fennel bulb is also a very good source of vitamin C, folate and
potassium.

Laurence says: “Fennel has a mild aniseed taste and the texture of crisp celery. Try grating the bulb over summer salads for instant aniseed zing. Alternatively cut the bulb into wedges and stir fry with other crisp vegetables for an amazing side dish.”

LETTUCE
Image source: Cherry PR
Lettuce has been called ‘the perfect weight loss food’ because it contains fibre and cellulose. Besides filling you up, fibre improves your digestion. Improving your digestion is important for long term weight control. Fibre also helps remove bile salts from the body. When the body replaces these salts it breaks down cholesterol to do so.

Laurence says: “Did you know that a little gem lettuce, cut into quarters, makes a tasty side dish
when stir fried with a handful of peas and a small onion?”

BROCCOLI
Image source: Cherry PR
Love it or hate it, broccoli is great for you! It is known as a smart carb and is high in fibre, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories.

Laurence says: “Sprouting broccoli is even tastier than the large 'calabrese' heads you see in the supermarkets. I love it steamed then served with a few shavings of Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.”

RADISHES
Image source: Cherry PR
As a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, radishes have a host of health benefits but are typically under-appreciated. Especially in the spring and early summer when they grow locally and can be picked at their height of freshness and flavour, radishes should be a staple item in your kitchen - with a very low calorie count, less than 20 calories in an entire cup, radishes are a great way to add nutrients, fibre and tons of flavour to your meals without compromising your diet.

Laurence says, “I tried these recently stir fried with cabbage and carrots and wow! They certainly add a punch to your veg!”

For further advice on spring/summer vegetables go to www.weightlossresources.co.uk

About Weight loss Resources:

Weight Loss Resources is a weight loss program and provides the following tools
to help you.

• Popular foods calorie counter and online calorie and nutrition databases
• Keep a food diary - the most powerful path to changing your diet.
• See how many calories you need to reach your weight loss goal.
• Browse recipes and calorie count your own recipes.

1 comment:

  1. interesting post, especially as i enjoy eating most of these though never tried fennel might have to experiment with it.

    ReplyDelete

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