The move from winter into spring often brings on new challenges. For most of us, that can involve losing those winter bulges and getting our physique in top shape for the upcoming summer. This is a time where personal training, gym memberships and bootcamps are in greatest demand, and also a great time to realise that proper nutrition is most crucial to achieving that ideal physique. So what better way to begin than by eating your way to a leaner, sexier body?
Recent research has shown that foods low in refined sugars and high in quality protein, beneficial fats and fibres are a great way to go when targeting the love handles and upper back fat, just under the shoulder blades. According to internationally renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin, fat gravitates to these specific regions due to the body’s insulin response to excessive carbohydrate consumption (do pastas, chocolates and desserts ring a bell?). If that sounds like you, then it’s your body’s unique way of alerting you to the fact that you (along with approximately 70% of the world’s population) are not tolerant to carbohydrates, and should minimise your sugar intake (including fruits and juices) in order to shape up and optimise health benefits. Furthermore, choosing foods that are dense in beneficial vitamins and minerals can also support and accelerate the process of your physique overhaul. For example, foods rich in trace minerals like zinc, calcium and selenium play an important part in building lean muscle and maintaining healthy looking skin
Here are 10 treats for your taste buds that will help you shed those unwanted kilos, feel healthy and bring your sexy back.
1. Wild Salmon
- Low in calories, yet makes a very satisfying meal.
- An excellent source of protein that helps build lean muscle and speeds up your metabolic rate.
- High in omega 3 essential oils that are necessary for maintaining heart health and overall cell integrity.
- Great source of protein that is low in carbohydrates, and high in fibre.
- They prevent aromatisation – the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. This helps the body maintain more lean muscle mass, and can contribute specifically to keeping the back of your arms (triceps) lean.
- High in antioxidants and natural antibiotics that help strengthen the immune system and prevent cancers. In fact, research has shown that women who ate just one third of an ounce of raw mushrooms a day (about one button mushroom’s worth) had a 64% reduction in breast cancer risk.
3. Brazil Nuts
- A nutritious snack high in healthy fats to help regulate your thyroid and effectively accelerate your fat burning ability.
- High in selenium – a trace element that that has shown to prevent breast cancer, maintain youth and speed up your metabolic rate.
4. Ricotta Cheese
- More than just being high in calcium, ricotta is also rich in branch chain amino-acids (a protein constituent) that boost lean muscle and immune function.
- Is produced from whey protein (a highly absorbable and beneficial milk protein) that is left behind in the cheese making process, unlike other cheeses that are made from milk curd.
- Contains phenylethylamine – a naturally occurring chemical compound that acts like a stimulant elevating desire and mood.
- Prevents the build-up of estrogens in the body. Estrogen accumulation has shown to cause certain cancers like breast and ovarian cancer and specifically induce fat deposits on the thighs as well.
- Rich in Vitamin C, calcium and zinc that is crucial for collagen production, a protein that gives skin elasticity and firmness.
- Rich in antioxidants that strengthens the immune system and combats sun damage to the skin.
- High in monounsaturated fats that will help lower bad cholesterol absorption and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- A great source of antioxidants that helps maintain firm great looking skin.
- A tasty healthy alternative to sauces, spreads and dips.
- A green leafy vegetable that is rich in bone-fortifying calcium.
- Prevents the accumulation of estrogens, which is important for cell health and maintaining lean legs.
- Very rich in beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A which assist in cell turnover so old skin cells that dull your complexion are replaced with new ( youthful looking) ones.
- Helps build lean muscle, a strong immune system as well as maintain a healthy overall cholesterol count.
- One of nature’s most complete sources of protein and nutritionally balanced meals, provided the yolk and white are consumed together. An Organically-farmed egg (as Mother Nature intended), contains just the right proportions of omega3’s and 6’s for optimal nutrition.
- The cholesterol in the yolk is a crucial component of each of our 75 trillion cells and is used to maintain an optimal cholesterol count within our bodies.
9. Green Tea
- A refreshing beverage high in antioxidants that can help combat stress, strengthen the immune system and prevent cancers.
- A cup of organic green tea can help prevent the absorption of 50 grams of carbs after a meal – a great quick fix for carb binges.
- A robust spice that contains capsasum – a compound that helps to elevate your metabolic rate, maintain good heart and skin health, and is used as an anti inflammatory.
- Contains as much as 3 times the amount of vitamin C as oranges, a vitamin that helps boost immune function and maintain vibrant skin.