Think Green to Get Lean

( [email protected] ) Apr 10, 2004 05:33 PM EDT

Could the color of your food be affecting your weight? Research shows that eating green foods can help you shed unwanted pounds. Whether it’s salad in a bowl, tea in a mug or greens in a glass, think green to get lean!

When you sit down for your next meal, CP Health wants you to keep the following points in mind.

1. Enjoy a salad before your meal

Your mom always told you to eat your greens to stay healthy, and now, research shows it may help you lose weight too! In a recent study from Pennsylvania State University, researchers gave women a large (three cups), low-calorie salad 20 minutes before a meal to help reduce caloric intake. The results showed that the women ate about 100 calories less compared to when no salad was served.

This study highlights the important role greens can play in weight loss, but here are a few points to keep in mind:

Get the portion size right: In the University study, salads half the size, which are more typical of standard portions, reduced calories by only half as much. When dining at home, try to have a larger portion of leafy greens with lowfat dressing at your meal. Add spinach, green peppers, cucumbers and celery for an even greater ‘greener’ salad!

Stick to low-calorie greens: The three-cup salads in the University study included lettuce, grated carrots, tomato, celery and cucumber with small amounts of reduced-fat dressing. Unfortunately, when the salads were slightly higher in fat and calories, caloric intake at the meal stayed the same. Even worse, when larger portions of higher calorie and higher fat salads were served, caloric intake at the meal increased by 17%. Bottom line: stick to basic greens. Adding toppings such as cheese, bacon and high fat dressings packs on the calories.

Have a break between the salad and meal: Eating slowly not only helps with proper digestion, it also helps you eat less. In the University study, the salad was served 20 minutes before the meal. The time lag between salad and meal allowed the women time to realize how much they had already eaten and to get the sense of fullness. If you eat too fast, you may eat too much, even with a large salad. So slow down when eating—it’s not a race!

2. Drink green tea

Move over morning java, there’s a new drink in town—green tea! Green tea has many health benefits, from helping to fight diseases such as cancer and heart disease, to aiding in weight loss. Studies show that catechins, the antioxidants in green tea, help increase fat burning. Research also shows that green tea may lower blood sugars by inhibiting enzymes that allow the absorption of starches, and it may reduce the absorption of fat from the intestine. Typical dosage is three or four cups per day or a 300 to 400 mg capsule of green tea extract daily.

3. Get your greens in a glass

Let’s face it; getting our 5 to 10 servings of fruit and veggies per day is a challenge. In fact, according to a nationwide study, more than 75% of US residents failed to meet the recommended five servings each day of fruits and vegetables. Greens are important not only because they are nutritional super foods that help fight disease and boost immunity and energy, they also aid in weight loss. Green veggies like broccoli, kale, green peppers and spinach are great for weight loss because they are low glycemic index foods. In other words, they are broken down slowly in the body, causing fewer rises in blood sugar levels, less insulin secretion and, ultimately, less fat storage.

If you have trouble eating your veggies, look to a green food supplement for help. A green food product is like a salad in a glass. It contains a mixture of herbs, alfalfa, barley grass, wheat grass and other nutritional super foods vital for good health. Mix greens with water and drink up! This will also help you increase your water intake, which is necessary for the metabolism of stored fat and will help you feel full. To buy your greens, click here.

Other weight loss tips

Eat off the CP Health Plate: The CP Health Plate closely follows the 40:30:30 plan for optimum health and weight loss:

One half of the plate is filled with low glycemic index carbohydrates such as vegetables (your greens), most fruits, legumes and some whole grains such as slow-cooking oats, kamut and spelt.

One quarter of the plate contains a lean protein source, such as skinless chicken and turkey, fish, soy, tofu, extra lean beef, egg whites and lowfat dairy products.

One quarter of the plate is attributed to healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds and omega-3 fats (found in cold-water fish, fish oils and omega-3 eggs). Visually, you will not find one quarter of the plate filled with fats. In actual fact, fats should be used minimally, either in cooking or sprinkled on top.

Exercise: Engaging in daily physical activity helps to boost your metabolism and helps you lose weight. Read The Best Exercise for Weight Loss to learn more.