You should diet smart – not hard – when it comes to working on your problem areas. Much of winning the battle is in knowing what to eat to optimize your weight loss regime. Apart from regular exercise, you need to understand the science of combining food. More and more research confirms what great chefs and home cooks have always known: the perfect food combinations so that you make the most of the two primary ingredients. They’re meant to work in partnership, each bringing its own set of unique flavours (and nutrients) to create the perfect weight-loss meal.Why Combine Food?The way you combine certain foods can affect the way the nutrients are absorbed, as well as your blood sugar, which controls your hormones that influence weight loss or gain. Food combining also greatly affects digestion, which is the key for losing weight. The secret to mastering this is to know how quickly a particular food digests. Protein takes the longest and fruit is the fastest, followed by greens, non-starchy vegetables, and then starches. When you eat food in the correct order, nutrients will be optimally absorbed, leaving your digestive tract toxin-free.(Health Tip: Food Combinations For a Balanced Diet)Here are some food combinations from breakfast options, snacks and even beverages to help you get started They’re simpler than you think, and can help turn that scale around fast!1. Almonds + YoghurtIt is a well-known fact that good fats help increase lycopene absorption, which helps reduce the risk of cancer. But did you know that many essential vitamins are activated and absorbed best when eaten with fat? Vitamins that are considered fat-soluble include A, D, and E. Carrots, broccoli, and peas are all loaded with vitamin A and should be paired with a healthy fat such as olive oil. Vitamin D-rich products include fish, milk, yoghurt and orange juice, whereas Vitamin E sources are sunflower seeds, nuts, avocado, etc. So toss some almonds into your yoghurt, and eat full-fat dairy.Quick Tip: To get the most vitamin E with fat-soluble foods, try baked sweet-potato slices or spinach salad topped with olive oil.2. Rice + PeasMost of us assume that gaining weight as we age is just a fact of life, but it isn't. As we get older we lose lean muscle, which is a natural metabolism booster that helps you burn calories. A good way to maintain that beneficial muscle is to lift light weights and make sure that between 25 and 35 percent of your calories comes from protein.(Recipe: Aloo Matar ka Pulao)Red meat and poultry are great options, but they can contain a high amount of saturated fat. Rice is an incomplete protein due to its low amino acids but adding peas balances that out. It is low in amino acid lysine but peas, on the other hand, are lysine-rich. Pairing rice and peas gives your body a healthy protein boost.(Top 5 Health Mantras for 2015)To try this combination, add some beans and peas with your brown rice and you'll get a healthy dose of potassium, a mineral that further counteracts age-related muscle loss by making the blood less acidic.3. Spinach + Avocado OilIf you’re tired of your usual go-to spinach-and-olive-oil salad, mix things up with avocado oil. Made from pressed—yes— avocados, it’s rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that may help improve cholesterol and ward off hunger. It also contains vitamins B and E and bloat-banishing potassium. And studies show that people who eat foods with high water content, such as leafy greens, have lower BMIs and smaller waistlines than those who don’t. So, go green and get lean!(This Diet Reduces Weight and Controls Cholesterol)To make your combo, sauté a cup of spinach in a tablespoon of avocado oil for a quick, easy and filling side dish. Avocado oil also works well drizzled over whole-wheat breads, fish and home-made pizzas.4. Salsa + ChickpeasLooking for a good snack option? Try this: add some chickpeas to a light dip like salsa which adds bulk without the calories and boosts your intake of protein. Plus, eating chickpeas regularly may also improve your overall food choices. Studies proved that people who ate half a cup of chickpeas a day weighed a pound less and ate less food overall.(Recipe: Tomato Salsa)5. Cayenne + ChickenYou feel like chicken tonight? Go for it because it is good for you and here’s why - protein-rich foods like poultry not only boost satiety, but also help people eat less at subsequent meals, according to research. Adding cayenne pepper fires up the fat burning process. A compound in the pepper, called capsaicin, has proven to suppress appetite and boost the body’s ability to convert food to energy.Just one gram of red pepper (about ½ a teaspoon) can help manage appetite and increase calorie burn after a meal. So go beyond chicken and season grilled fish, meats and eggs with a pinch of red chilli pepper.(How to Lose Weight: 8 Metabolism-Boosting Foods)6. Honeydew + Red GrapesFight that fat and banish bloating with a fruit salad comprising honeydew and red grapes. Melon is a natural diuretic, so it helps fight the water retention responsible for making you look puffy even though you have a toned stomach. Red grapes help reduce belly fat because they contain an antioxidant called ‘anthocyanin’ that slows the action of fat-storage genes. This dynamic duo makes for a delicious, healthy dessert, perfect for summer.(Juicing: How to Lose Weight and Become Fit)7. Potatoes + PepperPotatoes are given a strict ‘no’ when it comes to a low carb diet. Surprisingly, a second look at the science reveals the spuds can actually help you lose weight. Researchers found that potatoes are actually more filling than fibre-rich brown rice and oatmeal — and they’re a good source of bloat-banishing potassium, so you’ll look slimmer almost immediately. Just be sure to skip the butter in favour of pepper. Piperine, the powerful compound that gives black pepper its taste, may interfere with the formation of new fat cells — a reaction known as adipogenesis —which can help trim your waist, zap body fat and lower cholesterol levels.(Recipe: BBQ Potato Salad)Quick Tip: Enjoy half-baked potatoes with a little olive oil and fresh pepper.8. Coffee + CinnamonThis combination will soon become your favourite. Next time you’re in a Starbucks, ward off diet-derailing hunger by adding cinnamon to your coffee. Cinnamon is flavourful, practically calorie-free and contains powerful antioxidants that are proven to reduce the accumulation of belly flab. Pair that with an appetite-suppressing cup of caffeine, and you’re losing weight first thing in the morning.If you’re making coffee at home, add cinnamon right into your brew-pot for a better taste and weight loss benefits.
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