Cherries Cherries are packed with vitamin C, calcium and beta-carotene. “They are extremely high in anthocyanidins, which are responsible for their intense red colour,” says Kate Butler, nutritionist for Holland & Barrett. “Cherries also contain significant amounts of melatonin, a hormone credited for supporting sleep. Researchers report that getting enough sleep plays an important part in weight management. Chronic sleep deprivation can have a variety of effects on your metabolism and overall health.”
Tip: Drink two glasses of tart cherry juice daily to help improve the quality of sleep, which, in turn, could boost your metabolism.
Brown rice Brown rice is an excellent cleanser and helps to reduce water retention and bloating. “This grain is a heartier, fibre-packed alternative to its processed white rice counterpart, an essential for every dieter,” Kate tells us. “Wholegrain foods, like brown rice, have a low glycaemic index (GI), meaning that your body digests them more slowly. Low-GI foods are also less likely to cause spikes in your bloodsugar levels. Maintaining balanced blood-sugar discourages insulin resistance, a precursor to weight gain.”
Tip:If you’ve never eaten brown rice before, try mixing equal portions of brown and white rice until you get used to the rich, nutty flavour.
Sunflower seeds Sunflower seeds are jam-packed with vitamins A, B, D, E and K, and they’re powerful detoxifiers. “These seeds are calorie dense and high in fat; not words someone watching the lbs usually wishes to hear! However, the majority of the fat within sunflower kernels is unsaturated,” Kate points out. “Eat a small amount of raw seeds when your body craves food. Sunflower seeds’ high dietary fibre and fat content make them a good choice to create a sense of fullness and satisfy your appetite.”
Tip: Use sunflower seeds to add flavour and texture to foods. Sprinkle a handful into yogurt or add to a salad as a substitute for croutons.
Tuna Tuna contains key nutrients, like vitamins B, D and E, as well as essential fatty acids to help reduce bloating as they’re anti-inflammatory. “It’s a low-calorie, low-fat and high-protein food,” Kate tells us. “Protein is digested at a relatively slow rate, leaving your stomach feeling fuller for longer and helping you to manage your hunger.” Tuna itself may be low in calories, but this is not always the case for the mayonnaise it is often combined with – so go easy on the dressings if you’re after a toned tum this summer.
Tip:Try making tuna salad with a little olive oil, lemon juice, a few olives, fresh parsley and a little salt and pepper.
Sweet potatoes Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants and vitamins B, C and E, which help eliminate water retention. “Many dieters fear starchy carbohydrates, but, sweet potatoes are a natural source of fibre, which is important for weight-loss,” Kate says. “Fibre is a bulky, and slow digesting nutrient. Both attributes keep you feeling fuller for longer and curb your appetite to help prevent over-eating. Sweet potatoes are low-GI, which helps to keep your bloodsugar levels steady.”
Tip:Substitute sweet potatoes for any recipe in which you would usually use white potatoes – they’re delicious baked and mashed.