On the South Beach Diet we recommend eating plenty of fresh, nutrient-dense whole foods in a rainbow of colors to improve your overall health and weight loss. Here are 10 delicious superfoods to incorporate regularly into your diet:
salmon (and other omega-3-rich fish) Fatty cold-water fish such as wild salmon, herring,
mackerel (except king mackerel), anchovies, and sardines can be enjoyed on all Phases of the South
Beach Diet. All are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower
cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and inflammation, and play a role in improving mood and preventing memory loss.
(and other cruciferous vegetables)
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts,
cauliflower, and kale are antioxidant powerhouses that can help lower blood
pressure and cholesterol, promote normal eyesight, improve gastrointestinal
function, and reduce age-related memory loss. A sulfur compound called
suforaphane found in broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables may
increase the activity of cancer-fighting enzymes in the body. Enjoy them on all
potatoes (and other bright orange vegetables) An outstanding source of carotenoids (including beta
carotene), as well as vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and iron, sweet potatoes
(and other orange vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, and butternut squash)
can help reduce high blood pressure, fight cataracts and age-related macular
degeneration, and boost your resistance to colds and infections. Enjoy them
beginning on Phase 2.
Blueberries Ranked as one of the healthiest fruits for its antioxidant
capacity, blueberries are packed with pectin (a form of soluble fiber) as well
as vitamin C. Blueberries have been shown to help improve cholesterol levels and
protect against stroke, and also may help prevent the short-term memory loss
associated with aging. You can introduce blueberries and other whole fruits on
and other legumes Whether
you choose black, navy, kidney, white, pinto, garbanzos, or lentils, for
example, legumes are loading with filling protein and soluble and insoluble
fiber. They can help lower LDL cholesterol and improve digestion. The fiber in
beans also helps reduce blood-sugar levels, making them a good choice for
people with diabetes. Start with a 1/3 to 1/2 cup serving and enjoy on all Phases.
grains Recent studies have shown that
eating high-fiber whole grains (brown and wild rice, barley, quinoa, oats,
millet, barley, and whole-wheat, for example) can actually lower the risk of
diabetes by stabilizing blood sugar and insulin production. Whole grains also
help prevent artery-clogging atherosclerosis by decreasing cholesterol
absorption. Whole grains can be introduced on Phase 2.
seeds Walnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine
nuts, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds are all excellent sources of protein,
heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, and
fiber. When substituted for saturated fat in the diet, nuts and seeds can help
lower total cholesterol as well as bad LDL cholesterol without affecting levels
of good HDL cholesterol. Since nuts and seeds are calorie-dense, limit your
total intake to about 1 ounce (1/4 cup) per day on all Phases.
olive oil Monounsaturated olive oil contains
a potent mix of antioxidants (polyphenols in particular) that can help lower
LDL cholesterol when substituted for saturated fats in the diet. Some research
suggests that the cholesterol-lowering effects of olive oil are even greater if
you use extra-virgin olive oil, which is less processed and therefore contains
more polyphenols. Enjoy 2 tablespoons of this oil on all Phases.
fat and fat-free dairy products
There is mounting evidence that something in dairy foods (milk, yogurt, and
cheeses), perhaps the calcium, not only strengthens bones but also helps to protect the
heart, reduce high blood pressure, and fight breast cancer. The jury is still
out about whether dairy can help improve weight loss. Always choose fat-free or
reduced-fat products on all Phases.
- Dark chocolate Several studies have shown that eating dark chocolate in moderation (about 1 ounce a day beginning on Phase 2) can lower blood pressure (probably due to the beneficial effects of its polyphenols on blood flow) and reduce levels of CRP, a substance (when high) that's indicative of inflammation in the body. Select brands of dark chocolate that contain at least 70% cacao and thus the least amount of sugar.