“Stay healthy” has been the watchword for many decades now. People are becoming more conscious of their bodies and their overall wellness. This is evident in the mushrooming of health centers all over the world. However, there is no substitute for healthy and well-balanced meals.
According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, adolescents who were put on a low-carb diet lost more weight and showed improvement in their “good” cholesterol levels as compared to adolescents who were placed on a low-fat diet. Thus, the study informed that a low-carbohydrate diet is beneficial for short-term weight loss.
A balanced diet contains all the required nutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. However, if you want to drop a few pounds, you may want to take a look at the following four low-carbohydrate side dishes:
Apple Spinach Salad:
Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. It contains glycoglycerolipids that protect the digestive tract from inflammation. Spinach is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, and vitamin B2, while having a low carbohydrate content. Apples contain soluble fiber, called pectin, that aids in regular bowel movements by adding bulk to food. Polyphenols in apples prevent blood sugar levels from rising. In addition, quercetin, a flavonoid present in apples, can help in the breakdown of complex carbohydrates.
Baked Winter Squash:
A study, published in 2009 in the Journal of Food Science, showed that baking and microwave cooking led to the lowest loss of antioxidant activity in 20 vegetables, as compared to boiling, pressure-cooking, and frying. Winter squash is one of the richest sources of plant-based antioxidants such as beta-carotene and omega 3s. They tone up the immune system, protecting the body from cold and flu.
Broccoli is a superfood because it contains many of the nutrients that the body needs, without any carbohydrates. It contains a sulfur-containing compound called sulforophane, which helps remove carcinogens from the body. It is considered to have anti-cancer properties. Also, 1 cup of broccoli contains as much vitamin C as an equivalent amount of orange. It is rich in beta-carotene and fiber, as well. Add some raisins, lemon juice, peeled onions, and low-fat mayonnaise for a delicious meal.
Mushrooms stuffed with low-fat cheese or even spinach make for a very healthy, yet appetizing side dish. Mushrooms have less fat and calories, are cholesterol-free, and contain no sodium. They also have important nutrients such as riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and copper. In addition, they are a rich source of the antioxidants like selenium and ergothioniene, which prevent cell damage and the occurrence of heart problems and cancer. Low-fat cheese is rich in vitamin D, an essential nutrient for healthy bones.
Instead of following “fad” diets that may deprive the body of certain nutrition groups, it is better to consult a dietitian who can advise you on your nutrition needs based on your body type and lifestyle. Coupled with sufficient physical activity, a balanced diet that includes low-carbohydrate foods is necessary to stay healthy.
Horowitz, C. R., Colson, K. A., Hebert, P. L., & Lancaster, K. (2004). Barriers to buying healthy foods for people with diabetes: evidence of environmental disparities. American Journal of Public Health, 94(9), 1549-1554.
Yancy, W. S., Olsen, M. K., Guyton, J. R., Bakst, R. P., & Westman, E. C. (2004). A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized, controlled trial. Annals of internal medicine,140(10), 769-777.
Gannon, M. C., & Nuttall, F. Q. (2004). Effect of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet on blood glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes.Diabetes, 53(9), 2375-2382.
http://healthyliving.tamu.edu/recipes/side-dishes/ (accessed on 1/30/2015)
http://www.dana-farber.org/Health-Library/Stuffed-Mushrooms.aspx (accessed on 1/30/2015)
http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/All-Star-Foods/Vegetables/Article-Viewer/Article/91/health-benefits-of-broccoli.aspx (accessed on 1/30/2015)
Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:
Yancy, W. S., Olsen, M. K., Guyton, J. R., Bakst, R. P., & Westman, E. C. (2004). A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemiaA randomized, controlled trial. Annals of internal medicine, 140(10), 769-777.
Sondike, S. B., Copperman, N., & Jacobson, M. S. (2003). Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents. The Journal of pediatrics, 142(3), 253-258.
Yamada, Y., Uchida, J., Izumi, H., Tsukamoto, Y., Inoue, G., Watanabe, Y., ... & Yamada, S. (2014). A non-calorie-restricted low-carbohydrate diet is effective as an alternative therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes. Internal medicine, 53(1), 13-19.
Yancy, W. S., Foy, M., Chalecki, A. M., Vernon, M. C., & Westman, E. C. (2005). A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes. Nutrition & metabolism, 2(1), 34.