Besides being rich in ﬁbre, popcorn is also high in antioxidants. In fact, researchers have found that it has greater concentrations of polyphenols than many other fruits and vegetables. Their polyphenol content becomes diluted in the 90 per cent water that make up fresh produce. “Popcorn may be the perfect snack food. It’s the only snack that is a 100 per cent unprocessed whole grain as compared to cereal [where] only over 51 per cent of the weight of the product is whole grain,” says Joe Vinson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton in the US. Of course, he’s talking about plain, air-popped corn – and not the caramel or butter-coated kind you get at cineplexes. Homemade is best!
2. Green Tea
It has the highest concentration of polyphenols – the powerful antioxidants that help reduce free radical damage in the body. Population studies have linked regular green tea consumption to a lower risk of developing various cancers and liver problems. While experts aren’t sure exactly how it helps, they think polyphenols like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and catechins play a part. Some clinical studies also suggest that green tea might boost metabolism and promote weight loss. While investigations go on, we’ll continue sipping matcha with our sushi.
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Also known as rocket, arugula comes from the cruciferous vegetable family. It contains glucosinolates (sulphur-containing chemicals) that give the veggie its strong ﬂavour. Once in our bodies, glucosinolates convert into isothiocyanates, which are said to regulate the body’s immune function. As a salad green, it trumps iceberg lettuce any time as it packs almost 10 times more calcium and thrice as much iron.
Poached, half-boiled or sunny side up… Eggs taste delicious no matter how they’re prepared. Of the controversy over their health benefits, experts at Harvard School of Public Health in the US say: “While it’s true that egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol – and so may weakly affect blood cholesterol levels – eggs also have nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and folate.”
Their recommendation is to enjoy in moderation, with an average of one egg a day for healthy individuals, and up to three yolks a week for those with diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease.
If you must nibble on something during tea break, chew on these nuts instead of chips. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has summarised why almonds are good for you: In a nutshell, they’re good for weight-watchers, promote heart health and can even lower cholesterol. Remember to keep track of how many you’re eating: Just 20 kernels add up to about 143kcal, so don’t overdo it!
The key to revving up your weight-loss efforts may lie in this humble algae. According to a study in the journal Food Chemistry, alginate – a compound in seaweed – has been shown to stop the body from absorbing fat. Though more research needs to be done on this, it doesn’t hurt to load up on seaweed as it’s also a good source of vitamins and amino acids.
Text: Dawn Chen/Shape Additional Reporting: Atika Lim
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