Some foods have so few calories you can enjoy them in unlimited amounts without breaching daily calorie limits. These familiar fresh food standbys can be a big boost to your healthy eating plan. Because we use about 5 to 10 percent of our energy throughout the day for tasks related to digestion, including low calorie food can help you feel full and lose weight. Here are a few to try.
Celery – One stalk has just ten calories. Celery also provides a healthy way to get your fix for crunchy foods. There are other benefits of consuming celery, including:
Magnesium – celery contains magnesium, which can have a calming effect on your nervous system. Snack on celery when you feel stressed. Chew slowly and breathe deeply to help center yourself.
Reduce inflammation – some inflammation is necessary for healthy immune function. However, when the inflammation response goes into overdrive, complications such as arthritis and joint pain can arise.
Eye health – celery contains Vitamin A, which is good for eye health. You may also benefit from reduced risk of cancer and high blood pressure. The flavonoid luteolin and compound phthalides, respectively are responsible for these benefits.
Lettuce – salad greens are an important part of a healthy diet. With just a handful of calories per cup (iceberg for example has only 8 calories in a cup and arugula has only 6) lettuce is also a nutritional powerhouse. Benefits include:
Vitamins – Leafy greens are a great source of Vitamins A and C.
Antioxidants – Add leafy greens to your diet to fill up on the phytonutrients they contain. These nutrients function as antioxidants in the body offering protection against chronic illness such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Asparagus – with just 27 calories per cup, asparagus is a deliciously versatile addition to your diet. Enjoy asparagus roasted or raw, in salads or as a side dish. Benefits include:
Detoxifying effect – asparagus contains an amino acid that helps flush excess fluid from the system.
Healthier hair of the dog – asparagus is thought help ease the effects of a hangover.
Vitamins – asparagus contains Vitamins A, C, K and B6. Vitamin K supports a number of functions including healthy bones and blood clotting.
Mushrooms – These tasty morsels have about 15 calories per cup. Enjoy in broths, salads, stir-fry, stews and more. Benefits include:
Provides nutrients and vitamins like selenium and vitamin D. Mushrooms are also a good source of antioxidants and a tasty way to boost bladder health.
Fad diets that focus on only a few foods can actually be harmful, so don’t limit yourself to only low calorie foods. Instead focus on a variety of foods in your diet for best health outcomes. These low calorie additions can be great complements to other choices including lean protein, healthy fats and whole grains.