It takes five starters to get a basketball team on court, but you need another set of healthy players who can come off the bench if you want to win a championship.
That same balance of all-star frontmen and a reliable backup is required for a healthy diet. Five foods should be on your starting team: Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, bananas, chicory root (think New Orleans coffee), and onions.
Those five help fortify the trillions of health-promoting bacteria that live in your digestive tract, in part because they contain the nondigestible fiber inulin.
Inulin helps lower levels of lousy LDL cholesterol and boosts the production of a weight-controlling compound in your gut called propionate.
A recent study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” strongly indicates that the more propionate you produce, the less likely you are to crave high-calorie foods, and the less your brain will signal that bad-for-you-foods are feel-good choices.
So in addition to the five main inulin players, if you bring two whole grains (rye and barley), as well as leeks, garlic, and beets off the bench, you'll have a dietary team that provides what you need to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
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