Get In Shape With Nature
Nature provides us with plant foods that aid weight control, in addition to other health benefits.

Soy: An Excellent Source of Protein

| Protein Power |
Soy is made up of 36–56% protein, and is one of the most abundant sources of plant protein. Adequate protein intake is very important when on a low-calorie diet, to prevent muscle loss. Muscle burns more calories than fat does. The more muscle you have in relation to fat, the higher your metabolic rate. When on a low-calorie diet, not eating enough to build or maintain muscles will result in less muscle available to continue to burn calories.

Soy protein stands out among all plant proteins for its benefits to human health. The highly nutritious soy has twice as much protein as meat, four times that of chicken eggs, and 12 times that of cow’s milk.

| Weight Loss Wonder |
Polypeptides and other components of soy also help in weight loss in other ways. Scientists think that an active tetrapeptide in soy helps speed up the fat decomposition process. Experimental studies have shown that soy may aid weight loss by boosting metabolism. At the same time, soy peptides may interact with receptors in the brain to signal to the body and produce a feeling of satiety, while delaying emptying of the stomach.

Scientists compared the effects of consuming soy to casein in a low-calorie diet. Casein is a protein found in milk and cheese. Eating soy not only decreased weight, but also lowered more cholesterol and triacylglycerol, the main components of fat.

| No Sugar High |
For those on low-sugar diets, it is helpful to look out for a food’s glycemic index, which indicates its blood glucose response 2 hours after it is eaten, on a scale of 0 to 100. The glycemic index of soybean is 10-19, which is very low. It will cause only small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels, making it a good choice for low-sugar nutrition for a weight loss regimen.

| Bounty in a Bean |
Soy has a high concentration of isoflavones, which help lower cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. They can also help prevent osteoporosis. Soy also contains calcium, folic acid, fiber, vitamins, phytochemicals, and all nine essential amino acids necessary for building and maintaining tissues. Low in fat, cholesterol free and high in fiber, soy is the ideal source of protein from plants.

American Ginseng: Nature’s Energizer

A weakened immune system and fatigue are commonly encountered when one is on a low-calorie diet or in the midst of changing diets. American ginseng is a rich store of nutrients for revitalizing the body.

| A Tonic for the Immune System |
American ginseng helps to strengthen the immune system in a variety of ways. Its polysaccharides help balance the immune system and enable it to destroy existing cancer cells and viruses. Scientists reported that these polysaccharides may stimulate macrophages (multi-tasking immune cells) to secrete cytokines, chemicals that summon immune cells to deal with bacteria and viruses. American ginseng also builds up immunity by stimulating the production of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), an immune chemical used in fighting viruses.

American ginseng’s immunity-building abilities have been demonstrated by its extract, which is rich in poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharide. A study revealed that consuming a moderate dose over four months may reduce the number of colds, the severity of colds and the number of days they last, possibly preventing respiratory tract infections.

| Fatigue Fighter |
Nutritional Immunology research shows that American ginseng helps the body adapt to fatigue, stressful conditions and changing temperatures.

American ginseng can energize when the body experiences tiredness, and tranquilize when the body is under stress. By regulating the body’s production of stress hormones and protecting the hippocampus from the effects of stress hormones, the substances in American ginseng reduce stress reactions greatly. Ginsenosides such as Rb1 can help the body to cope with stress and increase rates of learning.

American ginseng is also packed with fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, and B-vitamins.

Grain Fiber: Fiberlicious Goodness

Grain fiber is a fiber superstar among plant foods. It adds water and volume to feces, promoting bowel movement. Made up of aucubine, enzymes, fats and mucilage, it reduces blood cholesterol levels, controls the rise of blood sugar levels and prevents heart disease and diabetes.

| Fills the Stomach |
Fiber aids weight control. In the stomach, it expands and forms a gel-like consistency when it absorbs the water we drink. Besides taking up more space, it delays the rate at which foods leave the stomach. This makes us feel full for a longer duration, thus helping to curb appetite. Try eating a fiber-rich fruit before a meal. You may be amazed by how it helps you to eat less later on!

| Aids Digestion |
Many people who are dieting often suffer from constipation due to inadequate fiber intake. But there is more to fiber than preventing constipation. Fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system. It maintains good bacteria in the intestines, and prevents hemorrhoids, diverticulitis (inflammation or infection of bulging pouches in the digestive tract) and colorectal cancer.

Low-fiber diets have been linked to colorectal cancer. In 2007, there were approximately 1.2 million new cases of colorectal cancer worldwide, with around 630,000 deaths. With a fiber-rich diet, colorectal cancer is highly preventable.

| Detoxifies to Reveal Beautiful Skin |
Fiber binds with bile acids in the intestine. In the liver, toxins are contained in bile acids to be excreted together with fiber. An adequate amount of fiber is needed for this process. A lack of fiber may hinder toxins from being flushed out quickly enough. When this happens, the liver may be overworked and cannot clear toxins from the body. Other eliminative organs, such as the skin, may try to remove these toxins. This causes the skin to erupt in acne, rashes, or eczema, resulting in a dull and unhealthy complexion. Puffy eyelids in the morning may also indicate a stressed liver. Hence, fiber is essential for beautiful, radiant skin.

Fruits and Vegetables: Ideal Nutrient Sources

| Treasure Trove of Nutrients |
A growing body of research shows that fruits and vegetables are critical to promoting good health. They contain disease-fighting nutrients such as phytochemicals and antioxidants, plus essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help protect you from chronic diseases.

These substances and compounds from fruits and vegetables play a variety of roles in strengthening the immune system. One good example is indole-3-carbinol, found in broccoli, cabbage and kale. Experimental studies show that 3,3’-diindolylmethane, a chemical produced from indole-3-carbinol when these vegetables are digested, may increase cytokines and white blood cells. It may also induce macrophages to release more substances to kill bacteria and tumor cells.

| Wholesome and Safe |
Experts have long advised that we should obtain the variety of nutrients we need from our diet, not vitamin supplements, because not all nutrients available in plant foods can be mimicked in a lab and bottled into pills. Moreover, large doses of vitamins and minerals from these pills could cause adverse side effects such as diarrhea, slowed immune function, and even internal bleeding.

Combined with a low-calorie, high-fiber diet and regular exercise, these plant foods may help you to enjoy effective weight loss. So, include them in your weight control regimen today!