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Secret Summer Diet Foods

Slim down by enjoying these low-calorie fruits of summer.

Tomatoes and Peppers for Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Lycopene continued...

Peppers also have plenty of vitamin C, even more than tomatoes. Just a half cup of the green, yellow, or red varieties have more than 230% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Keep some pepper strips on hand for a tasty calorie-controlled snack. A half cup of fresh peppers has only 20 calories.

Nothing says summer like the colorful array of berries that start showing up in your produce section at the grocery store. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries satisfy your sweet tooth and are rich in nutritional bonuses, such as vitamin C. Strawberries have the most vitamin C of any member of the berry family.

Andrea Dunn, RD, LD, of The Cleveland Clinic, says, "Berries are rich in a substance called ellagic acid, which acts as an antioxidant, helps the body deactivate specific carcinogens, and slows the reproduction of cancer cells. Berries may also help prevent urinary tract infections."

Abercrombie adds, "Berries are a good source of fiber, which in turn help in lowering cholesterol." She also notes that studies with blueberries show they can help improve memory.

Berries in general are convenient to eat, tasty, and easily eaten by themselves or mixed with yogurt for smoothies. Their per-serving calorie count can be as low as 45 calories. You can cook them, too, though that tends to break down the antioxidants. A "cool" way to preserve them? Pop them into the freezer, and eat them frozen for a refreshing snack.

Yogurt for Calcium and Protein

Not so long ago, yogurt was considered something only health food junkies ate. Now, it is a dietary staple for many who enjoy the taste, convenience, low calories, and, yes, health benefits.

Yogurt can even help you slim down, according to recent studies showing a low-calorie diet that includes three servings of dairy a day can help promote weight loss. Orlansky says yogurt is very appealing to those wanting to lose weight because of the protein/carbohydrate combination it offers.

"These nutrient combinations can help stave off hunger," she explains, adding that, "Yogurt contains about 30% of the recommended daily value in calcium and should be added to the diet since most American adults are not drinking milk."

Yogurt is made by curdling milk with purified cultures. That means that in addition to protein and calcium, it is high in live active organisms called probiotics. These can boost your immunity, prevent yeast infections, and keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy.

Flavored, plain, or low fat, you can eat yogurt as a snack or as the protein source at a meal. Yogurts make a great dip for fruits and vegetables and a delicious dessert topping instead of ice cream. For the best of smart and tasty eating, combine low-fat yogurt and fresh berries for a summer smoothie.

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