You need certain foods in your diet to complete the weight loss process. You will eliminate fat and stay healthy at the same time. There is a reason why you need them in your diet and you need to read here why every food is important.
When people hear the word diet, the first thing that comes to their minds is depriving themselves of certain foods (e.g. low calorie or low carb diet plans) but that shouldn’t be the mindset.
When you compare this to other fruits like apples that are high in sugar (particularly fructose), avocados have very low sugar content.
Based on a study done by the Nutrition Journal, people who eat half a fresh avocado decreased their desire to eat by 40% for a few hours.
Avocado can also replace store bought pre-workout supplements because it is rich in monounsaturated fat which is proven to give you an energy boost for a better workout and keep your metabolism going even after you leave the gym
- Beans and Legumes
Some of the best weight loss foods are beans and legumes, which combine high protein and fiber at the same time. This is what makes it great for moderating or losing weight because unlike dietary sugar that goes through the digestive track fairly quickly, protein and fiber goes in at a slower pace that leaves you with a full feeling even hours after a meal. The slower pace also helps regulate blood sugar balance – preventing hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. It also benefits the digestive tract by optimizing the balance of micro-organisms.
Consuming beans increases the production of cholecystokinin, known to be an appetite suppressant
Eating berries is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth minus the guilt. Just make sure not to add any sugars in them or eat blueberry shortcake and think it’s healthy – that’s called a dessert. Blueberries, in particular, are a rich source of antioxidants like vitamin K, C and A. Compared to other fruits, these have relatively low calorie and sugar content.
- Pear and Apple
Pear and apple are only a handful of fruits that have low calories and high fiber. A small pear eaten whole has only 86 calories which is less than 5% of the recommended calorie allowance for a healthy diet. A medium apple only has 95 calories, around 5% of the recommended healthy calorie intake. Since it is a rich source of dietary fiber, apples and pears will make you feel full without eating too much of it.
In a study done of 49 women between 30 to 50 years old that where give either 3 apples or pears or oat cookies to go with their usual diets to see how it would affect their weight.
After a 10 week period, the women who ate either apples or pears lost weight while the women who ate oat cookies did not.
To get all these benefits, you’ll have to eat these two fruits whole.
Pear or apple juice does not count because it will not have the dietary fiber that is important in filling up the gut and suppressing appetite.
If you want to literally burn fat, grapefruit is one of the best weight loss foods around. It does this several ways. First, it stimulates the production of cholecystokinin, a known hunger suppressant. Second, grapefruit is known as a “negative calorie” food which means it actually takes more calories to digest this fruit than it contains (grapefruit has 85 calories). Third, grapefruit actually lowers insulin levels of the body, which prevents our body from storing fat.
To get the full benefit from grapefruit, you need to eat it whole. Bodybuilder.com recommends incorporating half a grapefruit during breakfast and lunch.
A warning though for people taking medication, as this fruit might not interact well with these drugs. Next best option would be buying juice but don’t buy the “artificially sweetened” variety as these contain lots of sugar.
- Whole Grain
There is massive debate on whether or not whole grains is beneficial to your health, here’s a great article from Built Lean that sheds light on this controversial topic.
Despite the negative press that whole grain has gotten, science has confirmed its health benefits if you eat it in moderation and the right kind i.e. not refined, white bread.
Researchers in Wake Forrest University say that people who consume 2.5 servings a day reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 21%.
Some of the best sources of whole grain include quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, barley, whole oats, wild rice, sorghum and whole grain cord.
It would be best to avoid refine grains because the refining process removes the bran and germ – its most nutritious components.
Look for the label “whole grain” on the product before buying it. Foods with the label “multi-grain”, “stone ground”, “cracked wheat”, “bran”, “seven grain” “100% wheat” aren’t necessarily whole grain.
Salmon is a rich source of nutrients that indirectly help in regulating weight.
This nutrient dense fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (4,023mg per 178 grams of salmon) otherwise known as brain food as it boosts the function of the brain and improves our mood.
Omega-3 helps reduce inflammation and helps aid in digestion. Better digestion = better weight regulation = less chance of obesity or metabolic disease.
New studies have shown that salmon also contains proteins and amino acids that affect insulin effectiveness and the inflammation of the digestive tract.
Salmon also is a great source of iodine which helps improve the function of the thyroid gland – this is critical in keeping our metabolism at optimal levels
Grapes are rich in phytonutrients like phenols and polyphenol, the later has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties that prevent obesity causing inflammation and metabolic diseases.
Studies by the American Diabetes Association reported that polyphenol content in grape also can improve insulin sensitivity and help prevent fructose-induced oxidative stress.
The key here is portion size, since grapes have a high calorie and fructose content eating too much have the opposite effect, it would be best to limit consumption to around 1 to 1.5 cups of grapes per day.
We would recommend eating this whole and not consuming it in liquid form.
While you can eat grapes as is, that would be quite boring.
- Sweet Potato
Sweet potato’s inherent natural sweetness make it a staple in a lot of desserts and juices. Though it’s also one of the best weight loss foods around.
In its pure form, it is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients that benefits our eyesight, heart and digestive system.
Compared to its close relative the potato, sweet potato has a lower Glycemic Index which measures how fast it releases sugar into the bloodstream.
While sweet potato is a root crop that is starchy, it can potentially help improve blood sugar regulation because it is rich in dietary fiber which steadies the pace of digestion – enough time for the starches to be converted inside the digestive tract into simple sugars.
To maximize the blood sugar regulating properties of sweet potato, boiling has been proven to be the best option in terms of cooking this root crop.
- Green Tea
It may be one of the best weight loss foods, but this drink will do just that – burn fat.
Green tea is a staple in Asian cuisine and it’s a big reason why you don’t see a lot of obese Japanese and Chinese people.
It contains two substances that help in weight loss – caffeine and EGCG or Epigallocatechin gallate.
Green tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee (24 to 40mg / cup vs 100 to 200mg) but it is still enough to burn fat and improve aerobic performance.
EGCG is an antioxidant found in green tea that burns fat by increasing the amount of norepinephrine, a hormone that breaks down fat cells and converts it into energy
When you talk about nutritious fruits, pomegranate has got to rank high on the list.
This sweet tasting fruit is rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, Folate and Potassium. It also helps with digestion thanks to its relatively high fiber content.
People who like to work out should consider adding pomegranate to their pre-workout diet as this is rich in dietary nitrates that improves blood flow and improve exercise performance.
Pomegranate can be eaten whole (the outer shell is not edible but the seeds inside are), consumed in juice form or as an extract supplement.
Remember when you’re buying pomegranate juice avoid ones with artificial sugars because of the high fructose content.
In the world of nutrition science, egg has got to be one of the most controversial foods. You’d think popular weight loss foods wouldn’t be so high in cholesterol. But hear us out.
To put it in perspective, a medium egg has around 161 mg of cholesterol, a little over half of USDA’s recommended dosage of around 300 mg per day.
While eggs do have high cholesterol content but that doesn’t necessarily affect our cholesterol levels. Our liver actually produces more cholesterol and when we eat eggs it lowers the liver’s production of cholesterol so that evens out things.
High cholesterol aside, eggs is a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids (or healthy fat) and has low carbohydrate and calorie content.
In studies done like this one on 30 overweight women, those who ate egg instead of bagel experienced an increased satiety and ate less for the next 36 hours
A hot bowl of soup that contains the right mixture of ingredients can be a nutritious and filling alternative to other types of cooked food.
Research has shown that by adding water to food, it lowers the energy density which helps you feel fuller and stave off hunger pangs for longer periods of time.
Now not all soups are created equal, avoid soups with cheese or cream based ones as these are high in calories.
- Leafy Greens
One of the most nutritious meals you can eat is a bowl full of leafy greens sprinkled with some cherry tomatoes and cottage cheese.
Greens such as kale, spinach, and romaine lettuce are known for their rich nutrient and fiber content while being low in carbohydrates and calories.
Leafy greens one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet because it has a lower energy density (it simply means it has lower calories), which means you can eat more without much risk of gaining weight, it helps you feel fuller
- Apple Cider Vinegar
If you love to eat salad, instead of using a thousand island dressing, try using an apple cider vinegar based vinaigrette instead.
Or you could dilute it in water.
It has a lot less calories and it is rich in acetic acid that is found to suppress body fat accumulation (at least on animals) in one study.
Acetic acid that is abundant in apple cider vinegar to lower postprandial glycemia thus improving insulin sensitivity on people who have type-2 diabetes.
Nuts in general are a rich source of healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids), protein and fiber. They’re fantastic weight loss foods, but only if you eat the right ones.
But not all nuts are created equal – almonds, cashews, and pistachios contain the least amount of calories.
Macadamia and pecans contain the most calories so avoid these if you want to lose weight.
Almonds in particular are proven to help in weight loss, in a study done on 65 overweight adults (70% have type-2 diabetes), the group that at a 3 ounce almond supplement in addition to the 1,000 calorie/day liquid diet lost 7% more in terms of body weight compared to the other group that had a supplement of complex carbohydates
- Lean Beef
Not all meat is bad. Beef in particular has been blamed for health problems like coronary heart, stroke and cardiovascular disease but studies have shown otherwise.
It has gotten such a bad reputation that people have been avoiding it like a plague.
The truth is adding beef in your diet is one way to help you lose weight because of its protein content.
Studies have shown that just by adding protein to your diet, cravings can be reduced by up to 60%.
Those cravings for can lead to unhealthy snacks binges that usually happen late at night.
Lean beef in particular is a good source of protein, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, Niacin and Phosphorus .
When buying meat, choose unprocessed, grass-fed, lean meat because these are the ones that have high nutrition content when you compare it to other types of beef.
Based on studies, processed meat does increase the risk of heart disease so it would be best to avoid it
- Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is one of the best sources of protein. This is a big reason why chicken breast is a staple of a lot of weight loss diets.
Research has proven that just by adding protein, appetite will be suppressed while increasing metabolism. This is the perfect one-two punch in any weight loss program.
The way you cook one of the world’s most popular weight loss foods is important! So try to avoid deep-frying it because it adds to the calorie content.
- Plain Greek Yogurt
Any weight loss meal plan should include Greek yogurt.
This is a healthier alternative to traditional yogurt because it has less sodium, sugar and carbohydrates plus it has a tiny bit more protein.
Less carbohydrates means lower lactose content which could benefit people who are lactose sensitive.
Yogurt in general is a rich source of probiotics, a key element in our digestive health that keeps bad bacteria in check.
A healthy gut = healthy body.
Important Tidbit: Make sure to choose plain unflavored and unsweetened Greek yogurt. You can add fruits to sweeten it up naturally or add it to a healthy smoothie recipe.
Aside from adding it to a smoothie or mixing vegetables, there are lots of ways to incorporate Greek Yogurt into dishes.
Lastly, if you’re lactose intolerant then simply opt for unsweetened coconut yogurt, which is a weight loss friendly and high fiber option.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is considered as a “super food” by a lot of experts with good reason.
It is a rich source of fatty acids that boosts brain function, lower blood cholesterol and can potential help reduce seizures on people who suffer from epilepsy.
Even though it has high amounts of saturated fat, these are mostly medium chain triglycerides (or MCT) that are easily digested by the body.
While long chain triglycerides are stored as fat inside the liver, MCTs are immediately converted to energy.
Another benefit of the high fatty acid content in coconut oil is appetite suppression.
This study showed that men who added MCTs into their diet ate significantly less calories less afterwards
- Chia Seeds
Pound for pound, chia seeds are a rich source of nutrition.
It is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein.
Compared to most plants chia seeds has very high protein content. A total of 14% of chia seeds weight is protein. In fact, vegetarians use chia seeds as their protein source instead of meat.
While studies have not proven that chia seeds can help in weight loss, I do believe that its high protein, high fiber and low fat content (most of it is omega-3) will help in any individual who wants to shred pounds.
Chia seeds can be easily mixed into juices, smoothies, cereal, veggies or yogurt to add a contrasting nutty flavor to these dishes.
- Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are one of the brightest nutrition stars we have right now.
Some of the notable characters in this group are arugula, broccoli, Bok choy, collard greens, kale, daikon radish, watercress, radish, turnip and mustard greens.
This vegetable family is rich in “conventional” nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid (important nutrient for pregnant women), carotenoids and fiber while being low in calories and fat.
Per one hundred calories you consume, you’ll get around 25 to 40% of your daily dietary fiber requirement, this not only help with weight loss but also it aids in improving our digestive health
Cinnamon is a spice and has been known for its medicinal uses for centuries (beginning in ancient Egypt).
Science has proven that this antioxidant-rich food fights free radicals in the body and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Indirectly cinnamon can have a positive effect on our weight.
Regular consumption of cinnamon (500mg/day in this study) can have beneficial effects in reducing fasting blood glucose levels, lowering LDL and increasing lean muscle mass.
It helps with our body’s digestion by slowing down carbohydrate digestion inside the digestive tract thus greatly slowing down the amount of glucose that goes into the bloodstream after a meal.
Cinnamon can easily be sprinkled on fruits like apple or smoothies and will give a contrasting flavor to any sweet dish. You can also add cinnamon to honey and water as part of a fasting diet, but I would not recommend doing this.
- Red Pepper
Eating red pepper will literally leave a burning aftertaste in your mouth.
As it turns out, it can also burn fat in your belly.
Chili pepper has one specific ingredient that suppresses appetite and burn fat – capsaicin.
Based on research, consuming capsaicin, a chemical found in chili pepper has been linked to weight loss
Capsaicin is responsible for that burning sensation in our mouth when we eat chili also burns fat through the process called thermogenesis (literally converting food into heat) for more than 20 minutes after consuming it.
However, if you’re used to eating spicy food, it may not be as effective.
Red chili can be eaten whole (if you dare) or added to any dish to add that heat that literally makes you sweat, a perfect meal in my opinion during cold winter months.
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