It’s time for a new slim-down mantra: Eat more to weigh less. No joke! The right foods help you drop pounds by revving up your calorie burn and curbing cravings.
My biggest concern is how to lose weigh without doing a 180-change in my life. There are definitely things that I am willing to (and have already) changed about myself to take the right steps towards healthier living, but I don’t want to give up meat/dairy/sweets/starches just to lose a few pounds. Instead, I want to focus on how to substitute the foods that I really want (but are unhealthy) with things that I’ve yet to try (that may be equally delicious, but significantly healthier for me).
In my pursuit of (food) happiness, I stumbled across AOL Health’s list of the top 20 superfoods to promote weight loss. What’s even more exciting about this list is that AOL has so kindly given small suggestions on just how to eat these foods – so we won’t overdo it, or do it the wrong way:
Potatoes are great weight loss foods. Believe it or not, potatoes contain only 97 calories; sweet potatoes only 120. You can burn up to 25 percent more fat following a meal containing potatoes due to its content of fat-resistant starch. In addition, eating a single sweet potato offers eight times the vitamin A needed daily to effectively boost the immune system and fight cancer.
Apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that transforms into a adhesive gel-like substance when eaten, binding to simple sugars, slowing them from being absorbed into the bloodstream and being stored as fat. A recent study from the American College of Nutrition revealed that eating an apple before meals can curb appetite up to 4 hours. Apples are also full of fiber which keeps the stomach felling full longer, and they require a lot of chewing so it seems more food is eaten than truly is.
Researchers aren’t clear as to exactly why it works, but scientists discovered people who eat half a grapefruit three times a day can lose up to 4 pounds in 12 weeks, with no other changes to their diet or lifestyle. It’s believed that the acidity in grapefruit slows digestion, helping the stomach to feel fuller longer. Fruits high in vitamin C like grapefruit are known to liquefy body fat so it is easily flushed out of the body.
Eating slowly helps to eat less, as it’s easier to recognize the body’s satiety signal. Peeling and sectioning an orange takes time and concentration, forcing the focus to the food so it can be thoroughly enjoyed. Bonus: a small orange only has 45 calories in comparison to 1 cup orange juice with 120 calories.
Omega-3 fatty acids can alter the body’s levels of leptin, a hormone that promotes satiety. Salmon is a great source for omega-3 fatty acids. Dieters who eat salmon over other seafood or fish choices feel fuller and more satisfied up to two hours later.
While avocados are higher in fat than most weight loss foods, most of the fat is monounsaturated – the “good” kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels by up to 22 percent. Avocados also contain mannoheptulose, a carbohydrate that lowers insulin secretion, making it easier to loss weight. More than 50 percent of the fiber, and 40 percent of the folate you need daily can be found in one avocado.
Garlic contains a compound known as allicin. It is a potent anti-inflammatory, and has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. To aid in weight loss, garlic is also a strong diuretic that helps flush excess water weight and certain toxins from the body.
Peppers such as jalapenos, habaneras, and chilies contain a chemical called capsaicin, which not only gives peppers their flavor but also speeds up heart rate, and boosts metabolism. Peppers are good for spicing up meals and snacks and come in both fresh and dried forms. Eating one spicy meal per day can boost metabolism up to 25 percent, and this boost can last up to three hours after the meal is finished.
Beans, and other legumes, are not only high in potassium, which helps fight hypertension, but they are high in protein and soluble fiber. The fiber in beans helps to stabilize and maintain blood sugar levels, and keeps the feeling of fullness longer.
Full of powerful antioxidants, blueberries help fight disease, increase energy, promote brain health, and their natural sweetness makes a wonderful treat for anyone trying to lose weight. Blueberries are naturally low-fat, low-calorie, and high in fiber, and can be easily added to many meals or snacks.
The health benefits of eggs are many. When losing weight, eating eggs offers a dose of protein that will ward off cravings and keep those who eat them feeling full longer, especially when eaten for breakfast. Those who eat eggs for breakfast are less likely to overeat the rest of the day.
Research shows that snacking in particular is often the result of mistaking thirst for hunger; drinking an adequate amount of water prevents fat from being stored in your body, as it decreases the stress on the kidneys and liver; water suppresses appetite by offering a feeling of fullness; water has zero calories, and Studies show that drinking ice cold water actually helps you burn calories, as your body brings that ice water to body temperature.
In addition to being high in fiber, spinach is very low in calories and is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, magnesium, and iron, as well as other antioxidants. One half cup cooked spinach has 21 calories and over 4 grams of fiber. Another health benefit of spinach is that it contains both zeaxanthin and lutein, which have been shown to boost the immune system and promote healthy eyes.
True, limiting red meat is good for you health. However, the protein gained from eating lean beef, or other lean red meats helps maintain muscle mass, especially when losing weight. In addition, lean beef helps boost metabolism as it requires more calories to digest proteins than either fat or carbohydrates.
15. Low-fat Milk or Yogurt
Recent studies show that diary foods such as low-fat milk and yogurt, breakdown fat cells faster. These calcium-rich foods also lower cortisol production. Low-fat milk or yogurt contains high quality proteins that can suppress appetite. Women who consume low-fat milk or yogurt while trying to lose weight, lost up to 40 percent more than those who didn’t.