There is no magical recipe for losing weight. It’s a game of great complexity and requires not only determination, but a fair amount of foreknowledge. Although workouts have a very important role in achieving a better physique, the food you’re consuming is just as important, some would say more important factor in your endeavour. So, which are the foods that serve this purpose the best?
Nowadays, there are many scientific studies pointing out the existence of foods which are fairly efficient in making your body leaner. They are not magical foods by any means. What makes them good weight loss foods is the fact that they are nutritionally dense, often high in protein, high in fiber, they keep you satiated longer etc.
The 21 best weight loss foods
Take a look at this list of 21 best weight loss foods which you can include in your diet for achieving better and faster results. If you haven’t tried them yet, now is the time. Coupled with the right workout plan, they can transform your flabby belly into a firm one.
Selling you salmon for your regular diet is probably the easiest task one can have. Not only that it’s healthy, it also abounds with good old omega-3 fatty acids.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study proving that consuming omega-3 supplement on daily bases while performing just two hours of cardio exercises during the week can lead to reduction of body-fat percentage, and at the same time lower triglyceride levels and raise good cholesterol levels.
In contrast, the same exercise regimen backed up by sunflower oil poor in omega-3, hardly yields any results in terms of losing fat. Not only is the salmon full of omega-3 fatty acids, it is also an excellent source high-quality protein. All things considered, you’ll probably never find such an ideal supplement to your weight loss adventure.
Apples are not only good for your health, they are also fantastic to eat on a weight loss diet. Apples contain polyphenol compounds, located mostly in the peel. With their ability to alter compounds involved in fat metabolism, they can positively affect body fat. Polyphenol compounds can increase levels of adiponectin, which is involved in such processes as regulation of energy, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and insulin sensitivity.
Obese people usually have low levels of adiponectin, and are prone to insulin resistance, inflammations, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure. Although it is still unclear how many apples you need to eat in order they have an effect, it’s a most certain sure that they make a good supplement to your dietary habit. This argument is also backed up by a Harvard study which discovered that the more apples and pears you eat, the more weight you lose. In fact, in the rank of fruits, apples come second only to berries.
3. HOT AND SPICY FOODS
Increasing the spiciness of your food can also help you to melt some fat off your body. Chili peppers, for example, are full of capsaicin. This compound is responsible for their fiery flavor, and also is considered as one of the best remedies for obesity. It awakens your metabolism and speeds up fat burning. Capsaicin also keeps you satiated, thus improving the calorie control.
4. GREEN TEA
Technically this is not a food, but we can safely put green tea on the best weight loss foods list because of its properties. The fat-burning powers of this ancient beverage came to prominence in modern times.
A recently conducted study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition divided the participants into two groups. The rate of fat oxidation during exercise in the group receiving caffeine-free green tea extract was 25 percent higher than the group provided with a placebo. Furthermore, after a month of receiving the supplement, the participant saw a dramatic drop of body fat levels.
In your case, you don’t need to seek the supplement. You can get all the good nutrients directly from the plant. It has a high concentration of catechin-polyphenols, which are responsible for its health properties. Drinking green tea is a good way to stay hydrated and burn fat at the same time. Just beware that the casein protein found in milk may hinder the potency of the antioxidants found in tea. That is why you should consume green tea plain, without milk.
The health benefits of blueberries are innumerable. Yet, it may come as a surprise that they are good for pronouncing your abs. In addition to all the other healthy nutrients, these miniature health bombs are also full of pterostilbene, an antioxidant said to be efficient in purging the fats from your system, by stimulating fat oxidation and hindering the activity of enzymes responsible for their storage.
In addition, just as the previously mentioned cauliflower, increasing the intake of berries may reduce the weight gain in the long run.
6. OLIVE OIL
If you really want to reduce your body fat, it is essential that you find a way to make the fats you introduce in your body work harder. From this point, olive oil is a perfect tool to use in your weight loss strategy. According to a recent study conducted in Italy – surprise, surprise! – the oleic acid present in olive oil, increases the levels of the compound oleoylethanolamide, which greatly reduces the feeling of hunger. Its presence in the body can result in lowering the caloric intake over the following 24 hours.
Another interesting fact is that lean people are more sensitive to the effects of oleic acid. Of course, when cooking, you can use the cheaper olive oil, which has a higher smoke point, but if you really want to exploit its health benefits, when dressing salads or sauces, which is full of antioxidants.
When you were a child you’ve probably dreamt that one day there’ll be a law against eating these foul bland “food excuses”. But now that you’ve grown up, you should probably know that having beans on your menu is one of the most certain musts. They are a super source of much needed nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Moreover, according to a recent study, a bean-based diet abounding in fiber, is just as effective in losing weight as lower-carbohydrate diet, yet much more effective in improving the levels of cholesterol. Additionally, another investigation conducted by University of Minnesota observed that eating bean-based meal rich in fiber is just as satiating as eating a beef meal. By eating beans instead of beef you significantly cut down calories. One serving of beans contains just 109 calories in half a cup, as opposed to the 246 calories in 3 ounces of beef.
Eggs can provide many health benefits when eaten as a part of a well balanced diet. Studies suggest that consuming eggs can also help you lose weight. Eggs are high in quality protein not very high in calories (78 calories in a boiled egg).
A typical breakfast of 3 boiled eggs and some vegetables has only around 300 calories, but the protein in the egg white and fats in the yolk will keep you satiated for a few hours, easily. Furthermore, it’s been proven that protein increases metabolism as it’s the slowest digesting macronutrient. Read more why eggs are an amazing weight loss food.
Sounds weird for chocolate to be on this “best weight loss foods” list, but chocolate is ideal food for cheating your diet. This is based on a study conducted by the Archives of Internal Medicine which followed the effect of chocolate and exercising on 1.000 subjects. According to their findings the subject consuming more frequently chocolate, showed a tendency to have lower BMI then those who didn’t.
How exactly does this work? According to the study, this property of chocolate is due to its flavonoid antioxidants, which affect the metabolism by reducing fat depositing. It has been demonstrated that epicatechin derived from cocoa can stimulate the fat burning process, thus increasing weight loss. Again, the key is in moderation. Although larger quantities can have adverse effects on your weight, an ounce of chocolate with at least 60 percent cocoa, may do you a world of good.
Nuts make a great ally in the battle against obesity. According to a study conducted by Loma Linda University in California there is strong evidence that by including tree nuts – pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts – in your diet, you can greatly trim down the risk of obesity. Again, this may sound as controversial, having in mind that nuts are full of calories.
Yet, there is another property that makes them ideal for our diet. Nut, particularly pistachios, contain a mix of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, which satiates the body and prevent you from consuming other foods with high caloric value and less nutrients. Additionally, pistachios have the lowest level of calories among the nuts.
Mushrooms are fantastic meat supplement. Not only they are tasty, but also low in calories. A study published in the Journal of Food Science proposes that replacing 80 percent of ground beef with mushrooms can do wanders for your meal both in terms of taste and health benefits.
Adding mushrooms to the beef dish can boost its flavour, and significantly reduces the caloric levels, enhancing the levels of vitamin D, potassium and vitamins B. They offer you a tasty way to cut down on calories and reduce your waistline. You can add mushrooms to many dishes like burgers, pasta meat sauce, taco filling.
12. SPLIT PEAS
Split peas are a great source of fiber. A 1/4 of cup contains as many as 13 grams of fiber. Why is this so important? Fiber-packed food reduce hunger, improve the blood-sugar levels, and increase the presence of good bacteria in our digestive system. Additionally, split peas also have numerous vitally important vitamins and minerals. Also, pea protein powder is considered as one of the most beneficial proteins powders in stores. This plant protein powder is most usually made of yellow split peas, and contains anabolic amino acids.
13. CAULIFLOWER, BROCCOLI, KALE, BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Further on our “weight loss foods” list we have four different plants, and we’ll treat them as one unit, because of their similar properties.
A study conducted by researchers of Harvard University, which monitored the dietary habits and changes in body composition of more than 130.000 subjects for more than twenty years have brought to attention that increasing the intake non-starchy vegetables with lower glycemic-index (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale) is related to lower weight gain.
They are packed with nutrients, and have high concentration of fiber, which means that they can easily satisfy your hunger without imputing too much calories and with no negative effects on the blood sugar level. In contrast, vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas are less satiating. You can make most of these vegetables by including them in your everyday diet, two times a day. They are easy to prepare. Cut the cauliflower, for example, in small chunks and season them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast them for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees.
14. FROZEN BANANA
Adding blended frozen bananas in protein shakes make them thicker are creamy, thus increasing their volume and replenishing carbs in your body after an exhausting workout. A study conducted at Purdue University focused on comparing blended drinks with identical volume and caloric values, but with different viscosity.
According to the findings, increasing the viscosity of the drink makes it more efficient. Thick beverages act similarly as solid food when introduced into the stomach by stretching it, and remaining inside longer than thinner beverages. Freezing bananas is very easy. After peeling them, slice the fruit into thirds, and place them in the freezer on a baking sheet so that they won’t stick together. After they are frozen, put them in a bag and return them in the freezer.
Once upon a time, potatoes were considered the worst enemy to waistline. However, it turned out that their high concentration of resistant starch make them perfect in maintaining slim figure. Resistant starch is a form of fiber. It tends to take considerable space when introduced in our digestive system, creating an illusion of fullness.
And, as it’s resistant to digestion, it can go in and out of our system without entering the bloodstream. This reduces the chance to be transformed into body fat as the other carbohydrates. However, this should not be taken for granted and applied to every potato meal. It turns out that resistant starch in cooked foods is created with cooling.
By cooking the starch you set off its ability to absorb water during the cooling process.Only by eating your potatoes cold you fully take advantage of their ability to add resistant starch to your diet. This same principle also applies to beans, corn, lentils, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice.
16. STEEL-CUT OATMEAL
One of the greatest problems of any diet is empty stomach. Oatmeal can play a huge role in overcoming this. In 2015, researchers at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center presented a study which found that consuming oatmeal for breakfast increases the satiety, result in 31 percent reduction in consuming calories at next meal, as opposed to eating a bowl of corn flakes with the same amount of calories. Oat is full of soluble fiber perfect for satisfying your hunger and avoiding other foods richer in calories.
The only downside is that cooking oat meal can be time-consuming and annoying in the morning. You can cheat this problem by soaking the oats in water overnight. This can reduce cooking time by half.
17. CHIA SEEDS
Chia seeds are perfect weapon for fighting off munchies and cravings. They abound in soluble fiber, which swells in your stomach. In this way they create an illusion of fullness, and keeps you off the temptations of snacks. Because of this, chia seeds are now so popular supplement to healthy drinks. Mixing them in the liquids causes them to swell, thus making the beverage thicker. Chia seeds can be also turned into gel used instead of eggs as binding agent in pancakes and other baked items.
18. GROUND BEEF AND OTHER MEATS
Eating meat is a great way to include large amounts of protein in your diet, which can be very effective way to lose fat. In addition to its ability to increase lean body mass, protein food also contributes to the fat burning process due to its high thermic effect.
The thermic effect of food is, in other words, the amount of calories spent in the process of chewing, digesting, absorbing, transporting, and storing the consumed food. The thermic effect of protein is as high as 35 percent, which translates into 35 percent of burned protein calories during the digestion process. As opposed to this, the thermic effect of fats and carbohydrates is only 5 to 15 percents. Consequently, less calories are stored in your body when consuming proteins with same caloric value per gram as carbohydrates.
19. GREEK YOGURT
In many cases when people embark on their weight loss journey, they first eliminate dairy from that diet. This is a common misconception. It has been determined that with daily exercises and following a dairy-based diet full of proteins but low on calories, you can gain leaner body then when consuming the same number of calories, but with not as many protein and dairy.
This beneficial protein is especially present in Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is an ideal snack. Being full of proteins it satisfies your hunger, keeping you satiated longer than its non-dairy counterpart with equal calorie value. Avoid consuming flavored yogurt, since it contains sugar.
20. SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Also known as vegetable spaghetti. This meal is low on carbohydrates and perfect replacement for pasta. After cooking the squash, you can pull its flesh apart into strands with striking resemblance to noodles. They have a slightly nutty taste, and at the same time you avoid excessive intake of carbohydrates and calories. Spaghetti squash are easy to prepare.
Just slice them in halves, taking out all the seeds. Place them in microwave with the peal up, and cover them with paper towel allowing them breathing space. Turn the microwave on high and cook them for 8-12 minutes. The flesh should become very tender. Leave them to cool for couple of minutes, and use a fork to scrape out the flesh.
21. SPROUTED BREAD
Sprouted breads have many advantages over their regular counterparts when it comes to losing weight. Their glycemic index is substantially lower than that of the whole-grain breads, resulting in slower release of carbohydrate energy. Another advantage is the presence of seeds and nuts, which take their health properties to a different level.