When it comes to losing weight, there are no miracle pills, quick fixes or magical food items that will melt the fat away. But what if there were certain ‘superfoods’ that could give slimmers a little extra boost?
According to nutritionists, those foods exist.
Here’s a handy guide to 8 of the best superfoods available that not only provide great nutrition but can also help our efforts to become leaner.
Did you know apples are a good source of pectin?
Pectin is the gelatinous fiber that holds plant cells together and is often used in powder form as a thickening agent for jam. I’ll admit, it doesn’t sound very appealing but trust me, pectin is your weight-loss friend; not only does the fiber help you to feel full for longer, but pectin can actually reduce the volume of calories and sugar your body absorbs, especially when ingested just before a meal. Amazing, right?
TIP: Snack on a couple of apples throughout the day or add some chunks to yogurt or salad. For a real weight-loss boost, try eating an apple immediately before lunch and dinner.
These tasty little guys pack in more fat-fighting antioxidants than almost any other fruit. As well incorporating nutrients that benefit the nervous system and brain health, the polyphenol antioxidant present in blueberries also helps to lower cholesterol and guard against chronic disease. And as they’re considered low GI (glycemic index) they can help to regulate blood sugar levels too.
TIP: Grab a handful of blueberries as a snack, sprinkle some over your morning oatmeal or add a few to your salads for a burst of flavor.
Hooray for wild salmon! This awesome fish is your go-to food for high doses of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which help to give your metabolism a kick and burn more fat. Eating oily fish like salmon can also improve brain function, help to prevent arthritis and protect your heart.
Why have we specified wild salmon? Because it’s that gloriously pink, wild meat that’s bursting with all those health-promoting omega-3 fatty acids. Farmed salmon doesn’t provide anywhere near as many nutrients thanks to a diet of genetically modified grains and dead animal parts that leaves the fish sick and the meat looking gray. Because the meat is less appealing that way, manufacturers tend to use chemicals to dye it pink. In short, it’s best to avoid farmed fish whenever you can.
TIP: Enjoy a wild salmon steak or fillet at least once a week, or add flakes to fish cakes or salads to mix things up a bit.
Our final super food in this series is the humble egg. Eggs are great for slimmers because they contain high levels of protein that help to keep us satiated for longer and build lean muscle. They also contain choline, a nutrient present in the yolk that helps to stop fat from being absorbed in the liver.
Speaking of our yellow friend: contrary to popular belief, the dietary cholesterol found in egg yolks isn’t the type that will hike up your blood cholesterol or lead to heart disease – so don’t be scared of eating whole eggs.
TIP: Get your day off to a great start by eating eggs for breakfast. Not only do studies show that those who eat eggs for breakfast stay full for longer, but the International Journal of Obesity reported that a test group eating eggs for breakfast lost 65% more weight than those who kicked off the day with a bagel.
Beans, beans, the wholesome fruit, the more you eat the more you… feel satisfied! I got away with that, right?
The great thing about beans is that they’re low in calories but packed full of both fiber and protein, which are great for making you feel full and promoting lean muscle mass.
Even better, the resistant starch in beans actually reduces the number of calories your body absorbs and creates healthy bacteria that slows digestion and protects your gut. They also help to lower cholesterol and prevent colon cancer.
TIP: Add beans, chickpeas or lentils to your meals at least twice a week. If a side of beans puts you off try hiding them in soup, chili or ratatouille.
I have a crazy fact for you. Are you sitting down? Here it is:
You need to consume fat to reduce fat.
Well, the right kinds, anyway. Monounsaturated fat is definitely the right kind and it’s found in abundance in avocados. As a result, avocados can help you to burn fat faster as well as lower cholesterol and pack in the fiber that helps you to feel satisfied and maintain healthy digestion.
TIP: Add avocado to salads and sandwiches for a healthy and tasty twist. Alternatively, avocado is the perfect partner for salmon – why not make yourself a ‘super meal’?
Ok, so this one isn’t really a food but it’s an awesome ally to weight loss. Why? Because it actually raises metabolic rate and speeds up fat oxidation – and the more you drink the more the benefits are consolidated.
As green tea contains more of those helpful antioxidants, it can help to regulate blood sugar and prevent disease whilst aiding with digestion and heart health. What’s more, drinking green tea throughout the day will trick your body into thinking it’s satisfied, meaning you snack less.
TIP: Experts recommend drinking five cups a day to see real benefits, but just be aware of your caffeine intake. Start with one or two and test your mileage.
Broccoli is the teacher’s pet of vegetables. Not only is it low in calories, but it’s also overflowing with nutrients – vitamins A and C that boost the immune system and vitamin B6 for a healthy heart and brain. What’s more, it contains vitamin K that helps to ferry calcium to your bones and potassium that helps to preserve lean muscle mass. And like all cruciferous vegetables, it provides antioxidants that detoxify cell-damaging chemicals in your body and protect against cancer.
And as if that isn’t enough, Broccoli is also high in fiber, which keeps you satisfied for longer, helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and gives you energy – everything you look for in food when you’re trying to lose weight.
TIP: Steam your broccoli for 4 minutes or less to retain those all-important superfood nutrients, or eat them raw as crudités.
So there you have it – 8 superfoods for super-charged health and weight loss. Isn’t it great to focus on all the tasty foods you CAN eat, rather than those you can’t?
Now, it’s over to you – which superfoods do you swear by?
If you’re trying to lose weight, it makes sense to regularly track your progress so you can see what works and what doesn’t, and stay motivated. For best results, track your weight, body measurements, body fat percentage and progress photos – why not check out the Progress iOS app on the App Store?