Top 20 superfoods for weight loss
There are a lot of foods out there today that can make you gain weight – particularly fast foods high in carbohydrates. But there are some foods that can also boost your metabolism and help you feel better and may even assist you to lose weight. These beneficial foods we call “superfoods”.
Here are ten of the top superfoods that may assist in weight loss:
An apple a day can help keep weight gain at bay. People who ate an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack. Plus, the antioxidants in apples may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an “apple shape.” Apples are the ideal on-the-go low-calorie snack.
Beef has a reputation for being a diet buster, but eating it may help you peel off pounds. Try to consume local organic beef. It’s healthier for you and the environment.
Dig in to eggs, yolks and all: They won’t harm your heart, but they can help you trim inches. Omelets and scrambles are obvious choices, but if you can’t cook before work, bake a frittata on Sunday; chill it and heat up slices for up to a week.
This green has been buzzy lately. One raw chopped cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, as well as a hearty helping of iron and calcium. Mix chopped raw kale into cooked black beans. Or slice kale into thin strips, sauté it with vegetable broth and top with orange slices.
All oats are healthful, but the steel-cut and rolled varieties (which are minimally processed) have up to 5 grams of fiber per serving, making them the most filling choice. Instant oats contain 3 to 4 grams per serving. Instead of using breadcrumbs, add oats to meat loaf—about 1 cup for a recipe that serves eight.
Lentils are a bona fide belly flattener. Eating lentils helps prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to create excess fat, especially in the abdominal area. There are many varieties of lentils, but red and yellow cook fastest (in about 15 to 20 minutes). Add cooked lentils to pasta sauce for a heartier dish. Their mild flavor blends right in, and because they’re high in protein, you can skip meat altogether.
These chewy, tart berries have a hunger-curbing edge over other fruit: 18 amino acids, which make them a surprising source of protein. Snack on them mid-afternoon to stay satisfied until dinner. The calorie cost? Only 35 per tablespoon. Mix 1/4 cup of the dried berries (from health food stores) with 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts for a nourishing trail mix. Or for dessert, pour 1/4 cup boiling water into a bowl with 2 tbsp dried berries; let sit 10 minutes. Drain, then spoon over 1/2 cup low fat frozen yogurt.
8. Wild salmon
Not only do fish fats keep your heart healthy, but they shrink your waist, too. Omega-3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity—which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns. Opt for wild salmon; it may contain fewer pollutants. Season a fillet with salt and pepper, then cook it in a hot pan with 2 tsp oil for 1 to 3 minutes on each side.
All berries are good for you, but those with a blue hue are among the best of the bunch. They have the highest antioxidant level of all commonly consumed fruit. They also deliver 3.6 grams of fiber per cup. Instead of topping your cereal with fruit, fill your bowl with blueberries, then sprinkle cereal on top and add milk or yogurt.
One reason to spice up your meals: You’ll crank up your metabolism. A compound in chiles called capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, meaning it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chiles. Stuff chiles with cooked quinoa and marinara sauce, then roast them. To mellow a chile’s heat, grill it until it’s almost black, peel off charred skin and puree the flesh. Add the puree to pasta sauces for a one-alarm kick. Or stir red pepper flakes into any dish you enjoy.
11. Almond butter
Adding this spread may lower bread's glycemic index (a measure of a food's effect on blood sugar). A study from the University of Toronto found that people who ate almonds with white bread didn't experience the same blood sugar surges as those who ate only the slice. Try it for a change from peanut butter in sandwiches, or make a veggie dip: Mix 1 tbsp almond butter with 2 tbsp fat-free plain yogurt. Or add a dollop to oatmeal for flavor and protein.
The juice gets all the hype for being healthy, but pomegranate seeds deserve their own spotlight. In addition to being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, they're low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet. Pop the raw seeds on their own (many grocery stores sell them pre-shucked) as a snack at your desk. Use them in salads instead of nuts. They're especially delicious on raw baby spinach with lemon-poppy seed dressing. For another take on the seeds, use our easy recipe for sweet and spicy pomegranate salsa.
13. Buckwheat pasta
Swap plain noodles for this hearty variety; you'll slip into your favorite jeans in no time. Buckwheat is high in fiber and, unlike most carbs, contains protein, so it's harder to overeat buckwheat pasta than the regular stuff. Cook this pasta as you do rice: Simmer it, covered, over low heat. For a light meal, toss cooked buckwheat pasta with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and onions.
Dietitians often refer to plain yogurt as the perfect food, and for good reason: With its trifecta of carbohydrates, protein and fat, it can stave off hunger by keeping blood sugar levels steady. Use low fat plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise in chicken or potato salad, or top a baked potato with a bit of yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice. You'll save 4.7 grams of fat per tablespoon. Look for Greek yogurt, which has more protein than other versions.
Curbing hunger is as easy as piling your plate with this whole grain. It packs both fiber (2.6 grams per 1/2 cup) and protein, a stellar nutrient combo that can keep you satisfied for hours. Serve quinoa instead of rice with stir-fries, or try this take on a scrumptious hot breakfast: Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup orange juice for 15 minutes. Top with 1 tbsp each of raisins and chopped walnuts.
These tiny fish are the unsung stars of the sea. They are high in protein and loaded with omega-3s, which also help the body maintain muscle. And they're low in mercury and high in calcium, making them a smart fish pick for pregnant women. If the flavor doesn't appeal to you, soak them in milk for an hour; it will remove any trace of fishiness. Use sardines in recipes you like that call for anchovies, including Caesar salad and stuffing. Or make a sardine melt: Toss whole sardines with chopped onions, fresh herbs and diced bell peppers. Put the mixture on top of a slice of pumpernickel or rye bread, cover with a slice of cheddar and broil.
You can use this herb, a staple in French cooking, in place of salt in marinades and salad dressings. Plus, tarragon lends a sweet, licorice-like flavor to bland foods. Rub 2 tbsp dried tarragon on chicken before baking or grilling. Or make a tasty dip by mixing 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon into 4 oz low fat plain yogurt and 1 tsp Dijon mustard, recommends Jacquelyn Buchanan, director of culinary development at Laura Chenel's Chèvre, a fromagerie in Sonoma, California.
Drop that rubbery low-fat cheese and pick up the real stuff. Women who had one serving of whole milk or cheese daily were less likely to gain weight over time, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds. Grate Parmesan over roasted vegetables. Or snack on a 1-ounce portion with an apple or a pear.
Don't let the fat content of an avocado (29 grams) scare you — that's what makes it a top weight loss food. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fat it contains increases satiety. And it's terrific party food. Add avocado to your sandwich instead of mayo for a creamy texture and a shot of flavor. Avocados do contain a lot of calories, so it's best to watch your portions.
20. Olive oil
Like avocados, olive oil has healthy fat that increases satiety, taming your appetite. But that's hardly its only slimming feature. Research shows it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation in the body is linked to metabolic syndrome. Drizzle your salad with 1T olive oil and you'll increase the antioxidant power of your veggies, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition notes. Or toss pasta with a few teaspoons of olive oil, fresh basil and sauteed garlic.