Eat This Not That: 15 Best Superfoods for Weight Loss!
Every time we eat, we make a choice: to feed disease and weight gain, or to fight illness and fuel weight loss. If you’ve ever taken the weight loss journey, you’d know how difficult it is to find foods that not only fuel energy but can also give your body a boost of vitamins.
Thankfully, through much research and studies by nutritionists, many foods known as superfoods – which are mostly plant based – have been uncovered. The term “superfood” is a fairly new term referring to foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories.
Superfoods contain a variety of nutrients, such as antioxidants, which are claimed to ward off cancer. They also have healthy fats, thought to prevent heart disease; fibre, to prevent diabetes and digestive problems; and phytochemicals — the chemicals in plants responsible for deep colors and smells, which can have numerous health benefits. Consuming foods that are packed with nutrients, as many so-called superfoods are, is certainly a good idea. Besides that, their fat-burning ability is exceptional, making them ideal for both short-term and long-term weight loss.
In this article, we provide some common, easy-to-get examples of superfoods, their benefits, and tips on how to include them in your diet.
Thanks to its mono and polyunsaturated fats, avocados can help lower cholesterol levels and decrease risk of heart disease when consumed in place of saturated or trans fats. Saturated fat occurs naturally in red meat and dairy products. It’s also found in baked goods and fried foods. Where else trans fats occurs naturally in small amounts in red meat and dairy products.
Get the benefits: Add slices of avocado to sandwiches or toast. You can also make some guacamole and believe it or not, chocolate brownies with this superfood.
Rich in antioxidants that give them their purple color, these berries protect cells – including brain cells – from damage, as is the case with Alzheimer’s. Blueberries are a very potent and healthy superfood. Half a cup of these berries contains only 42 calories and they are loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and dietary fibre.
Get the benefits: Throw some into your breakfast cereal bowl or bake them as a dessert.
Strawberries are a tri-factor superfood. They’re a flavorful way to satiate sweet cravings, they’re packed with polyphenols, which can help you burn fat and even stop it from forming, and they’re chock full of tannins plus phytochemicals that may slow the growth of cancer cells.
Get the benefits: Eat them as is, throw them into a fruit salad or you could mix them with some Greek yogurt for a quick and healthy snack.
4. Goji Berries
These rustic red berries on the other hand, are low in calories (1-3 oz berries contain 23-69 calories). The antioxidants present in them can help reduce the oxidative stress in your body. They also help reduce waist circumference, improve lipid profile, and prevent cardiovascular disease in patients with metabolic syndrome.
Get the benefits: You can eat these berries raw, in a trail mix, or use them to make tea or smoothies.
5. Seeds – Flax, Chia, Pumpkin, and Sunflower
All these seeds are loaded with polyunsaturated fats. The healthy fats in these seeds help reduce inflammation in the body, which curbs weight gain. They are also high in dietary fibre, which forms a viscous gel-like layer in the stomach. This gel layer traps the food and slows down the digestion and absorption process, to help you feel full for longer.
Get the benefits: Best absorbed when ground, flax seeds adds delicious nuttiness to oats, cereal, smoothies and baked goods. Chia seeds are nice in smoothies, salads, cereals, pancakes or even desserts.
Consuming just one ounce of walnuts five or more times a week—or about a handful every day—can slash heart disease risk by nearly 40 percent. And a recent study showed two ounces a day was enough to significantly improve blood flow to and from the heart in just 8 weeks, without causing weight gain.
Get the benefits: Besides crunching on them as is, you can toss them into salads or try baking walnut bread!
7. Leafy Greens – Kale & Spinach
A cup of spinach contains 7 calories, and a cup of kale contains 33 calories. Spinach helps neutralize harmful free oxygen radicals. It also increases metabolism and prevents you from consuming excess amounts of food. Consuming kale may also lower blood glucose levels.
Get the benefits: Best in salads or try baking them for a crunchy snack.
Yellow, red, green, or black – lentils are one of the best nutrient sources since the time of our ancestors. Apart from being rich in protein, they also contain dietary fibre, iron, potassium, folate, and manganese. Half a cup of boiled lentils contains only 165 calories. But, protein and dietary fibre take time to digest, that’s why you feel satiated for a long duration after consuming lentils.
Get the benefits: You can simmer them into a number of all-season soups or try out an easy dhal recipe with added spice!
9. Olive Oil
Olive oil is great for cooking. It’s a source of healthy unsaturated fats, vitamin E, iron, and calcium. Various studies on olive oil show that it aids weight loss in obese patients and should be consumed by those who want to lose weight.
Get the benefits: You can use olive oil instead of vegetable oil for cooking or get the extra virgin kind to mix into your salad.
10. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a type of yogurt that’s high in protein and other nutrients like vitamin B12, calcium, and selenium. A hundred grams of Greek yogurt contains only about 60 calories. It is a great snack option as it helps improve digestion. It’s linked to a few health benefits, such as supporting muscle and bone health, and certain types may help contribute to a healthy gut.
Get the benefits: Add some honey and your fav fruit for a quick yogurt snack or incorporate it in your food if you’re serving curry that night.
Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that is highly recommended for those trying to lose weight. Half a cup of quinoa has only 114 calories and fills you up for at least two hours. Researchers at Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute have found that quinoa contains proteins, saponins, and 20-hydroxyecdysone. These phytonutrients help improve blood lipid profile and prevent weight gain.
Get the benefits: Use quinoa as a base for a hot breakfast cereal in lieu of oatmeal, add it to soups and salads or make a creative snack by popping the seeds over the stove like popcorn.
Oats is the most common healthy breakfast consumed all over the world. That’s because half a cup of oats contains only 109 calories. It’s loaded with dietary fibre and essential nutrients like folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. This complex carbohydrate gets digested slowly, so your blood sugar levels remain stable. Scientists at Louisiana State University have also found that oats have anti-inflammatory properties, increase insulin sensitivity, and improves digestion. This leads to reduced fat accumulation and keeps hyperglycemia in check.
Get the benefits: To get the complete benefits of oats for weight loss, it is important to avoid consuming it on its own. Balance it out with protein and healthy fat to help slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream to maintain healthy sugar levels. Poorly managed blood sugar-levels can lead to weight gain and sugar cravings.
If there’s one food that can protect you from weight gain, heart disease, aging, cancer, and every other disease on the planet, it is broccoli – that’s exactly why it’s a superfood. So, you should include it in your diet to reap the various benefits it provides. Broccoli is low in calories (½ cup of broccoli has only 15 calories!) and rich in dietary fibre, which increases your satiety levels. The antioxidants present in it helps reduce toxin and inflammation levels.
Get the benefits: Toss it in a quick stir-fry or try baked broccoli with cheese in the oven or air-fryer.
Turmeric may be the single most powerful anti-inflammatory superfood in nature’s arsenal, thanks to its unique active phytochemical – curcumin. This yellow bioactive component of turmeric, has been shown to have a wide spectrum of biological actions including as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic and anticancer agent.
Get the benefits: Turmeric is the only edible source of curcumin, so you may want to sneak it into your diet as much as possible. Although the spice is typical of curries, it’s not to be confused with curry powder—a blend of spices that includes turmeric. The raw spice is rather harsh, so it’s best enjoyed cooked in dishes like stir-fries and stews, or as a seasoning for meat, poultry and fish.
Spirulina has gained popularity in the mainstream fitness market due to its high protein content. It is a spiral-shaped bacterium loaded with health benefits for humans. A tablespoon of protein-dense spirulina contains 20 calories. It is loaded with proteins, fatty acids, calcium, polysaccharides that stimulate DNA repair, beta-carotene, vitamin E, water-soluble vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and other trace minerals. Polish scientists found that three months of regular consumption of spirulina helped improve BMI, blood pressure, and endothelial function.
Get the benefits: The 2 most common forms of commercially available spirulina are powder and tablets. It’s also an ingredient in some protein and energy-boosting powder mixes. You can stir a small spoonful of spirulina powder into a glass of water or juice and drink it straight, or you can add it to your smoothie for the extra boost.
There you have it – 15 superfoods for weight loss that you can now easily identify in the supermarket. You should also practice healthy habits like regular exercising, resting, meditating, avoiding too much alcohol, and having some ‘me-time.’ Incorporate these foods and tips into your daily life, and you will feel better inside and out. Enjoy!