Losing weight is about eating clean and eating smart, it is about being aware and accountable for everything we put in our bodies. Those who are looking for a quick fix will be disappointed. There is no “secret” to losing weight, nor is there a magic diet…sorry! It all boils down to what we put in our mouths. The age old saying, “you are what you eat”, is exactly right, 75% (if not more) of the weight loss battle is related to food. By initiating small changes to your regular diet, eliminating certain foods and incorporating healthy alternatives, you will notice the weight dropping off in a short time. The other 25% of the equation is exercise. In order to achieve optimum results, a healthy diet and regular exercise go hand-in-hand.
Here are Top 10 Super Foods that will keep your metabolism revved so you will burn more fat. Try to incorporate as many of these as you can into your diet immediately:
1. Oatmeal – is a great way to start the day. Oats, in any variety (quick, rolled, old-fashioned, steel cut, but not instant), are high in fiber providing your body with a steady source of fuel while keeping your blood sugar level stable. It keeps you full longer so you won’t crave that mid-morning sugar fix.
2. Egg Whites – When compared to the whole egg, the whites are definitely the healthier choice. One egg white contain 17 calories, 0.1g fat, 0g saturated fats, 0mg cholesterol, and 5g protein. The egg yolk, on the other hand, contains a whopping 55 calories, 4.5g fat, 1.6g saturated fats, 210mg cholesterol, and 2.7g protein. The numbers speak for themselves.
3. Grapefruit – They are delicious, juicy, fragrant and a powerful weight loss agent. The grapefruit diet has been around for years and has avid supporters, but now, there is actual research that proves grapefruits promote healthy weight loss. Red grapefruits, in particular, have an insulin reducing property which aids in weight loss and improved health.
4. Nuts – Nuts are calorie rich and high in fat, so how are they a ‘skinny’ food? Nuts are mostly unsaturated fat, which is good fat; they lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and have shown to aid in healthy weight loss when consumed in moderation. The high fat content can prevent cravings, which lead to unhealthy food choices. Nuts are packed with powerful nutrients and make a great on-the-go snack, but portion control is the key.
5. Fresh Produce – Fresh fruits and vegetables make up the largest portion of your diet. Most vegetables, particularly the green leafy variety, are naturally low in carbs, high in antioxidants, and very low in calories. It is recommended to include produce in all varieties and colors into your diet. Increasing your daily consumption of produce will decrease your overall caloric intake, leading to healthy weight loss.
6. Yogurt – Research has found that eating low-fat yogurt daily significantly increases fat burning potential. This particular study found those who ate low-fat yogurt daily lost on average 22% more weight, 61% more body fat, and 81% more belly fat! Beware of the sweet fruity yogurts, they are usually higher in calories and sugar, and avoid those sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Low-fat Greek yogurt is an excellent choice and can be sweetened with honey or agave.
7. Brown Rice – Brown rice is a nutrient rich whole grain. Among the many other health benefits of brown rice, the high fiber content is what makes it such an excellent food for weight loss. High fiber provides bulk that keeps you full a lot longer, preventing sugar cravings that lead to poor food choices.
8. 100% Whole Grains – For the same reasons as brown rice, whole grain pastas, breads, cereals are the recommended choice for healthy weight loss. Sprouted grain breads are my recent discovery; they are a complete protein that is digested by the body more efficiently. The low gluten content of sprouted grain breads makes them an excellent food for a flat belly.
9. Beans and Lentils – Beans and lentils (also called legumes) are a power food. They are high in protein, high in soluble fiber, and have a low glycemic index which makes them the perfect food for weight loss.
10. Green Tea – Certain compounds in green tea have shown to aid in weight loss. High concentrations of catechin polyphenols along with other chemicals in green tea increase the body’s fat oxidization and thermogenesis. In other words, green tea helps rev up your metabolism and increase your fat burning potential. Green tea has many more health benefits and is recommended as part of a healthy diet.
SOURCES: Zemel, M. International Journal of Obesity, April 2005; vol 29: pp 391-397. News release, General Mills.