Fresh wholesome food provides nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and active ingredients that can boost not just our energy but also our metabolism. Eating certain foods can provide key active ingredients that can help us stimulate fat burning pathways, reduce hunger, and ultimately help us shed fat and keep if off for good. Wondering what these nutrients are? Make sure to include these 7 superfoods in your meal plan to help expedite your weight-loss goals.
Food #1 – Nuts
Nuts high in fibre and fat content can reduce hunger, and appetite, while also elevating energy expenditure or thermogenesis, which is the amount of calories you burn while at rest. In one eight-week study on peanuts, an 11 percent increase in energy expenditure was observed, while another study with almonds showed a 14 percent increase in energy expenditure. One of the ways nuts may do this is from its high content of oleic acid, which has been shown to increase the release of the fat burning hormone norepinephrine.
It doesn’t matter which nut you eat, most nuts have been evaluated on large, meta-analysis studies to cause satiation, reduce blood glucose levels and increase thermogenesis. To curb cravings, try snacking on almonds, or adding nut butter in your oatmeal, or adding them to your favourite protein smoothie.
Food #2 – Oatmeal
Oatmeal is often a part of most weight loss plans because of its low sugar and high fibre content. This low glycemic food is digested slowly, helping stabilize energy levels and keeping appetite reduced. One recent study showed that eating just one serving of oatmeal everyday for 6-weeks resulted in a reduction in waist circumference, along with improvements in other health parameters including a reduction in cholesterol.
This versatile whole grain can be eaten whichever way you like it, add your favorite nut butters, seeds, fresh or dried fruit, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and a scoop of protein powder for a delicious and filling breakfast.
Food #3 – Whey Protein
When it comes to weight-loss foods, protein should be at the top of your list. A nutrition plan high in protein helps maintain lean muscle, and the more lean muscle you have the higher your metabolism. Protein also has a thermic effect in the body, which means it takes more energy to digest and process, than other foods of the same caloric value. Whey protein has been shown in numerous studies to help improve body composition, and support weight loss.
In one study, a whey fraction was found to decrease body fat and maintain lean muscle during a 12-week diet where subjects consumed whey protein shakes before breakfast and after dinner. They were also found to lose more weight and significantly more body fat compared to the control. Add whey protein to your oatmeal, a smoothie, or a baked goodie or an energy bar recipe to help meet your daily protein needs and reap the benefits of this food.
Food #4 – Avocado
This unique superfood is prized for it’s high nutrient value. Avocado can help reduce hunger between meals due to their rich monounsaturated fat content. In one recent study, it was shown that those who ate half a fresh avocado with their lunch felt more full and less likely to eat later. One of the reasons was due to a reduction in blood sugar, thus maintaining a balanced energy level throughout the day.
Another study showed that those who ate about 3 tablespoons of monounsaturated fats daily for 4-weeks, lowered belly fat by 1.6% compared to those eating polyunsaturated fats – those found in fish. Further research showed that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats support lower body fat distribution around the mid-section.
Many nutrients are “fat soluble”, meaning that they need to be combined with fats in order to be utilized. This includes vitamins such as A, D, E and K, along with antioxidants. So, not only are avocados highly nutritious and proven to lower BMI, they can also dramatically increase the nutrient value of other plant foods you are eating.
Eat a ripe avocado on a rice cake with tuna, make guacamole for a side to your meat, or eat them on a salad. Avocados deliver 10 g of monounsaturated fat for every 100 gram serving.
Food #5 – Spinach
This leafy green packs a rich content of an antioxidant known as thylakoid. This active ingredient has been shown to be very effective for reducing hunger including reducing the urge to eat sweets, by increasing the production of satiety hormones.
In a randomized, study on 38 women, given a green drink containing 5 g of baby green spinach leaves , once per day for 12-weeks, along with a calorie restricted diet and exercise program, were shown to lose significantly more body weight versus women who didn’t consume the green drink. The women who received the green drink lost on average 5 kg +/- 2.3 kg versus 3.5 +/- 2.3 kg for the control.
Get the benefits of spinach, by increasing your consumption; add them to your protein smoothies, to sauces, vegetable dishes, or omelet’s.
Food #6 – Whole Eggs
You know they’re high in satiating protein, and can help maintain a lean body, but did you know they can also have an impact on weight loss too? One study showed that eating whole eggs instead of simple carbs like bread or bagels for breakfast not only reduced the on-set of hunger but also resulted in significantly more weight loss, greater reduction in waist circumference, and greater body fat loss.
Eggs can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Eat them hard boiled, over easy, mixed with veggies in an omelet, or use them in a protein pancake recipe.
Food #7 – Red Hot Chili Peppers
This spicy vegetable has been shown to have a direct effect on appetite by reducing hunger. One reason for this is that this pepper contains the active ingredient capsaicin which can stimulate norepinephrine, a key fat burning hormone. Increases in norepinephrine can stimulate pathways that reduce hunger, increase energy expenditure or metabolic rate, as well as activate fat oxidation or fat burning.
Multiple studies on humans have shown that small doses of the active ingredient not only increase energy expenditure but also reduced appetite and energy in-take – resulting in fewer calories consumed and more burned! Add a dash of spicy hot sauce to your meats and egg dishes, or to your favourite sauces.
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