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Top 15 foods that help you lose weight
Making the most suitable choice
In the last few decades humanity started to put more and more emphasis on the importance of being very thin, model-like and with this, losing weight. Sadly, many people think that being thin like a toothpick is ideal, because the dreaded advertisements on TV and basically everywhere show that only those worth something who look stunning. Well, this is not the case – although it is indeed very important to feel great in your own body and be able to stay fit and don’t cause yourself any trouble by getting too flabby.
To do this, you don’t have to torture yourself by starving or suffering and deprivation. In fact, some studies state the more unpleasant you feel yourself while losing weight, the less likely you actually succeed with it. The sweet truth is: you just have to make good choices – good food choices!
The process of building those ugly flabs
Let’s try to clarify how do we usually ‘build up’ fat in the first place. Our body needs energy from foods to work. This energy is measured in calories. So the more calories are present in a certain meal, the more energy can be gained after consuming it. In fact, our body even uses up the ‘fuel’ that was previously taken in while eating, and the harder the food is to digest, the more energy our body uses up while digesting it.
Part of the energy taken in is used up by the body during the day to sustain its basic functions and the excess energy gets stored up in the fat cells in the form of fat. These cells are usually present in certain regions of our body: the hips, the waist and the chest. The more fat gets deposited in these areas, the bigger these regions will get. However, the fat cells have a limit how much fat can they actually store, so once they have reached their maximum capacity, the excess fat starts to get accumulated in the muscle linings – usually around the arms and thighs creating a flabby look.
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How can certain foods help you?
Well, in general, we can agree on the fact that all foods are possible sources of calories – and therefore are responsible for fat creation in our body. But it is good to know, that certain foods can help our body burn the fat taken in faster or reduce the fat already deposited in our fat cells. The possible ways for this are:
- Creating a sense of being full, even if only a small amount of food was consumed.
- Improving the speed of metabolism thanks to certain vitamins or natural minerals.
- Causing the digestive system to work harder while containing fewer calories.
So all in all, if you try to eat more of the following foods, it is more likely that you will lose some weight over time, as less new fat will be deposited in your fat cells, meanwhile you will burn the same amount, or even some more fat than before.
The smart selection
1. Whole grains
Foods that contain whole grains, especially oats, barley and bran will make you feel full, improve the speed of metabolism, slightly block your body to store fat and speed up burning it. Insulin level in our body depends on what and how much we eat – so once you eat, a spike occurs in the insulin level and this sends a signal for the body to start storing fat. Therefore metabolism slows down and our body burns only a smaller amount of calories. Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates and are rich in fibers, which cause the insulin level in the body to stay at a relatively low level. This means there won’t be any spike in the insulin level, so the body won’t slow down its metabolism and will break down the food burning more calories altogether.
Nuts contain essential ‘good’ fats (fats that basically build up your body’s cell structure) and proteins, therefore help your metabolism and give you a feeling of satiation. Almonds, for example, contain loads of calcium, reduce your cravings and also help you build some muscles more effectively while working out.
Consuming more cinnamon within your diet will stimulate circulation and with this, will help metabolism as well, making losing weight easier without any excessive exercising. Cinnamon also has a good effect on the body’s insulin level, as it lowers the blood sugar level. Add this spice to your tea or even to your coffee and you will be able to see its positive effects within a few days.
The not-that-popular ginger is a very good food that can increase your metabolism – by more than 20%, as studies shown. Additionally, ginger has a pleasant smell and eating a small amount of it can even soothe an upset tummy. Ginger is a very popular spice in Indian cuisine and is also a great addition to any diet as a delicious tea.
Lentil is rich in iron, which is an essential nutrient for our body. Despite of this, almost 20% of humanity suffers from iron deficiency, so it is very important for a healthy, balanced diet to contain enough foods that provides the sufficient amount of iron. Lentil also contains lots of protein and dietary fibers, so it can help to lower the bad-cholesterol.
Vegetables offer a very wide variety of healthy benefits for someone who would like to lose weight without suffering. Most of them contain a small amount of calories, are low on carbohydrates and contain no fat. Additionally some veggies like cucumbers are very rich in water content as well.
The best way to consume these vegetables is either to boil them or stir-fry them on a healthy oil – preferably olive or sunflower oil.
Veggies you can try in your diet while trying to lose weight are:
- Carrot (high in fibers, antioxidants and vitamin A);
- Pumpkin (rich in fibers, meanwhile it’s low on calories);
- Garlic (high in antioxidants, while fights bacteria, prevents heart disease and cancer);
- Salad (high in fibers and vitamin C and E, meanwhile effectively prevents cancer);
- Cabbage (rich in water content, fibers, vitamin C and K, while it is low on calories);
- Beetroot (rich in vitamin A, B and C and effectively prevents cancer);
- Spinach (high in antioxidants, vitamin A, B, C and K);
- Turnip (low in calories and carbohydrates);
- Cucumber (high in water content; moderate source of vitamin A, C and fibers);
- Broccoli (low in calories, meanwhile high in fibers, vitamin A and C).
7. Green tea and nettle tea
Drinking green and nettle tea does a lot good for your health and losing weight as well. These drinks help to improve the speed of metabolism (burn more calories in a shorter period of time) and strengthen your immune-system. The caffeine in tea also helps you to be able to work out longer and more effectively without becoming totally exhausted.
8. Lean meat
Lean meats like beef, pork, chicken or turkey are very high in protein, meaning your body needs to work much harder and longer to digest these meats – and with this, has to burn more fat over a longer period of time. Poultry is the better for this purpose though, without the skin of course, as it contains a lot of fat.
Fish like sardines, tuna, mackerel or salmon contain protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are able to alter the level of leptin in your body. Leptin is a hormone that directly influences metabolism by giving out direct orders to your body to either burn more calories or store them as fat in the fat cells. Try to eat fish twice a week.
Vinegar helps to increase our metabolism by turning on enzyme-production in our body to break down more fat. A tablespoon of vinegar daily will do its best.
11. Dairy products
Dairy products, which are high in calcium act as a metabolic trigger for your body, so you can lose more weight than those who do not drink as much milk or eat as much cheese or yogurt as you do. Of course, low-fat products are the best as they contain less fat, but contain the same amount of calcium or vitamin D. Additionally, it is already proven by scientists that drinking milk is a natural way to help your body preserve your body mass, so your muscle composition will improve.
Eating eggs is a great way to burn more fat and have a feeling of satiation while being able to preserve and build your muscles more effectively during working out. Eggs are low on fat and calories as well, plus they can help to maintain or improve a good cholesterol level. Eat eggs scrambled, boiled or poached.
13. Hot peppers
Eating hot peppers in or with any kind of meal causes a huge spike in your metabolism, as peppers speed up your heart rate and heat up your body causing it to break down more calories – studies show even by more than 25% for more than 3 hours – thanks to the chemical named capsaicin. One spicy meal a day will do its best for this purpose.
Berries, citrus fruits, pears, grapes, plums, cherries, apples and tomatoes (yes, tomato is also a fruit) are rich in minerals, vitamin C, soluble fibers, antioxidants and are low in calories. They are also rich in water content, can give you a feeling of satiety and help you prevent any further cravings after having a meal.
15. Water and lemonade
From all the above anyone can see that water intake is very important in a healthy and balanced diet. Though it does not count as a food, I still felt it is important to include water and lemonade here as the fifteenth food, as they help to improve metabolism on their own as well. It helps to burn fat and flush out toxins from our body. Additionally, the lemon used to make lemonade contains lots of vitamin C and enhances the production of thyroxin in the body, which is a hormone that plays a very important role in improving fat burning.
Bye-bye fat deposition!
We can clearly state that eating fresh or whole foods (basically all the above mentioned foods are in this category) are better than processed or refined foods (fast food, pastries, fatty meals, etc). Don’t start to worry though, you can still eat all your favourite meals as well, but keep in mind that moderation is key here. Plus, you can keep trying to find a healthy and delicious mix of the previously mentioned foods to create your own breakfast, lunch or dinner according to your taste.
Apart from all these, try to work out or exercise a bit (more) daily, so your body can break down food and fat more quickly – and with this, you will be able to see the results sooner as well!
Good luck with making your change! :)
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© Copyright 2014, Zsofia Koszegi-Nagy (zsobig)
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© 2014 Sophie