20 Superfoods That Could Help You Lose Weight
When you're trying to shed pounds, you need all the help you can get. Eating these nutrient-dense superfoods can speed up your progress.
The key to finding superfoods for weight loss is going back to the basics, according to Libby Mills, MS, RD, LDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "You need to look for nutrient-dense foods." Nuts, particularly almonds, fall into that category because they're packed with protein and healthy fats that will keep you feeling full longer. Here are some more healthy, energy-boosting snacks.
Look for raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and more: They all have a high water content plus plenty of fiber. "They're sweet, tart, and a filling choice for weight loss," says Marisa Moore, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Atlanta, Georgia. Check out how adding berries to your breakfast can make weight loss a breeze.
This cruciferous vegetable helps detoxify the body, helping your metabolism work more smoothly. "It's fuel for efficiency," says Mills. If you don't like them whole or halved, try peeling the layers to make a shredded Brussels sprouts salad. Here are 10 more of the healthiest vegetables you can eat.
Packed with fiber to fill you up, these tiny bulbs are also disease-fighting antioxidant powerhouses. One study found that women who ate a diet high in antioxidant flavonoids had lower total body fat than women who missed out on these valuable nutrients.
Science is catching up with the avocado toast trend: A study by researchers at Loma Linda University found that eating half of an avocado at lunch helped participants feel satisfied longer and helped balance blood sugar much better than an avocado-free meal. The key seems to be all the healthy fats in this fruit (and yes, avocados are fruit!). Here are some signs you might be eating too much bad fat.
A steaming bowl of oatmeal might be cozy, but uncooked oats are the way to go if weight loss is your goal. "Uncooked oats are a source of resistant starch, which can help you feel full and control blood sugar," says Moore. Try soaking them overnight for an easy way to work them into your diet, she says.
Padding your meals with lean proteins like chicken is a smart way to build muscle and feel satisfied after eating. If you're tight on time, try pairing a chipotle chicken patty from Tribali Foods with a salad or your favorite veggie mix for a meal big on flavor but low in fat and calories.
An apple a day keeps the belly fat away: Several studies have found that eating the forbidden fruit between meals or right before you sit down to eat can tame hunger. "It fills you up because it contains significant amounts of pectin, a soluble fiber that expands in your stomach when it comes in contact with liquid," says Mills. Here are some healthy ways to eat apples.
Packed with protein, canned fish like sardines or tuna can fill you up while promoting muscle growth. They'll also give you omega-3 fatty acids, which some studies suggest have a satiating effect on appetite. Look for brands that are low in salt and free of unnecessary ingredients, such as BELA Brand Seafood.
If you like things spicy, you're in luck: Studies suggest that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their heat, can fire up weight loss by sparking the body's energy-burning mechanism. Try sprinkling pepper flakes over a stir-fry or scrambled eggs.
"Leafy greens are packed with fiber and water, filling you up, not out," says Moore. Kale offers a classic example of using low-calorie, nutrient-dense bulky foods to displace high-calorie foods in your diet. Give some of these amazing kale salad recipes a try.
One study found that people who regularly ate pears weighed less and were less likely to become obese than those who didn't nosh on the fiber-filled fruit. They also happen to be one of the five fruits you should eat every day to help prevent weight gain.
Extra virgin olive oil is a goldmine of healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. We need healthy fats from plant-based oils because they can displace calories that would otherwise come from unhealthy saturated fat, says Mills. Try drizzling Gaea's Greek extra virgin olive oil on a salad or over roasted veggies.
"Having a decadent treat like dark chocolate in small quantities can be super satisfying and offset cravings for something less healthy," says Mills. Look for a bar that's at least 70 percent cocoa to get a bite that's lower in fat and sugar and higher in healthy, disease-fighting flavanols.
Fish like salmon is high in healthy omega-3 fats that may not only help protect your heart and brain but seem to influence appetite hormones in ways that suppress hunger while boosting your feelings of fullness, says Moore. If you don't know how to cook fish, try Fishpeople seafood kits.
Beans and lentils are packed with plant-based protein, which stimulates hormones that boost the feeling of fullness, says Moore. They're also high in fiber and require extra chewing time, which helps you eat less overall, she says.
Much like almonds, walnuts are packed with healthy fats, fiber, and protein that keeps you full longer. "Swap a handful of walnuts for pretzels or chips, or toss toasted walnuts on salad greens or roasted vegetables for crunch," says Moore.
"Whole eggs deliver 6 grams of high-quality protein, and studies show that swapping them for foods like bagels can help boost satiety and weight loss," says Moore. Try them beyond breakfast by sliding a sunny side up or fried egg on top of a pile of roasted veggies or mound of protein-packed pasta from Explore Cuisine. Here are some more ideas for incorporating eggs into every meal.
The antioxidant properties of resveratrol in wine may prevent obesity and play a role in turning excess white fat into energy-burning beige (or brown) fat, according to several studies. Just don't go overboard—alcohol is high in calories, which could derail your weight loss goals if you overindulge. And watch for the subtle signs you might be binge drinking.