For those of us wanting to lose weight, the thought of a restrictive diet or hours pounding the treadmill can be discouraging. Long term weight loss requires discipline and commitment, a healthy balanced diet and moderate exercise. However there are special foods that can give you a helping hand when it comes to losing weight. These five super foods help to lose the pounds and keep them off.
Not all carbohydrates are equal in nutritional benefits. Unlike other carbohydrates like bread or pasta, oats are processed slowly by our digestion system, which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels, keeping you feeling full for longer. The reason is the high amount of fibre found in oats. “Both types of fibre, insoluble and soluble, can help your weight loss efforts,” says Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., the Yahoo! Health Expert for Nutrition.
Protein is essential in a healthy, balanced diet, but it can also help you to shed weight. The key is in choosing lean meat, so steer clear of well marbled rump cuts. A study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a diet that included red meat was better for weight loss compared to an equal calorie diet that did not include any beef. Manny Noakes, Ph.D, the author of this study, says “the protein in steak helps retain muscle mass during weight loss.” An independent study published by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign came to the same conclusion, stating that “protein helps to maintain muscle, which in turn helps the body burn more calories”
A perennial favourite with many dieters, grapefruit has proven properties as a fat fighting food. Scripps Clinic, California, published a study in 2004 which found that eating grapefruit before a main meal helps weight loss. The natural sugar found in grapefruit helps to lower insulin levels, which helps to stabilise blood sugar levels and reduces hunger pangs.
Chillies and peppers
Researchers from the Laval University in Canada have found that capsaicin, the active chemical that gives chillies and peppers their trademark spicy kick, can help to burn fat and stop you from feeling hungry. Published in the British Journal of nutrition, the results show that capsaicin converts the calories from the food eaten immediately to heat, which reduces the calories stored as fat. This process is called thermogenesis and studies show that when spicy food makes people feel less hungry and therefore they eat smaller portions at subsequent meals.
Not strictly a food, green tea has been drunk in the East for its health benefits for many generations. A chemical found in green tea called EGCG increases your metabolism, which in turn helps to burn more calories. Studies from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have shown that EGCG found in green tea helps people to burn energy faster compared to those who do not include green tea in their diet and it also helps to reduce existing body fat.