Weight loss is one of the most challenging things to do in life. Many people think the challenge is all physical; but if you look closer, there are a lot of mental challenges that come along with it. For instance, exercising on a daily basis can be hard, especially if it’s never been part of your daily routine. Another mental challenge is changing your lifestyle choices. This includes what you eat and how much you eat that can help you lose weight.
The superfoods that you should be putting on your plate if you want to lose weight should contain powerful nutrients and antioxidants that have been proven to help your body lose weight. These same foods also provide you with energy and help you feel fuller so you don’t consume more than you should.
Thanks to Cynthia Sass, Health’s nutrition editor and an RD and MPH, below you will find the top 20 weight loss super foods that you should be incorporating into your diet!
Almonds: Sass says that almonds are a terrific source of mono- and polyunsaturated fats. These help lower your cholesterol and keep unwanted weight off your body. Almonds also contain fewer calories than most nuts (163 calories for 23) and a high amount of fiber and vitamin C, Sass added. If you need more proof, a study was published in the International Journal of Obesity. Researchers found that participants who added a daily serving of almonds to their low-calorie diet lost more weight than those who followed the same diet but added carb-heavy snacks instead of almonds.
Apples: Apples have pectin, which naturally slows down digestion and provides your body with a fullness feeling. But not everyone will substitute an apple for a meal, so Sass recommends that people try and incorporate them into their meals. For example, she suggests shredding up apples and putting them in slaws and stir-fry, or even mashing them up and putting them in burger patties.
Artichokes: According to Sass, artichokes are extremely filling. In fact, she says that they are one of the highest-fiber vegetables in the world. One single boiled artichoke contains 10.3 grams of fiber. According to WebMD, the daily recommendation of fiber for the average person is 25 grams. This means that one artichoke will give you almost half your daily recommended intake! Sass recommends people enjoy this vegetable as an appetizer before dinner.
Avocados: According to the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program of the University of Kentucky, consuming high amounts of fiber is associated with a lower risk of developing a coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and obesity. Avocados also enhance weight loss. The USDA National Nutrient Database states that one-fifth of an avocado contains 3 grams of fiber. Imagine if you eat the entire avocado?
Bananas: Sass explains that bananas are a great source of resistant starch – which is important in terms of weight loss. The body naturally digests resistant starch slowly, which helps you feel full longer. They also encourage your liver to go into fat burning mode.
Black Beans: These beans are members of the pulse family. This means that they help burn calories, reduce your belly fat, and give you that fuller feeling, says Sass. One cup of black beans gives you 15 grams of protein that doesn’t come with any saturated fat.
Carrots: This vegetable can help you lose weight. Sass says that carrots have high water and fiber content, so they make you feel fuller. If you roast them, they actually boost their calorie-burning potential, Sass added. A study done at the University of Arkansas found that if you roast carrots, they contain three times more antioxidants than raw ones.
Chili Peppers: Chili peppers have a great effect on your metabolism, says Sass. They contain capsaicin, which increases the body’s ability to burn fat.
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is positive for your waistline. Sass explains that it contains healthy fats, which fills you up quickly and also helps you consume fewer overall calories. She adds that it also contains medium-chain triglycerides, which digest easily and are quickly turned into energy.
Coffee: Drinking too much coffee can be harmful to the body. But Sass says that having a cup of coffee a day can actually speed up your metabolism. A study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior found that those who drank caffeinated coffee had a 16% higher metabolic rate than those who only drank decaf coffee.
Dark Chocolate: Sass says that there is no other food on the planet that contains the unique substances that dark chocolate has. It’s a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which have the ability to speed up your metabolism.
Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, which means they will curb your appetite, says Sass. In fact, egg whites are also a good source of BCAAs, which help keep your metabolism running smoothly.
Chickpeas: Sass states that chickpeas also contain 2 grams of resistant starch. As mentioned earlier, resistant starch is digested slower, this helps you feel full for longer, so you don’t consume too many calories.
Grapefruit: Grapefruit contains a compound that can lower your insulin, which can lead to weight loss. Sass adds that grapefruits are 90% water, which means they can also act as an appetite suppressor.
Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is a very filling snack. According to a study published in the journal Appetite, people who consumed a high-protein yogurt snack three hours before they ate lunch felt full and even ate dinner at a later time than the participants who did not eat yogurt.
Kidney Beans: Kidney beans also contain resistant starch, so you know they digest slowly and curb your appetite. But Sass also explains that the omega-3’s and calcium it contains are also extremely beneficial for your heart.
Kimchi: A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found that maintaining healthy bacteria in your gut can help reduce fat and inflammation. Kimchi contains vitamin A, B, and C, which help the body with digestion.
Lentils: Lentils are considered one of the world’s healthiest foods, says Sass. They contain protein, fiber, and resistant starch, so you will be full for hours, but will also have a lot of energy to burn off calories.
Oatmeal: According to Sass, oatmeal is another great source for metabolism-boosting resistant starch. Also, she says that it’s also beneficial for your waistline. A study published in a recent Nutritional Journal found that participants who consumed 220 calories of hot oatmeal for breakfast felt less hungry throughout the day.
Potatoes: Most people don’t consider potatoes a health food because they are carb-heavy, explains Sass. But they actually are, she adds. They are a great source of resistant starch, so if you eat them moderately, you can burn fat. According to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition’s satiety index, potatoes are number one, so you’ll always be full when you consume them.