You’ve heard it before—you need to watch what you eat if you want to lose weight, and you should focus on eating healthy foods if you want to stay healthy. But how do you know which foods are really the healthiest? Nutritionists point out that certain nutrients can help your body work at its best, giving you more energy and helping your body heal itself when it does get sick. You’ll be surprised to find out that some of your favorite foods contain these health-promoting nutrients, and they can help you lose weight in the process!
Here is 12 Surprising Foods that Help with Healthy Weight Loss
The World’s Healthiest Foods asserts that an ounce of almonds has 164 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. Almonds also have a beneficial type of fat called monounsaturated fat, which can help to lower bad cholesterol levels in your body. Almonds are also rich in nutrients like magnesium, vitamin E, and riboflavin. Instead of salted almonds, try unsalted ones, and ensure they’re baked fresh because when not, they’re not as healthy for you. As for the quantity, have about a handful daily for healthy weight loss.
Avocados are a great healthy food for weight loss. They contain healthy fats, which are great for your heart and body. They also help keep your hunger in check, so you feel full longer. Studies show that these fats can even help lower blood pressure and bad LDL cholesterol while raising good HDL cholesterol.
Make sure to eat them alone or on top of a salad; they do not do well in smoothies and may make it too creamy and difficult to swallow. Additionally, avocado is high in calories, so if you want to incorporate them into your diet, save it for lunchtime when you need more calories or evening when you need some fat before bed.
3) Coconut Oil
You now know how great coconut oil is for your skin, but do you know that it can help you lose weight, too? Coconut oil contains MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, which promote weight loss by raising your metabolism. A study published in Obesity Reviews showed that MCTs increase the body’s energy expenditure and fat oxidation by 5-10% over LCTs.
In other words, your body burns more calories when you use MCTs like coconut oil instead of LCTs like butter or vegetable oils. Coconut oil is better still when you combine it with a good diet and exercise regimen. And did you know that it has 0% cholesterol?
Ginger may seem like just a typical spice, but it can have some potent medicinal properties when it comes to healthy weight loss. Gingerol, the main ingredient in ginger, has been shown to help reduce inflammation and even combat nausea. It’s also an excellent source of antioxidants. one study found over 2,000 separate compounds in ginger that collectively accounted for its anti-inflammatory effect.
Furthermore, studies show your body absorbs up to three times more of certain nutrients when you take them with ginger than if you take them alone. So throw some ginger into your next stir-fry or smoothie! You won’t regret it.
5) Green Tea
Not only does green tea have a number of health benefits, but it can also help you shed pounds. The caffeine in green tea can rev up your metabolism and increase your calorie burn, while antioxidants called catching may help reduce inflammation and improve memory function. Green tea is also high in fiber and loaded with vitamins, making it an ideal beverage for healthy weight loss.
One study suggests that three to four cups of green tea each day can help with weight loss, reducing your risk for diabetes as well. To get started, make two cups of green tea by pouring boiling water over two teabags (about one to two teaspoons per bag). Leave the tea in the mug or teapot for five minutes before removing the bags or adding sugar or milk.
Eating more whole, unprocessed foods is essential to any weight-loss program. One reason: Artificial sweeteners are not healthy and can cause blood sugar imbalances, which increase your cravings for carbs.
The good news is that honey is a natural sweetener; it’s an excellent substitute for refined sugar because it is all-natural and also contains vitamins and minerals. In fact, one tablespoon of honey contains 16 calories—much fewer than what you’d find in most desserts—and two grams of protein as well as trace amounts of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
Oatmeal is a delicious breakfast option, but it also serves as great weight-loss food. In fact, research has found that eating 3 servings of oatmeal per week can lower cholesterol levels by 9% and decrease BMI by 2.7%. Another benefit? Oatmeal is loaded with fiber, which makes it a must-have for anyone hoping to lose weight—and keep it off. As an added bonus, oatmeal can help you stay fuller longer, which means fewer impulsive snacking sessions between meals.
Even better: A study in Appetite found that people who ate omelets made with whole oats reported being less hungry 3 hours later than those who ate refined oat versions.
8) Olive Oil
Olive oil is great for healthy weight loss in a few ways. First, it’s rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which help speed up your metabolism and keep your hunger pangs at bay. In fact, a 2014 study in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate olive oil felt fuller than those who consumed just about any other fat—including butter. Another reason to add a little olive oil to your diet: It can lower your risk of heart disease and certain cancers, say researchers from the Italy’s University of Florence.
Quinoa is actually a seed, but it’s used as a grain and has an exceptionally high protein content. Just half a cup of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein—and also contains iron, magnesium, and fiber. While you don’t need to cut out all grains when trying to lose weight (brown rice and whole-wheat pasta are good choices), quinoa may be worth considering. In one study published in the Nutrition Journal, men who consumed quinoa along with other whole grains lost more body fat after six weeks than those who didn’t eat quinoa.
Watercress is a type of leafy green that can be used in soup or salad and has a large variety of minerals, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, fiber, and iron. Watercress is also rich in antioxidants. Queen’s University, Belfast researchers find that watercress may be an aid in preventing breast cancer because of its high levels of anti-cancer compounds.
A cup of watercress has only 7 calories, but is high in protein. Research has found that protein-rich foods aid in weight loss, making watercress an ideal choice. Apart from watercress containing high levels of vitamin K, it also promotes bone health and reduces your risk of osteoporosis in the future.
11) Leafy greens
For its impressive nutritional profile and low-calorie count, leafy greens are a must-have in any healthy weight loss diet. It’s an excellent source of both vitamin K and vitamin A, containing 44% of your daily recommended intake per 100g serving. Vitamin K helps prevent bruising by helping blood clots and can also promote bone health. Vitamin A, on the other hand, helps your body produce collagen – a protein necessary for healthy skin, teeth and bones – as well as boosts night vision. Leafy greens are also rich in magnesium, which works closely with calcium to help build strong bones. Add leafy greens to salads or serve them as a side dish instead of meat or carbohydrates like potatoes or rice.
Hot soup is a great way to start off a healthy weight loss diet, and it can help fill you up. A study published in Diabetes Care in 2005 found that eating soups made with low-calorie, high-volume foods like vegetables and lean meats can aid weight loss by reducing calorie intake by 15 percent when compared to eating non-soup meals. Soup also fills you up faster than other foods, so you may eat less at subsequent meals throughout the day.
The study also noted that participants felt fuller longer after consuming soup, which could help reduce snacking later in the day. Just be sure to stick with low-calorie varieties.