Featured Article by Organic Liaison Health Director Deborah Klein, M.S., R.D.
Thankfully, certain foods can actually help us lose weight! Based on the latest research, the foods listed below are the most recent hits I recommend for helping us stay LEAN and HEALTHY for life.
Superfood is a term sometimes used to describe food with nutritional properties that can confer health benefits. The following foods promote both health and weight loss mainly through the nutritional powers of fiber, a natural appetite suppressant, and protein, the key to building the lean muscle that burns calories.
Fit some of these superfood hits into your weekly menu and feel free to contact me for ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet.
1.) Organic Artichokes. A balanced snack and an amazing source of fiber and protein, artichokes are the perfect weight loss food. One medium steamed artichoke has 16 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein. It’s also 150 calories, the amount necessary to for you to get the full benefits of the thermic effect of food (increased calorie expenditure), which helps increase metabolism. Try a steamed artichoke with a drizzling of your favorite flavoring (mayonnaise, hummus, or Italian Dressing) for a healthy fat source.
2.) Grapefruit. Researchers at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California, investigated the effect of grapefruit on weight loss and found that eating half a grapefruit before a meal can actually help you drop weight.
3.) Sardines. Packed with protein, sardines makes you feel full and help stimulate metabolism.
4.) Pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is loaded with fiber to help you feel fuller. Try for dessert: 1/2 cup pumpkin, sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg, topped with a teaspoon of Agave and a tablespoon of slivered almonds/chopped walnuts.
5.) Organic Grass-Fed Beef. Protein stimulates metabolism, helps you feel full longer, and helps decrease the desire to overeat. Learn more about the benefits of organic meat and why grass-fed beef is better grain-fed beef.
6.) Green Tea. Raises the metabolic rate and speeds up fat oxidation, thus helping with weight loss. Drink green tea daily to boost your metabolism. Some studies have shown that five cups a day is the magic number for fat loss.
7.) An Apple. An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away; it’s also a great weight loss food! One organic apple is 100 calories, yet takes 150 calories to digest. That’s an extra 50-calorie burn!
8.) Organic Peanut Butter. Replace regular butter with organic peanut butter to provide protein and fiber.
9.) Organic Raw Almonds. Keep your intake to around 12 almonds a day. Full of unsaturated fat and protein, almonds help you lose weight by increasing your metabolic rate.
10.) Beans. Black beans are the healthiest. Beans naturally suppress the appetite as they are extremely rich in fiber and are a high protein source.
11.) Burdock Root. Contains inulin, a carbohydrate that may regulate blood sugar and control hunger. Find burdock in the produce section of natural food stores. Slice it into thin slivers and add it to your vegetable stir-fry.
12.) Carrots. Low in calories and rich in fiber. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the higher the fiber intake, the more the likelihood of weight loss.
13.) Chili Peppers. The capsaicin that gives chili peppers their kick may help your body burn calories at a slightly faster rate. Chilis include jalapeno, cayenne, and habanero (the spiciest). Simmer half a pepper (with some ribs and seeds removed to control the spice) in marinara sauce.
14.) Ginger. When you’re counting calories, you’re more likely to feel satisfied with smaller portions of food if you make sure they are highly seasoned – with spices like ginger. Add freshly grated ginger to soups, stews, and stir-fries.
15.) Kimchi. This spicy Korean delicacy, made of fermented cabbage, garlic, and chili peppers, may suppress appetite and prevent overeating. Find it in Asian supermarkets or natural food stores, and eat a small amount as a side dish with meals.
16.) Onions. Accelerates the break down of fats in your food. As a result, your body is more apt to excrete rather than simply store fat.
17.) Vegetable Soup (broth based). Takes up space in your stomach so you feel fuller. Try Kirstie’s famous organic green soup recipe.
18.) Quinoa. Gives you more satiety per chew to help with weight loss.
19.) Tomato Paste. Provides 5 grams of dietary fiber per ½ cup canned tomato paste. A fat free satisfier! Add tomato paste to your spaghetti sauce or eat with a tortilla/whole grain English muffin as an excellent source of fuel.
20.) Broccoli. A top superfood and great source of calcium. Studies indicate that the more calcium there is in a fat cell, the more fat that cell will burn. Enjoy steamed or raw.
21.) Kelp. Helps you maintain an effective metabolic rate by keeping your thyroid healthy.
22.) Amaranth. An excellent source of fiber, amaranth also provides a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
23.) Barley. Provides satiety while increasing the rate that your body burns calories. Try barley in an easy multigrain cereal. Combine 1/2 cup barley, 1/2 cup cracked wheat, and 1 cup steel-cut oats with 4 1/2 cups water and cook on high heat. Cover and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered overnight. In the morning, reheat and eat.
24.) Greek Yogurt. An excellent and quick source of protein, providing sustainability, and calcium.
25.) Organic Kefir (unsweetened). A quick, balanced, high calcium snack, kefir can be digested as a healthy, fuel filled drink before exercise. Enjoy a cup to get your carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fiber all taken care of in one drink.
26.) Organic Ricotta Cheese (part-skim). Add some cinnamon for flavor; spread on top of a piece of sprouted grain toast or a multi-grain waffle. It also makes a great added protein source when incorporated into spaghetti sauce.
27.) Egg Whites. A low calorie, quick protein source to keep the metabolism up.
28.) Hemp Seed. A quick protein source. Add 2 tablespoons of shelled hemp seed, stirred into your cereal, to get 11 grams of protein.
29.) Salmon. Dense in protein and healthy, omega-3 fatty acids. Check out these 3 great organic salmon recipes.
30.) Soy Nuts. Weight loss primo! A ¼ cup of soy nuts is a balanced source of high fiber and protein, making the perfect on-the-go snack.
31.) Flaxseed (grounded). A key food for weight loss. Add 1 tablespoon a day to your cereal or yogurt to give you more for your chew.
As always, fat-free herbs are great way to add flavor (minus the calories) to your food.
All these foods are aligned with the main principles for achieving weight loss. They help increase your metabolism and give you more satisfaction per chew. To optimize your eating and reach your weight loss goals, focus on eating foods that fill you up without excess calories.
Meals with fiber and protein make you feel fuller for longer and prevent you from over-indulging. Aim for foods with 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Have a high-fiber carbohydrate (satisfying fuel) source and a low-fat protein source (sustainer) at each eating time, because protein takes longer to digest. Eat within an hour and a half after waking and every 4 hours throughout the day to keep your metabolism up.
Take advantage of these superfoods and you’ll be successful at nourishing your leanness and hotness one day at a time!
Learn more about Deborah here.