There are many nutritious and healthy superfoods that are excellent additions to any diet but only some qualify to be included in the superfoods for weight loss category. These superfoods must not only be nutrient dense, but must also satisfy several other requirements which aid in controlling various factors that cause us to become overweight.
To qualify as superfoods for weight loss these foods must aid in weight loss, speeding up metabolism, assisting in loss of fats and be loaded with nutrients.
What Are Superfoods
Before I’ll provide you with the list of superfoods, let me first give you an overview of this amazing group of nutrients.
Although some dietitians still remain skeptical about superfoods, these powerhouses are getting recognition by many health institutions.
Superfoods are foods thought to be nutritionally superior. They are super rich in vitamins and minerals which can help us ward off various diseases and conditions, and help us live longer and healthier lives. Superfoods are mostly plant based although some fish and even some dairy are considered superfoods.
Superfoods don’t belong specifically to any single macronutrient group but they are foods found across the macronutrient board, each of them bearing a significant health benefit. There are no set criteria to determine which are superfoods and which are not according to American Health Association.
For example some of the superfoods are loaded with antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, flavanoids and selenium. Some are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. As well, many superfoods are loaded with phytochemicals and fiber. In addition to many other health benefits, the nutrients in superfoods can help us prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, digestive problems and aid us with losing weight.
Word of caution! Our diets play an important role in our well being and it is unwise to focus only on superfoods or any other individual food.
No food, including those labelled ‘superfoods’, can compensate for unhealthy eating,” explains Alison Hornby, a dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association (BDA).
If people mistakenly believe they can ‘undo’ the damage caused by unhealthy foods by eating a superfood, they may continue making routine choices that are unhealthy and increase their risk of long-term illness. (Source)
A List Of Superfoods For Weight Loss
Pomegranate’s antioxidant rich juice (unsweetened) and its seeds are known to suppress appetite and trigger fat loss. A scientific study where volunteers drank 500 ml of pomegranate juice for 30 days showed that pomegranate reduces belly-fat in both, men and women.
Like some other supefoods, pomegranate reduces fatty acids in the blood (nonesterified fatty acids also known as NEFA) before they are turned into stored fats in our bodies, particularly the belly area.
Liquid calories contribute about 450 calories per day for most people. Most of these calories come from pop, juices, sweetened coffee and tea just to mention a few. Yet if you replace these liquid calories with water or unsweetened drinks you can lose up to 2.5 pounds per month.
If you replace these drinks with green tea you will not will you slim down, but your body will become a fat-burning furnace. Green tea is a source of polyphenol catechins and EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) is the most active form of catechins. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and metabolic effects of the tea are the results of these catechins. They also trigger weight loss by stimulating the body to burn calories and decrease body fat (Source).
Salmon is know to be very fatty, and for that fact many dieters stayed away from it. What a mistake! To begin with, salmon is very low in calories. 3 ounces of wild Alaska salmon only contains 155 calories. As well, salmon is high in protein (22 grams per 3 ounce serving).
But what makes it special is that the fats it contains are the good ones, unsaturated fats. It is laden with omega-3 fatty acids which are important for brain function, cellular development and even lowering of cholesterol. Salmon is also rich in vitamin D.
The large amount of protein in salmon keeps us satiated and helps curb cravings between meals. As you well know, not feeling hungry is the key to weight loss.
Lastly, the rich omega-3 fatty acid content of salmon qualifies it as one of the top stress reducing superfoods.
Usually used as spice, cayenne peppers are an excellent natural remedy for various health problems including weight loss. The spice can increase metabolism by about 25% and the effect will last for about 3 hours.
Capsaicin, a compound in cayenne peppers has a thermogenic effect which helps to rev up metabolism and burn calories.
Some of the other effects of this spice are regulation of blood pressure, reduction of cholesterol, inhibiting cholesterol absorption, thinning blood, cleansing of the circulatory system, and much much more. This is a very heart “friendly” spice. Get used to it!
Most dieters shy away from avocados because of their fatty content. Don’t let it scare you. The fats in avocado are healthy monounsaturated fats, rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Avocados increase satiety and help you stay away from snacks.
As well, avocados contain an amino acid, L-carnitine that helps to metabolize fats and promotes fat loss. In addition, it increases energy production in muscle cells.
Edamame bean is the immature soybeans in the pod. Originally consumed in Asia, these beans have found its way to North American markets in recent years as well. Researchers at University of Illinois showed that this food helps target the abdominal fat at cellular level.
The same studies also showed that the effect stimulates weight loss within 72 hours and reduces the new belly fat production by 57%. If you ever need to lose weight fast, this baby is it!
Glass Of Red Wine
Red wine contains a compound called resveratrol, that in recent years has been shown to have several health benefits including weight loss. Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in the skins of red grapes. It can significantly lower blood sugar and stop fat storage.
Studies have shown that moderate red wine drinkers have less belly fat than liquor drinkers. It is believed that a glass of red wine can stimulate fat burning for about 90 minutes.
As alcohol has many side effects make sure not to overindulge. Restrain you alcohol intake to one glass of red wine per day.
Olive oil is monounsaturated and contains essential fatty acids that can help you lose weight. These fatty acids enable the stored fat to be removed from the system. Naturally, it should only be used in moderation as overuse can result in weight gain.
As well, the oleic acid in olive oil is transformed to into another compound, oleolethanolamide (OEA) that, according to researchers at the University of Irvine relieves hunger and suppresses appetite.
Olive oil also contains antioxidants that strengthens the immune system and help lower the cholesterol and blood pressure.
Strawberries trigger the production of adiponectin, a fat burning hormone, that also helps to suppress appetite. As well, strawberries can slow the digestion of starchy foods, thus controlling the rise of blood glucose after eating a meal that contains starch.
They are also a good source of vitamin C and fiber. To boot, one cup of strawberries is only equivalent to 44 calories.
Button mushrooms are an excellent meat substitute that will help you lose weight. According to a study at John Hopkins University substituting one cup of mushrooms for equal portion of animal protein can help you lose 10 pounds of belly fat in two months.
Mushrooms also have other health benefits, including anti-tumor activity. Mushrooms are an excellent source of antioxidants, common to many plants. In addition, they also contain an antioxidant that is unique to mushrooms called ergothioneine, coined by the scientists as the “master antioxidant” that protects our DNA from oxidative damage (that can lead to cancers).
There are many more foods that are considered super when it comes to losing weight. Most of them are foods filled with fiber and you can read about them here: list of high fiber foods. Like superfoods for weight loss, fiber rich foods are powerhouses of nutrients that help us manage our waists and overall health. Perhaps you have some favorite superfoods that I did not include in this list. Please add them in the comment section below.