Foods to help lose weight

Low-calo­rie op­tions for best re­sults

The Observer - - HEALTHY LIVING LIFE - SUSIE BUR­RELL

OF­TEN we talk about the foods that are closely linked to weight gain. Far less fre­quently do we dis­cuss the foods that will help to keep us full and our calo­rie in­take con­trolled.

Here are 10 of the best foods for weight con­trol and the rea­sons why they are so good in help­ing to pre­vent un­wanted weight gain.

Oats

A whole­grain, not only do oats have a low gly­caemic in­dex, which means they help to keep glu­cose lev­els tightly con­trolled and help to leave you full for sev­eral hours af­ter eat­ing them, but a sin­gle serve of oats each day pro­vides you with a sub­stan­tial amount of sol­u­ble fi­bre. Sol­u­ble fi­bre is the type of fi­bre known to help re­duce blood choles­terol lev­els, keep our ar­ter­ies healthy and sup­port op­ti­mal meta­bolic func­tion long term.

Av­o­cado

Av­o­ca­dos are a rich source of vi­ta­min B for en­ergy and vi­ta­min E for skin and heart health, and are of­ten de­scribed as “a healthy al­ter­na­tive to but­ter”, as they are a rich source of mono-un­sat­u­rated fat, the type of fat shown to en­hance heart health. Re­cently new research has also shown the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of eat­ing an av­o­cado when it comes to weight loss – di­eters who con­sumed ½ an av­o­cado at lunch re­ported feel­ing more sa­ti­ated later in the day than non-av­o­cado eaters.

Red cap­sicum

An­other nu­tri­ent rich, low-calo­rie veg­etable choice, red cap­sicum is a rich source of carotenoids, the group of an­tiox­i­dants known to play a pow­er­ful role in help­ing to down reg­u­late a num­ber of in­flam­ma­tory path­ways in the body. Red cap­sicum is packed full of vi­ta­min C, fo­late and fi­bre and with just 45 calo­ries per cup, you can en­joy an en­tire red cap­sicum as a fill­ing snack and for a ma­jor nu­tri­tional hit. A flavour­some base to sauces, added to sal­ads or teamed with hom­mus or Greek yo­gurt, for­get an ap­ple a day to keep you in op­ti­mal health, a red cap­sicum a day is the way to go.

Soup

Soups, par­tic­u­larly veg­etable­based soups, are a great op­tion nu­tri­tion­ally as they com­bine a high nu­tri­ent den­sity with a low en­ergy den­sity – this means that we get lots of key nu­tri­ents in­clud­ing vi­ta­mins and min­er­als for rel­a­tively few calo­ries. And this ben­e­fit is proven when it comes to weight loss. Stud­ies have re­peat­edly shown that when din­ers con­sume a low-calo­rie veg­etable-based soup be­fore their main meal they con­sume up to 20% fewer calo­ries at a meal. The rea­son is not com­plex; ba­si­cally the bulk of the soup helps to fill us up so we eat less.

Blue­ber­ries

Any ber­ries are a great choice nu­tri­tion­ally but blue­ber­ries in par­tic­u­lar are packed full of an­tiox­i­dants, vi­ta­min C and fi­bre while also be­ing rel­a­tively low in calo­ries and car­bo­hy­drates. It is also thought that the an­tiox­i­dants cat­e­chins found in blue­ber­ries help to ac­ti­vate the genes within our ab­dom­i­nal fat cells that stim­u­late the fat burn­ing cy­cle.

White fish

If weight loss is your goal, white fish is your su­per­food. Ex­cep­tion­ally high in pro­tein, low in fat and calo­ries, any type of white fish rang­ing from dory, perch, bar­ra­mundi, sole, floun­der and whit­ing served with plenty of veg­eta­bles equates to an ex­tremely low-calo­rie meal rich in fill­ing pro­tein and key nu­tri­ents.

Eggs

You will be hard pressed to find a more nu­tri­tion­ally com­plete, use­ful food than the hum­ble egg. Packed with pro­tein, key nu­tri­ents in­clud­ing zinc as well as 20 other vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, eggs can eas­ily be in­cor­po­rated into any meal and pre­pared in min­utes. Specif­i­cally it is the amino acid leucine found in a serve of eggs that is thought to help bind in­sulin re­cep­tors in the body, help­ing to keep us fuller for longer af­ter eat­ing them and sup­port­ing weight loss.

Greek yo­gurt

Greek yo­gurt not only con­tains much less sugar than the av­er­age serve of store-bought yo­gurt but it is much higher in pro­tein which helps to keep your blood glu­cose lev­els reg­u­lated through­out the day.

An added ben­e­fit will come if you choose a va­ri­ety of Greek yo­gurt which also con­tains pro­bi­otics, the live bac­te­ria that will help to feed the good bac­te­ria in the gut and is thought to have a pow­er­ful role in op­ti­mal im­mune func­tion­ing and even weight con­trol long term.

Cot­tage cheese

Of­ten for­got­ten, hum­ble cot­tage cheese is one of the most nu­tri­ent dense foods you can en­joy, with min­i­mal calo­ries es­pe­cially on a low-calo­rie weight loss eat­ing reg­i­men. With a serve giv­ing more than 16g of pro­tein per ½ cup along with cal­cium, mag­ne­sium and vi­ta­min B12, adding a serve of cot­tage cheese into your day is a great way to bump your in­take of es­sen­tial nu­tri­ents for very few calo­ries.

Green tea

If you are look­ing for a fat­burn­ing boost, adding in a cou­ple of cups of green tea to your day is the way to go. Not only is green tea a rich source of pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dants that help to pre­vent cell-re­lated dam­age but there is also some ev­i­dence to show that green tea may in­crease fat me­tab­o­lism. Any va­ri­ety is a good choice, but matcha is even bet­ter.

PHOTO: THINKSTOCK

NU­TRI­ENT RICH: Veg­etable-based soups are a great op­tion when try­ing to lose weight.

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