Top 5 Foods For Healthy Weight Loss
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1. Fat Burning Fats
You may be surprised to read this, but certain fats can actually help you burn fat. That is right. Eating the right fats, those rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids which include fish oil, olive oil, palm oil and coconut oil can actually help you burn fat more efficiently and promote greater satiety (feeling of fullness or satisfaction) by slowing digestion. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity (which is important for controlling belly fat), reduce inflammation and they are good for your heart and brain. Have two or three servings of fatty fish each week. Best choices include salmon, herring, mackerel and cod. Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, it promotes satiety, and it can also reduce inflammation. Use olive oil in salad dressings or put on foods after they are cooked. Coconut and palm oil do contain some saturated fats, but they also contain medium-chain fatty acids that can boost metabolism and help burn stored fat.
These tropical oils are heat stable and thus ideal to use for stir frying or cooking. Adding these fat-burning oils to pasta, rice or other starchy carbohydrates will also lower the glycemic impact of that meal, meaning it will slow down the rate of digestion. Keep in mind that all these oils still provide calories, so consume them in moderation (about a tablespoonful a day) and have them in place of other fats as part of your healthy weight loss program.
2. Green Tea
As one of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide, green tea offers a range of benefits for heart health, cancer protection, weight loss, and much more. Green tea contains a number of beneficial compounds including volatile oils, vitamins, minerals, caffeine, and potent antioxidants called polyphenols. Research has shown that green tea can facilitate weight loss by increasing thermogenesis—the rate at which the body burns calories. This was initially attributed to its caffeine content, however recent studies have shown that this is due to an interaction between its high content of polyphenols, specifically the catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) along with caffeine. Most research evaluating the health benefits of green tea involved 3 to 10 cups per day. Tablets and capsules are available as an alternative for a healthy weight loss program. Look for a product that is standardized for total polyphenol content and/or catechin concentrations. Most products provide 60% to 97% polyphenols and/or EGCG.
3. Lean Protein
Protein is essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass and muscle drives your metabolism. Without adequate protein intake, dieting and exercise can cause the body to burn muscle for fuel and this can result in a lowering of your basal metabolic rate—the rate at which you burn calories. The recommended amount of protein is based on body weight and activity level. For the average person, this amount is 0.8 to 1 gram per kilogram, of body weight. For example, if you weigh 63 kilograms, your total protein intake should be about 50 to 63 grams. Endurance athletes require more protein. As part of a healthy weight loss program, focus on eating lean protein, such as poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds. Red meat is okay in moderation as long as you trim the fat and watch your portion sizes. If you can’t get enough protein in your diet, consider a supplement.
4. Soluble Fiber
Dietary fiber is a powerful asset to anyone trying to lose body fat. Dietary fiber helps balance blood sugar and insulin levels, thus helping prevent the fluctuations, which trigger appetite and cravings. Soluble fiber improves digestion and elimination. Fiber also makes us feel more full with meals because it slows the rate of digestion.
Unfortunately, most North Americans only consume about 10 to 15 grams of fiber daily. Health authorities, including The National Cancer Institute and the Institute of Medicine recommend 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Plant foods, such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains (oatmeal), nuts and seed, and legumes are excellent sources of soluble fiber and should be part of a healthy weight loss program. Fiber is also available in supplemental form,
Drinking adequate water is critical for not only weight loss, but overall health. Water works along with fiber to improve the feeling of fullness and aid digestion. We sometimes confuse thirst with hunger, and grab food rather than having a drink of water.
Water also plays an important role in detoxification. While you are losing weight, toxins stored in the fat tissue are released into your bloodstream. Drinking plenty of pure water makes it easier for your liver and kidneys to cope with the breakdown of toxins. Exercise, which key for weight loss success, also increases your needs for water because you lose water through perspiration.
If you are currently not drinking much water, try having a full glass when you wake up and then another glass before and during meals. You will likely find that this strategy helps fill you up and reduce the quantity of food consumed, therefore water should be an integral part of a healthy weight loss program. If you find water too bland, add a squeeze of lemon or a splash of fruit juice.