The right foods will help you drop pounds by increasing your metabolism and curbing your cravings for bad foods. I consulted with the top nutritional experts in the industry and came up with the following list of superfoods for weight loss. Added these foods to your regular diet and you will lose weight and be healthier in no time!
Beef has a rep as a diet buster, but eating it may help you peel off pounds. In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women on a diet that included red meat lost more weight than those eating equal calories but little beef. “The protein in steak helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss,” says study author Manny Noakes, Ph.D. Try to consume local organic beef when possible.
Eat the whole egg, yoke and all. They won’t harm your heart, but they can help you lose weight. Women on a low-calorie diet who ate an egg each morning lost twice as many pounds as those who had a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories but no eggs, a study from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge reports. “Egg protein is filling, so you eat less as the day goes on,” says David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life (Bantam).
This green should be center stage on your plate. One raw chopped cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, as well as a hearty helping of iron and calcium. But kale’s earthy flavor might take some getting used to. Spinach, another nutrient powerhouse, is a milder-tasting option.
Lentils are great for weight loss. “They’re high in protein and soluble fiber, two nutrients that stabilize blood sugar levels,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., author of The F-Factor Diet (Putnam Adult). “Eating lentils helps prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to create excess fat, especially in the abdominal area.”
These chewy, tart berries have a hunger-curbing edge over other fruit: 18 amino acids, which make them a surprising source of protein, says Chef Sarah Krieger, R.D., spokeswoman in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the American Dietetic Association. (They also have more beta-carotene than carrots.) There are only 35 calories per tablespoon.
Not only do fish fats keep your heart healthy, but they shrink your waist, too. “Omega-3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity—which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat,” Grotto explains. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns. Opt for wild salmon when possible it is healthier than the farm raised variety.
One apple a day can keep your waist line from expanding, finds a study from Penn State University at University Park. People who ate an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack. “Apples are high in fiber—4 to 5 grams each—which makes them filling,” says Susan Kraus, R.D., a clinical dietitian at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Plus, the antioxidants in apples may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an “apple shape.”
All berries are good for you, but those with a blue hue are among the best of the bunch. They have the highest antioxidant level of all commonly consumed fruit, according to research from the USDA Agriculture Research Service in Little Rock, Arkansas. They also deliver 3.6 grams of fiber per cup. “Fiber may actually prevent some of the fat you eat from being absorbed because fiber pulls fat through the digestive tract,” Zuckerbrot says.
The juice gets all the hype for being healthy, but pomegranate seeds deserve their own spotlight. In addition to being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, they’re low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet, Krieger says.
One reason to spice up your meals: You’ll increase your metabolism. “A compound in chiles called capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, meaning it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chiles,” Zuckerbrot explains. Plus, “you can’t gulp down spicy food,” she adds. “Eating slowly gives your brain time to register that your stomach is full, so you won’t overeat.”
You can use this herb, a staple in French cooking, in place of salt in marinades and salad dressings. Excess sodium causes your body to retain water, so using less salt can keep bloating at bay. Plus, tarragon lends a sweet, licorice like flavor to bland foods. (Use the French version of the herb when possible; it’s sweeter than other varieties.)
Olive oil has healthy fat that increases satiety, controlling your appetite. But that’s hardly its only slimming feature. “Research shows it has anti-inflammatory properties,” Kraus says. Chronic inflammation in the body is linked to metabolic syndrome.