There are many different types of foods that can help with weight loss. Fruits, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fish, and meat can all help you to lose weight in a healthy way. However, they work in different ways.
Some foods can help your body burn calories faster or make you feel less hungry. Some foods can help your body absorb fewer fats and sugars. And some foods have nutrients that help you feel full after eating them.
The best way to lose weight is to eat healthy foods and to exercise regularly. However, if you want to lose weight faster, you can try eating some of these special weight-loss-friendly ideas.
Avoid counting calories
Losing weight is not necessarily about cutting out many foods; it’s still very important to make sure you are eating a well-balanced and healthy diet. Just because you are watching what you eat with a focus on losing weight, it doesn’t mean your diet can’t be varied; it can.
While you are thinking about consuming fewer calories – some fruits that help with weight loss are actually higher in calories than you may realise – you also need to consider increasing the amount of fiber and protein in your meals. In fact, cutting out too many calories could actually have an adverse effect. Your body needs at least 1,000 calories a day to ensure your body gets the nutrition, i.e. vitamins and minerals, to avoid health issues.
Avocados packed with good fats, but have the most calories per 100g compared to any other fruit.
Why fiber and protein?
Your body’s hormones heavily influence your hunger, cravings and body weight signals to your brain. Now, combine that with the effect some foods have on your hunger hormones and you start to get a picture of why it’s hard for some people to lose weight sustainably. Eating more protein and fiber can help combat the problem – how? Let’s look at protein first.
Protein is known for boosting energy levels but it also helps you to feel full up quicker. In addition, it keeps your brain thinking that way for longer. This is because protein will reduce you hunger hormone secretions after eating. Therefore, you won’t have that awful hungry feeling in between meals.
Other benefits of increasing the amount of protein you are consuming are is your body uses up more energy to digest, and it increases lean muscle mass. This, in turn, boosts your metabolism; all good to help with losing weight.
Fiber largely has the same effect but for different reasons. As it moves through your digestive system, certain satiety (feeling full) hormones are released which, in turn, tell your brain to lower hunger feelings and regulate your food intake. This goes a long way to preventing you from overeating and reduces the level of calories you are consuming.
Nuts and seeds are a perfect all-natural source for protein and fiber.
Foods that can help you lose weight
The aim is to eliminate processed foods, refined sugars and fried food as much as possible from your diet. So, what can you eat?
- Lean protein – there are a variety of sources for lean protein and while grass-fed lean beef, turkey and chicken are good for lean protein, you will also find it in plant-based foods, like lupini beans, legumes and lentils. Plus they are higher in fiber so a double bonus. Eggs are another good source of protein. They contain just about every essential vitamin your body needs, except vitamin C, plus loads of minerals.
- Vegetables – we appreciate that you already know vegetables are good for you but they also help with weight loss. So, vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are high in fiber and vitamins; crunchy vegetables, like jicama and celery are low in calories; dark green vegetables – the leafy ones – are high in protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber. Such a choice!
- Fruit – again, we all know fruit is good for us but some fruits, like berries, are better for us than others. As well as many fruits being low in calories – even the higher calorie fruits, like avocados and bananas, help with weight loss as they are high in fiber and protein – they are also a great source of vitamins, minerals, healthy nutrients and naturally contain water. This means that not only do they keep you hydrated but also aid absorption by your body as the water dilutes the nutrients.
- Nuts and seeds – now, you may have heard that nuts contain fat and yes, they do but its healthy fat. Your body needs a certain amount of fat which it burns as energy. Chia seeds are particularly good in helping with weight loss by being full of fiber and, if eaten unsoaked, the will (safely) expand in your tummy, helping you feel full quicker, and longer. Nuts and seeds contain plenty of fiber, protein and minerals, too, but you will have to watch portion size. The general rule is one serving of nuts or seeds, or both, is the same as a quarter of a teacup.
- Fish – it is a great source of protein and also omega 3 fatty acids, which will help fill you up and keep you feeling full for longer. Salmon is a fish that is particularly high in protein and the omega 3 fatty acids, making it a good appetite suppressant. Shrimps are also good for reducing your appetite and hunger cravings. This is because they stimulate your body’s production of the CCK (cholecystokinin) hormone which sends the signal to your brain that your stomach is full. An added benefit of fish, especially shellfish, is that they contain selenium and zinc – important minerals that boost your immune system and energy levels.
Vegetables contain essential minerals and vitamins that may help your body improve metabolism.
All of the above foods are great for helping with weight loss but don’t forget water. As well as needing water to stay hydrated, your body’s metabolism needs it to function, too. Drinking a pint of water before a meal will help fill your stomach and reduce your feelings of hunger, as well as keep you hydrated. In fact, the National Academy of Medicine recommend women drink 9 cups of water a day and men drink 13 cups. Of course, in warmer climates, you should be drinking more than this.
Drinking enough water is essential to burn stored fat and energy.
Eating the right foods to help you with weight loss is great but unless it’s combined with smaller portion sizes and moderate exercise, your weight loss will be much slower. An added benefit of eating the above foods, which are fresh, natural and unprocessed, will significantly improve your gut health.
Now, this has a secondary effect in that good gut health is linked to a better insulin response and this helps to lower the amount of fat stored in your body, i.e. reduces those tyres around your middle. But that isn’t all; good gut health will also boost your immunity system and decrease inflammation. When you feel healthier mentally and physically, it’s much easier to stay focused on losing weight, and get fitter.