Superfoods for weight loss
Step up your intake of superfoods to boost your energy levels, help curb sugar cravings and achieve long-term weight loss
Superfoods improve gut health
What we eat and how we process it has the most fundamental influence on our physical and mental well-being. Recent research shows that poor gut health due to bad bacterial flora has a direct correlation with incidences of obesity, diabetes and low mood.
The gut has often been referred to as the second brain by scientists – the enteric nervous system (ENS) is a collection of over 500 million neurons, second only to the number found in the main brain. In fact, serotonin, the ‘happy chemical’ is actually produced in cells in the intestinal tract – so it makes sense to feed ourselves well.
Many superfoods will directly and positively impact the workings of the gut, (all 9 metres of it), reducing inflammation and improving digestive efficiency. Once you start eating superfoods, you will notice quite quickly how well you feel, which will encourage you to make healthy food choices for weight loss.
Good foods for gut health
Probiotic foods contain live microorganisms which help to restore or rebalance healthy intestinal bacteria. Foods containing probiotics include kefir, yoghurt, certain fermented teas and sauerkraut. Dark chocolate, though not technically a probiotic, is actually a carrier of probiotics. It’s a good option when you want to hit the sweet spot; healthy eating should never mean restrictive eating!
Eat protein with every meal
Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates or fats and will make you feel fuller for longer, reducing the need to snack between meals. Protein is responsible for cell building and repair, and can positively impact metabolic rate. This is the way that our body processes food to release energy. The higher the metabolic rate, the faster calories are burned.
High protein superfoods include: seafood, tofu, nuts and seeds, beans and pulses, eggs, (once considered to increase body cholesterol, eggs are now firmly back on the dieticians’ menu), fish and liver.
Choose good carbs for weight loss
Carbohydrates should represent about 65% of daily food consumption, so it makes sense to eat the healthy ones. Non-refined complex carbs are naturally low in glucose, will help with blood sugar balance and will prevent excess insulin production that leads to fat storage. Low sugar carbs will increase energy, and prevent the fatigue, bloating and sluggishness that can lead to cravings and snacking.
Best complex carbs include: wholemeal bread, oats, brown rice, brown pasta, quinoa and buckwheat.
Fat busting foods
Some foods can actually help to block the absorption of fats. The active ingredient curcumin found in turmeric, widely known to block fat absorption, is now also thought to help with weight loss by reducing the inflammation that can be linked to obesity. Research also shows that calcium can play a part in how fat is stored – the more calcium is stored in fat cells, the better it is for burning fat. Pectin, too, is a complex carbohydrate that lowers fat absorption, whilst soy contains lecithin, which breaks down the natural fat stored inside the body. Choose foods that contain these nutrients to help keep you trim.
Fat busting foods include: pectin rich fruits; bananas, grapefruits, oranges, apples and apricots. Soy based foods; soy beans, soy milk, tofu. Calcium rich foods; dairy products, green leafy vegetables, tofu, sesame seeds and pulses.
Eat lots of fruit and veg
These superfoods are naturally low in calories. Load up your plate and add volume to your meal without worrying about your calorie intake. The simple equation of what you eat versus energy expended is the core principle in achieving your optimum body weight long term.
‘Skinny’ foods include: kale (or any cruciferous vegetable), spinach, seaweed, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and salad ingredients.
Sprinkle herbs and spices for long term weight loss
Many herbs and spices contain active ingredients that can help to speed the metabolism, suppress the appetite and shrink fat tissue. These include: ginseng, green and black tea, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, turmeric, dandelion root, ginger, cilantro and cumin.
Exercise portion control
Simple portion control is a good way to manage food consumption. Many nutritious superfoods need no complicated measuring and come in obvious sizes. Half an avocado, or an egg with a slice of toast for breakfast is easier to guage than a bowl of cereal, an apple as a snack can be simpler than crispbreads with toppings.
How to reduce bloating fast and stay hydrated
Recognising a feeling of satiation after a meal is vital in maintaining healthy weight. Many fibrous foods help to fill us up, as well as to eliminate the excess fluids and toxins that cause bloating. Finally, for optimum mind and body function, stay hydrated and stave off hunger pangs by drinking water and herbal teas regularly throughout the day.
Fulfilling foods include: leafy greens, bran, oatmeal, nuts and seeds, pulses and beans. Detox fluids; green tea and other herbal teas, and water.