Eating healthy has oodles of positive benefits – for the body and the mind alike. When we eat well we feel good, when we feel good we’re happier, when we’re happier we’re more productive… and the wonderful cycle continues. Getting healthy and losing weight can be a tough challenge. Eating right might not be enough to lose weight. Quantity and quality of food will make a huge difference in your overall health. Science is just learning about the hidden health effects of foods, such as the benefits of antioxidants. Fresh, unprocessed foods are filled with amazing vitamins and minerals that can have a lasting effect on your body. Foods with the most positive effects are called super foods.
Here are 15 healthiest amazing super foods that can charge up your metabolism and make weight loss even easier.
This sweet leafy green superfood is readily available – fresh, frozen or even canned. Spinach is packed with energy while low in calories, and provides Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and essential folate. With the recent spotlight on super foods, spinach has been building in popularity, pushing boring iceberg and romaine lettuce out of the running because of the abundance of nutrients it has. Spinach is high in chlorophyll, which can be found in all green colored vegetables. Chlorophyll is being studied for its restorative effects on your DNA and its detoxification properties.
The benefits of spinach don’t end there – it can also help reduce heavy metal buildups in your blood, and it helps carry oxygen through your body which is great when you’re trying to work out and get healthy. Enjoying just 1/2 cup of it daily can give you over 300 milligrams of chlorophyllin.
Nuts are high in fat and calories, but they have been found to be weight loss champions, as long as they’re eaten in moderation. Their combination of high fiber and natural fats can reduce your appetite and keep you full for longer. While a lot of nuts aren’t bad for you, some nuts are truly good for you and can aid in weight loss. Snack on unseasoned almonds, walnuts, cashews and pistachios.
EASY EATING TIP: Keep a supply in your bag for an easy, healthy snack on-the-go
The humble egg is actually an amazing super food that provides a lot of benefits. They are high in choline, which has been shown to help prevent fat absorption. Eggs are also low in calories and high in protein. Eating high protein foods can keep you full for longer than carbohydrates. The yolk can be controversial because it’s high in cholesterol, but the largest studies on eggs have found that eating egg yolks can actually reduce bad cholesterol. Plus, a lot of the protein is in the yolk, so skipping out on it only reduces the potential benefits of the egg.
So start your day off right by eating one or two eggs for breakfast. They’re a great breakfast food, and when it comes to weight loss, what you eat in the morning can have a big impact on how fast and how much of the desired weight comes off. As long as you haven’t been advised by your doctor to not eat eggs or egg yolk, eggs for breakfast can boost your energy and maximize your potential to build calorie-burning muscle when you exercise.
This delicious food is often mistaken for a grain due to its texture and taste. Quinoa is actually a seed, and this super food is high in protein and lower in carbohydrates. The protein it contains is called a “complete protein”. It includes all eight of the essential amino acids that we need for muscle health. Because of the amount and type of protein found in quinoa, adding it to your diet when you’re getting regular exercise is good for your body’s muscle development and growth. For weight loss, quinoa can help by making and keeping you full faster and for longer, boosting your metabolism, and burning fat quicker.
Quinoa has a mild nutty flavor and a fluffy couscous texture, and absorbs flavor well. Replace any cereal grain with this seed for a delicious and filling alternative to high carbohydrate varieties. Quinoa is extremely versatile and can be used in warm dishes and cold salads, as filler, and even in soups
Cinnamon is not only delicious, it’s great for you! This spice can help lower bad cholesterol while raisinggood cholesterol. Cinnamon also has a positive effect on your blood sugar, making it particularly beneficial to diabetics. It’s high in polyphenols, which can act like insulin in your body. High blood sugar levels can lead to weight gain, making it important to control your sugar consumption.
You can enjoy cinnamon by sprinkling it over cut fruit, mixing it in apple sauce, adding some flavor to your oatmeal, or making your own cinnamon tea. There are also a lot of lunch and dinner recipes that use cinnamon in different ways, such as a rub for meat (it’s mouthwatering on pork), a twist to homemade soup and stew, and in dishes using a homemade jerk sauce.
While avocado may be high in calories, it can be a delicious and nutritious aid in weight loss. Eating just one or two avocados a week gives you all the benefit of healthy monounsaturated fats. This healthy vegetable fat is a great alternative to saturated margarines and is full of healthy nutrients. It contains around 20 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, K, B5, B6 and E. It’s also a great source of potassium (with higher levels than bananas).
EASY EATING TIP: On toast with salt and pepper, or a slice of cheese if you’re that way inclined.
According to recent research, chocolate contains more antioxidants, gram-for-gram, than most fruit juices – great news for chocoholics! On top of protecting the body from diseases and helping to prevent heart conditions, dark chocolate is a natural mood-booster. All cocoa has these benefits, but dark chocolate is particularly good for you. Unlike milk chocolate, dark has less sugar and lower calories. In order for dark chocolate to do its job, you have to eat chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. Anything less and the benefits won’t hold true. You can even find 100% dark chocolate, which has no added sugar. It has a strong flavor, but when savored slowly, it can be just as satisfying as a conventional chocolate bar.
EASY EATING TIP: Eat this healthy food in moderation – just one or two squares per day is enough to reap the benefits.
Like most berries, raspberries are filled with antioxidants, to help keep the body healthy and free of disease. Fresh or frozen, they also provide Vitamin C, calcium and iron. On top of this, raspberries are low in calories, high in fiber, and considered to be a metabolism booster. Blueberries contain polyphenols, organic chemicals that can induce lipolysis. This process breaks down fat cells and can stop new ones from forming, which could assist in achieving your weight loss goals.
You don’t have to wait until summer rolls around to add these super berries to your diet. Buy frozen berries at your local grocery store and use them in smoothies or on top of cereal. Just make sure you buy berries that aren’t altered.
Coconut oil contains an amazing compound called lauric acid. It converts in your body to an antibacterial compound that can help prevent sickness. Although it’s made up of mostly saturated fat, experts have determined that the type of saturated fat matters, and what’s in coconut oil can actually be good for weight loss if you keep your daily dose to 1-2 tablespoons. Coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid, which are quickly metabolized by the liver and won’t end up as fat deposits in those tricky areas, like your thighs and belly. Some believe that coconut oil can help speed up your metabolism, helping burn more fat.
You can enjoy coconut oil as an alternative or substitute in every day cooking and baking, adding a slight but delicious flavor. When pan frying food, use it instead of cooking spray, especially if you make a stir fry. For many of your favorite baked goods, replace butter or vegetable oil with coconut oil.
Don’t let the high carbohydrates scare you away. Lentils are a fat-free, delicious legume to increase your magnesium and dietary fiber intake. Lentils are very filling, which can aid in weight loss because you’ll eat less and stay full for longer. They’re also high in fiber and protein and adds great taste and texture to any meal. Vegans and vegetarians are often a fan of using lentils as a meat substitute in traditional recipes. These mighty legumes can be enjoyed in cold salads, as purees, or in warm soups. With so many different types and colors of lentils available, it’s easy to find low fat and low sugar lunch and dinner recipes.
This pungent bulb has been used to ward off disease for centuries, as it inhibits the growth of bacteria, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure and has some serious anti-inflammatory power.
EASY EATING TIP: Crush it and cook it. Garlic tastes great in everything from dressings and sauces to curries and soups.
Salmon continually makes it onto health food lists because there are so many benefits that adding it to your regular diet simply makes sense. Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to prevent heart disease and provide better overall health. The healthy fats in salmon will keep you full for longer, making it a great entree. It is naturally low in calories and packed with lean protein, which is ideal for weight loss. The longer and better a meal can keep you full and satisfied the less likely you are to over-snack and over-indulge in food between meals.
The bright pink color of the flesh is a sign of the minerals in the meat. Other seafood high in omega-3s are tuna, trout, shark, sardines, and oysters. These delicious seafood products are a great food to eat when trying to lose weight. They are filling and will keep you healthy.
Green tea is a renowned super food. It contains two different phytochemical antioxidants: anthocyanin and pro anthocyanin. These antioxidants can help block bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. It has been shown to boost your metabolism, increasing the rate you burn calories. Green tea is also believed to reduce fat and may even help improve endurance during exercise. How? Your muscle cells can be stimulated by the catechin polyphenols found in green tea, making you use carbs slower and allowing you to exercise for longer.
While drinking green tea on its own won’t result in weight loss, when it’s part of your regular diet and combined with regular exercise, it can be used as a weight loss aid. To maximize its potential, you should drink 2-3 cups of green tea per day. Matcha has the most nutrients when compared with other types of green tea. It is unfermented and can be found ground into a powder. Enjoy this healthy drink any time of the day.
Good for the brain and skilled at lowering blood pressure, the humble beet is often overlooked as one of the healthiest foods on earth. The brightly-colored root vegetable is filled with folate, magnesium and Vitamin C.
EASY EATING TIP: Grate them into salads for a sweet, crunchy boost.
This super food is amazingly high in antioxidants, which are known to slow down aging and prevent several types of diseases. Pomegranates are also low in calorie but rich in vital nutrients, including dietary fiber and vitamin C. In fact, you can get almost half of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C from the seeds in just one pomegranate. Dietary fiber plays a significant role in weight loss because it helps prevent overeating – it’s what keeps you feeling full making juicy and flavorful pomegranate seeds an ideal snack choice.
The greatness of pomegranates doesn’t end there. Drinking pomegranate juice has been shown to break down abdominal fat, an area on your body that can be frustrating to trim. For many people, targeted exercises to lose belly fat don’t work, and a diet including super foods like pomegranate can help. Enjoy pomegranate seeds in a fresh salad to bring a bright acidity and new texture. Pomegranate juice is also a great addition to your smoothies and mixed drinks.