Editors love articles with catchy titles like “How to drop 50 pounds in two weeks!”
The truth is, though, that with any one-size-fits-all approach to diet, there will be some winners and some losers because everybody has a unique biochemistry.
Even the universally well-regarded orange, which is high in vitamin C, could be one of the best foods for weight loss for one person but for someone else, eating lots of oranges could push them out of whack.
But certainly there must be some foods that benefit everybody, regardless of individual biochemistry? We’re glad you asked. Here’s a partial list of some of the best foods for weight loss:
Green, leafy vegetables
Spinach and other leafy greens help you lose weight because they're low in calories but nutrient-dense. Most people think that to lose weight, you have to eat a plain bowl of spinach with no dressing or other healthy, boring veggies.
But if you eat two or three salads a day and add a little something to the healthy greens — try a small amount of natural protein and fat (for example: a fist-sized portion of lean turkey with a tablespoon or two of olive oil) — you’ll feel full for longer and won’t be tempted to binge two hours later.
Eating just two medium-sized apples contains about 10 grams of fiber — about a third of your daily suggested intake.
Fiber, of course, helps things moving along in the digestive tract. Pectin, the soluble fiber in apples (also found in plums and oranges), aids in elimination, perfect for those who experience constipation.
An apple is comprised mostly of water — 85 percent. Apples will make you feel full longer. Make sure, however, not to eat just an apple as a snack. To get the most bang for your buck, apply the leafy green salad approach. To feel full longer and avoid eating more calories, you’ll want to combine protein and fat, say a small serving size of cheese. This will help balance your blood sugar levels. If you want to lose weight, make sure to have no more than the equivalent size of four playing dices.
Containing the highest amount of Omega 3 essential fatty acids of any vegetable oil, flaxseed oil is a fat that can help you burn fat. It also helps metabolize carbohydrates and regulate insulin levels.
Make sure though that you refrigerate flaxseed oil shortly after you buy it. Containing very little saturated fat, it can quickly turn rancid. Even refrigerated, it’s best to consume a bottle within three weeks. Don’t cook with flaxseed oil. If you do, it won’t be one of the best foods for weight loss; it could be one of the worst foods for you as it will quickly oxidize and cause free radical damage.
Try pouring a squirt in a blender along with other healthy smoothie ingredients like whey protein powder. Speaking of which….
Whey protein powder
Milk is composed of two proteins: casein and whey. Whey is more soluble, and thus more easily digestible. Whey protein is considered the “gold standard” of protein, as it ranks highest on the biological value scale (a measure of how absorbable a protein is), even slightly higher than an egg.
So how does this make whey one of the best foods for weight loss? Leucine, an essential amino acid only found in certain foods like whey protein, can promote more lean muscle, which can lead to more fat and calorie burning.
Adding a handful of berries and a dab of flax oil to a whey protein powder shake will help manage weight by helping you feel full longer. Whey can be more effective than regular cow’s milk in promoting satiety because milk is higher in sugar than whey protein powder.
The most critical and abundant component of our bodies — up to 70 percent of a human being is comprised of water — can help us lose weight.
Drinking two glasses of water before each meal can help you feel fuller quicker. You’ll end up eating less calories, perhaps shaving off more than 100 calories each meal, which is 300 calories per day and 2,100 calories per week and 8,400 calories per month.
There are 3,500 calories in a pound. That’s over two pounds you could lose per month just by drinking water before each meal. Try drinking 10-20 minutes before a meal so you don’t dilute your digestive juices.
Judd Handler is a health writer who lives in Encinitas, Calif.
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