Eating well is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. In order to lose weight, the importance of exercise is generally understood, yet an even bigger factor in attaining that flat stomach people desire is nutrition. Intense workout regimens are rendered inconsequential without a healthy diet. Not only must a diet be low in calories, foods that boost your metabolism and stave off cravings by keeping you full for longer are very important. The following are 10 essential foods that should be incorporated into everyone’s diet.
Packed full of vitamins, zinc and potassium, asparagus spears are a very useful tool for keeping a body healthy and capable in order to maximize the effectiveness of a diet. Asparagus is very low in calories, with only 20 per 100g. When taken into account the high level of fiber contained in asparagus, it is a very effective vegetable to include in a diet. Asparagus makes for a simple replacement of rice or potatoes as a side-dish. Simple to make yet delicious, asparagus can help reduce the input of carbohydrates in a diet. The particularly high content of B vitamins, which help regulate the metabolism of sugars and starches, turns asparagus into a critical tool for healthy blood sugar management. Rich in fiber and protein, asparagus is noteworthy for stabilizing digestion and allowing food to move through the body at a desirable rate.
Almonds are an elite snack for individuals on a diet. They are highly recommended as a replacement for sugary or salty snacks, such as candy or potato chips, as their overall health benefits make a drastic difference in a diet and are just as tasty as the aforementioned unhealthy snack counterparts. Almonds are low in carbs and high in both protein and fiber, which help to reduce hunger. When people are fuller they will eat less, therefore eating fewer calories. While almonds contain what appears to be a high calorie count, like the majority of nuts, about 10-15% of the calories in nuts aren’t absorbed. There is even some evidence that eating nuts can boost metabolism. Combined with the hunger-fighting properties, almonds are a great addition to an effective weight loss diet.
Tomatoes are a useful item to help control weight loss for various reasons. Firstly, they have been found to reduce water retention in the body. Water retention occurs when excess fluids build up inside the body. A shift in body fluid balance will leave people feeling bloated. Tomatoes help fight water retention when a body is holding more water than it needs. Secondly, tomatoes are low in calories. With a versatile taste, tomatoes make an excellent replacement for high-calorie foods. For example, replacing cheese or meat on a sandwich with tomatoes will prove very beneficial for weight loss. Finally, tomatoes contain a good amount of dietary fiber, helping to satisfy an appetite. With proven cardiovascular support and anti-cancer benefits, tomatoes are an important part of a diet even prior to considering the weight loss aspects associated with them.
A powerful snack, berries are loaded with antioxidants that help cleanse your body by killing harmful bacteria and viruses. A healthy digestive tract is essential for achieving weight loss, as an improperly-functioning stomach will be a hindrance in your quest for a flatter stomach. Berries also contain an enormous amount of fiber despite their small appearance. One cup of raspberries contains a whopping 6g of fiber while being relatively low in calories. This makes for a perfect snack that can fill you up. Berries are also an excellent replacement for fruit juice in a morning smoothie and are a perfect afternoon snack on their own. Another common use is in a fresh salad dressing. Creating fresh vinaigrettes prove much healthier than heavy oil-based dressings. It certainly helps that berries are delicious and therefore very easy to add to anybody’s diet. However, their fiber and liquid content help provide a sense of fullness making them an excellent tool to lose weight with.
Tuna is a nutrient-dense food that packs in protein and vitamins without a massive amount of calories. It is an excellent replacement for processed meats and cheeses and is also relatively inexpensive. Tuna is a convenient health food that is very easy to pack for lunch. For good reason, it is a common staple of a weight loss diet. If purchasing canned tuna, ensure you are selecting tuna packaged in water rather than oil. These flavored oils add a significant amount of unnecessary calories to a diet. Tuna packaged in water averages a very reasonable 142 calories per can, as well as a very high protein count. The human body burns more calories in breaking down protein than it does breaking down carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, it is essential to boost protein intake while reducing carbohydrates in order to effectively lose weight.
Artichokes are a versatile food that are rich in fiber and help speed the digestive process, but they also relieve bloating in the abdomen. Artichokes are often associated with protecting against various forms of cancer, as well as other disease, heart attacks and strokes. Artichokes improve the health of the liver and aid in digestive issues ranging from constipation to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. With all this said, artichokes are quite miraculous in the scope of their power. Aside from those excellent health benefits, they are also low in calories and saturated fats. Finally, artichokes are rich in potassium which helps counter the effects of sodium. Artichokes provide great support for the liver and removes bad cholesterol. Through all these benefits, artichokes are proven to boost metabolism and are a key component in a healthy diet.
4. Cottage Cheese
There are many different varieties of cottage cheese, many of which come packaged in lower fat versions which are beneficial for weight loss. It’s important to recognize that not all lower fat options of popular items are ideal. For example, many lower calorie snacks are sugar-based and have no nutritional value whatsoever. However, with cottage cheese, low fat versions still contain protein, calcium and other nutrients that are always present in the product. Low fat cottage cheese is essentially pure protein and contains very few calories. This has the effect of making our bodies feel full and will also boost metabolism. Foods with a high protein count help keep a body feeling full for longer, reducing overall calorie intake. When the food in question has a low calorie density to begin with, it is a no-brainer to include in a diet geared toward weight loss.
Containing large amounts of protein, fiber, B vitamins and complex carbohydrates, quinoa is a complete grain that is far healthier for weight loss than rice can ever dream to be. Quinoa will boost metabolism, thus helping to burn calories quicker with less effort. Containing more protein and fiber than brown rice while holding nearly identical caloric counts, quinoa wins out while also having the bonus of more nutrients and iron. Quinoa can be used as a salad, as a pilaf side-dish or as a main dish. The recipes are endless and healthy. Experimenting with the grain is very enjoyable as there are uses for quinoa that can fit everybody’s tastes. Examples of common dietary items using quinoa include a kale and quinoa salad, quinoa with chickpeas and tomatoes, and a black bean chili with quinoa. The majority of quinoa recipes are very simple to prepare as the grain requires very little prep time.
Lentils are a cost-effective super food. Containing generous amounts of fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein, lentils pack a variety of essential stomach-strengthening nutrients at once. A healthy body is more likely to be able to lose weight, and large doses of soluble fiber present in lentils are the first step. A whopping 26 percent of the calories contained in lentils are attributed to protein, which is a huge! This will allow you to stay full without overeating. Despite all these benefits, lentils still remain quite low in total calories. One cup of cooked lentils contains approximately 230 calories yet still leaves people feeling full and satisfied. Great as a soup or as a main dish, lentils should be a part of everybody’s diet.
Beans are a versatile source of protein that will help firm out muscles while keeping individuals feeling full. They come in several different varieties ranging from black beans to white beans to kidney beans, but all of them are nutritional powerhouses. Low in calories and containing almost no fat, beans are packed with fiber, protein and essential nutrients such as magnesium, folate, iron, copper and zinc. If there is an item that needs to be in your diet, it’s beans. Like the majority of the items on this list, the high fiber and protein content helps fill you up so you eat fewer calories and maintain a healthy weight. Beans are also a great tool for combating cholesterol with the high content of soluble fiber presented in them. Beans provide a steady supply of energy with a rich fiber content that fills your stomach and causes a slower rise in blood sugar. A bonus for beans compared to other legumes is that beans contain fiber in both the skin and the flesh. This means that even bean dips or bean hummus are effective tools for weight loss.