What are superfoods? Superfoods is a popular term used to describe foods that are low in calories, high in nutrients and beneficial in terms of combating diseases and encouraging weight loss. These healthy foods contain anti-oxidants and other important compounds that assist our bodies in various ways. A veritable army of researchers is constantly looking into superfoods and their benefits to our health. So far they have confirmed that superfoods can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, help in the fight against diabetes and keep our brains ticking over nicely. With the right regime of diet and regular exercise, superfoods can also help us lose weight and remain at our ideal weight.
Here are 15 superfoods that can assist with weight loss:
Brimming over with essential nutrients like vitamin E and B as well as fiber, almonds used to be shunned for their fat content until just a few decades ago. Now we know that the fat contained in almonds is actually really good for our bodies, as almonds contain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). They also make us feel full for several hours and are part of the famous paleo diet. Recommended by nutritionists as a healthy day time snack, this almond flavored advice doesn't stretch to almond-flavored ice cream or marzipan!
Not everybody likes spicy food but chilies and cayenne have excellent nutritional qualities and can help with weight loss. Cayenne contains capsaicin, which is the compound that makes peppers hot and encourages weight loss by boosting the body's metabolism. We burn more calories during activities, when we consume cayenne. The spice also makes us sweat more. That releases toxins from the body, always a good thing! Adding a dash of cayenne to a meal helps increase blood flow in the stomach, which means you will be digesting your food more efficiently, while absorbing more nutrients at the same time.
The avocado is a great resource when you're trying to lose weight. It may be fatty, but its oils are bursting with healthy goodness, such as fiber, vitamins C and B, carbohydrates, magnesium and amino acids. Avocados help reduce hunger pangs and increase our ability to absorb nutrients. Since these friendly little green guys are packed with calories, just half an avocado can help with weight loss and health.
Certain berries are not only filled with anti-oxidants, they are also responsible for breaking fats and sugars in our bodies. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are high in nutrients and a great addition to daily recipes or as healthy snacks. Try them in salads or crushed with yoghurt or add them to your breakfast cereal. Berries assist with the reduction of mental decline during old age. Of all other fruits berries have the highest health value and can be a real life saver when you're trying to lose weight.
The ancient Aztecs already recognized chia as a superfood that was good for our health. It serves as a strength food, which is why is was often used by Aztec messengers who had to keep up their energy during long distance runs that could last for days. The chia seeds may be small, but they are the "Popeye" among seeds, for they pack quite a punch with omega-3, protein and fiber, making us feel fuller for longer and helping us to digest other food stuffs better. The omega-3 components also assist with our work-out, as they encourage muscle growth. Chia is tasteless, so can be added to any food, such as smoothies, cereals and sauces.
6. Matcha Green Tea
Boosting our energy and alertness with the amino acids and other compounds contained in Matcha Green Tea is a great idea for those who want to lose weight. This beverage is reputedly the oldest energy drink in the work, already known to assist ancient Japan's samurai to wield their swords for longer and with more vigor than was good for their opponents.
Since the whole leaf is used, unlike other tea counterparts, Matcha Green Tea tastes quite differently. Packed with anti-oxidants and the powerful EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), it assists us to lower cholesterol and helps us to remain calm. It also helps with prevention of diseases.
7. Coconut Oil
Containing healthy fatty acids that help our metabolism and allow us to burn off calories even faster when we are at rest, coconut oil also increases our energy levels. Since it is a useful substitute for all other oil, it can be used for cooking.
For fitness enthusiasts, omega-3 is well known to help with weight loss, but omega-3 in the humble sardine also assists our heart, brain and blood, as well as pretty much every other bit of our anatomy. Sardines are filled to the gills with protein that stimulates our metabolism and helps us to feel full. The omega-3 content also reduces muscle soreness for those who work out or do heavy work, so the little sardine can extend our productivity. Omega-3 helps us to recover faster, burn fat and slow down muscle loss. If a freshly grilled sardine is not to your taste, simply take omega-3 supplements, which is the next best thing. They come in capsule form and are very cheap these days.
Known to help in the prevention of cancer with its compounds of lininoids and lycopene, the grapefruit is also a famous fat fighter. Eating just half a grapefruit before a meal helps people to lose weight. A grapefruit contains only 39 calories, is delicious and easily added to a range of recipes.
Greek yogurt packs protein but is low in sugar. It's an excellent substitute for sour cream and can assist with lowering our fat and calorie consumption. Put aside that nasty burger and enjoy a delicious honey-flavored Greek yogurt instead!
11. Olive Oil
Known since ancient times for all sorts of wonderful culinary, medicinal and cosmetic uses, olive oil is far better for you than a regular salad dressing, which is high in calories and tastes only half as good. Substitute olive oil for other cooking oils, which are fattening and unhealthy. Olive oil is good for the heart - and excellent for treating squeaky door hinges. Now that truly is a superfood!
12. Broccoli and Kale
Green food stuffs are essential in any healthy diet - and broccoli and kale are the stars among the greens in the world of superfoods. Packing nutrients and fiber, they are filling and can be added to a large number of recipes. Use them on pizza, in salads, with ginger and Asian noodles or with spaghetti. Be inventive!
13. Apple Cider Vinegar
Containing an enzyme that aids our digestive system, apple cider vinegar helps us to lose weight. Typically taken before meals in some water, apple cider vinegar (the raw and organic type) helps our stomachs to digest food efficiently, while at the same time promoting better absorption of nutrients in our bodies. It also helps suppress hunger pangs between meals.
Generations of Scottish mothers have urged children to eat their morning porridge. These mothers clearly knew a thing or two about superfoods. Make sure oats are on your grocery list from now on. The amount of fiber contained in your breakfast bowl of oats can assist with weight loss, because they boost your metabolism and release energy slowly, making you feel full for longer. Sprinkle some chia over your oats or add some healthy berries to your cereal. Oats contain anti-oxidants and minerals, which help us to manage our cholesterol levels and protect our hearts.
It doesn't matter if the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable in your mind - just have one every day and thank the humble tomato for its healthy amount of lycopene, a powerful anti-oxidant, which is good for your body. Low in calories and packed with fiber, the tomato is a helpful alley in fighting the "bulge". Have tomatoes on your pizza, in salad or in the sauce you pour over pasta.
We really should be including these superfoods in our diet whether we are trying to lose weight or not. Are you currently dieting?
Important point to note:
Taken as supplements, included in recipes or eaten fresh, these food stuffs are not always, but increasingly so, marketed as superfoods in grocery stores. International regulating bodies have so far not permitted the term "superfoods" to appear on labels unless there was scientific evidence supporting the food staff's health claims.