Losing weight is never easy or fun, and sometimes limiting yourself to tasteless or restricting foods can make a diet unsustainable, instead you should aim to spice up your diet with satisfying but healthy foods, keeping you on track for the body and health you're aiming for. Replacing a takeaway for a salad rarely sounds inviting but spicing up your diet with these simple foods can help increase weight loss.
Grapefruit & other fruits
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was told to us all as kids to encourage us to eat fruits, but there is truth behind its simplicity. Packed with nutrients and vitamins, any kind of fruit provides a healthy and nutritious alternative to sweet snacks that can easily tempt us. Alone or combined with other foods such as yogurts, cereal and so on, fruits provide a healthy snack alternative to satisfy any sweet cravings or hunger, whilst keeping us hydrated and energised.
One particular fruit worth mentioning to aid weight loss is grapefruit, being nature’s answer to diet pills, helping is greatly to lose weight. A study involving 91 obese people who ate half a fresh grapefruit before meals alone, lost around 4lbs (approx 1.8kg) over 12 weeks. It's been found that eating half a grapefruit or drinking a serving of juice three times a day can help you shed pounds without having to change your diet or hit the gym. The magic ingredient is the fruit's phytochemicals which reduce insulin levels, stimulating the body to burn up your calories into energy instead of storing them as fat, inevitably encouraging weight loss.
Cinnamon is considered a super-spice when it comes to boosting your wellbeing, promoting both health and weight loss. There are numerous ways that cinnamon can help control weight, affecting both your physiological and metal struggle against weight loss.
Cinnamon has a unique ability to mimic the activity of insulin and can even decrease blood sugar levels, which will prevent the storage of fat that occurs when sugar increases. Through this, cinnamon can also speed your metabolism up, burning carbs more efficiently to prevent the storage of carbs into fat, helping you burn abdominal fat and keep cholesterol low.
Cinnamon is also an ideal way to satisfy appetite and curb cravings for sugar and sweets.
Cinnamon is also an ideal way to satisfy appetite and curb cravings for sugar and sweets. Whether you add a spoonful into hot drinks and cereals, spice up a tomato sauce or take a cinnamon supplement, any addition of the tasty spice will benefit you greatly. But you don't need to shovel the stuff into your coffee to reap the benefits; studies have shown that just a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower your blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
If you are a fan of adding a bit of exoticness to your diet, chillies are a great way to add spice and flavour whilst trimming your waistline. Chili peppers contain an element called capsaicin, the element that gives chillies their heat, which has been found to boost your metabolism, burn fat, and reduce appetite. Most ideal in the mornings, studies have shown that spicing up your breakfast can make you opt for a smaller lunch and continue eating less through the day.
Granted, chilies aren't the easiest foods to eat straight out of bed, but adding a few chillies or jalapenos to a spicy egg-white omelette or stirred into scrambled eggs is an effective way to add a weight loss kick to your day. However, if your tolerance for spice is already high, you may have to turn up the heat to see any effects of chilies to your weight.
Fennel & green tea
A new craze for weight loss is the benefits found from drinking teas, whether detoxing or adding to your diet, a variety of herbal teas provide a variety of contributions to your health and weight. Fennel firstly is packed with potassium, magnesium and calcium as well as vitamins B and C. But concerning weight-loss, fennel is a double-whammy; working both as an appetite suppressant and a metabolism booster to curb hunger, provide hydration and increase the burning of those pesky calories.
Another powerful brew is green tea, providing a multitude of health and weight benefits; increasing your workout endurance by as much as 24 per cent, allowing you to exercise for longer and burn more calories. But in terms of assisting your weight loss, a study carried out by the Journal of Nutrition, found that drinking five cups of green tea per day can help you lose twice as much weight, specifically around the middle. But it is not only green and fennel tea that have health benefits, but a multitude of different teas can provide assistance for a range of problems; anywhere from stress and sleep to preventing cardiovascular disease and cancers.
Leafy green and salads
As boring and monotonous as vegetables and salads can be to some, eating a low-calorie salad or plate of greens before your main meals can help you to lose weight, filling you up on healthier substitutes. It is not rocket science as to how vegetables aid weight loss, their low calorie intake and rich nutrition provide an alternative to keep your minerals and vitamins high, whilst filling up on foods that won't increase your calorie intake dramatically.
Providing fibre, calcium, vitamins, folate, magnesium and so on, vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, lettuce and the rest of the green grocers shop, all provide a needed dose of nutrition vital for both your health and weight, increasing your immune, cardiovascular and metabolic systems, whilst providing energy and filling you up - what more could you ask for?
If vegetables really don't appeal greatly, why not combine them with beans, meats or even fruits to liven up your standard salad. Even adding olive oils, apple cider vinegar, coconut oils and vinaigrettes, can excite a boring salad whilst providing their own throng of weight loss benefits, without adding up the calories.
Soup is a great addition to any diet, coming in many varieties both chunky and creamy, catering to all tastes and preferences, soup serves as a great alternative for lunches and snacks whilst serving as a rich source of nutrition and appetite satisfaction. Broth-based soups are obviously the healthier option, lower in calories as they don’t include any dairy that can be found found in creamier soups, but all are efficient in filling you up and providing nutrition without being high in calories.
Soups surprisingly pass through the stomach relatively slowly and can remain in the stomach longer than you would expect. This provides the feeling of fullness for a longer time, whilst still providing a dense source of nutrition, particularly if you make yours with a multitude of vegetables and ingredients. If you dont have time to make your own soup, you should definitely check the label as many often contain unnecessary salts and sugars, making what seems as a nutritious healthy choice, actually rather calorific.
Lentils, Beans, Nuts and Seeds
Stored away in the healthy eating sections of the supermarkets are the lentils, beans, nuts and seeds that are considered the understated foods of weight loss, providing a high yield of energy and nutrition, ideal when trying to lose weight. With such a high yield of energy, lentils and beans provide the body with a substantial source of fuel without packing on the calories, a useful substitute to meats and saturated fats.
These foods are full of fibre and folate enhancing the feelings of fullness, but also aiding digestion and healthy cell growth. Nuts and seeds although high in fat, provide a valuable source of the good fats needed to aid health and disease prevention. Foods such as kidney beans, almonds and chickpeas specifically can be a great addition to your diet, providing satiety and energy without overloading on calories.
Ask any nutritionist what they would advise for a healthy diet and they will sing of the benefits found from avocados. Perfect for salads, sandwiches, dips and many more, avocados provide a generous source monounsaturated fat, fibre and potassium, important in the advancement of bodily health and functioning.
The fats found in avocados, similar to fish and eggs, actually increase your body's calorie and fat burning ability...
You may think it would be counterproductive to consume fats when you are trying to burn fat, but the fats found in avocados, similar to fish and eggs, actually increase your body's calorie and fat burning ability, helping you burn your calories more efficiently encouraging weight loss. These healthier fats like mono and polyunsaturates also help decrease the low-density lipoproteins, bad cholesterol, by increasing the good, high-density proteins, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease.
Granted chocolate is not low in calories nor in fat, dark chocolate however, holds two major dietary positives that can lead to long term weight loss. First, it's quite difficult to munch massive quantities of high-quality dark chocolate. When in need of a sugary fix, dark chocolate can be ideal to keep the cravings at bay, without overloading your body with unhealthy dairies and calories that can be found in other sugary treats. Secondly, dark chocolate is high in health-promoting antioxidants. In terms of a weapon in your weight-loss armoury, chocolate is efficient at satisfying needs without breaking your diet, whilst protecting cells and aiding the promotion of your health.
Pronounced 'Keen-wah', quinoa is known as the 'mother grain' by the ancient Peruvians. Quinoa is essential for weight loss as it has the power to keep you feeling fuller for longer due to its high protein content and keep your body well stocked in nutrients. Quinoa is a low GI, glycemic index, carb that releases its energy slowly helping you feel energised and sustained for longer, preventing you from reaching for the cupboards.
Quinoa is considered one of the best superfoods for its staggering nutritional benefits, containing fibre, phosphorus, calcium, iron, vitamin B and E to name a few. Being gluten and cholesterol free, quinoa is a useful addition to anyone's diet despite health restrictions and should be a vital part of anyone’s diet, particularly if trying to lose weight and stay healthy. You can eat quinoa raw but we would advise you to cook and prepare it similarly to rice or couscous.
Lean meats and fish
The rich protein content instantly comes to mind when thinking about meats, but it is not just bodybuilders and athletes that need protein, as a valuable nutrient, protein provides much needed energy and repair to our bodies. Eating a high protein diet can help you burn an extra 100 calories per day, and even reduce cravings by 60 per cent due to its filling and nourishing nature.
Salmons, tuna and other white fish provide a high yield of protein with low calorie content, along with a multitude of health fats, oils and nutrients ideal for health and weight loss. Whether raw or cooked, fish provide a filling alternative with reduced calories to other meats, keeping you sustained for longer and providing you with the needed repair your body requires.
Exploring useful combinations and recipes is a great technique to combine these health foods, livening up your diet and keeping your body in its ideal state to ensure most efficient weight loss.