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2015
Dec-29
FAB FOODS TO REDUCE FLAB
By Ms. Hannah Sheila Mathison| 0 Comments

Remember how the saying goes “You are what you eat”. This is true as diet is the most important component in fat loss. Around 80 – 90% of the success or failure will be attributed to what you put inside your body. You will lose weight by dieting alone and eating the right kind of food is the most important element.

When people hear the word diet, the first thing that comes to their mind is depriving the body of calories in terms of certain foods (e.g. Low calorie or low carb diet plans) but that should not be the mindset. Before you go for obesity treatment,  little diet plans will make you healthy. A correct mindset would be looking at diet as a lifestyle change in terms of the food choices, frequency, and amount. The body needs to be conditioned to a healthy diet pattern which makes sure we unconsciously make healthy choices.

The current scenario is unlike the past when everything was healthy in terms of the environment, the quality of food, the lifestyle etc. Though most of us may not give a second thought about our surroundings or about the food we eat especially from outside and also the raw materials which we purchase to prepare food, these factors pose a great risk and danger to anyone’s health. Make sure you purchase foods which are organically grown to start off with. Avoid eating from outside eateries. Reduce stress. Sleep on time (advisable to avoid late nights). Keep the body well hydrated. Help the body out by providing according to its needs and you will see the difference.Here are some foods which will help in weight loss by shedding excess fat (not muscle) and the best thing being you don’t have to starve yourself.

Avocado

Avocados a.k.a Butterfruit has very low sugar content as compared to other fruits. These can be added to salads, smoothies, can be used as spreads, as dips and in many other ways. Adding avocado to salads helps the body absorb 3 – 5 times more carotenoids. It is rich in monounsaturated fat which will give you an energy boost for a better workout and keep your metabolism going even after the workout.

Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are a unique combination of protein and fiber. This is what makes it ideal for weight loss and maintenance because unlike dietary sugar that goes through the digestive track fairly quick, protein and fiber go at a much slower pace leaving you full for a couple of hours after a meal. The slower pace also helps regulate blood sugars. It also benefits the digestive tract by optimizing the balance of micro-organisms. Consuming beans increases the production of cholecystokinin, known to be an appetite – suppressant.

Berries

Eating berries is a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth minus the guilt. Blueberries are a rich source of antioxidants like Vitamin C and A. Compared to other fruits, these have relatively low sugar and calorie content. They are also good sources of dietary fiber that helps in satiety and slows down sugar absorption.

Pear and Apple

Pear and Apple are only a handful of fruits that have low calorie and high fiber. These make you feel full without eating too much. To get the maximum benefits, eat the whole fruit. Juices don’t count as the dietary fiber is removed. Add these to smoothies, salads, breakfast cereals and so on.

Whole Grain

Eating whole grain helps shed more pounds, particularly in the abdominal area. They also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The high fiber content in whole grains helps regulate the gut. Any grain with the bran is a good source of fiber. Refining grains removes the bran and germ which are the most nutritious components. Bran is an important source of B – vitamins, iron, magnesium and selenium too. It has its effects in promoting digestive health. Don’t get mislead by food labels. The label may state “Multi grain”, “100% wheat”, “Seven Grain”, but these need not necessarily be whole grain.

Salmon

Salmon is a rich source of nutrients that indirectly help in regulating weight. This is a rich source of omega – 3 fatty acids, otherwise known as “Brain Food” as it boosts the function of the brain and improves our mood. Omega – 3 helps reduce inflammation and aids in digestion which further helps in weight regulation and lesser chances for obesity or metabolic disease. Salmon is also a great source of Iodine which helps improve the function of the thyroid gland which is critical in keeping our metabolism at optimal levels.

Grapes

Grapes are rich in phytonutrients like phenols and polyphenols. Polyphenols have anti – inflammatory properties that prevent obesity causing inflammation and metabolic diseases. They can also improve insulin sensitivity.

The key here is portion size, since grapes have high calorie and fructose content, eating too much can have the opposite effect, it would be best to control the portion size. Make sure you eat the fruit as a whole. Avoid juicing.

Sweet Potato

In its pure form, sweet potato is a rich source of antioxidants and anti – inflammatory nutrients that benefits our eyesight, heart and digestive system. It has a lower Glycemic Index which measures how fast it releases sugar into the blood stream. It is rich in fiber and so steadies the pace of digestion. Boiling is the best proven option in terms of cooking sweet potatoes.

Green Tea

Green tea burns fat. It contains 2 substances that help in weight loss – caffeine and EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Green tea doesn’t contain as much caffeine as coffee but it is still enough to burn fat and improve aerobic performance. EGCG is an antioxidant found in green tea that burns fat by increasing the amount of norepinephrine, a hormone that breaks down fat cells and converts it into energy.

Pomegranate

This sweet tasting fruit is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate and potassium. It also helps with digestion as it is high in fiber. It is a good pre – workout snack as it is rich in dietary nitrates that improves blood flow and improves exercise performance. It is best to be eaten whole.

Eggs

ggs are a rich source of protein, omega – 3 fatty acids and has low carbohydrate and calorie content. While eggs do have high cholesterol content but that doesn’t necessarily affect our cholesterol levels. Our liver actually produces more cholesterol and when we eat eggs it lowers the liver’s production of cholesterol so that evens things out. Eggs provide a feeling of satiety and keep you full for longer periods of time. Just don’t tale more than one per day.

Soup

A hot bowl of soup that contains the right blend of ingredients can be a nutritious and filling alternative to other types of cooked food. By adding water to food, it lowers the energy density which helps you feel fuller and stave off hunger pangs for a longer time. Avoid high calorie soups.

Leafy Greens

Greens are known for their rich nutrient and fiber content while being low on carbohydrates and calories. These are some of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet as you can eat more of these without gaining weight and also it helps you feel fuller.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar can be added to salads or diluted in water and taken. It has a lot less calories and is rich in acetic acid that is found to suppress body fat accumulation. It also improves insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes.

Nuts

Nuts in general are a rich source of healthy fats (omega – 3 fatty acids), protein and fiber. Almonds in particular are proven to help in weight loss. Be careful not to indulge on nuts as these have calories which have to be considered.

Lean Beef

Not all meat is bad. Adding beef to your diet is one way to help you lose weight because of its protein content. By adding protein to your diet, cravings can be reduced. Those cravings can lead to unhealthy snack binges.Lean beef is a good source of protein, vitamin B12, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, niacin and phosphorus. When buying meat, choose unprocessed lean meat because these are the ones that have high nutrition content. Processed meat does increase the risk of heart disease and so it would be wise to avoid it. 

Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is one of the best sources of protein. The addition of protein will suppress appetite and also increase metabolism. This is perfect for weight loss. Avoid deep frying and choose healthier methods of cooking.

Plain Greek Yoghurt

This is a healthier alternative to traditional yoghurt because it has less sodium, sugar and carbohydrates plus a tiny bit more protein. Less carbohydrates means lower lactose content which could benefit people who are lactose intolerant. Yoghurt in general is a rich source of probiotics, a key element in our digestive health that keeps bad bacteria in check. Increased dairy consumption also helps replacing fat with muscle. Make sure to choose plain unflavoured and unsweetened yoghurt. You can add fruits to it or use it in smoothies.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is considered a “super” food as it is a rich source of fatty acids that boosts brain function, lower blood cholesterol and helps reduce seizures on people who suffer from epilepsy. Even though it has high amounts of saturated fat, these are mostly medium chain triglycerides (MCT) that are easily digested by the body and immediately converted into energy whereas long chain triglycerides are stores as fat inside the liver. Another benefit of the high fatty acid content in coconut oil is appetite suppression.

Chia Seeds

These are a rich source of nutrition providing omega – 3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein. It can be used as a protein source instead of meat. All these properties help in weight loss. Chia seeds can be added into juices, smoothies, cereal, veggies, and yoghurt.

Cruciferous Vegetables

This vegetable family (broccoli, radish, turnip, mustard greens, kale, watercress etc) is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, carotenoids and fiber while being low in calories and fat. They help in weight loss and improve our digestive health.

Cottage Cheese / Paneer

Cottage cheese contains 2 important proteins that help burn fat and slow down digestion – whey and casein. Whey protein is the by – product of the cheese making process and can be isolated. The high protein content of cottage cheese is very satiating which helps make you feel fuller. It is also a very good source of calcium that also helps in the fat burning process.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice and has been known for its medicinal uses for centuries. Science has proven that this antioxidant rich food has anti – inflammatory properties. Indirectly cinnamon can have a positive effect on our weight. Regular consumption also helps reducing Fasting blood sugars, lowers LDL and increases lean muscle mass. It helps with our digestion by slowing down carbohydrate digestion inside the digestive tract thus greatly slowing down the amount of glucose that goes into the bloodstream after a meal. Cinnamon can easily be sprinkled on fruits or added to smoothies or cereals.

Red Pepper

Eating red pepper can burn fat in your belly. Capsaicin is the ingredient that helps burn fat through the process called thermogenesis (converting food into heat) for more than 20 minutes after consuming it. This can be added to any dish especially during winter.

Putting it all together

Remember these principles to a successful diet plan:

Adequacy- The amount of food you eat should match your activity level

Balance  - Don’t over consume a particular type of food (for e.g. fruits)

Energy control-you need to know how much energy you need without exceeding the calorie requirement

Nutrient density-consume more foods that are nutrient dense while decrease consumption of high energy dense, low nutrient dense foods.

Moderation-Moderating portion sizes will help manage weight better as well as reducing the consumption of foods that have high sugar and fat.

Variety- variety is the spice of life, the same goes for weight loss.

Eating these foods in the right dosages will help you lose weight without needing to go through a crash diet and depriving yourself. Never forget the fact that too much of any food group including water is not good for you.

To quote Swiss scientist, Paracelsus, “Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.”

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