By Betty Murray
Summer is just a few months away; it’s time to start working on your beach body!
Even if you’ve been eating a relatively healthy diet, you may find that you’re struggling to lose excess pounds and inches around your waist. If you need an extra weight loss boost, check your diet for these five foods. Each of these foods can help you slim down just in time for summer.
Hot peppers – People tend to consume fewer calories when they eat spicy foods such as red chili peppers, compared to bland foods. Chemicals called capsaicinoids which cause the burning sensation have also been found to reduce cravings for fatty, sweet and salty foods. There is also evidence that once the capsaicinoids reach the gut, they cause an increase in brown fat cells, which burn calories at a faster rate and increase core temperature.
Spices – Tumeric, oregano, cinnamon, rosemary, cloves and paprika are all spices that have been found to improve insulin sensitivity. When you eat a fatty meal, your triglyceride levels and insulin spikes. Eat the same meal with about two teaspoons of some of these spices, and it will help keep your triglyceride and insulin levels down.
Water – Drinking a glass of water before a meal, and drinking water with your meal can fill you up faster so you’ll consume fewer calories. Similarly, foods that have high water content work much the same way. A study out of Tokyo found that women who a lot of ate foods that were high in water content (like fruits and vegetables) had lower body mass indexes (BMI) and smaller waistlines. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, lettuce, radishes and spinach are all foods that are high in water content.
Nuts – Keep nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans around the house for snacks. If you get a mid-day craving for a snack, eat a small handful of nuts instead of a processed, high-calorie, high-carb snack. Research has shown that people who eat nuts for a snack will eat less at meal time. Nuts like almonds are high in protein, which helps keep you feeling full.
Apples – Another great snack option, apples are high in fiber and antioxidants that may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition that leads to excess belly fat. Apples contain natural sugar (as all fruits do), but they are a relatively low-calorie snack. A raw apple about 3-1/4” in diameter with the skin on contains just under 120 calories.
Your body needs calories to function, but you have control over the types of calories you take in. Keep these weight loss superfoods at close reach so you’ll be more inclined to grab a healthy snack when the craving hits.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.