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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Eat your way to a healthy life - Top 60 superfoods that will help you lose weight [PART 1]


It is no secret that certain foods can be your friends in your effort to lose weight or lead a healthier lifestyle. We did some research and put together a list of 60 foods that will help you achieve your goals by eating! So here it is, the first part of lifehack's top 60 superfoods that will help you lose weight. (link to part 2 here)


1. Black beans



A cup of black beans packs a whopping 15 grams of satisfying protein and doesn't contain any of the saturated fat found in other protein sources, like red meat. They are lauded for their ability to help regulate blood sugar levels and help with digestion due to their fiber content. Try adding a can of organic black beans as a side to your next meal, especially if it can replace a more carb-laden item like bread or rice.
Many restaurants keep black beans on hand as a substitute for a side, so they’re a great go-to item when you’re out with friends and want to eat well without looking like you’re on a diet.


2. Apples



An apple a day can keep weight gain at bay. People who chomped an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack. Plus, the antioxidants in apples may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an "apple shape."It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that you are helping yourself to lose weight when you eat an apple. They are so sweet that they can help conquer sweet cravings, and it’s easy to see why they end up in a lot of desserts. But they are low in all of the things that you want them to be like calories, fat, and sodium. They have a good amount of fiber.
The fiber helps you feel full, and keeps you from going mad in between meals. It also helps keep things moving along digestively. Just be sure to chew your apple up real well before swallowing, and buy organic so you can leave the peel on.
Eat more: Apples are the ideal on-the-go low-calorie snack. For a pie-like treat, chop up a medium apple and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Pop in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.


3. Wild-caught salmon



Besides providing high-quality protein as well as antioxidants like selenium and astaxanthin, wild-caught fish comes loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids get credit for reducing your risk for numerous diseases, but studies show they can also help you stay lean. That makes sense since inflammation is a huge component for weight loss resistance. Skip the nasty farm-raised stuff: Wild-caught fish are higher in omega-3s. Up your intake with salmon; it's a leaner choice than red meat and is chock-full of MUFAs to boot. A 2001 study found that dieters eating a MUFA-rich diet lost an average of 9 pounds, while their low-fat diet counterparts gained, on average, 6.
Not only do fish fats keep your heart healthy, but they shrink your waist, too. Omega-3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity—which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns.
Eat more: You don't need to do much to enhance salmon's taste, says Sidra Forman, a chef and writer in Washington, D.C. "Simple is best. Season a fillet with salt and pepper, then cook it in a hot pan with 2 tsp oil for 1 to 3 minutes on each side."


4. Tomatoes



Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? Who cares? All you need to know is that it’s got a ton of good things for your body for the long term, and in the short term it works to help you lose weight and help keep it off. They’re low on the calorie meter, but they help to give you that full feeling, and contain fiber that keeps things moving.
Like any bona fide superfood tomatoes bring more to the table than just weight loss. The lycopene brings antioxidants that studies are showing to be potentially helpful with a myriad of diseases and conditions. Be sure to add tomatoes to your cart next time.


5. Nuts



Nuts are New American Diet smart bombs. They’re packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, those good-for-you fats that lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes and, according to new research, help you control your appetite.
Researchers from Georgia Southern University found that eating a high-protein, high-fat snack, such as almonds, increases your calorie burn for up to 3 and a half hours. And just one ounce of almonds boosts vitamin-E levels, increasing memory and cognitive performance, according to researchers at New York Presbyterian Hospital. In another study, people who ate pistachios for 3 months lost 10 to 12 pounds on average.


6. Artichokes



A meaty and filling vegetable that’s high in fiber, artichokes add bulk to food and help decrease bloating


7. Steaks



Beef has a rep as a diet buster, but eating it may help you peel off pounds. Try to consume local organic beef; it's healthier for you and the environment.
Eat more: Grill or broil a 4-ounce serving of top round or sirloin; slice thinly to top a salad, or mix with veggies for fajitas.


8. Coconut milk & oil.



The healthy saturated fat (not an oxymoron) in coconut comes from medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a fatty acid your body prefers to burn for energy rather than store. One study found compared to olive oil, MCT oil used as part of a weight loss plan improves fat loss. Besides being satiating, coconut provides a delicate flavor to foods and shakes. I use coconut oil for high-heat cooking, while unsweetened coconut milk provides healthy fat for my protein shakes.


9. Spices



There’s no need to eat bland and boring food when you’re trying to lose weight. This is a great time to experiment with seasonings from different cultures. Many of them have thermogenic properties that boost your metabolism, while making some so-so dishes taste like they’re from a restaurant.
Some examples: Mustard seed will spice up your entree and get your metabolism going, and ginger can help with your digestion. Ginseng can boost up your energy, and black pepper can help burn calories. Like Indian food? Turmeric can help break up fat.


10. Eggs



In a new study in the International Journal of Obesity, overweight participants ate a 340-calorie breakfast of either two eggs or a single bagel 5 days a week for 8 weeks. Those who ate eggs (including the yolk, which contains nearly half the protein and all the nutrient choline) reported higher energy levels and lost 65 percent more weight than bagel-eaters—and with no effect on their cholesterol or triglyceride levels!
Plus, a recent review of more than 25 published studies on protein that concluded that egg protein helps boost muscle strength and development more than other proteins do because of its high concentrations of the amino acid leucine. And egg protein is also better at keeping you from getting hungry over a sustained period.
Eat more: Omelets and scrambles are obvious choices, but if you can't cook before work, bake a frittata on Sunday; chill it and nuke slices for up to a week.


11. Green Tea



This popular beverage's thermogenic (fat-burning) benefits are well known: One study found they become even more impressive combined with exercise. Green tea also provides the calming amino acid theanine to reduce stress. Chronic stress elevates cortisol, a hormone that can store fat. Green tea isn't a fat-burning free pass to eat whatever you want, but combined with a healthy diet and exercise, it can nudge that needle a little bit in your favor. Unfortunately for the other teas, green tea comes out the winner on many fronts because it’s not as processed as the others, and therefore retains much of its goodness, like antioxidants and phytonutrients that make it a superstar among superfoods.


12. Avocado



There's no reason to be afraid of eating fats—as long as they're the right fats. Research shows that diets containing upward of 50 percent fat are just as effective for weight loss as those that are low in fat.
Oleic acid, a compound in avocados' healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), may trigger your body to actually quiet hunger. Stick to a quarter or a half of an avocado and watch that belly fat melt away. The creamy fruit is also packed with fiber and protein.
Eat more: Add avocado to your sandwich instead of mayo for a creamy texture and a shot of flavor. Avocados do contain a lot of calories, so it's best to watch your portions. 


13. Whole Grains



It's not a magic disappearing act, but it's close: When Harvard University researchers analyzed the diets of more than 27,000 people over 8 years, they discovered that those ate whole grains daily weighed 2.5 pounds less than those who ate only refined-grain foods.
Another study from Penn State University found that whole-grain eaters lost 2.4 times more belly fat than those who ate refined grains. Whole grains more favorably affect blood-glucose levels, which means they don’t cause wild swings in blood sugar and ratchet up cravings after you eat them. Plus, the antioxidants in whole grains help control inflammation and insulin (a hormone that tells your body to store belly fat).


14. Kale



This green has been buzzy lately. One raw chopped cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, as well as a hearty helping of iron and calcium.
Eat more: Mix chopped raw kale into cooked black beans. Or slice kale into thin strips, sauté it with vegetable broth and top with orange slices. Make it a meal by tossing the mix with quinoa.


15. Sweet Potatoes



Oprah likes sweet potatoes, and credits them as part of the reason she lost weight one time. But can you really slim down by swapping a baked potato with its sweet cousin? Turns out sweet potatoes are great for dieting because they have fewer calories and also help you stay satisfied between meals.
If you’re addicted to spuds this can be one way to take out a food that usually gets the no-no when dieting and replace it with a superfoods such as this that has good things for you like fiber, Vitamin C, potassium, and Vitamin B6.
True, potatoes are high in carbs, but they are three times as filling as a slice of white bread, and top all the foods on the same satiety index as oranges. Plus, potatoes are also rich in Resistant Starch, which helps your body burn fat. 


16. Blueberries



Best known for their anti-aging effects, blueberries, while tiny, are a powerful figure-friendly eat: A 1-cup serving sets you back only 80 calories, and helps you feel full with 4 grams of fiber. A recent study by researchers at Yale University School of Medicine discovered that after eating a high-carb, high-sugar meal, free radicals (rogue molecules produced when your body breaks down food) attack the neurons that tell us when we’re full. The result: It’s hard to judge when hunger is satisfied. Escape the cycle of overindulgence by eating foods that are rich in antioxidants. And berries top the charts. 
The berries that give you the most antioxidant bang per bite, in order: cranberries, black currents, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates.
Eat more: Instead of topping your cereal with fruit, fill your bowl with blueberries, then sprinkle cereal on top and add milk or yogurt.


17. Raspberries



Blueberries hog the spotlight, but raspberries are actually higher in fiber: One cup provides a whopping 8 grams. One study found you probably get about half the fiber you should, and on a lower-carb diet even less. Fiber's benefits include balanced glucose (blood sugar) levels and satiation to reduce hunger and cravings. Raspberries are a nutrient-dense, low-fructose fruit that make a healthy dessert and give a pleasant zing to protein shakes.


18. Pomegrante



The juice gets all the hype for being healthy, but pomegranate seeds deserve their own spotlight. In addition to being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, they're low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet.

Eat more: Pop the raw seeds on their own (many grocery stores sell them preshucked) as a snack at your desk. Use them in salads instead of nuts. They're especially delicious on raw baby spinach with lemon-poppy seed dressing. 


19. Quinoa



Curbing hunger is as easy as piling your plate with this whole grain. It packs both fiber (2.6 grams per 1/2 cup) and protein, a stellar nutrient combo that can keep you satisfied for hours.
Quinoa has been known for some time in the vegetarian realm but is now making the rounds to the mainstream. The weight loss benefits usually come in the form of switching out sides with quinoa instead of more calorie-dense foods like rice or potatoes. You’ll still get the benefit of rounding out the meal, with the added bonus of the vitamins that quinoa has. If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for? It helps you feel full, doesn’t have a lot of calories, and ranks low on the Glycemic Index. Score!
Eat more: Serve quinoa instead of rice with stir-fries, or try this take on a scrumptious hot breakfast: Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup orange juice for 15 minutes. Top with 1 tbsp each of raisins and chopped walnuts.


20. Broccoli



We’d be remiss if we didn’t include broccoli on this list, even though you’re probably sick of everyone telling you about it. Turns out your mom and your grandma were right, these are really good for you, but aside from that they can also help you shed some fat. How? Broccoli fills you up, but it’s not just a filler. It has tons of nutrients per pound, and it’s also packed with fiber so it keeps you regular, which keeps you feeling good. Spice it up with spices or peppers, but just skip the broccoli cheese soup, as that doesn’t work for weight loss. Cooked or raw, this cruciferous veggie is well-known for its cancer-preventing powers, but with a punch of filling fiber in less than 30 calories a serving, it's bound to prevent weight problems too.


21. Brown Rice



Brown rice is a heartier, fiber-packed alternative to less-than-super white rice. A half-cup serving contains 1.7 grams of Resistant Starch, a healthy carb that boosts metabolism and burns fat.
Plus, brown rice is a low-energy-density food, meaning it's heavy and filling but low in calories. One study found that women who ate a higher-energy-density diet gained three times as much weight over six years than women eating a low-energy-density diet.


22. Pears



Pears often get overlooked as the long lost cousin to apples, but they bring their own unique flavor and host of benefits, including weight loss properties. They help you feel full when you eat them, and they’ve got a different consistency to apples and other fruits, making their fiber even more effective.
They’re also used in plenty of recipes that yield delicious results. If you didn’t use pears in your cooking before, or as a fruit to just have around, now’s the time to start.
Just one pear packs 15% of your daily recommended amount of fiber. One study found that women who ate three pears a day consumed fewer calories and lost more weight than those who didn't. Ditch the peeler though; the skin is where all that filling fiber is hiding!


23. Wine



Resveratrol, the famed antioxidant found in grape skin, stops fat storage. Studies show that moderate wine drinkers have narrower waists and less belly fat than liquor drinkers. Downing a glass can boost your calorie burn for a good 90 minutes. 


24. Edamame



Edamame is another excellent source of protein per cup; your body processes or burns more calories digesting protein as compared to carbs or fats.


25. Goji Berries



These chewy, tart berries have a hunger-curbing edge over other fruit: 18 amino acids, which make them a surprising source of protein. Snack on them mid-afternoon to stay satisfied until dinner. The calorie cost? Only 35 per tablespoon.
Eat more: Mix 1/4 cup of the dried berries (from health food stores) with 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts for a nourishing trail mix. Or for dessert, pour 1/4 cup boiling water into a bowl with 2 tbsp dried berries; let sit 10 minutes. Drain, then spoon over 1/2 cup lowfat vanilla frozen


26. Buckwheat Pasta



Swap plain noodles for this hearty variety; you'll slip into your favorite jeans in no time. Buckwheat is high in fiber and, unlike most carbs, contains protein, so it's harder to overeat buckwheat pasta than the regular stuff.
Eat more: Cook this pasta as you do rice: Simmer it, covered, over low heat. For a light meal, toss cooked buckwheat pasta with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and onions.


27.Chicken Breast



While not an option if you’re going vegetarian or vegan, this is often used by dieters and bodybuilders alike because of its high protein value and low amount of fat. Dark pieces of chicken just don’t measure up when it comes to quality protein. Most Americans have no trouble adding chicken to the diet, since it’s one of the most popular meats in the country.
Just remember that it should be skinless. Try using different spices like the ones mentioned above to make it more interesting. Combined with strength training this can help tone your muscles leading to a higher metabolism..


28. Kidney Beans



One of several varieties of beans to make the list, red beans offer protein and fiber (more than 5 grams per serving!). Kidney beans are also rich in Resistant Starch; a 1/2-cup serving packs nearly 2 grams of this slimming carb.


29. Bananas



An easy on-the-go potassium-rich snack that also serves as a pre-workout fuel, bananas contain significant amounts of fiber, vitamins C, B6, carotenoids and vitamin A.Perhaps it’s because it takes us back to our simian ancestry that makes eating a banana seem natural. The more studies they do on the effects of bananas in humans, the more attention they get as a definite way to help keep us at our ideal weights. They’re super easy to incorporate into the day, since they’re so versatile.
A slightly green, medium-size banana will fill you up and boost your metabolism with its 12.5 grams of Resistant Starch. Even a ripe banana still ranks high on the list of foods containing RS, with almost 5 grams.
Eat more: Cut some up and add it to oatmeal, keep a bunch around as a quick grab when you need something sweet or on-the-go. Just stick to one a day since they are a source of sugar as well.


30. Dark Chocolate



Chocolate lovers, rejoice! New research has shown that dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and can lower blood pressure. Kulze recommends that you look for chocolate with 60% or higher cocoa content; the darker, the better. In addition, the darker it is, the lower the fat and sugar content. Now that's our kind of health food! A nibble of dark chocolate here and there can slow down digestion so you feel full longer and eat less at your next meal. 
Dark chocolate is full of MUFAs; studies show eating a diet high in these healthy fats can rev your metabolism to burn fat and calories. It may also help by curbing cravings for salt, sweet, or fatty diet-wreckers. And research shows that dark chocolate can improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL ("bad") cholesterol, decrease the risk of blood clots, and increase blood flow to the brain. Dark chocolate boosts serotonin and endorphin levels, which is associated with improved mood and greater concentration; it's rich in B vitamins and magnesium, which are noted cognitive boosters; it contains small amounts of caffeine, which helps with short-term concentration; and it contains theobromine, a stimulant that delivers a different kind of buzz, sans the jitters. 

(link to part 2 here)


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