26 Fat-Fighting Foods to Energize YouStatesman Journal Living Well June 2014
I recently talked to a group at Santiam Hospital about changing habits in favor of a more active, healthy lifestyle.
In addition to exercise, I suggest not to forget about the importance of good nutrition. Below are 26 foods that can help you lose weight.
- Dr. Amy Sutkus
1. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt packs a healthy punch with twice as much protein as other yogurts. Since the body burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting carbs, Greek yogurt is an efficient choice when you’re hoping to lose weight.
One cup of this whole grain has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, along with a multitude of other nutrients such as zinc, iron, and vitamin E. Its ease of preparation and the variety of ways it can be used makes it a versatile choice for any mealtime.
Cinnamon has surprising benefits — especially for those with type 2 diabetes. According to recent studies, cinnamon may play a part in stabilizing blood sugar levels, which can help satisfy hunger. Sprinkle some in your morning coffee or yogurt for some additional 0-calorie sweetness.
The key to the benefits of hot peppers lies in a flavorless compound they contain, called capsaicin. The compound is especially plentiful in habaneros but also can be found in jalepenos. Capsaicin’s ability to curb appetite and speed up the metabolism makes these peppers a useful — and flavorful — addition to your diet.
5. Green tea
Studies suggest that green tea stimulates the body to burn abdominal fat. Drinking this fat-fighter several times per day will provide the most benefit.
Grapefruit is a low-calorie fruit with lots of soluble fiber. This takes longer to digest, and, when eaten before a meal, can help fill you up so that you eat fewer calories during mealtime.
Foods with high water content serve as a signal to the stomach that you’ve had enough to eat. Watermelon, among other raw fruits and vegetables, is filled with plenty of water and nutrients such as lycopene and vitamins C and A.
8. Pears and apples
Pears and apples are examples of other fruits that include a high volume of water content. When eaten with the peels, they also are a great source of fiber, which keeps you full longer.
9. Grapes vs. raisins
Speaking of water content, compare two cups of grapes with ¼ cup of raisins. Both choices are around 100 calories, but the larger portion of grapes will likely feel more satisfying as a snack.
Besides their high water and fiber content, berries also have the added benefit of their sweetness. They can satisfy your sweet tooth at a fraction of the calories you’d find in baked goods, ice cream or candy.
11. Raw vegetables
Raw vegetables satisfy the craving for something crunchy, and they, too, are full of water to help you feel full. Most also are low in calories and can be adapted for many meals and snacks to replace many less-healthy options.
12. Sweet potatoes
Next time you crave a baked potato with all the fixings, consider baking a sweet potato instead. Since sweet potatoes are so much more flavorful, they can more easily be eaten without the typical sour cream, cheese, butter and bacon bits, all very high in fat.
Studies have shown that consuming protein in the morning helps to keep you full throughout the day. Eggs are low in calories, but pack a lot of protein and other vital nutrients. Eating eggs in lieu of toast or other carbs will help your body burn more calories.
Yes, coffee! It may sound too good to be true, but coffee may actually help speed up your metabolism and help you lose weight. However, take caution: Its fat-fighting effects can be canceled out when you add the extra calories of creamer and whipped cream.
The benefits of oatmeal are threefold: Its whole-grain oats make it rich in fiber, it has a high water content and it is served hot. Hot food takes longer to consume, and that combined with the water and fiber will keep you feeling satisfied for a long time.
16. Whole-grain crackers
Whole-grain crackers, specifically rye crackers, are low in fat and packed with fiber. They provide richer nutrients than traditional crackers. The same idea applies to breads, cereals and pastas.
One great whole grain to consider adding to your diet is bulgur wheat. It’s often used in an Arabic salad dish called Tabouli. Bulgur wheat is high in fiber and protein but low in fat and calories. It also has a rich, satisfying taste.
Broth-based soups can be a very beneficial addition to your diet. We’ve already touched on the benefits of high water content, and soup fits that bill especially well. Also, it’s typically served hot, and, when served before a meal, it can help take up space that would otherwise have been filled with higher-calorie foods.
Salad is another great pre-meal filler. Lettuce is high in water content, and salads often are garnished with other healthy vegetables and fruits. Just don’t overdo it on the dressing! Good alternatives to higher-calorie dressings are hummus, salsa, or black bean dip.
Vinaigrette-based dressings are another low-calorie option for salads, and they may come with another benefit. Recent studies have shown that vinegar may help the body break down fat.
Nuts are another high-protein snack that can help curb hunger between meals. They’re also high in fiber and heart-healthy fats that can promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels. As with many things, though, the key is moderation.
22. Air-popped popcorn.
Three cups may seem like a large portion for a snack, but when it’s plain, air-popped popcorn, the calorie content is low. The air adds volume for a filling snack with no fat or sugar.
23. Skim milk.
Milk does a body good, especially when it’s skim milk. You get the beneficial calcium, protein and vitamin D, without all the fat found in whole milk. Its high protein content means it’s also very filling.
24. Lean meat.
A 3- to 4-ounce portion of lean meat is high in fat-fighting protein and burns a lot of calories as it’s digested. However, keep in mind that dark meat is higher in fat, and choose skinless chicken breast, flank steak, eye of round or top sirloin beef instead.
Fish is one of the best sources of protein. According to research, it’s also more satisfying than chicken or beef. Fish has the added benefit of providing omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect against heart disease.
Beans are a power food! They’re a vegetable, a protein and they’re full of fiber. All this in a low-calorie, flavorful package that’s easy to prepare.
Dr. Amy Sutkus is a Family Practice Physician at Santiam Medical Clinic, part of Santiam Hospital