Every superhero has a weakness. For Superman, it’s Kryptonite. For Green Lantern, it’s the color yellow. For Wonder Woman, it’s her very own magic lasso. While mere mortals don’t have superpowers, they do share one major vulnerability when fighting the battle of the bulge: unhealthy food.
The good news? Just as making the wrong food choices can be an impediment to reaching your fitness goals, making the right choices can be a major stepping stone to health and wellness. Read on for a roundup of six fat-fighting foods which just might fall into “secret weapon” category when it comes to supporting your weight loss program.
While you may think of cinnamon for the tasty role it plays in making your pumpkin spice lattes taste so yummy every fall, this signature seasonal spice has been shown to reduce blood glucose concentration and enhance insulin sensitivity, according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
As nutritionist Tara Ostrowe, RD, MS, told Reader’s Digest: “Cinnamon really is the new skinny food…When less sugar is stored as fat, this translates to more help for your body when it comes to weight loss.” It doesn’t take a lot, either. Just a scoop a day offers an invaluable partnership for weight loss and heart health.
Another super spice is ginger, which has a beneficial effect on both obesity and metabolic syndrome, according to research recently published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. To start seeing results, experts recommend bypassing the salt shaker and reaching for the ginger instead.
Have a sweet tooth but trying to steer clear of high-calorie desserts? Low in calories, oranges are a naturally satisfying substitute which can help keep extra pounds at bay. Plus, they’re packed with vitamin C, folic acid, and hundreds of phytochemicals and antioxidant flavonoids. (Still can’t kick that sweet tooth? Our free e-book, 12 Healthy Dessert Recipes. can help!)
3. Sweet Potatoes
Want to turn your body into a “fat-burning furnace”? Sweet potatoes aren’t just delicious, these vibrant veggies can also enhance any weight loss program thanks to their combination of high fiber, low calories, and significant water content.
Concludes FitDay, “Like fiber, water takes up a lot of room in your stomach. Therefore, eating foods that contain high amounts of water, such as sweet potatoes, will make you feel full and will prevent overeating and snacking between meals. This will help both in your weight loss goals and will also help you prevent the weight from coming back on.”
In addition to being a favorite salad dressing ingredient, vinegar is used to add flavor to many foods. But it also serves another vital purpose. According to research from Japan, adding more vinegar to your diet can reduce body weight, body fat mass, and triglyceride levels (a type of fat). Not only that, but eating bread dipped in vinegar can also help you feel fuller and more satisfied during meals, say scientists in Sweden.
5. Dark Chocolate
Think chocolate is a no-no when it comes to supporting your weight loss goals? Think again. Dark chocolate may actually be the Robin to your Batman when it comes to weight management and reduction. Not only has dark chocolate been proven to aid in maintaining blood-sugar levels, improving the metabolism, and controlling the appetite, it’s also been linked with “giving you a lasting sense of peace and well-being,” according to Houston Chronicle. These feel-good attributes can also help you feel more inclined to exercise, thereby further supporting your weight loss goals.
The dreaded “belly bloat” meets its match with the humble banana. While many people steer clear of bananas because they’re slightly higher in carbs than many of their fellow fruits, the potassium they contain can help you build fat-burning muscle. Bananas also curb the appetite due to their high fiber content.
There’s a lot of confusion out there about soy. While scientists are still sorting out all of the benefits of soy, edamame, AKA boiled soybeans, is heralded for its health-enhancing properties, including reducing insulin resistance, kidney damage, and fatty liver in people with diabetes; promoting healthy cholesterol levels; protecting against cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis; and preventing and treating hypertension, according to WebMD.
Additionally, soy has been linked with lowering appetite (and calorie intake) and accelerating fat loss. Concludes Penn State nutrition researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., RD, “It remains prudent to recommend soy in the heart-healthy diet because of [its] nutritional value as a healthy substitute for protein sources that are higher in saturated fat and cholesterol.”
But even if you have none of these fat-fighting foods in your kitchen at the moment, you can still be fighting fat straight out of the tap. Says MSN.com: “[Water] may be your best ally in fighting body fat. Studies have shown that drinking 2 cups of cold water can boost metabolic rate by 30 percent. It has been estimated that drinking about 2 cups of cold water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for a year can burn 17,400 extra calories, which translates into a little more than 5 pounds of bodyfat!”
One last thing to keep in mind? Eating right and exercising are equal components in any successful weight loss program. In addition to optimizing your diet, working out is essential to achieving your fitness goals. Sign up for a trial pass at Brick Bodies today to get started.