No, we’re not talking about a fad diet. Those things are as fickle as the weather over England. Here at NLI, we want to help you lose weight the healthy and natural way (on average, 1 – 2 lbs per week is the perfect goal.) In order to achieve this, you’ll need to choose foods which curb your appetite, keep you feeling fuller longer, increase your metabolism, and stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day. Here we reveal our top ten best choices covering the full spectrum of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, and beverages to help you lose weight.
1. Raw Almonds
Almonds are an excellent source of protein at 6 grams per 28 oz serving with a very low glycemic index, meaning they will help you to maintain stable blood-sugar, feel fuller faster, and prevent you from overeating. Almonds are also loaded with with nutrients like vitamin E, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. A small handful of raw almonds (about two dozen kernels is one serving) makes the perfect snack when you’re trying to lose weight.
Consider packing several small resealable containers – each with a single serving of almonds – and take one with you wherever you go. This way, when the urge to snack strikes, you’ll have a healthy and satisfying option readily available to help you resist the urge to indulge in any fatty or sugary foods which may present themselves. Also, eat your almonds slowly – just one or two at a time – so your body has time to register that you’ve eaten and signal your stomach to stop feeling hungry.
Stick with the raw almonds to avoid hidden additives like sugar or salt which will negate the positive effects of your healthy eating. Also, try to go for organic almonds to avoid ingesting toxic pesticides which are often stored in fat cells and may hamper your body’s ability to break them down.
2. White Meat Chicken
Another excellent source of protein, white meat chicken is a great choice for when you need to shed a few extra pounds. On average, a chicken breast half gives you 27 grams of protein for only 142 calories. Lean chicken is also loaded with B vitamins which provide your body with a boost of energy minus the crash that comes from eating starchy and sugary foods. Try eating a baked chicken breast half at lunchtime to help you get through the afternoon without feeling the need to snack.
Remember, while it’s okay to bake your chicken with the skin on, resist the urge to eat this part as it adds a significant amount of unhealthy saturated fat to your diet and will sabotage your weight-loss efforts.
3. Cayenne Pepper
When you’re trying to lose weight, consider adding a dash of cayenne pepper to every meal. Capsaicin – the organic compound that makes peppers hot – has several effects on the human body that can aid with weight-loss. Capsaicin boosts the metabolism to help you burn through more calories. It also increases blood flow to the stomach so you’ll digest food more efficiently, absorb more nutrients, and feel less hungry after you eat. Capsaicin also induces sweating which helps your body to release any toxins that may be stored in fat cells, thus making it easier for your system to break them down.
Be sure that you’re drinking enough water. Most people don’t get enough, and H2O is an essential part of any healthy weight loss program. Your body needs water to flush out the bad stuff like excess fat and any toxins that may be hiding in your cells, preventing your metabolism from functioning to its fullest potential. Staying hydrated also goes a long way toward helping you feel energized and awake. In fact, most people who experience the chronic fatigue brought on by extended periods of under-hydration don’t even realize what is happening to them!
If you don’t already have one, consider purchasing a refillable stainless steel canteen to carry with you at all times. Keeping water on hand will help you to resist the urge to drink sugary beverages like sodas or energy drinks which are a leading cause of belly fat and other more serious health problems.
Finally, if you aren’t sure how much water you should be drinking, use a hydration calculator like this one on About.com to find out.
5. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy vegetables like spinach and kale contain a number of nutrients which will aid your weight-loss efforts. First, they’re loaded with fiber which helps your body to feel full and prevents blood-sugar spikes brought on by eating very carbaceous foods. Second, dark leafy greens contain a lot of water which – as previously mentioned – are an essential part of a fat-burning diet. These super healthy veggies are also rich in vitamins and minerals which promote faster regeneration of damaged tissue which will help your body to recover faster from physical activities and prevent muscle fatigue from slowing you down the following day.
(For more info on the amazing health benefits of dark leafy greens, check out this wonderful article by Joy Bauer!)
Another vegetable which makes the list of best foods for weight-loss is technically a fruit – the avocado. While they are also quite fatty, avocados contain healthy oils which are not only good for reducing hunger, they also improve the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and help to keep your hair, skin, and nails hydrated and strong.
The average avocado provides 14 grams of fiber, as well as a healthy dose of energizing vitamin B, cell-repairing vitamin C, and the vital macronutrient magnesium which is required for hundreds of bodily processes including the proper digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids.
Just keep in mind that avocados are highly caloric at about 320 per average whole fruit. Consider limiting yourself to half of an avocado per day to maintain a healthy caloric intake while still reaping the benefits of this awesome food.
7. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are packed with nutrients, protein, and fiber yet very low in calories. They also have almost no flavor, making them a perfect addition to just about any sauce, smoothie, or cereal. Because they’re so high in fiber (about 11g per one ounce serving) Chia seeds help you feel fuller faster, digest food more slowly and thoroughly, and thus lose weight far more easily that you would without them.
Not sure where to get Chia seeds? You can order them from this page on Amazon.com.
Also, be sure to try out a few of these 24 Healthy Smoothies with Chia Seeds and read our article revealing the benefits of these powerful little seeds.
8. Coconut Oil
The health benefits of coconut oil are many and assisting with weight-loss is at the top of the list. Due to its unique composition of around 50% lauric acid, coconut oil offers several benefits which directly affect our bodies’ ability to shed those unwanted pounds. Eating a tablespoon of coconut oil every day can boost your metabolism by up to 5%, helping you to burn fat and calories faster. Also, as lauric acid is digested, it triggers the production of keytones which help to reduce hunger and cravings.
Additionally (and most significantly) coconut oil has the ability to help balance out the body’s hormones including those responsible for proper digestion and fat metabolism, making it a must-have food for efficient weight-loss.
(Read more about the many Ways Coconut Oil Helps You Lose Weight!)
Remember that not all coconut oil is created equally. For a high quality product, we recommend this Organic Virgin Coconut Oil by Nutiva.
9. Matcha Green Tea
Full of amino acids and other organic compounds which boost energy and alertness without making you feel jittery or anxious, Matcha is the best of the best when it comes to tea. In fact, Matcha green tea is probably the oldest energy drink in the world, having been consumed by Samurai in ancient Japan to increase focus before battle as well as Zen Buddhist monks and Chinese Daoists in their search for a higher state of consciousness.
As if these weren’t good enough reasons to try it, Matcha also possesses a smooth and savory flavor that is unique to this particular tea.
Ready to try Matcha, but don’t know where to get it? No problem! Try this excellent DoMatcha Green Tea Powder available from Amazon.com.
(Read more about the 10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Matcha Green Tea!)
10. Red Wine
Perhaps it surprises you to find an alcoholic beverage at the end of our list of foods for weight-loss? Indeed, alcohol has a reputation for quite the opposite! However, red wine contains a natural phenol called Resveratrol which has the ability to boost metabolism for up to 90 minutes. When you’re trying to lose weight, enjoy a glass of dry red wine with dinner. You’ll burn more calories – even while you sleep!
Remember when choosing a red wine to go with dryer varieties like Carbernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. The high levels of sugar contained in sweeter varieties will negate the metabolism-boosting benefits of Resveratrol.