Superfoods have been around forever. In ancient times, civilizations would use these foods as money, for religious ceremonies and as staples in their diet. However, it hasn’t been until recently that we’ve started to understand the magnitude of why these foods are considered “super”. They are considered super because they are extremely nutrient dense and provide a powerhouse of benefits in comparison to the caloric intake.
The superfoods listed below are awesome substitutions for anyone who’s on a weight loss journey right now. These foods not only provide a higher-level of nutrition, they can also help keep away the hunger pangs, even out the emotional roller-coaster that so often accompanies weight loss, and protect you from illnesses. The key to incorporating superfoods into your weight loss plan is that they replace other, non-nutrient dense foods.
It’s been said that an ‘apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ The truth is that an apple a day keeps the pounds away. Apples, especially the sweeter varieties, not only satisfy a sweet tooth, they provide plenty of fibre to help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
These green fruits are packed full of monounsaturated fats called oleic acid. These fats provide a slow burning energy for the body and have been shown to fire up the metabolism. In addition, they contain healthy fats, which provide a feeling of satiety.
3. Black Beans
Black beans are packed full of fibre and protein – both of which contribute to long-term successful weight loss. Our bodies digest beans very slowly, which means you feel full for a long period of time after eating them. For the best results, choose the dried beans, which need rehydrated before use.
Blueberries contain something called catechins, which is a type of antioxidant. Studies published by the US National Institute of Health show that an increase of catechins are linked to lower levels of obesity and belly fat. If fresh blueberries are not available, choose the quick frozen variety.
5. Chia Seeds
This tiny little seeds were used back in the Aztec and Mayan cultures to help increase endurance, increase energy levels and decrease hunger. These seeds are super high in fibre, Omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Even just a spoonful of this spice every day can help rev up the metabolism. It does this by increasing the metabolism of glucose and regulating blood sugar levels. For this reason, it is often recommended as a supplement for diabetics. Cinnamon is best taken when stirred into a drink or even a small teaspoon of honey.
7. Cocao Nibs
These are crushed pieces of the roasted cocoa bean. These little pieces are slightly bitter in taste, but are thought to pack in more antioxidants per ounce than green tea! High in healthy fats, a small handful of nibs keep you feeling full. They also help release serotonin and endorphins, which keep your emotions level.
8. Coconut Oil
It has long been thought that an overabundance of fat in our diets cause us to be fat. We know now this not true. A healthy fat, such as coconut oil, is comprised of medium chain saturated fatty acids. These medium chain fatty acids are shown to increase metabolism.
9. Green Tea
There are many green tea supplements marketed as fat-burners and weight loss aids, but it’s important to understand just why green tea can benefit you. Green tea contains an antioxidant known as EGCG, which stands for epigallocatechin gallate. EGCG has been shown to reduce the amount of fat absorbed into the body. It is also a natural appetite suppressant.
Although eggs have gotten a bad rap in the past, the egg itself is a perfect ingredient for any weight-loss diet. The egg is relatively low in calories and high in protein. Increasing protein levels have been shown to be an extremely effective weight-loss strategy.
11. Pumpkin Seeds
These tasty seeds are high in iron, magnesium and zinc. Iron and magnesium increase energy levels and zinc helps the body burn fat more efficiently. These seeds are extremely filling and have relatively few calories per ounce.
Although a fatty fish, wild-caught salmon is one of the best foundational sources of protein for a healthy diet. Salmon also contains a high level of Omega-3 fatty acids, which provides a feeling of satisfaction and makes snacking less likely.
Unlike other fishes, sardines are relatively low in mercury and other heavy metals. Yet, like salmon, sardines contain an extremely high amount of protein and Omega-3’s. Omega-3’s are also shown to increase the feel-good hormones in the body, so you feel less anxious and nervous.
Fresh or frozen spinach has been proven to reduce the cravings we get for sweets or junk foods. This is because spinach contains something called thylakoids. Thylakoids suppress hunger and keeps you feeling full and satisfied, even hours after you eat.
Spirulina is a blue-green microalgae. When it comes to nutrition, spirulina is a powerhouse. Full of protein, vitamins and minerals, it helps decrease food cravings and increases energy. Use only the organic spirulina though as spirulina will absorb toxins from the water in which it’s grown. Organic spirulina has to come from clean, untainted water.
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