Top 7 Superfoods That Can Help You Lose Weight
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Superfoods have always existed in India. All of us know that people have been visiting India in search of spices and foods for centuries.Introduction
Though there isn’t an approved list of superfoods, foods that are nutrient-rich and beneficial for health and longevity fall under this category. For example, ‘Finger Millet’ or ‘Ragi’ from India would be a superfood because of its high fibre, calcium, and phytochemical content.
While at an international level, foods such as kale, chia seeds, and quinoa are associated with the label ‘superfood’, in India we should focus on forgotten foods like millets, amaranth, basil seeds, and the like.
I would strongly recommend the following 7 superfoods for weight loss:
- Omega-Rich Seeds
Now, whether it’s chia seeds, garden cress seeds, flaxseeds or basil seeds, they all are packed with nutrients. The high protein and fibre content in these seeds are beneficial for any weight-watcher. Omega 3 fats present in these seeds, not only help in decreasing inflammation, but are also good at increasing satiety. In fact, research has shown, increasing the intake of omega 3 fats by 0.3–3.0 g/day can reduce body weight and body fat in overweight and obese individuals.
One can simply add a teaspoon of these seeds to their food or beverage by lightly roasting seeds like flaxseeds or garden cress seed; or by soaking seeds like chia seeds or basil seeds in water overnight.
2. Black Rice
This rice is truly intriguing. Black rice’s colour, flavour, and aroma are deep and rich. It offers a large number of flavonoids, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals like iron and copper. A spoonful of black rice with bran provides the same amount or more of anthocyanins and antioxidants, than a spoonful of blueberries! Black rice gives a much higher satiety compared to white rice or even whole wheat.
Switch to black rice and witness the difference.
3. Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
Amla may act by stimulating the insulin release from the b-cells of the people who have have normal blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes. The Amla fruit is known for high vitamin C and fibre content. However, what most people aren’t aware of is that it has both antihyperglycemic and lipid-lowering properties, and might be used as an ideal plant food supplement in developing successful alternative therapies in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, dyslipidemia, obesity, and cancers in the general population.
Poor metabolism is one of the main reasons behind obesity. And adding cinnamon to one’s food or drink can boost metabolism. This is because your body uses more energy to process the spice than it does for other foods. The active ingredient, cinnamaldehyde, has proven to reduce weight- as per many studies. Researchers have confirmed antihyperglycaemic and anti-obesity effects of cinnamon by regulating endogenous ghrelin (hunger hormone) release.
So, add a pinch of cinnamon to your daily food or beverage.
5. Kokum (Garcinia Cambogia)
Garcinia is one fruit which shouldn’t be new to us in India. The Kokum fruit has been proved to burn fat and suppress appetite. The active ingredient Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) present in Kokum, has many mechanisms linked to weight loss. For example, inhibition of lipogenesis, which prevents the conversion of carbohydrates to fat, suppression of appetite by increasing serotonin and improved glucose metabolism by regulating leptin, and insulin levels.
You can add Kokum to your favourite food for a touch of tanginess or you can even have its fresh juice with basil seeds!
6. Black Coffee
This might come as a bit of a surprise, but plain black coffee has more benefits than any other beverage. One may worry about ‘caffeine’, however, natural caffeine doesn’t get absorbed completely in the body. For example, you have one cup of black coffee against one can of an energy drink. This drink might have a lower caffeine content than coffee, but 100% of the artificial caffeine is absorbed!
When it comes to weight loss, the benefits of coffee beans are endless. Black coffee consumption has shown to decrease insulin production and increase insulin-sensitivity. Insulin is one of the main culprits in weight gain – it stores the food we consume (as glucose) in our cells – which increases our body circumference.
Secondly, caffeine and the other 200 compounds found in freshly roasted and ground coffee improve metabolism and lower appetite. Research has shown higher satiety in habitual black coffee drinkers. So, drink a cup of black coffee without milk or sugar, preferably made from freshly roasted and ground coffee beans. You could even try bulletproof coffee with coconut oil!
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is recommended because some of its fat is different from most plant fats. Some Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) in coconut oil don’t require bile for absorption into the bloodstream, and thus don’t end up in adipose (fat) tissue. They also do not get transported to a variety of tissues and instead of being stored as body fat, they go directly to the liver and are metabolised for energy.
The bottom line is that MCTs from coconut oil provide energy, whereas, long chain fatty acids found in all other dietary fats, are stored as body fat (and provide some energy). Studies provide us with evidence that MCTs increase metabolism and promote the loss of fat, while providing a burst of energy that increases physical endurance. Yes, this boost in energy means you feel less lethargic and tired, as you perform your daily activities.
Although some fat is needed for a healthy diet, you don’t want to overdo it. Limit total fat consumption to no more than 20% to 35% of total calories.
These 7 ‘superfoods’ are great for weight loss. But do remember that, any food you choose has its own benefits. But why compare them? After all, a horse could never win at swimming against a shark, could he?
Many of us follow inconsistent dietary habits and lifestyle. So, if you want to keep the ‘super’ in superfoods alive, opt for a healthy diet on a regular basis, and do not forget to lead an active life!
Ishita Biswas, is a Nutritionist at Pristine Organics.