I think the tide is finally starting to shift when it comes to looking at all calories as being created equal. More evidence-based nutritional science clearly helps us understand that different food types travel different metabolic pathways in the body.
So what this tells us is that different foods have vastly different effects on our hormones, appetite and how many calories we burn naturally through the digestion process of those food types or what is known as the thermic effect of those foods.
These different responses and effects of the foods we choose can be the major difference in losing or gaining weight, so it’s important to focus on the ones that will help you reach your goal efficiently and healthfully.
Most of us look at Avocados as a vegetable so just to clear up the record it is actually a very unique type of fruit. The reason I call it unique is that most fruit is high in carbohydrates (or sugars), but avocados are loaded with healthy fats.
They are particularly high in the monounsaturated fat (oleic acid) which happens to be the same type of fat that is found in macadamia oil, as well as olive oil.
Despite being quite high in fat, avocados also contain a lot of important nutrients, including fiber and potassium along with a lot of water, so they’re not as energy dense as one may think.
Avocados are perfect as additions to a salad because studies show that the fats in them can increase the nutrient uptake from the vegetables they’re paired with by as much as 15-fold.
While salmon is mainly valued for its beneficial fatty acid composition, it also packs a massive amount of other super nutrients. Just one 3 ounce serving contains 2 grams of Omega-3s, 22 grams of high-quality complete protein and a host of vitamins and minerals, including all the B-vitamins as well as high amounts of Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium.
Salmon is also very satiating, meaning it fills you quickly and keeps you feeling full long after you’ve eaten it, all with having a fairly low caloric value.
Studies are clearly pointing out that a huge number of people aren’t getting nearly the amount of iodine they need. Salmon, as well as many other varieties of seafood supplies a significant amount of iodine. This nutrient is necessary for proper thyroid function, which is important to keep the metabolism running optimally.
Salmon is also loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation, which is known to play a major role in weight gain, obesity, and many metabolic issues.
Along with salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring, and trout are other exceptional choices.
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy green vegetables including Kale, Collards, and Spinach are among the most nutrient-dense foods we can eat. In fact, they’re so nutrient-dense the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) puts them on top of the list as having superior health-promoting properties.
Leafy Greens have several properties that make them perfect to help promote weight loss. For one thing, they are super low in both caloric density and carbohydrates quantity, yet loaded with fiber.
Eating these delicious foods is a great way to increase the volume of your meals, without increasing the caloric intake. Numerous studies have proven that meals rich in high volume, nutrient-dense foods that are low in energy density automatically make people eat fewer calories overall.
Leafy greens are incredibly nutritious and very high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants including calcium, which has been shown to aid in fat burning in some studies.
So, as you can see leafy greens are a must for any healthy eating regime, especially if you’re looking to lose weight.
We have been told to abandon or minimize eggs in our diet for decades due to their high cholesterol and saturated fat content, but currently, eggs are making a major comeback. In more recent studies this nutrient dense food has shown no adverse effect on blood cholesterol or being a risk factor for heart disease.
Equally as important, you should note that eggs are among the best food sources you can eat if you are trying to lose weight. They’re high in protein and healthy fats and are highly satiating all wrapped into a very low caloric load.
One study, done with 30 overweight women between the ages of 25 and 60, concluded that eating an egg-based breakfast increased satiety and reduced food cravings compared to eating a bagel-based breakfast.
In yet another study, conducted for 8 weeks using overweight men and women between the same age markers, found that eggs for breakfast increased weight loss when matched with the same calorie density from bagels for breakfast.
Eggs are among one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. But in order to reap all of their wonderful benefits, the yolk must be consumed as well. On top of everything else, eggs are cheap, easy to prepare, taste great, go along with nearly all other foods, and are a great source of quality protein.
Even though these crunchy critters are looked at as being high in fat, nuts are not inherently fattening. They’re an excellent snack, containing a great balanced source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. In fact, numerous studies have shown that eating nuts can improve energy balance helping induce healthy weight loss.
Other studies have identified that individuals who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner than the people who don’t, thus decreasing the prevalence of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and MET.
Just make sure not eat nuts in abundance, as they are still very calorie dense. A few once between meals will supply you with the added benefits nuts have to offer but over-consumption can erase their pros.
6. Cruciferous Vegetables
For those of you who are not familiar with the term (cruciferous vegetable), they include things like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
Like most vegetables, they are high in fiber and tend to be incredibly satisfying and nutritionally rewarding. Equally important, these types of vegetables also come armed with decent amounts of protein. Of course not as high in protein as animal products, but they’re high in comparison to most all other vegetables.
This combination of protein, fiber, and low caloric density makes cruciferous vegetables the perfect foods to include in your meals if you’re looking for healthy weight loss.
Cruciferous vegetables are also highly nutritious and, much like leafy greens, they rank very high on the (ANDI) an Aggregate Nutrient Density Index scoring foods based on nutrient density/per calorie. These highly nutrient based foods also contain isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol, compounds which are showing promise in cancer prevention.
7. Unprocessed Meat
Meat, in general, has been unjustly demonized and blamed for all sorts of health problems, despite any good solid evidence to back it up. Although processed, packaged meats are unhealthy and contain many harmful preservatives, studies show that unprocessed meat, including red meat, is not tightly tied to risk factors of coronary heart disease (CHD), strokes, or diabetes.
Even though red meat has been taking a bad rap for being unhealthy and causing cancer, according to two major studies done, there has been no positive association between the consumption of red meat and cancer in either men or woman.
In fact, meat is not only healthy, it’s also weight loss friendly due to its high complete protein content. Protein is the most thermogenic nutrient, by far, and eating a high protein diet can help burn up to 100 more calories per day.
Studies are conclusive that increasing your protein intake to 30% of total calories will help cut food cravings by as much as 60% while causing weight loss of nearly one extra pound per week without changing anything else in your diet.
A good rule of thumb is, if you’re eating a low carbohydrate diet, it’s fine to consume fatty cuts of meat. On the other hand, if you’re eating a moderate to high carbohydrate diet, choose leaner cuts of meat.
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