40 FOODS THAT FIGHT OBESITY

Getting a slimmer, healthier body might be as easy as adding these foods to your diet.

A friend once told me that they had discovered a foolproof way to stay thin: “Don’t gain weight,” he said, laughing. For many men and women who struggle with excess weight or body fat, it can seem as though just one minor change, whether that’s a decrease in activity level or an extra night of takeout a week, is the catalyst for a cycle of weight gain that they can’t break free from. Unfortunately, losing the weight never seems to be quite as easy as it was to put it on.

When people come to me looking for weight loss advice, I’m forthright about the fact that there’s no magic pill or fast solution that works for everyone. What does work, however, is staying active, and eating the right foods. While adding a few salads to your diet won’t melt off the pounds, consuming foods that make you feel full for longer, stoke your metabolism, and prevent mindless eating can make getting the body you’ve always wanted feel like an adventure, not a chore. Instead of mourning all the things you’re giving up when you’re trying to lose weight, think of the delicious, obesity-fighting foods you get to add to your diet.

CHICKPEAS

Whether you’re pureeing them into a flavorful hummus or snacking on a handful of ones you’ve roasted at home, chickpeas are one of the healthiest sources of vegetarian protein and can make losing weight easier than you’d ever imagined. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that chickpeas and other legume seeds can aid in weight loss efforts even among people who aren’t intentionally reducing their caloric intake.

ALMONDS

Almonds are a great source of both protein and fiber and might just be the key to losing weight and keeping it off. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that dieters who ate almonds had more consistent weight loss and had lost a greater amount by the time the trial concluded.

KALE

Kale’s high fiber content and versatility make it a smart, easy, and filling addition to any diet — it is one of the Green Vegetables That Will Turbocharge Your Weight Loss, after all. Thanks to its high levels of vitamin A, it can also help you lose weight — according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, regular consumption of calcium-rich food was associated with lower levels of body fat.

AVOCADO

One of the healthiest sources of vegetarian protein, avocado isn’t just adding richness to your meals, it’s could also help you slim down. Every avocado you eat is giving you a healthy dose of oleic acid, a fatty acid that can help you feel fuller and aid in weight loss, according to research published in the International Journal of Obesity.

WALNUTS

Almonds aren’t the only nut that can help you whittle down your waistline — walnuts can have a major effect on belly fat and weight. Research published in The Journal of Nutrition reveals that walnuts may help reverse abdominal obesity, and they’re also an excellent source of omega-3s.

ORANGES

If you’re looking to turbocharge your metabolism, you might want to try adding some health-boosting citrus to your diet. Oranges contain high levels of vitamin C, an essential nutrient for fat oxidation, making them a powerful tool in the fight against belly fat.

WILD SALMON

Although not all fish are created equal, with many farm-raised varieties posing a host of health risks, wild salmon might just help you ditch those unwanted pounds. Research published in Scientific Reports shows that consumption of fish oil, like that found in wild salmon, reduced body fat and weight.

LEMONS

Just a squeeze of healthy citrus here and there could help you stay healthier and slimmer in the long run. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition reveals that lemon may help reduce the obesity-causing effects of a high-fat diet while stabilizing blood sugar levels.

OATMEAL

Oatmeal has long been known as a diet-friendly food, and with good reason: from its prebiotic properties to its satisfying combination of protein and fiber, it’s an excellent tool in your arsenal against weight gain. According to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, oats go one step further, reducing cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, as well.

APPLES

Eating just a few apples each day could help you reach your goal weight, according to research findings published in Nutrition. Study participants who consumed apples lost nearly double the weight of those who didn’t — it’s one of the many reasons they’re among the 25 Best Fruits For a Flatter Belly.

COCONUT OIL

Don’t let coconut oil’s high fat content scare you off — it might help you beat your belly fat into submission once and for all. Coconuts are an excellent source of phosphorus, which has been shown to aid in weight loss, according to research published in Nutrition & Diabetes.

PAPRIKA

Paprika does more than flavor your food: it might also help you slim down. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that mice who consumed paprika lost more weight and metabolized glucose more effectively than the study’s control group.

RAW HONEY

Honey’s probiotic and antimicrobial properties, which can make your gut healthier and reduce inflammation throughout the body, can make it an effective ally in your quest for a Zero Belly.

PEANUT BUTTER

Don’t count out that PB and J as part of your weight loss plan just yet. A study conducted by researchers at Purdue University found that peanuts can actually help you lose more weight than a diet that doesn’t contain them and they may even reduce your diabetes risk.

OLIVE OIL

Olive oil might just be your ace in the hole when it comes to weight loss. A study conducted by researchers at the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences found that the polyphenols in olive oil may positively influence weight loss as well as reducing your heart disease risk.

GRAPEFRUIT

While the days of the all-grapefruit diet are long gone, grapefruit can still play a major part in your weight loss plan. A study published in Nutrition & Metabolism found that consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice before meals helped participants reduce weight and visceral fat.

CINNAMON

The key to making your diet healthier might be sitting inside your spice cabinet. Researchers from Penn State University found that eating inflammation-fighting foods and spices like cinnamon after a fatty meal reduced the level of dangerous triglycerides in the bloodstream by nearly a third as well as reducing weight gain-causing insulin response.

BROWN RICE

While some dieters are scared to ever let a carb cross their plate again, brown rice should definitely factor into your eating plan. One of the healthiest sources of vegetarian protein with nearly four grams of fiber per cup and an excellent source of betaine, which can help turn off your genes for insulin resistance, brown rice is one grain you don’t have to be afraid of.

GARLIC

Garlic might not be a great food to load up on before a big date, but when it comes to your health and weight loss, it can play a hugely beneficial role. A study conducted at Kuwait University found that administering garlic to rats influenced weight loss and helped reverse many diabetic symptoms, including higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.

RED GRAPES

Grapes are a near-perfect snack: they’re light, they’re portable, they’re tasty, they’re inflammation-fighting and antioxidant-rich, and they may help fight obesity. Red grapes are a good source of resveratrol, a compound that has been found to fight colonic inflammation, which may be a contributing factor in obesity, according to a study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology.

SEAWEED

If you think that salty foods can’t be effective weight loss aids, think again. Research from the University of Copenhagen suggests that consuming seaweed may help dieters lose both body fat and mass.

CHIPOTLE PEPPERS

Bring on the chipotle salsa, it might just help you shed that unwanted belly fat — it’s why chipotles are one of the 20 Foods You Should Always Keep in Your Pantry. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that study participants consuming foods rich in capsaicin, like chipotles, saw greater breakdown in their fat stores even after the study had concluded than those given placebos.

  • TAMARI

    Sprinkled on your favorite vegetables and whole grains, this salty, soy-based sauce may help you lower your weight and fight inflammation. According to research published in Obesity, soy may help obese individuals lose weight without sacrificing muscle mass.

  • BLACK BEANS

    Black beans are one of the healthiest sources of fiber and protein, making them a satisfying way to fill up. Fortunately, they’re versatile as well — puree them with olive oil and spices into a rich spread for sandwiches, add them to your favorite vegetable dishes, or simply sprinkle them on a salad.

  • WATERMELON

    Watermelon’s high liquid content makes it a great food to add to your diet if you’re looking to lose weight. A study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that increased water consumption helped participants lower their total calories.

  • CUMIN

    Cumin might just be nature’s secret for a healthier weight. Research published in Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism found that taking cumin helped study participants lose as much weight as a popular, FDA-approved diet pill.

  • SOYBEANS

    Meat substitutes aren’t the only ways to get waist-friendly protein into your diet. Edamame, a satisfying, protein-rich snack found on the menu at nearly every Japanese restaurant, is a tasty way to lose weight. Just make sure you check the label before digging in or you could accidentally add a huge amount of sodium to your diet.

  • FLAXSEED

    As a prebiotic, antioxidant-, protein-, and fiber-rich food, flaxseed is already a pretty great addition to your diet, and for those hoping to lose weight, it could be a lifesaver. Research in The Journal of Nutrition shows that eating flaxseeds along with a healthy diet reduced cholesterol, blood sugar, weight, and belly fat.

  • DARK CHOCOLATE

    You don’t have to do much convincing to get most people to add more chocolate to their diet — it is one of the healthiest ways to satisfy your sweet tooth, after all. However, those rare individuals for whom it’s a hard sell should consider this: in a study conducted by researchers at Rio de Janeiro State University, the consumption of dark chocolate was shown to contribute to weight and body fat loss.

  • GINGER

    Ginger does more than settle an upset stomach — it can also help you feel more satisfied after eating. A study published in Metabolism found that subjects were less hungry and less likely to continue eating after consuming ginger.

  • SWEET POTATOES

    Sweet potatoes may be carbohydrate-rich, but that doesn’t mean eating them is a misstep when you’re trying to lose weight. A study published in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin found that eating sweet potatoes improved glucose tolerance, and the high fiber content, as well as their antioxidant content and inflammation-fighting potential can make them a weight loss-friendly food.

  • OLIVES

    Staying fit as you get older could be as easy as adding olives to your diet. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that black olives helped reduce bone loss, meaning you can maintain an active lifestyle for longer.

  • CHERRIES

    Rich in resveratrol, delicious, and an easy way to reduce your risk of diabetes, there’s no reason cherries shouldn’t be a regular part of your Zero Belly plan. If you’re not sure how to incorporate them into your diet, try using them in your Zero Belly granola or quinoa stuffing.

  • QUINOA

    Now that quinoa is nearly as ubiquitous a pantry staple as rice, it’s easier than ever to eat healthy, even when you’re dining out. A study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that rats who consumed quinoa ate less food in total and had reduced levels of hunger hormone ghrelin.

  • ASPARAGUS

    Asparagus’ unique high-fiber, high-water, low-calorie composition makes it a powerful weapon in any weight loss arsenal, keeping you full for longer without adding tons of calories to your diet.

  • COCONUT

    Whether in its oil form or whole, coconut’s high phosphorus and magnesium levels can help your metabolism work more effectively, can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and may assist in your weight loss efforts — it’s one of the reasons coconut water can help you fight fat and improve your health.

  • EGGS

    We all know that eating breakfast gives us the fuel we need to face the day, but the food we choose to consume in our morning meal could also be what helps us achieve a healthy weight. Unlike many sugar- and salt-laden breakfast foods, eggs may just be the key to better health. Researchers from the Saint Louis University Department of Psychology found that individuals who ate eggs at breakfast consumed fewer calories throughout the rest of the day.

  • STRAWBERRIES

    Strawberries are a terrific source of weight-loss enhancing resveratrol and they just so happen to be the perfect complement to other satisfying, anti-inflammatory hunger-fighters, like oatmeal, dark chocolate, and even balsamic vinegar.

  • BEETS

    Beets are an excellent source of magnesium, which can help you maintain more stable blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing cravings and achieving weight loss. Even if you don’t feel like topping your salad with them, try enjoying one in a tasty Zero Belly smoothie. 

    PUMPKIN

    Pumpkin’s satisfyingly sweet flavor and high fiber make it a filling, inflammation-fighting addition to your diet, but it’s not just the flesh you should be snacking on — research published in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that pumpkin seeds helped reverse certain symptoms of diabetes, including kidney damage.

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