We all know that fresh fruits and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. But it can be hard to get all of your recommended daily servings. When trying to decide which ones to buy, are there some that are better than others? And are there any that can actually help you lose weight?
All fruits and veggies are generally healthy for your body, unless you have allergies or medical conditions that make you sensitive to certain foods. (Common food allergens include tomatoes, strawberries, and nightshade vegetables such as bell peppers and eggplants.) However, there are certain foods that may be a better choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Certain fruits and veggies may actually help boost your metabolism and encourage your body to release excess fat cells.
The next time you’re at the grocery store, load up your cart with these fresh foods!
Hot peppers and mild peppers
Spicing up your food with hot peppers may help you burn a few extra calories. A compound found in hot peppers called dihydrocapsiate (DCT) helps heat up the body, which could translate to increased fat burning. Studies also indicate that hot peppers may help control appetite. DCT is related to the compound capsaicin, which gives spicy peppers their heat and may also help relieve pain and prevent disease. But unlike capsaicin, it’s also found in milder bell peppers. Sweet red and green peppers are also a good source of vitamin C, which can help counteract the stress hormones that cause weight gain in the abdominal region.
Broccoli is an excellent source of an anti-inflammatory compound known as sulforaphane, which helps protect against cancer. Studies in mice found that sulforaphane helped balance levels of intestinal bacteria and accelerated tissue browning, a process where white fat tissue is turned into more beneficial brown fat. Broccoli is another excellent source of vitamin C, which can help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli can cause some people to feel bloated and gassy. These effects are often reduced by eating these foods cooked rather than raw.
There’s a reason Popeye ate spinach to grow big muscles: the leafy green is a surprisingly good source of protein. Just one cup of cooked spinach contains nearly 6 grams of protein — about as much as an egg. Protein is necessary for building muscle, and muscle tissue increases your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn — even at rest. Spinach is also high in thylakoids, membranes found in plants that can help control appetite. You can add spinach to almost anything — salads, stir-frys, omelettes, even smoothies!
Onions are rich in quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that helps regulate glucose levels and prevent formation of new fat cells. Onions also help improve cardiovascular health by helping to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Quercetin is also present in red wine, tomatoes, dark berries, cherries, cruciferous vegetables, and leafy greens.
Ruby red grapefruit
The various phytochemicals and vitamin C in grapefruit may help reduce belly fat and lower cholesterol levels. One study found that people who ate grapefruit with every meal reduced their waistlines by one inch over a period of six weeks. Try eating half a grapefruit with breakfast, or add a few segments to a salad for lunch.
Get a personalized diet plan that will help you shed excess weight and feel your best. Our personalized weight-loss program at Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers takes the guesswork out of what to eat by designing a diet plan and wellness program tailored to your unique physical needs. Contact us today for your free consultation.