By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Eating a plant-based diet helps control the bulges! Fruits and vegetables and other plant based foods contain high levels of fibre, water, nutrients and phyto-compounds, all these factors help control the appetite, improve satisfaction, and they also provide needed nutrition for a healthy body. Although we live in a society where food is plentiful, many of us are nutrient-deprived which contributes to unhealthy cravings and an excess appetite. Eat these 10 foods to keep your weight in control:
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, endive, beet greens, arugula, lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens and swiss chard (silverbeet) are very low in calories combined with a high nutrient content which provides the body with the nutrients it needs to support a healthy metabolism combined with reduced cravings. Greens are very filling, provide bulk which fills you up and provides intense nutrition due to their high fibre, vitamin, mineral, and plant-based substances that help protect you from heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
2. Lemons and Grapefruit
Research has shown that serum insulin, glucose and leptin were significantly improved by lemon polyphenols, thereby improving insulin resistance and weight control.
Lemons support liver health by improving the production of bile which supports the metabolism of fats in the diet. Lemons also support digestion due to their acidic content, which stimulates gastric enzyme secretions, aiding in the breakdown of fats and proteins. Have you ever eaten a meal that has contained too much fat and felt better for a hot lemon tea or lemon water, this is why.
It has also been shown that the pectin content of lemons aids in feelings of fullness which reduces overall calorie consumption. Studies have demonstrated that consuming ½ a fresh grapefruit before each meal showed a significant reduction in the 2 hour post-glucose insulin levels compared with the placebo. This study also showed that the consumption of fresh grapefruit juice caused a 1.6kg weight reduction over 12 weeks while the placebo group lost 0.3kgs.
Grapefruit also contains specialised antioxidants such as naringenin, that has shown to improve insulin sensitivity and help maintain a healthy weight.
Eating portion-controlled amounts of the good kind of fat can help control your cravings and keep you from over-indulging. Research shows that when people munch on nuts, they automatically eat less at later meals. The fat content helps release satiety hormones in the digestive system which also help to curb hunger.
4. Chili Peppers
Capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, this means it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the peppers. Researchers are reporting new evidence that capsaicin, the stuff that gives chili peppers their fiery flavour, may help fight obesity by decreasing calorie intake, shrinking fat tissue, and lowering fat levels in the blood. Pass the fresh chili please!
L.K. Han, a Japanese researcher, says ginger creates a boost in the metabolism. He led a study in which rats fed ginger extract lost weight while maintaining a high-fat diet. Ginger has thermogenic effects as well as offering a range of other health promoting benefits such as reducing nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, improving digestion, reducing pain and inflammation, relieving sore throats during colds and flus and while also reducing dry irritating coughs. Another great reason to sip on your lemon ginger hot tea on rising!
Oleic acid, a healthy monounsaturated fat found in avocados, may trigger your body to actually reduce hunger and improve satiety. Be mindful that a portion to consume with a meal would be ¼ – ½ of an avocado for this benefit to help melt those pounds.
Due to their low sugar content combined with 4g of fibre per cup they are a great anti-oxidant addition to the diet. These little beauties fill you up and satisfy you. Researchers found that if the animals were given meals enriched with blueberries, they lost fat from their stomachs. Do we really need another fabulous reason to eat more blueberries.
8. Brassica Family Vegetables
Radishes, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, arugula and watercress are loaded with cancer fighting compounds combined with fibre and are very low in starch and calories. They certainly fill you up and offer an excellent nutrient profile. These super vegetables also support the natural detoxification pathways through the liver which also supports weight-loss.
9. Chia Seeds
“Chia” means strength in Mayan and Aztec folklore, traditionally these tiny black and white seeds were used as an energy booster. Chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, antioxidants, manganese and calcium. Consuming these with meals, in water, smoothies, juices and with snacks will help reduce overall calorie intake over the day. Chia seeds absorb liquid so they offer bulk in the diet and they digest very slowly offering sustained nutrition and energy.
10. Plant Proteins
There are many plant based proteins that offer not only protein but fibre which also helps support healthy blood glucose control combined with greater satiety and healthy bowel function. Plant proteins include beans, split peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and it also includes healthy plant protein powders such as rice and pea protein. Here is more on the benefits of protein.
Weight control is a great reason to include all these fabulous nutrient packed foods in your diet but more importantly these foods offer so many more health benefits for excellent health and well-being! So enjoy!