It's the New Year and many of us are singularly focused on Objective Number One: Get Fit. We're all aware that eating low-calorie, nutritious meals is the key to an effective slimdown. But did you know there are certain weight-loss powerhouse foods that can actually help your body get trim? Nutritional reseacher, Joel Fuhrman, MD., shares five inexpensive and accessible foods that will help you shed the buldge.
1. Leafy Greens
Dr. Fuhrman's Take: I like to say, "The more you eat green, the more you get lean!" Leafy greens have the highest ratio of nutrients to calories of any food. When you eat a huge leafy salad, your body is taking in less than 100 calories per pound. Leafy greens and raw salad vegetables are high in fiber and water, so they take up a lot of room in the stomach. You are consuming a small amount of calories in a large amount of food. This will leave less room for more calorie-dense foods, and you will naturally consume fewer calories, without feeling hungry or deprived.
Preparation: Begin lunch and dinner with a big bowl of high-fiber, nutrient-rich leafy greens. Start with leafy greens like mixed lettuces, romaine, arugula or shredded cabbage. Then add onions or scallions, shredded carrots or beets, cucumbers, tomatoes and any other vegetables you enjoy. The right dressing is crucial: a great dressing made with healthful, whole food fats (nuts and seeds or avocado) is the secret to eating and enjoying salad every day.
Dr. Fuhrman's Take: Berries are the lowest-sugar, lowest-calorie fruits, plus they are rich in flavonoid antioxidants. Phytochemicals in berries also inhibit certain digestive enzymes, which limits calorie absorption from meals. Berries have anti-cancer effects and are on the list of foods (along with cruciferous vegetables and some mushrooms) that contain compounds called angiogenesis inhibitors, which may help to inhibit fat storage in the body.
Preparation: No preparation necessary! At the end of a meal, satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh berries. You can also blend up frozen berries and other fruit into a delicious sorbet. For breakfast, top steel cut oats with walnuts and fresh berries or combine frozen berries with leafy greens and chia or flax seeds for a healthy green smoothie.