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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

15 Most Effective and Nutritious Healthy Foods to Lose Weight

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15 Most Effective and Nutritious Healthy Foods to Lose Weight

The food we eat has a clear influence on our health and, of course, on our weight. If we feed our bodies with junk, we can only expect weight gain as a result. On the other hand, by eating healthy foods to lose weight, we can keep our metabolism active and get rid of excess pounds.

In this article, you will discover some of the most effective and nutritious healthy foods. By integrating these into your daily diet, you will be able to lose weight and return to a healthy figure.

1. Eggs

For a long time, we were told that eggs can endanger our cholesterol levels and that we should consume them in moderation. Today, Today, modern research has found that eggs contain healthy fats and are recommended for those who want to lose weight[1].

The big benefit that eggs have to offer is that they guarantee a prolonged satiety sensation, without containing too many calories. When planning the best diet plan, be sure to add them to the list. They can be prepared in a wide range of ways, being dense in nutrients and rich in taste.

2. Avocados

Avocados are not only delicious, but they contain a lot of beneficial substances, especially healthy fats. For someone who is interested in losing weight, avocados should be part of your diet. Did you know that these fruits are rich in oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil?

Avocados also contain grams of fiber and water, which make them ideal for those looking to cut back a few pounds. They can be easily integrated into a variety of meals, including salads and spreads.

Moreover, they facilitate the absorption of antioxidants derived from veggies, and they are rich in potassium[2].

3. Fatty Fish

If you are looking to lose weight, fatty fish can be quite helpful. As an excellent source of healthy fats, it can satisfy your appetite and prevent you from overeating.

It doesn’t contain too many calories, so you can consume it without worrying about gaining weight.

One of the most recommended choices is salmon, but you can also consume tuna, mackerel, herring, or sardines. All of these options are rich in nutrients, including iodine, which is essential for the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland (thyroid dysfunctions are almost always associated with weight gain).

You can see some of the types of fish with high omega-3 content below[3]:

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9 Fatty Fish High In Omega-3 (and Low In Mercury) | Fatty fish, Nutrition infographic, Healthy fish

    4. Leafy Greens

    When it comes to healthy foods for weight loss, leafy greens stand at the top of the list[4]. This is because they are low in calories and high in fiber, allowing one to feel fuller for a longer period of time.

    Leafy greens do not contain too many carbs, which is another reason why they should be considered.

    It is a known fact that leafy greens are rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

    They contain calcium, which is essential for the fat-burning process. Moreover, they can be easily integrated into various meals in generous portions.

    5. Lean Meat

    Just because you are trying to lose weight does not mean you should give up meat altogether.

    Lean meat is an excellent source of healthy proteins and that it does not necessarily increase the risk of heart disease or diabetes, especially if you buy it from local farms where animals are raised humanely and grass-fed.

    One recent study pointed out: “Health is enhanced when livestock forage on phytochemically rich landscapes, is reduced when livestock forage on simple mixture or monoculture pastures or consume high-grain rations in feedlots, and is greatly reduced for people who eat highly processed diets”[5].

    Basically, the idea is to choose meat of high quality, paying attention to the way you prepare it. Also buy local any chance you get.

    Lean meat is high in grams of protein, which contribute to the fat-burning process. It is also worth mentioning that the consumption of meat reduces the risk of late-night cravings.

    6. Nut Butters

    Speaking about sources of proteins, nut butters are definitely on the “yes” list. They contain high-quality protein and fiber, representing the perfect choice for a satisfying snack.

    From another perspective, it has been established that nut butters contain specific amino acids, such as L-arginine. This can improve the blood and lymph circulation, reducing the risk of water retention[6]. Thus, you can finally get rid of that water weight and look fantastic again.

    Not to mention, nut butters are quite delicious, especially when paired with fruits.

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    7. Pumpkin

    When the fall season comes around, pumpkins are everywhere

    But did you know that pumpkins contain a lot of fiber? They are also rich in potassium, defeating the banana in this competition.

    The regular consumption of pumpkin has been associated with a reduced risk of obesity. Pumpkin contains antioxidants as well, which can provide protection against cell damage.

    Imagine a healthy dessert prepared with pumpkin puree, cinnamon, yoghurt, and chopped nuts. Or a delicious slice of baked pumpkin. There is truly nothing better to be enjoyed without feeling guilty about the intake of calories.

    8. Potatoes

    Baked potatoes can help those who are interested in quick weight loss. They contain plenty of potassium, preventing bloating and water retention (sodium-related).

    When you cook potatoes in this manner, you are also getting a lot of fiber, which means that you will feel fuller for longer.

    Always remember that potatoes are dense in nutrients, but their caloric intake changes when cooked differently. French fries are the worst, rich in calories and high in unhealthy fats (increased risk of weight gain and heart disease).

    9. Seeds

    No one would think about seeds as being worth introducing in a diet plan. However, these are definitely on the list of healthy foods to lose weight. They are rich in healthy fats and minerals, including zinc.

    You can consume sunflower, pumpkin, flax, quinoa, chia, and sesame seeds. Take into account that some of these seeds, such as quinoa and chia, require hydration.

    Another piece of good news is that you can integrate these seeds into different dishes, like salads or mixed into rice dishes.

    10. Fermented Foods

    Fermented foods are part of various cultures; for example, Koreans eat kimchi and other fermented foods as part of their daily diet.

    If you are looking to get back to a healthy figure, you might benefit tremendously from such foods. Not to mention, they have the most amazing flavors to offer.

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    You can consume yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, or sauerkraut, as each of these fermented foods is rich in probiotics. These regulate the gut flora, which in turn works to keep you healthy and lean[7].

    When your gut flora is healthy, your metabolism is active, and bloating is not a problem.

    11. Nuts

    We have mentioned that nut butters are healthy, so it makes sense that nuts are just as healthy.

    Among the most satisfying snacks in the world, nuts can definitely be consumed by those looking to lose a few pounds. One can eat almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios, but only in moderate quantities (as these are rich in calories).

    It is important to know that regular consumption of nuts has been associated with a reduced abdominal circumference (as opposed to the consumption of carbs, which does exactly the opposite)[8].

    Nuts are rich in healthy, monounsaturated fats, keeping the heart healthy as well. Just make sure you avoid nut snack packs with added sugar or salt.

    12. Berries

    While most fruits are rich in sugar and not recommended to those interested in losing weight, berries represent the exception.

    The fruits of the forest are rich in fiber, allowing one to experience prolonged satiety. You can see some of the most common healthy berries below[9]:

    Fresh berries: healthy foods for weight loss

      Whether you prefer blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries, it’s worth knowing that all of these small fruits are rich in antioxidants. They provide protection against the damage done by free radicals and, as a bonus, they do not contain a lot of sugar.

      13. Legumes

      Legumes, including beans and lentils, can be turned into the most satisfying meals.

      For someone looking for healthy foods for weight loss, they are excellent. On the one hand, they are rich in fiber and, thus, help you feel fuller for longer. On the other hand, they represent a good source of healthy proteins, which are necessary for an active metabolism.

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      Beans of various sorts, as well as lentils, are rich in minerals and vitamins (especially the ones from the B group). They can prevent you from becoming bloated, plus they contribute to the development of lean muscle mass[10].

      How about a delicious lentil soup for lunch today?

      14. Whole Grains

      Many problems are caused by eating refined grains–these are often found in processed foods, increasing the risk of abdominal weight.

      Whole grains, on the contrary, can contribute to your weight loss efforts. You can integrate quinoa, amaranth, barley, millet and brown rice into your diet, mixing them with Greek yogurt for a delicious treat[11].

      Whole Grains | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

        Rich in minerals and satisfying, they will keep you full for a long time.

        15. Bananas

        Perhaps one of the most popular fruits in the world, the common banana is actually a superstar. Rich in potassium and magnesium, it represents the ideal choice for those who are overweight and plan on going on a diet.

        Bananas counteract the effect of processed foods, helping with the elimination of water weight (salt-associated retention water weight).

        It has also been proven that bananas contribute to the health of the gut flora, replenishing the good bacteria.

        You can eat bananas as such, enjoying their delicious taste, or you can eat them with nut butters, cereals, or fresh berries. Frozen bananas can be turned into mouth-watering ice cream, a healthy version of the store-bought alternative[12].

        Conclusion

        These are some of the most effective and nutritious healthy foods for weight loss. As you have seen, these are easy to integrate into the daily diet and offer prolonged satiety.

        Do not hesitate to have fun while preparing your meals, and remember to drink plenty of water, as this can help with the weight loss process as well.

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        It’s never too late to start a new diet and change your lifestyle, so don’t wait to get started.

        More Healthy Foods to Lose Weight

        Featured photo credit: Jamie Street via unsplash.com

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        Evlin Symon

        Evlin Symon is a health and wellness expert specialized in fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition and beauty.

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        Published on August 24, 2021

        What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

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        What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

        I’ve been a dietitian now for a long time (more years than I care to mention), and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that fad diets are best avoided. This is why I’m so pleased that whole food diets are being talked about more and more.

        Rather than a “diet,” I prefer to think of a whole food diet as a way of life. Eating this way is balanced, and it is a great way to support your all-around body health and longevity. Plus, it’s delicious and—in my opinion—not limiting either, which is a massive bonus.

        A well-balanced diet follows some fairly basic principles and, in essence, consists of plenty of the following:

        • Fruit
        • Vegetables
        • Whole grains
        • Lean protein
        • Nuts
        • Water

        This is essentially all a whole food diet is. Unfortunately, there isn’t an accepted definition of the whole food diet, which means that there are some highly restrictive versions around and some involve principles to frame your diet around rather than strict rules.

        Read on to learn more about the whole food diet as a framework for eating rather than a strict rule book of dos and don’ts that restricts your lifestyle.

        What Is a Whole Food Diet?

        By definition, a whole food diet consists of eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. It’s easy to get lost in a quagmire of organic, local, or pesticide-free, but a whole food diet is basically food in its most natural form. Obviously, spices can be ground and grains can be hulled, but you get the idea. You eat the whole food rather than what’s left after being refined or processed.

        In other words, it involves a lot of cooking because whole foods do not involve anything processed. That means no premade sauces, dips, or convenience foods like chocolate bars, sweets, or ready-meals. It also includes things like tinned vegetables and white bread.

        Why? Processed and convenience foods are often high in salt, saturated fat, and additives in comparison to anything homemade. Because of this, their toll on your overall health is higher.

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        Can Other Diets Also Be Whole Food Diets?

        Here’s where it gets confusing—yes, other diets can also be whole food diets. Eating a whole food diet is a lifestyle choice, but many other diets can exist within a whole foods construct. So, diets like the MIND Diet and Mediterranean Diet are also whole food diets.

        For example, here are the foods involved in the MIND Diet:[1]

        • Green, leafy vegetables five times a week
        • Five or more different colored fruits and vegetables every day.
        • Berries five times a week
        • Five or more servings of nuts a week
        • Olive oil five times a week
        • Whole grains five times a week
        • Oily fish twice a week or take an algae-based omega-3 supplement
        • Legumes and pulses five times a week
        • White meat/mix of plant-based proteins twice a week
        • Vitamin D supplement
        • Minimally processed foods
        • No more than one glass of wine a day
        • One or two coffee or tea a day max
        • Two liters of water a day

        That’s pretty much a whole food diet, right? As long as any meat or plant-based proteins are as unprocessed as possible, then it can be a whole food diet.

        Other diets, like a vegan diet, for instance, could be whole food diets or not. It really depends if processed foods are included. Some food substitutes are really heavily processed, so it’s important to read labels really carefully. But it’s only some, not all.

        And here’s where it gets woolly. If you don’t need to eliminate certain food groups for whatever reason—ethical, health, religion—then a whole food diet can be great. But if you do exclude certain foods, then it could be beneficial to include certain “processed” foods. This is to make sure that you don’t miss out on vital nutrients to keep you healthy.

        Processed Foods That Are Okay on a Whole Food Diet

        Many brands of cereals are fortified with B vitamins, which can be hard to come by on a plant-based diet.

        For example, vitamin B12 (needed for maintaining a healthy nervous system, energy, and mood-regulation), is largely found in animal sources. It is something that those on a plant-based diet need to keep an eye on, as studies show that around 20% of us are deficient. And we also know that 65% of vegans and vegetarians don’t take a B vitamin supplement.[2]

        So in that case, choosing a cereal fortified with B vitamins would be a good option, if done wisely. By that I mean use your discretion and check the labels, as many brands of cereals are packed with sugar and additives. But you can strategically choose minimally processed foods using a whole foods mentality.

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        As a rule of thumb, if there are any ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t understand, or sound artificial, they probably are best avoided.

        Benefits of a Whole Food Diet

        In a 2014 analysis by Yale University, they concluded that “a diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”[3]

        A diet rich in fruit and vegetables or other high-fiber foods like whole grains and nuts is really important in maintaining good long-term health and preventing health problems like diabetes and cancers. These kinds of foods also help our bodies to cope and control the effects of inflammation.

        In fact, one review from 2019 stated that “diets high in plant foods could potentially prevent several million premature deaths each year if adopted globally.”[4] This is a big endorsement for a whole food diet.

        Whole Foods and the Gut

        Whole foods are loaded with fibers that are sometimes lost during processing or refinement. Fiber is essential for a healthy gut because aside from its traditional “roughage” reputation, it also feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, providing a whole host of other benefits.

        They also provide a lot of variety, which the gut loves. The more variety, the better. So, even though you might fall in love with certain recipes, it’s important to mix up the kinds of whole foods you eat to maintain a healthy gut. Aim for 30 different whole foods each week. It’s easier than you think!

        Whole Foods and the Brain

        The brain is a really hungry organ, and it uses 25% of the total energy you consume from your food. Everything it needs to function at its best is—you guessed it—a whole, unprocessed food.

        In fact, the best diet recommended for brain health is the MIND Diet. In one study, it was shown that people who follow the MIND diet closely had a 53% reduced rate of developing Alzheimer’s.[5]

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        Some of the best whole foods for the brain are:[6]

        • Oily fish
        • Nuts
        • Eggs
        • Berries
        • Broccoli
        • Whole grains

        Is It Easy to Follow a Whole Food Diet?

        Once you’ve got your head around having “ingredients” rather than “ready-to-eat” things in your kitchen cupboards, it’s actually very easy. The only issue is the lifestyle and habit changes that come along with it.

        It is very likely that for many people, following a totally, religiously whole food diet may be unattainable at least some of the time. For example, there are days where you don’t get time to make your lunch or if you want to enjoy social eating. Similarly, people who have young children or who are working more than one job are unlikely to be able to follow a whole food diet all of the time.

        Sometimes, we put ourselves under pressure to be as perfect as we can with diets like this, which can lead to an eating disorder called Orthorexia, which is a preoccupation with healthy eating.

        This means that following a whole food diet, in principle, can be healthy and accessible for some people but not for everyone. It also means that those with previous disordered eating, as always, need to avoid any form of dietary restriction or rules around their diet.

        Is a Whole Food Diet Boring?

        Absolutely not! The beauty of this way of eating is that there are barely any recipes that are off-limits. If you can make it yourself using natural ingredients, then it counts. So, dig out your recipe books and get familiar with your spice cupboard.

        Here’s my advice if you’re just starting: stock up on coconut milk and canned tomatoes. You’ll use them all the time in sauces.

        Best Hacks for Sticking With a Whole Food Diet

        Here are some tips to help you stick with a whole food diet and develop this lifestyle.

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        1. Practice Batch Cooking

        Especially in the beginning, if you’ve been used to eating more convenience-based or packaged foods, you’re likely to feel like you spend the majority of your life in the kitchen. So, I’d suggest getting your cookbooks out and planning around five things to make per week. If you make double, or even triple portions depending on your household, you’ll have enough quantity to last several meals.

        For example, his could be homemade granola. Make it once, and that’s breakfast sorted for a week. Whole food diet ingredients like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, and seeds are all delicious, and great nutritional resources to keep you feeling full until lunchtime.

        I also love to make big stews, sauces, and curries that can happily be reheated and added throughout the course of a few days.

        2. Make Your Own Convenience Foods

        Sticking to a new way of eating can be really difficult, especially for your willpower. So, it’s very important to make it as easy as possible for yourself.

        Pre-chop. Pre-chop. Pre-chop.

        If you’ve got a container of carrot sticks on hand or can happily munch on a few pieces of melon from the fridge, use those—it’s almost easier than grabbing something from a package. This can extend to your other vegetables, too. If you get your veg delivered or buy it from a market, choose a few things to slice after you wash them. That way, if you need a speedy lunch or a lazy dinner, it’ll be ready in minutes.

        Ready to Try a Whole Food Diet?

        If you’re looking to maximize your overall health, well-being, and vitality, I’d absolutely suggest a whole food diet. But, as with everything, it’s important to do what works for you and your own lifestyle.

        Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel – Restaurant Photographer via unsplash.com

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