As a coach, I’m frequently being asked by clients which foods to eat to burn fat, lose weight, and have more energy, so I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 superfoods that I recommend to all my clients and are staples in my regular diet. These 10 superfoods are not only fantastic for managing weight and promoting fat loss, they also provide a wide range of other health benefits including eye and skin health, cancer prevention, strong bones and teeth, and a healthy and robust immune system. Check out my list below of the top 10 superfoods you should be regularly consuming as part of your healthy diet!
Salmon is a rich source of protein, vitamin D and vitamin B, and omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are important because they help with cognitive function, keeping your mind sharp, improve memory, and may even help to combat depression. They also lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis, and can prevent vision loss.
Tip: Always opt for wild caught salmon over farm-raised for higher nutrient density and better quality.
Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, which help with brain function and motor coordination. They also reduce inflammation, which is a leading cause of heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Berries can also reduce high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Tip: The darker the color of the berry, the higher it is in antioxidants.
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals that can prevent heart disease and cancer. They are also an excellent source of fiber, which regulates your digestive system and helps you feel full longer, which is great for weight management. Cruciferous veggies, which include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and bok choy, have been found to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. They also stimulate the immune system, killing bacteria and viruses.
Tip: Don’t like eating your greens? Try tossing some spinach or kale leaves into a smoothie with fruit and Greek yogurt for a nutrient-packed refreshing drink.
Avocados provide a whole bevy of health benefits. They are a great source of healthy fats, and can aid in blood and tissue regeneration, eye and skin health, and stabilize blood sugar, which can prevent diabetes. They provide a great source of fiber and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Tip: Avocados are great for breakfast! Try spreading mashed avocado on a piece of whole grain toast, or add sliced avocado to an omelette.
This category of superfoods includes almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. Like salmon, walnuts provide heart-healthy omega-3’s, which protect your body from heart disease and improve brain function. Almonds have been shown to lower cholesterol, and their protein, fiber, and monounsaturated fats can aid with weight loss and management, since they provide the feeling of fullness and can prevent overeating. Chia seeds are the richest source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, and are high in protein, minerals, and antioxidants. Chia seeds are also an excellent source of fiber, and can absorb liquid and swell to more than 5 times their size, so eating these seeds can help you feel fuller for longer. In addition to providing fiber, omega-3’s, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc, flaxseeds are also a highly usable form of protein for the body, and have been used for centuries for medicinal and health reasons.
Tip: Try sprinkling a small handful of almonds or walnuts or a tablespoon of chia or flaxseeds to a salad or bowl of yogurt or cottage cheese for a crunchy treat to help you feel full and satisfied.
Eggs provide the highest quality protein you can find from food sources. They contain all 9 of the essential amino acids, and are full of valuable nutrients. And don’t forget the yolks! Egg yolks have been found to prevent buildup of fat and cholesterol in the liver, and protect heart and brain function. The yolks also contain lutein, which protects the eyes and reduces the risk of macular degeneration, which can cause blindness. Eggs have also been found to aid in maintaining a healthy metabolism and memory function.
Tip: Eggs can be prepared in lots of different ways. Try incorporating other superfoods such as avocado, spinach, or broccoli into an omelette, or hard boil a few to pack for lunch on the go.
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein- an average 5oz. serving contains 12g. It is also full of probiotics, the good kind of bacteria that boost your immune system and improve digestion. Lower in lactose than other dairy sources, Greek yogurt is easier to digest and is ideal for those who are naturally sensitive to dairy, and may even reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance. Kefir, a fermented milk product (like a drinkable yogurt) contains highly beneficial microbacteria, yeasts, and probiotics, as well as essential vitamins and minerals that help your body heal and repair itself. Because kefir is a fermented product, the proteins in it are already partially digested and are therefore more readily absorbed by the body. Additionally, kefir can protect the body against gastrointestinal diseases, regulates the immune system, and provides a good source of calcium for strong bones and teeth.
Tip: For an economical approach, buy a large tub of plain Greek yogurt and dress it up yourself with berries, nuts, chia seeds, or other fruits, or add it to a smoothie with leafy greens and fruit.
Beans provide a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B, calcium, potassium, and folate, which help with skin health, cell growth, and brain function. Eating beans also raises levels of the hormone leptin, which curbs appetite and prevents overeating. Beans can also lower blood pressure and the risk of stroke, and are an excellent source of fiber.
Tip: Opt for fresh or dried beans (soak in water overnight before preparing), as canned varieties tend to be much higher in sodium.
Green tea contains EGCG, a powerful antioxidant known for its cancer preventing properties. Studies have also shown that drinking green tea regularly may lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of heart disease and stroke. Green tea also contains low doses of caffeine, which can provide a natural source of energy throughout the day that is less irritating to the stomach than coffee. Bonus: drinking green tea throughout the day also contributes to your daily hydration needs.
Tip: Try replacing all sodas and sugary drinks with a cup of green tea, and drink a cup first thing in the morning to kickstart your metabolism and start the day feeling energized.
I’m sure you’re all as excited as I am to see chocolate on this list. When eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can reduce unhealthy cholesterol in your body and prevent plaque from building up in your arteries. It also contains many powerful antioxidants, which can prevent cell damage and diseases such as cancer. Dark chocolate has been found to boost mood, improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure.
Tip: Since only real cacao contains these antioxidant benefits, opt for dairy-free dark chocolate that is at least 60% cacao, and limit yourself to a 1oz. serving, 2-3 times per week. The darker the chocolate, the lower the calories, fat, and sugar content too.
If you’re like most people, the holidays are a time of mixed emotions. You’re excited and anxious to spend time with family, and you’re dreading the extra weight that you know you’re bound to gain. Are these holiday pounds inevitable?
Lean in close to catch these seven secret ways to help you fend off extra weight through the holidays. And once you’re done, don’t keep it a secret. Go tell somebody!
Holiday Secret #1: Listen to Your Body
It may not speak quickly enough all the time, but you know your body is constantly telling you things. Sometimes it tells you to stop a certain activity before you get hurt. During the holiday season, it tells you to put the brakes on your eating before you go beyond the point of no return. When your body tells you it’s full, listen up! A single bite after you’re full will lead to extra calories and eventually, extra pounds.
Holiday Secret #2: Confine the Holidays
For some, holidays become weeks and even months of poor eating. Be careful to avoid this pitfall by digging into your holiday foods only on the actual holiday. Treat the other days like normal days—even if you’re off of work. And when the holiday is over, let someone else take the leftovers home and go to your own house without any pudding or gravy in tow.
Holiday Secret #3: Eat First, Party Second
You read right—it’s good to eat before heading out the door. Have a healthy, well-rounded meal at home with fruits, vegetables, and your protein source of choice. And drink a tall glass of water. Why? So when you get to that holiday party that is overflowing with cookies, cakes, candies, and calories, you’re not hungry for it. Your stomach is full of healthy goodness and has no room for the fattening stuff.
Holiday Secret #4: Plan Your Escape
Getting away from food isn’t easy. If you expect to be able to walk away from delicious thigh- and gut-growing foods without any forethought, think again. Before walking into a potentially fattening situation, plan out what you’re going to eat and take your own dish to share if necessary. Any time there is a particularly difficult eating situation, make plans an hour or so after the dangerous-to-your-diet event begins and excuse yourself.
Holiday Secret #5: Exercise Everywhere
One of the best excuses to gain weight is that you have to travel to visit family and don’t have access to your personal trainer. Well, guess what? Just because your trainer isn’t staying in the hotel with you doesn’t mean you aren’t accountable! Scope out the area where you’ll be traveling and take advantage of whatever exercise opportunities are available. There may be a gym or pool at your hotel, a pay-as-you-go gym, or a nice park nearby where you can walk or run with or without family members.
Holiday Secret #6: Pay Attention to People
Holidays are about family and friends…right? Then stop focusing on food! When you go to a party, there is no need to hang out by the food table when there are people all around you! Ignore the grub and go for the meaningful stuff that you’ll remember and cherish. Besides, it’s much easier to talk without munching and you even listen better when you’re not stuck thinking about how good the next bite is going to be.
Holiday Secret #7: Drink Instead
No, this isn’t a license to drink as much alcohol as you can find. Doing that will add lots of useless calories to your waistline. Instead, do your best to make friends with a glass of water everywhere you go. As you mingle with your water glass, you’ll find it challenging to grab more than a couple of finger foods here and there, and the fact that it is water will help you remember to watch what else goes in your mouth!
Wouldn’t you love to make 2016 the year that you transform your body?
Wouldn’t it feel great to throw out all of your fat clothes? To look forward to bathing suit season? To be given a clean bill of health from your doctor? And to be showered with compliments by family, friends and that special someone?
It’s all more possible than you think.
But you’ll need to take massive action.
REGISTER FOR THE NEW YEAR, NEW YOU CHALLENGE
Go on, do it now and secure your spot before the New Year’s rush.