It’s no secret that eating healthy foods can help you lose weight. But what about the foods that you already eat every day? Which ones are the best for boosting your metabolism and helping you achieve those coveted weight loss goals? We examined the popular food trends of 2018 and what they mean for your health and fitness, from gluten-free baking to plant-based diets.
Healthy Eating Is Back
For decades, the conventional wisdom was to avoid diets and to simply rely on exercise to lose weight. But in 2018, healthy eating was back with a vengeance. According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, people who followed a healthy diet—one that emphasized vegetables, fruit, and whole grains—lost more weight than those who didn’t.
It seems that the old adage ‘you’ll never lose weight eating healthy foods’ no longer holds true. In fact, with the right guidance, many of the foods you already eat every day can help you lose weight. So it’s time to shed those extra pounds and show the world your perfect side. How? By eating the right foods and following a healthy diet plan of course! Here are some of the most popular healthy foods of 2018 that can actually help you lose weight.
- White potatoes are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and calcium. They also offer a decent amount of energy which makes them a popular choice for people looking to lose weight. If you consume potatoes frequently, they can help your body to prevent obesity by keeping your metabolism active.
- Salmon is one of the most popular fish in the world and for good reason. It’s a rich source of protein and contains lots of beneficial fats and antioxidants which help fight obesity. One four-week study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that participants who consumed salmon at least three times per week lost more weight than those who didn’t. If you’re not getting your recommended daily amount of fish, consider eating trout or salmon instead. They are both good options and have more beneficial fats and nutrients than chicken.
- Spinach is a popular choice among weight loss dieters and for good reason. It’s a rich source of vitamins A and C and antioxidants which act as small fighters in your body. These nutrients help your body to stay strong while fighting off diseases and promoting good health. One study found that women who consumed the most spinach had the lowest body mass indexes. If you’re not getting your daily dose, consider eating kale or chard instead.
- Bananas are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients which promote good health. They also have a low energy content which makes them ideal for people who are trying to lose weight. One banana has about the same number of calories as an apple yet it doesn’t satisfy the same need for energy. So, if you’re looking for a quick energy burst, consider eating an apple instead. Apples also contain higher levels of fiber and antioxidants which make them a better choice for your health than bananas.
- Tomatoes are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and lycopene. They’re also one of the best sources of lycopene which gives them their purple color. This compound has been linked to reduced prostate cancer and heart disease. One study even found that men who consumed the most tomatoes had the lowest levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. So, if you’re looking for a food to help reduce your cholesterol, try eating more tomatoes!
- Peaches are a versatile fruit. Not only can you eat them fresh, but you can also bake them, make jelly, and brew peach ice cream. Peaches are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, antioxidants which fight free radicals in your body and promote good health. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage your body, so eating foods rich in antioxidants is vital for your health and well-being. One study found that participants who consumed the most peaches had the lowest levels of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides. If you want to achieve healthier cholesterol levels, consider eating more peaches!
- Bean curd is a Japanese food that’s similar to a soft-set tofu. It has a similar effect in your body when eaten which is to reduce appetite. One study found that participants who consumed the most bean curd had the lowest cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, it’s important to note that this food doesn’t contain any cholesterol or triglycerides so you can’t assume that it will harm your cholesterol levels. Still, it’s a versatile food that contains protein and fiber which can help you stay full and maintain a healthy weight. One suggestion is to dip strawberries and shrimp in a creamy mixture of lemon juice and powdered sugar before eating them. It’s not only an incredible taste sensation but it can make the food more digestible which will help you lose weight.
- Chocolate is a diet food that promotes good health and weight loss. It’s high in fiber and nutrients which promote good digestion and a healthy heart. One small study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that participants who ate the most chocolate lost the most weight. So, if you’re looking for a quick, easy way to drop a few pounds, consider eating chocolate! It won’t hurt you.
- Green tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It’s been shown to help reduce obesity in test-tube studies, and it’s one of the best sources of antioxidants which act as tiny fighters in your body. Antioxidants can help prevent and repair damage from free radicals which are unstable molecules that can lead to cell damage and premature aging. One study showed that participants who consumed the highest amounts of antioxidant-rich green tea lost the most weight. If you’re not getting your recommended servings of fruit and vegetables, consider switching to green tea to help reduce your cholesterol levels. One suggestion is to mix coconut oil and chia seeds and then drizzle the mixture over your berries for an incredible berry flavor. You can also add some grated ginger to give it an extra kick!
More Plant-Based Diets
It is well established that animals—including humans—need to eat food to live, but the type of food that they need to eat differs between species. For instance, plants provide animals with the necessary nutrients to grow and maintain healthy living organs. As a result, the focus of most animal diets has shifted to whole plants and plant-based foods. Many conventional diet foods are made using grains and refined sugars which are highly processed and have a high energy content. These types of foods don’t provide any good for you, and they certainly don’t help you lose weight. On the other hand, plant-based foods contain fiber, protein, and important minerals which are all necessary for human nutrition. These foods also contain antioxidants which help protect your body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules which can cause cell damage and premature aging. So, it’s important to keep an eye out for foods rich in antioxidants when trying to drop a few pounds.
It should come as no surprise that many popular diet foods are derived from plants. After all, plants provide our food sources, and they also play an important role in the air we breath. As more people become aware of the health risks associated with eating too much meat, many are turning to plants to fulfill their protein needs. This is especially true for vegans and vegetarians, which makes up nearly half of all American adults. While plant-based diets don’t mean you need to give up your favorite foods, it does mean you need to adjust your thinking about what constitutes ‘healthy eating’. White potatoes, for example, are a perfect vehicle for delivering antioxidants and other nutrients to your body. But they also contain the ingredient oxidant iodine which can block the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb nutrients. So it’s best eaten in moderation.
Similarly, bananas are a great source of nutrition and fiber yet they don’t provide the energy your body needs to function properly. Instead of eating bananas, consider eating a simple piece of fruit like an apple. It won’t provide you with the same nutrients, but it will make you feel fuller for a longer period of time. Ultimately, whether you choose a plant-based diet or not, the foods you consume can and will play a role in your health and well-being.