Americans everywhere are trying to lose weight and get healthier. Being overweight or obese can be a risk factor for many diseases and conditions, and it can complicate those conditions that already exist. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, and more are all related to excess weight. In their efforts to drop pounds, many people have actually dropped from their diets some of the very foods that can help them lose weight.
Protein is an important compound and can help promote weight loss in a number of ways. First, protein is harder for your body to digest than are most carbohydrates. This means that a meal containing protein can help keep you fuller for a longer period of time. Second, eating enough protein can help you retain muscle mass while you lose weight. Muscle burns more calories, even at rest, than the equivalent amount of fat tissue. This will raise you metabolism rate and help you burn more calories. Similarly, having more muscle can make exercise easier and more enjoyable. Some good sources of protein for dieters are:
Eggs. Skipping breakfast can be a diet killer. People who eat breakfast usually consume fewer calories in a day because they are not starting their day hungry. Eggs provide a large amount of protein, making this breakfast last longer. While dietary cholesterol is not the major factor in high cholesterol levels, some people prefer to cut out the fat that a whole egg has. Egg whites can provide the same benefits as whole eggs, and substitutes like Egg Beaters are delicious ways to get a good breakfast.
Steak. A recent study has found that women eating a diet containing lean cuts of beef actually lose more weight than women eating a similar calorie level but no beef. Stick to leaner cuts and keep your portions under control, but have no fear in enjoying a nice steak while you lose weight.
Salmon, Tuna, and other fish. These creatures of the sea provide protein galore, pair well with vegetables, and contain another healthy compound – Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are linked with lower cholesterol levels and other heart health effects. So stock up and your heart, along with your taste buds, will thank you.
Get your fiber. Soluble fiber, like protein, helps people feel full longer which leads to weight loss. In addition, fiber has noticeable cholesterol lowering effects and can help regulate type-2 diabetes in some patients. There are a number of great foods to boost your fiber level:
Oats. Eggs are a great breakfast, but not everyday. A bowl of oatmeal as the first meal of the day can help dieters lose weight. Even the instant oatmeal we buy in packets is rich in fiber and is delicious. Try not to weigh your breakfast down with sugar, though. Instead, try reaching for some blueberries or other fruit to flavor your breakfast.
Whole-grains. Both breads and pastas are coming in whole-grain and high fiber varieties that are getting better and better every year. Check the label and ingredient list carefully. Terms like “whole wheat” can be confusing and may not provide the fiber and health benefits expected.
Fruits and vegetables provide huge health benefits as well as helping to promote weight loss. Try roasting your vegetables to bring out their full depth of flavor and an aroma that makes them irresistible.
Lentils. This may be as close to a super-food as there is. Lentils combine the benefits of protein and fiber and can help to keep blood-sugar and insulin levels even. They are also versatile foods that can be used in many cuisines and with a wide variety of complimenting foods.
Blueberries. These tiny little fruits pack a huge punch of fiber in a small package. As an added bonus, the antioxidants in these, and many other berries, provide a great variety of health benefits. Try a quarter-cup of blueberries in your oatmeal instead of a few spoons of sugar. Your waistline will be grateful.
While balancing calories consumed with those burned in a day is the biggest component of weight loss, the foods listed above can help you eat less, can regulate blood-sugar levels to keep you from packing on fat, and provide you with any number of health benefits on the side.