Many people associate losing weight with feeling hungry all day. However, it need not be that way.
There are plenty of healthy foods that you can enjoy throughout the day, foods that instead of contributing to weight gain, can actually contribute to healthy weight loss by helping you feel full, supporting your metabolism and providing a variety of important nutrients.
The following are our five top picks for health-conscious snacks – just make sure to choose organic when posisble and eat a varied, whole food diet:
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, acai… whatever berry (or combination of berries) you choose, berries are a delicious and nutritious snack anytime. Berries are a good source of fiber, which boosts digestive health, helps flush toxins out of your system, helps to regulate blood sugar levels, supports healthy gut bacteria and helps you to feel full.
Berries can also increase HDL ‘good’ cholesterol, and potentially lower blood pressure. The ketones found in raspberries have been linked to less body fat gain, particularly in the case of belly fat. Blueberries have also been shown by some research to help fight belly fat. Besides being unsightly, belly fat is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
On top of that, berries that have a deep red hue, such as raspberries and blackberries, contain anthocyanins, antioxidants that may have especially potent anticarcinogenic abilities.
Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, arugula and radicchio are a great choice for a mid-afternoon salad, as long as you don’t add processed salad dressings. One specific benefit of leafy greens to weight loss is thylakoids, which are enclosed within the chloroplasts of the leaves. These work to naturally suppress appetite, and therefore can keep you feeling fuller longer.
Besides increasing satiety, kale, spinach and other greens are extremely beneficial to your heart, and have been shown to lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. They are also filled with antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation.
Less inflammation means less risk of a host of chronic diseases, including cancers. Leafy greens also contain an array of vitamins and minerals, and have been linked to bone health and strengthening the immune system.
Watermelon is comprised of 92 percent water. It has been found that eating water-filled foods such as watermelon can help keep hunger at bay. This delicious red melon contains lycopene, which has been connected to protection against heart disease, cancers, and may potentially boost bone health.
Another benefit of watermelon is citrulline, an amino acid which converts into arginine in the body. Some research connects higher arginine levels with cardiovascular benefits, as well as the prevention of fat accumulation in fat cells. Definitely a plus if you are trying to lose weight.
Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been linked to improving digestion, preventing heart disease, reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol levels. This scrumptious green fruit is also high in fiber, which further contributes to both weight loss efforts and heart health benefits, as well as contributing to feelings of satiety.
Avocados are rich in vitamins and minerals, including a high amount of potassium. They also contain magnesium, which can help to regulate blood pressure. The high vitamin C content of avocados supports an optimally functioning immune system, while its vitamin E promotes eye and skin health.
Snacking on raw green beans, or raw pea pods for an alternative option, provides a crisp sensation, pleasing flavor and tons of fiber. Green beans are also rich in vitamin C, beta carotene and flavonoid antioxidants, protecting the body against oxidative stress and the onset of chronic conditions including heart disease.
These green delights also contain omega-3 fatty acids essential to a healthy heart. If you are craving for a snack and just want something you can munch on, some fresh green beans with a dab of sea salt may be just the ticket.
While snacking often receives a bad rap, if you choose healthy snacks, you can enjoy guilt-free nutrition throughout the day. With the above-listed five foods, if you don’t add unhealthy condiments, it’s hard to go wrong.
-The Alternative Daily