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Blueberries for Weight Loss

Each new year inspires us to make resolutions for healthier living. Yours may be to lose the few pounds gained over the holidays. When it comes to losing weight, we all could use a little help.

Did you know blueberries can help you shed weight? That’s right. Scientists have begun studying blueberries and their potential to help reduce body fat. While blueberries have been well-documented for their cognitive and cardio-protective benefits, new research suggests that blueberries may change the way we metabolize fat and sugar.

Recent study findings suggest that blueberries may influence genes which regulate fat-burning and storage, helping reduce abdominal fat and lower cholesterol. When combined with a low-fat diet, blueberries might also lower triglycerides and improve blood sugar levels, each benefits of a comprehensive weight loss plan.

If that weren’t enough to inspire you to enjoy blueberries more often, the little fruit is a source of fiber which has the power to fill you up and keep you full without consuming excess calories.

Virtually all health experts agree current weight control issues plaguing our nation are the result of excess consumption of non-nutritive, highly-refined foods, making blueberries a smart choice for weight loss and maintenance. Sweet, fat-free and delicious, one serving of blueberries provides as many health-promoting antioxidants as five servings of broccoli, a mere 80 calories and a host of vitamins and nutrients. So, enjoy a guilt-free serving each day! And if you need ideas for recipes that incorporate blueberries, just visit our Healthy Recipe file, and start shedding pounds now! Your waistline will thank you.

This vibrant fruit may be tiny, but each serving packs a serious punch when it comes to nutrition. Often overlooked and overshadowed by more exotic types of berries, blueberries remain one of the most nutritious, antioxidant-rich types of fruit in the world and have been shown to do everything from enhance brain health to keep your heart strong. Plus, in addition to the long list of health benefits of blueberries, these fruits are also super sweet, low-calorie and delicious.

Need any more convincing on why you should add this flavorful berry into your diet? Keep reading to learn about the health benefits of blueberries, and find some creative ways to squeeze few servings of this top superfood into your day.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Blueberries

Wondering about the health benefits of blueberries and how they’re beneficial? Here are the top seven health benefits of blueberries:

  1. High in Antioxidants
  2. Help Fight Cancer
  3. Amp Up Weight Loss
  4. Boost Brain Health
  5. Alleviate Inflammation
  6. Support Digestion
  7. Promote Heart Health

1. High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that fight harmful free radicals and provide a myriad of health benefits. In fact, antioxidants not only prevent cell damage, but also protect against several types of chronic disease, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. (1)

Blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants. One study in China compared the antioxidant capacity of blueberries, blackberries and strawberries and found that blueberries not only contained the highest total antioxidant capacity, but also contained more of many specific types of antioxidants, including phenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins. (2)

Wild blueberries are especially high in antioxidants. (3) A study in the British Journal of Nutrition, for example, found that supplementing participants with wild blueberry powder increased serum antioxidant status by 8.5 percent after just one hour. (4) Thanks to the antioxidant properties, blueberries are often used in formulations with lutein to support eye health as well.

Other top antioxidant foods include dark chocolate, goji berries, pecans, clove and cinnamon.

2. Help Fight Cancer

Recent research has unearthed some impressive findings on the ability of blueberries to protect against certain types of cancer.

For example, a 2010 test-tube study reported that blueberry extract was able to inhibit the growth and spread of breast cancer cells, making blueberry extracts potential cancer-fighting agents. (5) Another animal study from the Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville treated rats with breast cancer using blueberry powder and found that it reduced tumor volume by 40 percent. (6)

Similarly, a 2007 test-tube study showed that low-bush blueberry juice reduced the growth of several types of cancer, including stomach, prostate, intestine and breast cancer cells. (7)

Although these results are promising, be sure to consume a variety of berries along with plenty of other fruits and vegetables to really optimize the cancer-fighting potential of your diet.

3. Amp Up Weight Loss

Take a look at the blueberry nutrition profile, and you’ll quickly see why this nutrient-packed berry is great if you’re looking to lose weight fast. It’s low in calories but provides a whopping 3.6 grams of fiber per cup, fulfilling up to 14 percent of your daily fiber needs with just one serving.

Fiber moves slowly through your digestive tract, promoting satiety and keeping you feeling fuller for longer to aid in weight loss.

Several animal studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of blueberries on weight loss. An animal study published in the journal PLoS One, for instance, found that blueberry juice prevented obesity in mice fed a high-fat diet. (8) Another animal study conducted by the Cardiovascular Center and the Michigan Integrative Medicine Program showed that blueberry intake was associated with a reduction in belly fat for obese rats. (9)

Be sure to combine blueberries with a nutritious, well-rounded diet and plenty of physical activity to promote weight loss even more.

4. Boost Brain Health

One of the most impressive health benefits of blueberries is its ability to enhance brain health. There have been many studies suggesting that eating blueberries could improve memory and cognition.

In a recent 2016 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition, consuming a blueberry drink was found to improve cognitive performance compared to a placebo in 21 children. (10) Another study showed that drinking wild blueberry juice daily for 12 weeks was able to improve the memory of older adults. (11)

Additionally, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which can protect the brain from free radical damage and promote healthy brain aging. (11)

In addition to blueberries, other brain foods that can help enhance memory and focus include avocados, beets, leafy green vegetables and walnuts.

5. Alleviate Inflammation

Although inflammation is a normal immune response that helps protect your body from illness and injury, chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases. In fact, inflammation is thought to contribute to a wide range of conditions, including cancer, autoimmune conditions, heart disease and even depression. (12)

Thanks to its high antioxidant content, blueberries have been shown to have a significant anti-inflammatory effect in the body. A 2014 test-tube study even found that the polyphenols found in blueberries helped reduce the activity of several markers of inflammation. (13) Similarly, an animal study published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology also found that blueberry extract was effective in reducing swelling in rat paws. (14)

Celery, broccoli, pineapple, salmon and chia seeds are just a few other anti-inflammatory foods that should be included in a disease-fighting diet.

6. Support Digestion

With 3.6 grams of fiber in each cup, including a serving or two of blueberries can help you meet your fiber needs while also promoting regularity and healthy digestion.

When you eat fiber, it travels through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, adding bulk to the stool to keep you regular. In fact, an analysis in the World Journal of Gastroenterology looked at the results of five studies and found that increasing your intake of dietary fiber could help increase stool frequency in those with constipation. (15)

Pair your blueberries with plenty of water, physical activity and other high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to keep your digestive system working efficiently.

7. Promote Heart Health

There’s no doubt that a healthy heart is a key component of overall health. Your heart is responsible for pumping blood through the body to provide your tissues with the oxygen and nutrients needed to thrive and survive.

Unfortunately, coronary heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, accounting for an estimated 31.5 percent of all deaths in the United States. (16) High triglycerides, elevated cholesterol and increased blood pressure are just a few of the main risk factors for heart disease that can put a strain on your heart and force it to work harder.

Studies show that eating blueberries could help reduce some of the risk factors for heart disease. A 2015 study, for example, found that eating blueberries daily for eight weeks resulted in lower blood pressure and arterial stiffness in 48 women. (17) Another study in published in the Journal of Nutrition reported that blueberry supplementation led to greater decreases in blood pressure and oxidized LDL cholesterol, two major risk factors for heart disease, compared to a control group. (18)

Of course, the health benefits of blueberries on heart disease are limited unless combined with a balanced diet, a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise.

Related: Top 11 Health Benefits of Watermelon (+ Recipes)

Blueberries Nutrition

Blueberries are a nutrient-dense food, meaning that there aren’t a lot of calories in blueberries, but they pack in a good amount of vitamins and minerals. The blueberries nutrition profile is especially high in fiber, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C.

One cup of raw blueberries contains approximately: (19)

  • 84 calories
  • 21.4 grams carbohydrates
  • 1.1 grams protein
  • 0.5 gram fat
  • 3.6 grams dietary fiber
  • 28.6 micrograms vitamin K (36 percent DV)
  • 0.5 milligram manganese (25 percent DV)
  • 14.4 milligrams vitamin C (24 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram vitamin B6 (4 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram thiamine (4 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram riboflavin (4 percent DV)
  • 0.8 milligram vitamin E (4 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram copper (4 percent DV)

In addition to the nutrients listed above, blueberries also contain some niacin, vitamin A, folate, pantothenic acid, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Not only that, but blueberries also contain other beneficial compounds, including resveratrol, anthocyanin, phytonutrients and pterostilbene. It’s this blueberry nutrition profile that provides all the wonderful health benefits of blueberries.

Health Benefits of Blueberries vs. Blackberries vs. Raspberries

There are tons of berry varieties out there. From the bilberry to the strawberry to the Indian gooseberry, it can get a little confusing when you’re standing in the produce aisle wondering which one you should add to your cart.

Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are three of the most common berries, and it can be easy to get them confused. They’re all small, dark and jam-packed with antioxidants and important nutrients.

Raspberries and blackberries share the most similarities in appearance as they belong to the same family of plants. Both have many single cells that protrude to create a bumpy appearance, but the blackberry is generally larger with cells that tend to bulge more than raspberries. Raspberries can also range in color from a dark red to a deep purple color comparable to blackberries.

There are, however, many differences that set these three types of berries apart. Raspberries and blackberries usually have a tart flavor while blueberries are much sweeter. Nutritionally speaking, blackberries are the lowest in calories per gram and contain the most vitamin K. Raspberries are highest in vitamin C and contain nearly 2.5 times the amount of fiber as blueberries. Meanwhile, blueberries have been shown to have a higher antioxidant capacity than blackberries.

Because of these minute differences in nutrition, the health benefits of blackberries may differ from the benefits of raspberries or blueberries. However, they can all be healthy dietary additions and help promote better health. Include all three in your diet, and take advantage of the unique health benefits provided by each.

Where to Find and How to Use Blueberries

Wild blueberries grow across Southern Canada and along the East Coast of the United States in low-spreading bushes, known as lowbush blueberries. There are also other varieties grown and cultivated all around the world, from Europe to Asia to Australia and beyond. Blueberry harvest season typically falls in May through mid-August, although this can vary based on your location and the type of blueberries near you.

When picking blueberries, they should be ripe enough that they are blue and require just a light touch to pick. Be sure to wash them thoroughly before savoring the sweet flavor.

If there aren’t any blueberry plants growing near you, though, fear not. These days, you likely won’t run into any trouble finding a pint of blueberries on the shelf at your local grocery store. You can also find both regular and wild blueberries in the frozen fruit section of many stores as well. Opt for organic when possible as conventional blueberries are often laden with harmful pesticides. Growing blueberries is also an option, and blueberry bushes grow best when adding peat moss to the soil.

You can add blueberries to just about any recipe to kick up the sweetness. Try them in pancakes or baked goods to ramp up the antioxidant content of your dish. Alternatively, try sprinkling them over oatmeal or yogurt, or enjoy them as is for a guilt-free way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Related: 9 Health Benefits of Juniper Berries

Blueberry Recipes

To take full advantage of the many health benefits of blueberries, just whip out a bowl and enjoy — no other ingredients required. If you’re looking to mix it up, however, there are plenty of delicious ways to incorporate blueberries into your favorite recipes. Give a few of these blueberries recipes a try to get started:

  • Pumpkin Blueberry Pancakes
  • Blueberry Pudding
  • Omega Blueberry Smoothie
  • Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins
  • Healthy Blueberry Cobbler

History of Blueberries

The health benefits of blueberries were no secret to Native Americans. For centuries, this fruit, blueberry vaccinium, was revered for its potent medicinal properties and even used in cooking to bring an added dose of flavor to dishes.

However, English settlers arriving to the United States did not believe that blueberries could be domesticated. In 1893, Elizabeth White, the daughter of a cranberry grower in New Jersey, started adding blueberries to her family’s local crop. Fifteen years later, botanist Frederick Coville began conducting experiments on blueberries, seeking to determine the best wild plants for breeding, and teamed up with White to help crossbreed and create some of the delicious blueberry varieties we now know and love. The first commercial crop of northern highbush blueberries, aka vaccinium corymbosum, was sold by the pair in the year 1916, just over 100 years ago. In addition to lowbush and highbush varieties, you may come across rabbiteye varieties as well.

Today, blueberries have soared in popularity. In 1974, the USDA declared July “National Blueberry Month,” and in 2003, New Jersey chose the blueberry as its official state berry. By 2012, blueberries were found in nearly 4,000 products, including foods, cosmetics and pet products. As evidence continues to mount demonstrating the long list of health benefits of blueberries, there’s no doubt that we’ll continue to see more of this delicious blue berry. (20)

Precautions

Blueberries are generally considered safe for most people and can be consumed with minimal risk of side effects.

However, some people may be allergic to blueberries. If you experience any food allergy symptoms such as itching, swelling or difficulty breathing after eating blueberries, discontinue use and talk to your doctor immediately.

Those who are on a blood thinning medication, such as Warfarin, may also want to keep intake in moderation as blueberries are high in vitamin K, which can interact with these medications.

Additionally, be sure to opt for organic blueberries when possible to prevent exposure to pesticides. You should also go for fresh blueberries rather than dried, as dried blueberries contain a concentrated amount of vitamins and minerals and are also higher in calories and sugar.

Final Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Blueberries

  • Blueberries are low in calories but loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamin K, manganese and vitamin C, along with many other important micronutrients.
  • There are many health benefits of blueberries, including improved heart and brain health, increased regularity, reduced inflammation, protection from certain types of cancer, and increased weight loss.
  • Opt for organic, fresh blueberries, and enjoy them raw to reap the most rewards in terms of nutrition. Blueberries can also be incorporated into your favorite recipes to add a touch of sweetness.
  • In combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, a serving or two of blueberries each day can supply some major benefits to your health.

Read Next: Lingonberry: The Antioxidant Superberry that Combats Inflammation & More

Summer’s Secret Weight Loss Weapon

Farmer’s markets and fruit stands are bursting with berries-or they will be soon. Numerous studies link these summer treasures with a slew of health benefits, including weight loss. Here are five ways berries can help you slim down and a few healthy ways to gobble them up:

Antioxidants

Berries are potent sources of antioxidants that essentially act like little bodyguards protecting cells from damage, which can lead to premature aging and disease. But antioxidants are also linked to weight control. Some exciting new research from the University of Florida found that people who consume more antioxidants weigh less, even when they don’t eat fewer calories. The researchers developed an index that ranks the number of calories consumed from plant-based foods compared with overall daily calorie intake called the phytochemical index, or PI score. A totally plant-based, vegan diet (excluding hard liquor and refined sugars) could have a perfect score of 100, whereas a typical American diet, heavy with meat, sugar, and fried foods and low in fruits and veggies, would score below 20. In a study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, the Florida scientists found that people of normal weight had PI scores 10.3 points higher, on average, than overweight or obese people. And even though both groups consumed about the same number of daily calories, those with lower PI scores weighed more, had larger waistlines, and higher body fat percentages.

Blood sugar regulation

Strawberries in particular have been shown to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels after meals. Scientists believe that a key antioxidant in strawberries blocks the activity of an enzyme responsible for breaking starch into simple sugar, which means fewer simple sugars are released into the blood stream, lowering the blood sugar and the corresponding insulin response. This is key for weight control because insulin shuttles excess sugar into fat cells. Check out my strawberry avocado taco snack recipe for a new way to enjoy the healthy fruit.

Metabolism boosters

Raspberries have been shown to contain a natural substance called ketones, which are similar to capsaicin, the compound that gives hot peppers their fire. Animal studies have found that raspberry ketones prevented an increase in overall body fat and visceral fat, the deep internal belly fat considered to be most dangerous due to its relationship to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. I love raspberries as is but they’re also great in parfaits, hot or cold cereal, or as a topping for whole grain French toast.

Belly fat fighters

In one animal study rats that consumed two percent of their diet as blueberries had dramatic results after 90 days-significantly less belly fat, lower blood fats, lower cholesterol, and improved blood sugar and insulin levels. I’m addicted to Pinterest and I love this photo of one of my favorite blueberry recipes.

Fiber

Berries are a terrific source of fiber, another key factor in weight control. Research has found that for every gram of fiber we eat, we eliminate seven calories, so consuming the recommended 25 to 35 grams daily could cancel out nearly 300 calories, enough to result in a 30 pound weight loss in one year’s time. Another study in Brazilian dieters found that over a six month period, each additional gram of fiber resulted in an extra quarter pound of weight loss. Raspberries in particular have the best ratio of carbohydrate to fiber. Of their 15 grams of carbohydates per cup, eight are fiber. That’s over 30 percent of the recommended intake, and one of the reasons I included them in my 5 Day, 5 Food Fast Forward, a solid food ‘detox’ in my newest book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim. In the fast forward plan I combine raspberries with four other superfoods to create meals like a spinach raspberry salad and raspberry almond smoothie. The goal is to get quick results, up to eight pounds in five days, while eating satisfying, cleansing meals that reboot your metabolism and crush cravings.

In addition to weight loss, berries have been shown to boost bone density, maintain healthy vision, protect against the sun’s UV rays, slash the risk of cancer and Parkinson’s disease, fight infections, and keep your brain young. Pretty powerful stuff!

If you have a bounty of berries and don’t think you’ll eat them all before going bad here’s an easy 3-step way to freeze the nutritional powerhouses so they won’t clump together in one big block:

  • Wash the berries and place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet so they aren’t touching.
  • Freeze for 30 minutes; remove then transfer to freezer bags.
  • Remove as much of the air as possible (some people suck it out with a straw), seal, label, and toss in the freezer.

This way you can use as few or as many as you’d like in a smoothie or thaw and enjoy well beyond summer.

Are you a fan of berries? What’s your favorite healthy way to enjoy them? Please tweet @cynthiasass and @Shape_Magazine.

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Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S. Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.

  • By Cynthia Sass

Red, ripe and delicious, strawberries are a little fruit that work overtime for your health.

Peak strawberry season is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to add strawberries to your menu for summer weight loss. From farm stands to your local supermarket, these luscious berries are sure to turn up just about everywhere.

And don’t forget about the amazing organically grown strawberries that come from California year round.

The exciting research that is being done shows that the special nutritional components in strawberries might be able to stimulate your metabolism and help suppress your appetite. They can control blood sugar and can also help you lose weight.

It is no wonder that scientists across the United States, in Sweden and other countries have been researching the wonders of the strawberry and discovering more evidence of its health benefits. There is no doubt that strawberries have joined the other rock stars of super nutritious fruit such as blueberries, cherries, cranberries and pomegranates.

What Gives Strawberries Their Nutritional Punch?

Strawberries are a healthy food to eat to lose weight, because there are 49 calories in one cup of strawberries. They are also loaded with Vitamin C, 3 grams of fiber, and some calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Strawberries are rich sources of phenolic antioxidants that can help:

  1. reverse inflammation
  2. aid in weight loss
  3. reduce the risk of chronic disease.

University of Illinois researchers found that the most abundant antioxidants in strawberries are ellagic acid, as well as the flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol anthocyanin and catechin. They further pointed out that strawberry extracts have shown to inhibit COX enzymes in laboratory experiments. This would mean that strawberries could have the potential to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Learn more about fruit anthocyanin’s ability to reduce pain in Cherry Season: Fight Pain and Inflammation.

Research on Strawberries and Disease

Research results indicate that strawberries can provide nutritional support to fight aging and disease:

  • In vitro laboratory experiments from Cornell University suggest that strawberry extracts may help inhibit the growth of liver cancer cells.
  • Studies with laboratory animals demonstrated benefits of strawberries for the aging brain.

Writing in the Journal of Medicinal Food scientists from Clemson University examined the cancer fighting potential of various berries. They note: “Plants are proven sources of useful anti-tumor and chemopreventative compounds. Hence, identification of phytochemicals useful in dietary prevention and intervention of cancer is of paramount importance.” Evaluating the results of their experiments the Clemson researchers concluded: “Juice from strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry fruit significantly inhibited mutagenesis.”

Strawberries Help Protect the Heart

Strawberry extracts have direct anti-inflammatory effects, inhibiting the activation of genes and enzymes that promote inflammation.

Most of this benefit is due to another group of phenolic antioxidants called anthocyanins, which help give ripe strawberries their lush red color. Anthocyanins decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke by protecting blood vessels from the effects of wear and tear.
Strawberries Promote Weight Loss

The ellagic acid and anthocyanins found in strawberries aid weight loss in at least three ways:

  1. Chronic inflammation blocks the hormones involved in keeping you lean. Anti-inflammatory foods like strawberries help restore normal function to weight-reducing hormones.
  2. Anthocyanins actually increase the body’s production of a hormone called adiponectin, which stimulates your metabolism and suppresses your appetite.
  3. Both ellagic acid and anthocyanins slow the rate of digestion of starchy foods, controlling the rise in blood sugar that follows a starchy meal. This effect is used to control blood sugar in people with adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes.

Learn more about making your weight loss hormones work for you in my article: Increase Metabolism with the Fat Burning Hormone Leptin
Organic Strawberries Have More Nutrition

I recommend organically grown strawberries. Organic strawberries have been shown to have higher levels of vitamin C and than conventionally grown strawberries, due to a higher content of phenolic antioxidants.

In a fascinating study, researchers from Washington State University compared organic strawberries and farms to conventional strawberries and farms. They found the organic strawberries to be higher in quality, and the soil to be healthier. Specifically, in comparison to the conventionally grown berries, the organic strawberries had higher total antioxidants, ascorbic acid, and total phenolics.

Enjoying Strawberries

Strawberries give you flavor, color, and aroma, awakening your taste buds to the fresh, natural foods your body needs to be healthy and vital.

When shopping for berries, freshness is important. Identify strawberries that are bright red and firm.

Strawberries are a great snack or dessert, and add color and flavor to healthy recipes. Naturally sweet and juicy, strawberries are a sublime pleasure and make a great healthy treat.

Simply add a handful of sliced strawberries to:

Cereal or granola
Hot oatmeal
Smoothies
Yogurt

You can eat fresh or frozen strawberries as a snack or dessert anytime.

Here is a recipe featuring strawberries from my book, The Fat Resistance Diet, an anti-inflammatory program.

Banana Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 banana, sliced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon freshly ground flaxseeds
1 tablespoon whey protein concentrate

Pour 2 tablespoons water into a blender. Add the yogurt, banana, and strawberries and blend. Put in the ground flaxseeds and whey protein. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and enjoy! Serves 1.

I hope you enjoy the healthy pleasure of strawberries now and throughout the year.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

Do you enjoy strawberries?

Where do you shop for them?

How do you usually eat them?

Please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

Best Health,

Leo Galland, MD

Important: Share the Health with your friends and family by forwarding this article to them, and sharing on Facebook.

Leo Galland, MD is a board-certified internist, author and internationally recognized leader in integrated medicine. Dr. Galland is the founder of Pill Advised, a web application for learning about medications, supplements and food. Sign up for FREE to discover how your medications and vitamins interact. Watch his videos on YouTube and join the Pill Advised Facebook page.

References and Further Reading

J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Feb 22;54(4):1248-55. “Antioxidant levels and inhibition of cancer cell proliferation in vitro by extracts from organically and conventionally cultivated strawberries.” Olsson ME, Andersson CS, Oredsson S, Berglund RH, Gustavsson KE. Department of Crop Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 44, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden.

J Atheroscler Thromb. 2011 Apr 27;18(4):318-27. Epub 2011 Jan 13. “Attenuation of meal-induced inflammatory and thrombotic responses in overweight men and women after 6-week daily strawberry (fragaria) intake.”Ellis CL, Edirisinghe I, Kappagoda T, Burton-Freeman B. Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of California-Davis.

Int J Mol Sci. 2008 Mar;9(3):327-41. Epub 2008 Mar 12. “Dietary berries and ellagic acid prevent oxidative DNA damage and modulate expression of DNA repair genes.” Aiyer HS, Vadhanam MV, Stoyanova R, Caprio GD, Clapper ML, Gupta RC. James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, KY 40202, USA.

J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Feb 13;56(3):630-5. Epub 2008 Jan 23. “Berry fruits for cancer prevention: current status and future prospects.” Seeram NP. Center for Human Nutrition, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.

Full Text: “Diet and Inflammation” Leo Galland, MD, Nutr Clin Pract December 7, 2010 vol. 25 no. 6 634-640

Power Healing: Use the New Integrated Medicine to Cure Yourself. Leo Galland, 384 pages, Random House, (June 1, 1998)

Recipe by Jonathan Galland from The Fat Resistance Diet © 2005 Leo Galland, M.D., Reprinted by permission of the author.

Superimmunity for Kids : What to Feed Your Children to Keep Them Healthy Now, and Prevent Disease in Their Future, Leo Galland with Dian Dincin Buchman, Dell (August 1, 1989)

This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine or the provision of health care diagnosis or treatment, (iii) or the creation of a physician–patient relationship. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.

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Eggs, strawberries and wild Nordic foods: Can they really help you lose weight?

Lost in a cloud of weight loss marketing claims and hype about how one diet works better than any other, most of us are left wondering one key thing: are all the diets out there extreme fads built on false promises?

Season three of The Diet Testers, airing on SBS Thursdays at 8.35pm, aims to answer just that. In episode two, airing on Thursday 8 March, Dr Xand van Tulleken and dietician Hala El-Shafie recruit a number of volunteers, all who want to lose weight, to test out various fad diets.

Here’s the lowdown on how three popular diets – the egg diet, strawberry diet and New Nordic diet –fared once road-tested on the show.

1. The egg diet

Dietary details: The egg diet claims to be a quick way to lose up to 1.5 stone (around 9.5 kilograms) in two weeks, according to The Diet Testers.

The diet focuses on the high-protein, low-calorie characteristics of the humble egg, which is also packed with micronutrients.

One-stop rule: To follow this diet, you should eat at least two eggs every day, prepared any way you like except fried.

Other requirements: Dieters are also encouraged to eat leafy greens, plain chicken and fruit (one or two servings only). Drink water, and unsweetened black coffee and tea. Everything else is off the menu. That means no fast food, dairy, alcohol or sugared products.

You can hard-boil a few eggs and carry them with you to work to eat throughout the day.

Meal examples: Enjoy poached eggs or a dairy-free omelette with spinach. Or mix your scrambled eggs with poached chicken breast and a leafy green salad on the side.

Pros: The good news about this diet is that eggs are portable and really quick to prepare. You can hard-boil a few eggs and carry them with you to work to eat throughout the day.

Got high cholesterol? Here are five foods to eat and avoid Over a third of Australian adults have high cholesterol – but advice can be confusing. Here’s what the research says.

Cholesterol considerations: A diet featuring lots of eggs was once considered to be high in cholesterol. But the good news is that research now says that is not the case. A 2016 study from Finland says that eating eggs does not increase your risk of heart attack, even if you are genetically predisposed to high levels of cholesterol and heart issues. Meanwhile, Harvard University advises people to only eat eggs in moderation, and aim for around one egg a day.

Of course, like anything diet-related, your personal risk of disease depends on your lifestyle, your diet from a holistic point of view and long-term health habits.

Cons: If you don’t like eggs, then this diet is not for you. If you find it easier to stick to a diet featuring a wide variety of healthy foods, then best to look around for another weight loss strategy, as the egg diet might prove monotonous.

The Diet Tester’s weight loss result: This diet was tested by A.K from Bedford on the show. Before she started on the diet, she weighed over 16 stone (more than 101 kilograms) and lost 13 pounds (almost six kilograms) after two weeks, strictly following the rules of the egg diet.

If you find it easier to stick to a diet featuring a wide variety of healthy foods, then best to look around for another weight loss strategy.

In terms of weight loss, the egg diet may work in some people over a short period of time because it features a lot of protein and minimal carbohydrates. In short, the diet is a ketogenic diet, which aim to reduce hunger and lower food intake. This has been proven to be more effective for short-term weight loss than a high-protein, medium carbohydrate non-ketogenic diet.

2. The strawberry diet

Dietary details: The strawberry diet followed in the show allows females to eat up to 1400 calories daily and males up to 1900 calories a day. Luckily, strawberries are low in calories. For example, one cup of strawberries is equal to around 48 calories, according to myfitnesspal.

One-stop rule: The point of this diet is to incorporate strawberries into every meal.

Other requirements: You are allowed to have unsweetened coffee and tea but booze and fatty fast foods are banned from this diet.

Low-sugar strawberry jam

I have wonderful memories of the strawberry season when my mum would make jam and the whole house would be taken over by the aroma.

Meal examples: Try pancakes with balsamic glazed strawberries and mint. Or, follow the recipe example used in episode two of The Diet Testers and try a serve of strawberries with a cheese and yoghurt sauce and potatoes.

Pros: The fruit is low in calories and high in fibre, vitamin C and manganese. Research also suggests strawberries are a good source of antioxidants, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Don’t forget that strawberries are also sweet, delicious and nutritious: need we say more?

Cons: If you are allergic to strawberries, then this diet is a definite no-no.

Again, as this diet revolves around the consumption of one main food product, it could prove monotonous for some people. So if you prefer a diet offering greater food variety, then look elsewhere for a different weight loss strategy.

The Diet Tester’s weight loss result: This diet was tested by Bethanie on the show, over a period of two weeks. Before she started on the diet, she weighed 15 stone 9 pounds (almost 100 kilograms). After following the diet, she lost one stone (over 6.3 kilograms), weighing in almost immediately after 14 days.

Why foraging for native food deserves a slot on your bucket list Want a hands-on chance to learn more about bush food? These Indigenous tour guides have a lot to share.

3. The New Nordic diet

Dietary details: This diet is based on the eating habits of Scandinavian Vikings. If you think this all sounds very earthy and primal then you’ve caught on to the diet’s theme. Nordic dieters are meant to consume regional, organic and environmentally-friendly foods, sourced in nature. Wild meats, seeds, wholegrains and vegetables feature highly on the menu.

One-stop rule: There’s one catch: you have to source all your produce locally. So bring out your inner hunter and forager, as you may have to go bush to fulfil the criteria of this diet.

Other requirements: The diet heavily features fish as well as wild meats. But, of course, if you are a vegan or vegetarian and can get access to lots of safe, local sources of protein, go for it.

Meal examples: As mentioned in the show, Gemma tests this diet. She chows down on a small serving of pickled herring and beetroot salad, and also sources sticky weed, nettles (which are meant to calm her sugar cravings) and wild garlic.

Pros: The diet is low in calories but high in protein. So if you can handle sourcing local produce, the diet – in theory – should be good for you if you are battling obesity. A 2014 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also showed that the diet promotes weight loss and a reduction in blood pressure in both obese males and females.

Cons: If you live in a city and have no plans to venture out into the wilderness (or buy all your produce from a local forager/store), then you may find this diet too difficult to follow. If you do have access to food in nature, you may still require the expertise of an expert forager to ensure that you don’t consume any dangerous wild produce.

The Diet Tester’s weight loss result: Gemma tested this diet over a period of six weeks. She started out weighing in at around 14 stone and three pounds and finished up weighing 13 stone, four pounds. That was a total loss of 13 pounds over the time period.

“The new Nordic diet has been trying at times but it’s definitely do-able,” Gemma says on the show.

A few important dieting notes

Like most diets, the effectiveness of the diets above may also depend on the individual’s overall state of health and nutritional intake prior to starting. All diets should go hand-in-hand with an active lifestyle and moderate exercise.

Losing a lot of weight quickly can be dangerous so always seek medical advice before starting a diet to find out if the strategy you want to follow is right for you.

The dieting results mentioned above were short-term only. Long-term results to test whether the show’s participants regained the weight soon after the diet ended were not measured.

Want to know more about what’s behind some of the most popular dieting methods around? Watch the new season premiere of ‘The Diet Testers’, airing on Thursdays at 8.35pm on SBS from 1 March.

Episodes will be available to watch after broadcast on SBS On Demand.

Could Brazilian football players improve their game if they changed their diet? The pre-season diet of a typical full-time Brazilian football player is deficient in various macro and micronutrients, research shows. #worldcup Road-tested: Do diet pills really work? There’s nothing more tempting than a weight loss method where you don’t have to do anything except swallow a tablet. We follow the new series of ‘The Diet Testers’ as it road-tests three popular diet pills on the market. Eight diet myths – busted! Almost half of people report being on diets – so you should know what works and what doesn’t.

Want to Be Lean and Healthy? Eat These 31 Superfoods Every Week

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Key Takeaways

  1. “Superfood” is essentially a marketing term used to sell healthy foods as supplements or encourage people to buy more of them.
  2. Foods do vary in their nutritional content, and you can get the benefits of all of them by including a variety of healthy foods in your diet.
  3. Some of the healthiest foods include fruits like apples and berries, vegetables like leafy greens and broccoli, whole grains like quinoa, and fatty fish like salmon.

The term “superfood” has grown in popularity over the last few years, but what exactly makes a food a superfood?

On the one hand, some apply the term superfood to exotic plants like acai and goji berries, wheatgrass, chia seeds, and maca.

On the other hand, others refer to healthy but boring staples like blueberries, oats, and almonds as superfoods.

So, do superfoods exist, or is it just a slick label applied to healthy foods of all kinds?

Yes and no.

On the one hand, compared to the average Western diet, eating plenty of so-called superfoods will make a noticeable improvement in your health.

On the other hand, if you already eat a healthy diet, you’re probably already consuming what many people consider superfoods on a daily basis.

We’re going to get to the bottom of all of this in this article.

By the end, you’ll know what makes a superfood (and where the term came from) and how to include 30 foods commonly thought of as superfoods in your diet.

What Is a Superfood?

Technically, there’s no such thing as a “superfood.”

The term “superfood” was created in order to sell people on particular health food products that allegedly possess unique benefits that you can’t get from normal foods.

For example, supplement companies have been promoting wheatgrass and acai and goji berries for over a decade.

After artificially creating demand for these foods through aggressive advertising, supplement companies released thousands of products based around these low-cost, high-margin “superfoods,” which are super for their bottom line but mediocre at improving your health.

They applied the same formula to boring, everyday healthy staples like blueberries, kale, and dark chocolate.

After hyping these foods as “superfoods,” supplement companies created products based around these foods, too.

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In other cases, some people also label normal, healthy foods as superfoods in order to encourage people to eat more of them. While understandable, this has also led to the incorrect notion that some healthy foods are drastically healthier than others.

Here’s the truth: if you were to dismiss the idea of superfoods and superfood-based products entirely and stick to practical, simple, time-tested healthy eating principles, you wouldn’t miss anything.

There is a shred of truth to the idea behind superfoods, though.

It’s true that some foods do contain more of some nutrients than others.

For example, strawberries, oranges, and lemons contain more vitamin C per gram of weight than most other fruits.

Some foods also contain compounds that have unique health benefits.

For example, broccoli is a good source of sulforaphane, which may have powerful anti-cancer properties (and which may also negate some of the unhealthy chemicals produced from grilling meat).

The problem with the term “superfood,” though, is that it implies that the only way to get these benefits is to consume these specific foods.

This isn’t true.

For example, although strawberries, oranges, and lemons contain more vitamin C than most other fruits, almost every fruit contains large amounts of vitamin C—enough to help you reach the recommended daily value with only two to three servings.

Likewise, although broccoli is a good source of sulforaphane, so are Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and other cruciferous vegetables.

Similarly, some people think a “superfood” contains all the nutrients you need. Or that adding a few of these special foods on top of a junk-filled diet will make you immune to disease.

This also isn’t true.

You’d have to eat a wide variety of superfoods to get all of the macronutrients and micronutrients you need to thrive and no single food can prevent disease.

So, in the final analysis, what makes one food a “superfood” and another food just “healthy” are often minor and meaningless differences in their nutritional content.

The truth is that so long as you’re eating a variety of different fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and various meats, you’ll likely be consuming all the nutrients your body needs.

That said, the idea of superfoods has become thoroughly entrenched in the fitness world, so we might as well look at some of the foods most often considered superfoods.

For the sake of consistency, I’ll refer to them as superfoods throughout the rest of this article. Just remember that it’s not entirely accurate.

Summary: “Superfood” is a marketing buzzword created to sell exotic, expensive, superfood-based supplements, and most “superfoods” are really just regular fruits, vegetables, and other healthy staples.

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Superfood Fruits

Fruit can be enjoyed any time of day (even for dessert).

While any fruit is generally a healthy choice, certain ones are higher in micronutrients than others. That doesn’t mean eating them will guarantee health, but it does mean they’re great nutritional bang for your calorie buck.

So while the fruits in this list aren’t the only ones you should eat, they are certainly worthy of your consideration.

1. Acai Berries

No superfood list would be complete without mentioning acai berry. But not for the reasons you might think.

Acai won’t help you lose weight or prevent you from aging as it’s often sold, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a healthy food.

While acai berries don’t have any unique benefits compared to their berry relatives like blueberries or raspberries, they’re packed with antioxidants and anthocyanins like their cousins.

These antioxidants can reduce oxidative damage and the polyphenols can fight cancerous cells.

2. Apples

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

That may not be entirely true, but apples are certainly a healthy fruit, rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that fight free radicals.

They’re also packed with water and dietary fiber to keep you full.

In a study conducted by scientists at The Federal University of Amazonas, women who added three apples per day to their usual diet lost weight, whereas women who added a calorie-equated amount of oat cookies did not.

In other words, apples can help you consume fewer calories, aiding in weight loss.

Additionally, eating apples is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

3. Bananas

Bananas are one powerful fruit.

They’re high in potassium, magnesium, fiber, and easily digested carbohydrates to fuel your workouts.

They’re also extremely convenient thanks to their peel, which serves as a natural form of packaging.

Some say this makes them the perfect beach food. They’re not messy, they’re protected from sand, and you won’t leave any non-biodegradable garbage when you’re done.

Anyhoo . . .

One reason bananas are interesting is they contain two types of fiber called pectin and resistant starch.

These can help control blood sugar levels and improve your gut health.

4. Blueberries

The deep blue color that comes from blueberries lets you know they are rich in antioxidants that ward off free radicals.

Antioxidants help protect against oxidative damage, which is a major factor in aging, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders.

Blueberries contain anthocyanins, a flavonoid that scientists believe is responsible for many of blueberry’s health benefits including reducing blood pressure and arterial stiffness, two cardiovascular disease risk factors.

In fact, one study conducted by scientists at the University of East Anglia found that a high intake of anthocyanins was associated with a reduced risk of heart attack.

Blueberries are also rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. They’re also low in calories and high in water content, which makes them great for reducing appetite.

Blueberries can easily be added to smoothies, salads, or on top of oatmeal.

5. Goji Berries

Goji berries have become extremely popular “superfoods,” and while they don’t quite live up to the hype, they do have a number of health benefits on par with other berries.

Not only are goji berries rich in vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, and fiber, they contain an antioxidant called zeaxanthin.

Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid that can improve eye health.

Goji berries are generally sold as a dried fruit. Try sprinkling them on salads or oatmeal for a little added sweetness.

Be careful not to go overboard, as all dried fruits are easier to overeat than their fresh counterparts.

6. Grapefruit

If you can get past the super tartness of grapefruit, you’ll be treated to a fruit rich in vitamin C and A.

Like other fruit, it can also help you lose weight.

In a study conducted by scientists as Scripps Clinic, obese patients who ate fresh grapefruit lost more weight those who drank juice or were given placebo capsules.

The reason for this is probably that the grapefruit eaters got more whole fiber and water content from the fruit, which generally helps control appetite better than plain juice.

In other words, any fruit that contains an appreciable amount of fiber could potentially have the same effect. Still, it’s neat we have solid evidence in support of grapefruit.

If it’s hard for you to enjoy the tartness of fresh grapefruit slices, try blending them in your smoothies.

7. Pears

Pears are incredible for controlling appetite.

The average pear contains 5.5 grams of fiber, helping to keep your digestive system healthy.

Fiber has a number of health benefits including improving blood sugar levels, reducing appetite, and supporting proper digestion.

If you’re feeling a little backed up or constipated, slice up a juicy pear and enjoy.

8. Pomegranate Seeds

This low-calorie snack option also packs a healthy dose of fiber, making it an ideal afternoon treat.

Pomegranate seeds are also filled with vitamin C and K.

Like many other fruits and berries, pomegranate is rich in ellagitannin, a polyphenol which may have anti-cancer properties.

Pomegranate seeds can be sprinkled over greek yogurt, blended into smoothies, or tossed into a salad.

9. Oranges

Oranges are one of the most popular fruits, which is probably why a glass of orange juice is part of the archetypal breakfast.

The juice is nice, but you’ll be missing out on the fiber in the whole fruit.

Not only do oranges contain potassium, folate, and thiamin, they‘re especially rich in vitamin C, which plays an important role in your immune system.

Superfood Veggies

Hardly anyone will argue against the benefits of vegetables. A large body of evidence has shown that the more veggies you eat, the better.

So while you’d do well to include more veggies in your diet, those listed here are particularly nutrient-dense.

10. Avocados

Technically a fruit, avocados are usually thought of as a vegetable.

And it’s no surprise they’re often touted as a superfood. They’re packed full of nutrients.

Avocados are rich in vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, fiber, and contain more potassium than bananas.

They’re also rich in monounsaturated fat, which can reduce the risk of heart disease, and may be responsible for some of the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet.

It may help you absorb more fat-soluble antioxidants from other foods, too.

11. Black Beans

Black beans may seem too boring to be a superfood, but the reality is they’re extremely nutrient-dense.

They’re rich in fiber, folate, magnesium, and iron. They’re also one of the best plant sources of protein.

Black beans provide a slow-release energy from complex carbs, while the combination of fiber and protein will leave you feeling full.

12. Broccoli

Not only is broccoli higher in protein than your average vegetable, it’s packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese.

It’s also rich in sulforaphane, an interesting plant compound that may improve heart health, fight cancer, and even reduce symptoms of autism.

Other cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts, cabbage (including bok choy), cauliflower, collard greens, and kale are no slouches in their sulforaphane content either.

Broccoli can be steamed as a side dish or used in a stir fry. You could also cut it up raw for salads or dipping in hummus.

13. Chiles

Chiles are high in fiber, nutrients, and flavor, making them an ideal choice for many meals.

That said, due to their spicy flavor, you’re probably not going to portion out a significant amount of chiles onto your plate. Instead, they’re used as a garnish to spice things up.

This hot sensation comes from capsaicin, which is one of the more interesting bioactive compounds found in chiles.

Though the science is mixed, research out of Maastricht University and Purdue University has found that capsaicin can reduce appetite and lower calorie intake. This could help you lose weight over time.

So, if you’re feeling up for some heat, try adding chiles to your favorite recipes.

14. Garbanzo Beans

You may be familiar with garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, thanks to the rise in popularity of hummus, a ground up and seasoned version of chickpeas.

These tan colored beans are packed with soluble fiber to absorb water and help you feel full.

Chickpeas are also nutrient dense and a serving provides you with 7 grams of protein and 22 grams of complex carbohydrates.

Two ways to eat chickpeas are in a salad or ground up as hummus.

15. Lentils

Similar to beans, lentils are packed with protein. In fact, a single cup can contain as much as 18 grams of protein for just over 200 calories.

Not only does this significant amount of protein help you build lean muscle mass and control your hunger, but it will also help you cut calories.

In a study conducted by scientists at the University of Toronto, men who were fed pasta with sauce that contained lentils ended up eating fewer calories than participants who ate the pasta without lentils.

One tasty way to prepare lentils is as a cold salad, mixed with quinoa, pomegranate seeds, and green onions.

16. Kidney Beans

You could argue that all beans are superfoods, but black beans, kidney, and white beans are some of the most popular.

Kidney beans are rich in protein, making them a particularly popular choice among vegetarians as a hearty meat substitute. Thanks to their iron, protein, potassium, and magnesium content, they’re very nutritious.

They can also help control blood sugar.

A tasty way to eat kidney beans is in a vegetarian chilli. Put them in a crockpot with some tomatoes, corn, peppers, black beans, and onions and let it simmer for about two hours on high.

17. White Beans

Navy beans, Great Northern beans, white kidney beans, and butterbeans are all considered “white beans.”

White beans have all of the benefits of other beans, but come with a unique flavor that many enjoy.

Navy beans in particular are the richest plant-based source of phosphatidylserine, a chemical your body uses to produce cell membranes and that plays a vital role in neural function.

If you’re unsure of how to use white beans, try adding them to a simple chicken noodle soup that has some fresh carrots and onions in it.

You could also use white beans to top off a tasty kale salad.

18. Kale

Kale is one of those vegetables that straddles the line of dark leafy greens and cruciferous, and it’s loaded with antioxidants.

One cup of kale is only about 33 calories, yet it’s packed with nutrients to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

This helps you whittle down the amount of calories you consume each day without sacrificing essential vitamins and minerals, making it a perfect weight loss superfood.

One way to eat more kale is to add it to smoothies or substitute it for “water-y” greens like iceberg lettuce.

19. Spinach

Spinach is a dark leafy green that’s often used in salads. Dark leafy greens are packed full of vitamins like vitamin K and A.

A higher intake of dark leafy greens is associated with less risk of type II diabetes and heart disease, so you want to include plenty in your diet.

Spinach has recently taken a backseat as a result of the kale craze, but it shouldn’t be overlooked in your diet, especially if weight loss is your goal.

Three cups of raw spinach deliver 2.9 g of protein for a mere 23 calories. That means you get to eat a lot of volume without consuming a lot of calories.

Although it’s easy to add spinach to salads and smoothies, spinach can also be cooked.

Plus, you can’t beat the simple fact that when sauteed, spinach reduces drastically in size. This makes it much easier to consume a healthy serving of veggies without having to spend a lot of time chewing on raw salad.

Superfood Nuts and Seeds

There is a lot of variety in the nuts and seeds category. The ones listed here are some of the most intriguing nutrient-wise.

20. Almonds

These powerful nuts tide you over between meals and can be added to salads and oatmeal for a boost of monounsaturated fat, fiber, and protein.

They’re also loaded with vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.

Even though almonds and other nuts are high in calories, research shows they can increase satiety, helping to reduce overall food intake and lead to weight loss.

If you like almonds, you can’t go wrong with almond butter.

It’s perfect on bananas and apples or even on a slice of whole wheat toast.

Almond butter is high in nutrients, and has a distinct flavor that’s quite different from peanut butter.

21. Chia Seeds

When consumed, chia seeds expand and create a jelly-like substance in your stomach, which leaves you feeling full.

They also digest slowly so you have long-lasting consistent energy rather than high spikes that leave you sluggish on the comedown.

They’re packed full of antioxidants and fiber, and also contain a fair amount of protein. Chia seeds also provide omega-3 fatty acids, although it’s in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).

ALA needs to be converted into DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids to have positive effects in the body, and this process is very inefficient in humans. Although we can get some DHA and EPA from ALA-rich foods like chia seeds, foods high in EPA and DHA, like fish, are much more efficient and reliable sources.

You’d have to eat very large amounts of ALA-containing foods like chia seeds to meet your health needs, and even then, it’s doubtful your body would convert enough to support optimal health.

So, although the ALA in chia seeds is a nice bonus, don’t count on it for all of your omega-3 fatty acids.

Chia seeds can be added to smoothies and salads as well as sprinkled over anything involving almond butter.

22. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are teeming with nutrients including thiamin (vitamin B1) and magnesium. They’re also rich in fiber, protein, and ALA omega-3s.

They’ve also been linked with numerous health benefits.

Research shows they can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

Flax seeds are particularly rich in lignans, a plant compound with antioxidant properties. Lignans reduce the risk of breast cancer and may help fight prostate cancer.

Ground flax can be mixed into yogurt or smoothies.

23. Pine Nuts

Pine nuts are often overlooked in supermarkets, but they pack appetite-suppressing goodness, which shouldn’t be avoided.

Plus, the healthy mix of protein, iron, and monounsaturated fat also gives you a boost of energy.

They’ve also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels.

I love to sprinkle pine nuts over salads or add them to soups and they taste great slightly pan roasted.

Superfood Starches

The next four starches have a few things in common:

  1. They’re complex carbohydrates
  2. They digest slowly
  3. They help keep you full
  4. They provide sustained energy

24. Oats

Oats are a staple in many people’s diets and for good reason.

This whole grain is tasty, filled with nutrients and fiber, and isn’t too shabby in its protein content.

Specifically, oats are rich in manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, magnesium, iron, and zinc.

Whole grains like oats can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Increasing whole grain intake has also been associated with fewer strokes and even less belly fat.

Oatmeal is also a great way to consume more healthy calories while lean bulking.

25. Barley

Barley is a whole grain that’s been part of the human diet for thousands of years.

It’s packed with nutrients like manganese, selenium, and niacin, and is full of fiber.

Like other whole grains, barley has been linked with reduced all-cause mortality and an improved gut microbiome.

It’s also a versatile food that can be turned into a salad, added to soups, served as a side dish, or eaten for breakfast as a porridge.

26. Quinoa

Technically, quinoa is a seed, but it’s considered a heart-healthy whole grain like oats and barley.

If you can’t handle the gluten in barley, quinoa is a great low-calorie replacement filled with both protein and fiber so you’ll feel more full on fewer calories.

Quinoa is one of the most nutrient-dense grains, containing hefty amounts of magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese.

It makes a great substitute for oatmeal in the morning. You can sprinkle in some cinnamon, almonds, and fresh berries for a hearty breakfast.

It’s also great on salads.

Superfood Proteins

You probably already know the benefits of a high-protein diet.

Some high-protein foods can have other unique benefits as well, though.

27. Salmon

A 3 ounce serving of salmon has over 20 grams of protein, along with a large dose of omega-3 fats.

It’s also loaded with potassium, selenium, and B vitamins.

People who regularly eat fatty fish like salmon experience less heart disease, dementia, and depression.

Other good sources of omega 3 fatty acids include tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, and anchovies.

28. Sardines

For such tiny fish, sardines pack a whole host of nutritional benefits.

With an ounce of sardines you’ll get 7 grams of protein for a mere 59 calories. Plus, you’ll also enjoy a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

One way to eat sardines is to combine smoked sardines with cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and the juice of one lemon. This is equivalent to a smoked fish dip without having the added calories of mayo.

Superfood Spices and Drinks

29. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is great for adding flavor to otherwise “boring” foods like oatmeal.

Not only is it “super” for making other foods more interesting, cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants, and can reduce blood sugar and improve cholesterol levels.

Cinnamon is great for adding to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies, and even chili. It provides the perfect amount of flavor and just enough of a healthy kick.

30. Green Tea

Green tea is a beverage made with the leaves of a plant called Camellia sinensis. It’s been brewed for millenia for its taste and its health benefits.

Not only is green tea loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals, but it can actually help you lose fat.

One of the more interesting plant compounds found in green tea is a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

EGCG blunts the effects of catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme in your body which breaks down catecholamines.

Catecholamines increase your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more calories. By inhibiting COMT, EGCG allows catecholamine levels to remain higher, helping you burn more fat and calories.

That’s why I included EGCG in my fat burner, Phoenix.

Green tea also contains theanine, an amino acid which can reduce stress.

So, if you’re thirsty and water sounds boring, you can’t go wrong with green tea.

The Bottom Line on Superfoods

If you made it this far, you’re probably overwhelmed with the amount of superfoods to choose from. And the reality is there are many other healthy foods with proven benefits, but including them all would cause this article to get impossibly long.

While no one food contains every nutrient you need, or can prevent disease on its own, there are tons of healthy options to pick from.

What’s more, you can also see that many everyday staples are in fact superfoods, even though they don’t have fancy names, a big price tag, or require you to buy an expensive supplement to enjoy their benefits.

When it comes to eating healthy, you have a lot of good choices. You don’t need to go out and buy every food mentioned in this article.

Instead, you can mix and match items and use a different combination each week. Variety is the spice of life. It will keep your diet interesting, you’ll avoid any potential deficiencies by eating the same exact foods everyday, and you’ll reap the benefits of various foods.

If you liked this article, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever you like to hang out online! 🙂

What’s your take on eating filling foods for weight loss? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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The 8 Healthiest Berries You Can Eat

Berries are small, soft, round fruit of various colors — mainly blue, red, or purple.

They are sweet or sour in taste and often used in preserves, jams, and desserts.

Berries tend to have a good nutritional profile. They’re typically high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant polyphenols.

As a result, incorporating berries into your diet may help prevent and reduce symptoms of many chronic diseases.

Here are 8 of the healthiest berries you can eat.

1. Blueberries

Blueberries are popular berries that serve as a great source of vitamin K.

One cup (148 grams) of blueberries provides the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 84
  • Fiber: 3.6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 16% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 24% of the DV
  • Manganese: 22% of the DV

Blueberries also contain antioxidant polyphenols called anthocyanins (2).

Anthocyanins from blueberries may reduce oxidative stress, thus lowering the risk of heart disease in both healthy people and those at high risk for the disease (3, 4, 5, 6).

In addition, blueberries may improve other aspects of heart health by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood, reducing the risk of heart attack, and enhancing the function of arteries (7, 8, 9).

Blueberries may lower the risk of diabetes as well. Studies have shown that blueberries or bioactive blueberry compounds can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 26% (10, 11).

A large observational study has shown that people who eat blueberries also have slower rates of cognitive decline, meaning their brain remains healthier as they age (12).

However, more research is needed to determine the exact role that blueberries play in brain health.

Blueberries contain good amounts of fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant anthocyanins. Eating blueberries may help reduce risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

2. Raspberries

Raspberries are often used in desserts and serve as a very good source of fiber.

One cup (123 grams) of raspberries provides (13):

  • Calories: 64
  • Fiber: 8 grams
  • Vitamin C: 36% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 8% of the DV
  • Manganese: 36% of the DV

Raspberries also contain antioxidant polyphenols called ellagitannins, which can help reduce oxidative stress (14).

One study showed that when cyclists consumed a drink containing raspberries and other berries, oxidative stress caused by exercise decreased significantly (15).

The most commonly consumed raspberries are the American red or European red varieties. However, there are many different types of raspberries, and black raspberries have been shown to have a number of health benefits, too.

Black raspberries may be especially good for heart health. Studies have proven that black raspberries can reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure and blood cholesterol (16, 17, 18).

Other studies have shown that black raspberries may reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome (19).

However, these studies were very small. More research is needed to confirm the benefits of black raspberries.

Summary Raspberries are full of fiber and antioxidant polyphenols. Black raspberries, in particular, may benefit heart health.

3. Goji berries

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are native to China and used in traditional medicine. They have recently become very popular in the Western world.

One ounce (28 grams) of dried goji berries provides (20):

  • Calories: 98
  • Fiber: 3.7 grams
  • Vitamin C: 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 42% of the DV
  • Iron: 11% of the DV

Goji berries also contain high levels of vitamin A and zeaxanthin, both of which are important for eye health.

One study of 150 elderly people found that eating 14 grams of a proprietary milk-based formulation of goji berry per day reduced the decline in eye health due to aging. This study, along with a second similar study, showed that eating goji berries could raise blood zeaxanthin levels (21, 22).

Like many other berries, goji berries contain antioxidant polyphenols. One study found that drinking goji berry juice for 30 days increased blood antioxidant levels of healthy, older Chinese people (23).

Another study found that drinking goji berry juice for 2 weeks increased metabolism and reduced waist size in overweight people (24).

Summary Goji berries are particularly rich in nutrients that contribute to eye health. They also contain important antioxidants.

4. Strawberries

Strawberries are one of the most commonly consumed berries in the world and also one of the best sources of vitamin C.

One cup (144 grams) of whole strawberries provides (25):

  • Calories: 46
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 97% of the DV
  • Manganese: 24% of the DV

Strawberries are good for heart health. In fact, a study of over 93,000 women found that those who ate more than 3 portions of strawberries and blueberries per week had over a 30% lower risk of heart attack (26).

Other studies have shown that strawberries may reduce a number of risk factors for heart disease including blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and oxidative stress (27, 28, 29, 30).

Moreover, strawberries may help control blood sugar levels, which is important for preventing diabetes (33).

In fact, a study of over 200,000 people found that eating strawberries could reduce type 2 diabetes risk by as much as 18% (34).

Finally, another study showed that eating 2 ounces (60 grams) per day of freeze-dried strawberry powder reduced oxidative stress and inflammatory chemicals in people at high risk of developing esophageal cancer (35).

Summary Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. They are proven to reduce risk factors for heart disease and help control blood sugar.

5. Bilberries

Bilberries are very similar to blueberries, and the two are often confused. Bilberries are native to Europe, whereas blueberries are native to North America.

3.5 ounces (100 grams) of bilberries provide (36):

  • Calories: 43
  • Fiber: 4.6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 16% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 12% of the DV

Many scientific studies have shown that bilberries are effective at reducing inflammation.

A couple of studies have shown that eating bilberries or drinking bilberry juice can reduce inflammation in people at risk of heart disease or metabolic syndrome (37, 38).

Another study of 110 women found that eating bilberries for around 1 month reduced the levels of endothelial markers that are implicated in the development of heart disease. Bilberries also reduced waist circumference by 0.5 inches (1.2 cm) and weight by 0.4 pounds (0.2 kgs) (39).

A separate study found that eating a diet rich in bilberries, whole grains, and fish reduced blood sugar in people with high blood sugar (40).

Bilberries may also increase “good” HDL cholesterol and reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol (41, 42).

Summary Bilberries are similar to blueberries and are effective at reducing inflammation. They may also help reduce weight and blood cholesterol.

6. Acai berries

Acai berries grow on acai palm trees native to the Brazilian Amazon region.

They have become popular health food supplements because of their high antioxidant content.

3.5 ounces (100 grams) of acai berry puree provides (43):

  • Calories: 70
  • Fiber: 5 grams

Keep in mind that acai berries are often consumed dried or freeze-dried, which can affect the nutritional content.

Acai berries are one of the best sources of antioxidant polyphenols and may contain as much as 10 times more antioxidants than blueberries (44).

When consumed as a juice or pulp, acai berries can increase blood antioxidant levels and reduce chemicals involved in oxidative stress (45, 46).

Additionally, acai berry pulp has been shown to reduce blood sugar, insulin, and blood cholesterol levels in overweight adults who consumed 200 grams per day for 1 month (47).

These effects have also been shown in athletes. Drinking 3 ounces (100 ml) of an acai juice blend for 6 weeks reduced blood cholesterol and reduced oxidative stress after exercise, which may speed up recovery from muscle damage (48).

The antioxidants in acai may also help reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. A study of people with osteoarthritis found that drinking 4 ounces (120 ml) of acai juice per day for 12 weeks significantly reduced pain and improved daily living (49).

Summary Acai berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, which may help reduce blood cholesterol, oxidative stress, and even reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

7. Cranberries

Cranberries are an extremely healthy fruit with a sour taste.

They are rarely eaten raw. Instead, they are commonly consumed as juice.

1 cup (110 grams) of raw cranberries provides (50):

  • Calories: 46
  • Fiber: 3.6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 16% of the DV
  • Manganese: 12% of the DV

Like other berries, cranberries contain antioxidant polyphenols. However, most of these antioxidants are in the skin of the cranberry. Therefore, cranberry juice doesn’t contain as many polyphenols (51).

The best-known health benefit of cranberries is their ability to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Certain chemicals in cranberries prevent the bacteria E. coli from sticking to the wall of the bladder or urinary tract, therefore reducing the risk of infection (52, 53).

A number of studies have shown that drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements can reduce the risk of UTIs (54, 55, 56, 57).

Cranberry juice may reduce the risk of other infections as well.

H. pylori is a type of bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers and cancer. A number of studies have shown that cranberry juice can prevent H. pylori from attaching to the stomach wall and thus prevent infection (58, 59).

Cranberry juice has also shown various benefits for heart health. Many studies have found that drinking cranberry juice can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and “stiffness” of arteries (60, 61, 62, 63).

However, it’s best to avoid varieties of cranberry juice with lots of added sugar.

Summary Cranberries and cranberry juice can reduce the risk of urinary tract and stomach infections and may benefit heart health. However, it’s best to avoid juices with lots of added sugar.

8. Grapes

Grapes are widely consumed either as whole, raw fruit or as juice, wine, raisins, or vinegar.

One cup (151 grams) of whole, raw grapes provides (64):

  • Calories: 104
  • Fiber: 1.4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 5% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 18% of the DV

The skin and seeds of grapes are an excellent source of antioxidant polyphenols. A number of studies have shown that grape seed polyphenol extracts can lower both blood pressure and heart rate (65, 66).

However, many of these studies were small. Other studies assert that the effect of polyphenols on blood pressure remains unclear (67).

A large observational study found that eating grapes or raisins 3 times per week was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes (68).

Another study found that eating 17 ounces (500 grams) of grapes per day for 8 weeks reduced blood cholesterol and oxidative stress in people with high cholesterol (69).

Finally, grape juice may even benefit brain health. A small study of 25 women found that drinking 12 ounces (355 ml) of Concord grape juice every day for 12 weeks significantly improved memory and driving performance (70).

Summary Grapes, particularly the seeds and skin, are full of antioxidants. They may help reduce blood cholesterol and type 2 diabetes risk while also benefiting brain health.

The bottom line

Berries are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, as they’re low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

Many berries have proven benefits for heart health. These include lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, while reducing oxidative stress.

They may also help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by acting as great alternatives to sugary snacks.

Try to eat a few portions of berries a week and sample different types. They make a great snack or healthy breakfast topping.

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then you better get it right

Picking a healthy, filling breakfast can set your day up for a chain of good food choices. Best of all, there’s a way to lose weight by adding to your morning meal instead of cutting foods out.

Berries don’t just help you sneak fresh produce into a likely carb-heavy breakfast, but they have some specific properties that can help you shed pounds. For one thing, they’re chock-full of fibre — you’ll get about a third of your daily need in just one cup of raspberries. Your body can’t break that fibre down, so it slows down digestion and keeps you fuller longer. “Raspberries in particular have the best ratio of carbohydrate to fibre. Of their 15 grams of carbohydrates per cup, eight are fibre,” registered dietitian Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, writes for Shape. Add that to your breakfast and you’ll stay full until lunch.

Don’t miss these other incredible health benefits of strawberries.

But that’s not the only benefit berries have to offer

A study in BMJ found that adults whose diets had the most flavonoids — a compound found in strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and other produce – were less likely to gain weight during the 24-year study. Plus, some studies in mice and test tubes suggest ketones, a compound in raspberries that gives them their aroma, could boost the metabolism and speed up the breakdown of fat. Those studies used higher concentrations than you’d get from a bowl of berries, but they might still provide some benefit.

If blueberries are more your thing, another study found that eating the fruit lowered insulin resistance — which makes it hard to lose weight — and reduced fat in obese rats. (Here are 5 amazing health benefits of berries you’ll wish you knew sooner.)

Even though their sweetness makes them feel like a treat, berries are low-calorie — you don’t have to worry about going overboard. Stir some into your yogurt, blend them into a smoothie, or have a cup on the side with your eggs. Even better: Add them to this breakfast that helps you burn calories all day. When they’re not in season, skip the overpriced cartons and stick with frozen —they’re just as nutritious. No matter how you eat them, they’ll keep you full and help you shed that extra fat.

For a smoothie that’s packed with antioxidants, try this pomegranate & raspberry smoothie.

Originally published as Adding This Food to Your Breakfast Could Help You Lose Weight on ReadersDigest.com.

Surprising Benefits of These 6 Colourful Berries, Weight Loss Being the Central one!

Are you aware that berries are a precursor to Weight loss? Just the thought of berries make me go hungry enough to finish an entire basket of them.

Berries being tiny in size have huge multi functional benefits. There are different types of berries and the ones for weight loss are in the groove now! How to buy berries?

Berry basket of life

Six Berrie(d) Ways to Weight loss / 6 Types of Berries and their Benefits

Just like most of the fruits, berry fruits are bound with enough water, fibre giving you the feeling of fullness for a longer time.

Berries contain plenty of antioxidants which reduce belly fat, lower cholesterol, and glucose levels.

How Does This Happen ???

Berries activate the fat-melting hormone leptin which increase metabolism and suppresses the appetite.

Never go for the juicing method, as berries taste best when eaten whole!

1. Strawberry

Strawberries fresh off the plant

The most indigenous berries available in the market are the strawberries.

They are a top-notch source of Ascorbic Acid and a single cup of strawberries in your diet contributes about fifty calories and three grams of fiber.

Strawberry benefits in regulating the digestion process and prevents the occurrence of any gastrointestinal discomforts.

Minerals such as potassium and magnesium could also be a major source of polyphenols.

The nutrients help in regulating blood pressure and also offsets the risk of cancer, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

Research has also shown that strawberries can fix up on aging and other degenerative illness .

So knock yourself out with this tasty strawberries and banana smoothie to have a variation from the routine refreshing drinks and at all times couple the fruit with a non-fattening dish.

Did You Know??

“Strawberries contain certain enzymes which trigger the production of the hormone adiponectin helping in fat burning and weight loss.”

2. Blueberry

Blueberries are wonderful enhancers to start your weight loss diet!

Rock star fibre-rich blueberry fruit suppresses aging in your body preventing from diseases.

Boosting your memory power, cognition and body balance are some of blueberry benefits which is not seen in the other berries.

Anthocyanin rich berry

Blueberries health benefits was proven by a research study showing rats subjected to a blueberry rich diet for a period of 3 months exhibited a significant loss in belly fat, cholesterol and enhanced levels in insulin.

Tiniest berries to have close to all the nutritive potentials are the blueberries. No wonder folks from all across the world are frenzied about the benefits of blueberries.

Did You Know??

“Blueberry subsume gallic acid, a natural antioxidant which reduces food intake and aids in weight loss.”

Blueberry Infused Water!!

A delicious treat to tingle your tastebuds! All you need is

  • A cup of blueberries
  • A glass of water
  • Few ice cubes
  • Half a lemon

Rinse the blueberries and remove all the supposedly present pesticides from its surface. To a glass of water add the blueberries, half a lemon and let them steep for a day long in a refrigerator.

The next day you can relish on them. Here we go around the blueberry water….blueberry water….all day long!!!

Recommended Read: Punch It with Protein and Blueberries!

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3. Acai Berry

Major false claim on weight loss are with the Acai Berries.

There is no proven evidence that Acai Berries aid in weight loss. In spite of berries having good antioxidant benefits in the reduction of inflammation in the body it has no good news for obese people.

To lose weight, a bowl of these berries is just not enough.

Little stretches and good physical activity along with this berry helps in shedding of few kilos.

Acai berry pose a similarity with blueberry

Acai berries can surely be included in the diet for their antioxidant benefits even if not them being miracle weight loss agents.

Some Benefits of Antioxidants and How it May Help in Good Health.

  • Boosts immune system
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties help you heal within
  • Natural Anti -ageing agent

4. Goji Berry

Miracle berry for weight loss

A smart and healthy diet to weight loss is with the mentioned slimming agent. Goji berries are a cross between a raisin, cherry and cranberry having many healing properties and weight loss tops this list.

Goji berries are rich in fibre and helps to reduces your appetite giving a feeling of fullness for a longer time.

So let me throw some light over the Goji berries benefits, that we really do not know…

  • Increase the metabolism in the body
  • A detox agent – cleansing the system and eliminating toxins
  • Fat Burner
  • Antioxidant berry – reduces bad cholesterol

Goji Berries can be had along with any diet, but the most preferred ones are by the infusion method!

Recommended Read: Antioxidants Needed for a Healthy Lifestyle

Did You Know?

“Goji berries extract capsules are available in the market too. The recommended dosage is two capsules per day for instant weight loss.

We would however suggest you check with your dietician or physician before you pop any of these natural extract supplements.”

5. Blackberry

Cancer curer

Excellent additions to a healthy and happy diet are the blackberries.

Blackberries boost your metabolism and ignites your veiled fat as it is a light berry on a weight loss regime.

The smooth excretion of food is because of the ample supply of fibre in them.

The anthocyanin-rich blackberry is of stunning proof that it cures cancer as cited in an a research done by the National Institute of Pathology and Occupational Health

Did You Know??

“Not only are fruits a boon for weight loss, the leaves of blackberries are also of medicinal use and can be sipped down as Blackberry tea.

Though you might cringe when tasting, the flavour of the tea can be masked with a little addition of honey to it.”

6. Raspberry

Ketones – fat fighters

Guarantee given, this berry is for sure not of the “rasp” orders. Raspberries are one of the most beautiful berries with zero fat and loaded with fiber.

Raspberries are a classy choice to be included in your weight loss therapy as the ketones present in them aid in lipolysis (Breakdown of fat into smaller parts),increase levels of adiponectin (the return of the fat burning hormone) and are a low glycemic food for diabetes patients .

Did You Know??

“Raspberries have a higher content of Vitamin C, higher than in Oranges. It is a potent source of Folic acid. So stop spending on the folic acid tablets and go for this natural resource.”

On an Ending Note…

It is pretty much clear that berries are amazingly health-giving and nutritious. Truth said out, berries are packed with vitamins and minerals which help in weight loss.

This pointer is its low glycemic content and the fibre in them giving a feeling of bulkiness to the meal and a control over your other cravings for food.

Hence, berries on the whole can be used as a sweet module for an effective weight loss program!

Weight Loss Tips: 5 Fruits You Should Avoid If You Are Trying To Lose Weight

Weight Loss Tips: Fruits to steer away from if looking to lose weight.

Weight Loss Tips: Losing weight requires patience, and lots of hard work to get to the desired goal. It requires you to engage in physical activities, and most importantly eat a healthy diet. Most health experts suggest adding fibre and protein-rich foods to your diet, so as to stay full for longer which would further prevent you from overeating. It is advisable to consume a diet rich in whole grains, lean-meats, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables to lose weight the healthy way. But did you know, not all fresh fruits are meant to be consumed while you are on a weight loss journey? While they are considered healthy, some fruits do not make it to the list of foods that help you lose weight efficiently; majorly because they are excessively sweet, or have a high calorie count. Read on to know more about these fruits that you shouldn’t have while you are trying to lose weight.

(Also Read: Should You Eat Fruits Before Or After A Meal?)

Fruits you should avoid if you are trying to lose weight

1. Avocado

Any high-calorie fruit should be consumed less. One of these high-calorie fruits is avocado; it is said that 100 gram of this fruit contains about 160 calories. While avocado is a good source of healthy fats, it can up your numbers on the weighing scale easily when consumed beyond reasonable amounts. This doesn’t mean you completely eliminate it out of your diet, it is best to eat this fruit in moderation.

2. Grapes

While they are great for overall health, grapes are loaded with sugar and fats, which makes them the wrong fruit to eat while on a strict weight loss diet. 100 grams of grapes may contain 67 calories, and 16 grams of sugar, which means regular intake of these tiny delights could cause weight gain.

3. Dry fruits

Dry fruits like prunes, raisins, et al have more calories as they are void of water content. It is said that one gram of raisins may contain more calories as compared to grapes. So, about a cup of raisins contains 500 calories and one cup of prunes contains over 450 calories, which is a lot if you are watching your weight. It is best to eat dry fruits in limited quantities.

(Also Read: Should You Eat Fruits On An Empty Stomach?)

4. Banana

Yes, you read that right! Banana is super-healthy, but it is something you cannot have in excess. Bananas come loaded with calories and have excessive natural sugars present in it. One banana has about 150 calories, which is about 37.5 grams of carbohydrates. So, if you are someone who consumes 2-3 bananas every day, chances are this could lead to weight gain. It is best to have just one banana a day. Being low in glycaemic index, banana can, in fact, make for a healthy snack when enjoyed in moderation.

5. Mango

Tropical fruits like pineapple and mango may have hidden calories that can hinder your weight loss plans. It is best to avoid these fruits that are excessively sweet too.

All these fruits are healthy, and at no point should you fear consuming them! But eating them in large quantities could slow down your weight loss journey. It is best to practice portion control and lose weight the healthy way.

Can eating too much fruit keep me from losing weight?

Expert answer

Hi Carla — This is a terrific question that I hear quite often. The short answer is yes, but let me explain. Eating too much of anything will cause weight gain or prevent weight loss. Fruits and vegetables, which are higher in water and fiber and lower in calories than other foods, are less likely to cause weight gain or prevent weight loss, as you would have to eat much larger portions to consume too many calories. However, fruit has almost three times the calories per serving as nonstarchy vegetables, so it is easier to consume too many fruit calories, which can interfere with weight loss. I frequently see patients who think of fruit as a “free food” and are unknowingly consuming up to 250 extra calories a day, which could prevent them from losing one pound of fat every two weeks!

I would try limiting your fruit servings to a maximum of three per day to break through your weight loss plateau. Also, be sure that your serving sizes are correct, and that you are not eating even more than you realize. One serving of fruit is equal to approximately ½ cup, but serving sizes vary. See the USDA food pyramid chart for more information on serving sizes.

In addition, for weight loss, I would stick with fresh or frozen fruit only. Skip the dried fruit, fruit cups and fruit juice, all of which are higher in calories or lower in fiber and easier to over-consume. Regarding sugar, while the sugar in fruit, known as fructose, is healthier than refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup, it still contains the same number of calories per serving (4 calories per gram) so again, it cannot be consumed in unlimited quantities if you are watching your weight.

For more tips on breaking through weight loss plateaus, see my previous column on this topic.

Blueberries and weight loss

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