If you are searching for greens for weight loss, then I am here to assist you in finding out all that this particular diet can do for your waistline and overall health. I will provide you with some helpful pointers concerning the green tea and greens connection, as well as go into detail about the many benefits of the diet itself.
Greens For Your Diet
When dieting, it’s important to choose foods that are both low in calories and high in nutrients and vitamins. This is certainly the case for many leafy vegetables and other green foods. Below is a list of the top ten green foods for your diet.
Avocado is a delicious fruit with a savory flavor that contains antioxidants and monounsaturated fat, the kind of fat that is actually good for you. It can lower your cholesterol and improve your eye health.
Kale is a curly variety of cabbage that was first grown in ancient Greece and has become a mainstay of world renowned chefs. It is also very healthy and contains large amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin K.
Nopal, also known as the prickly pear, is actually a kind of cactus. It is a great source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants that are known to assist the body in fighting off disease.
Kiwi is both one of the most delicious and healthiest fruits you can find at the grocery store. One serving of kiwi can provide you with 230 percent of your recommended daily dosage of vitamin C.
5. Green Tea
One of the healthiest things you can drink is green tea. Studies have proven the antioxidant rich tea has the amazing ability to lower the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses.
The Japanese have known for centuries that eating this ocean vegetable has plenty of great health benefits. It is rich in both iodine and iron that the body needs and other vegetables lack.
7. Green Pepper
Green pepper goes great on pizza. It’s also great on its own. It contains plenty of important nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A.
Losing weight and keeping it off isn’t the easiest of goals, to say the least. If we try to “diet” we might find ourselves eating so little that it leaves our bodies permanently hungry and low on energy.
Then we are either unproductive at work, irritable with people, or we binge whenever we see food. Soon enough, we start putting on weight again.
Turns out there’s something you can eat in large quantities that will make you feel full, give you energy, keep you emotionally stable and, best of all, help you to lose weight.
All of this is possible with healthy green vegetables.
True, not everyone is a huge fan of eating vegetables, especially not in large quantities. But consuming them as smoothies is a whole different ball game.
Welcome to a delicious, easy and fun way to shed those unneeded pounds.
The benefits of green vegetables include their low sugar and calorie count, and their large supply of fiber, proteins, and numerous specific minerals and vitamins that scientific studies have proved can aid with fat loss.
1. Watercress as the No. 1 Weight Loss Superfood
Watercress is graded a solid 100% on the nutrition scale – that’s what a large team of academic researchers together with the US Department of Agriculture have stated.
It has more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than oranges, more protein than most animal products, and contains all of the top 17 essential nutrients.
Watercress also contains alpha-lipoic acid. This is an antioxidant that researchers think can fight off diabetes, which is closely connected with overweight issues.
In fact, Watercress in Germany is a prescribed medication to halt the progression of the nerve damage caused by diabetes.
As it is relatively strong and bitter tasting, you may want to consume it in a smoothie while blending in some sweet fruit and vegetables like beets, cucumber, and peaches. Also add Stevia as a natural sweetener.
2. Fiddleheads to Burn 30% More Fat
New England and New Hampshire provide us with that all-too-rare marvel, a genuinely sweet green vegetable. Not only does it taste great when blended with bitter green vegetables like dandelion and arugula, but it also contains half of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Some studies have shown that people who consume enough vitamin C burn 30% more fat during an exercise session than people who eat too little of it.
You have a hormone called cortisol that is usually a good thing, but when there’s too much of it, cortisol makes your body store a lot of fat.
Vitamin C lowers the amount of cortisol in your body, which prevents the excessive fat storage for which cortisol is normally responsible.
3. Green beans for Fiber to Combat the Hunger Pangs
Green beans are fiber treasure troves.
It’s true that leafy greens are also famous for being rich in fibers, however they still contain below half of the amount of fiber you’ll find in green beans!
This review of the scientific literature shows that people who eat a lot of fiber weigh less than people who do not.
Fiber slows down the rate at which your body digests food, which helps with weight loss in two big ways:
- The slower your food digests, the longer there is food in your stomach, and the longer you feel full.
- In addition, slow digestion means that your body releases energy gradually and constantly, which means that your body won’t beg you to eat every hour to keep its energy levels up.
Fiber also keeps your bowel movements regular, cleaning out fat from your intestines that would otherwise be absorbed and stored in the body.
Since green beans are fairly sweet and mild, you can blend them with absolutely any fruit or vegetables.
4. Swiss chard for Improved Athletic Performance
You know that a weight loss program requires some exercise, but when you look at the meter on the treadmill or stationary bicycle, you can never run or cycle fast enough to burn lots of calories. Sounds familiar?
Swiss chard to the rescue:
It can provide you with high amounts of dietary nitrates. Many studies have shown that nitrates can speed up muscle contractions and improve athletic performance. As such, it can help you exercise faster to accelerate your weight loss program.
Apart from dietry nitrates, Swiss chard also provides you with vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and alpha-lipoic acid.
It has a mild taste and can be used with stronger-tasting tangy or sour vegetables and fruits like mache, sorrel, onions, and anything citrus.
5. Peas for a fat-burning Green Protein Bomb
At approximately 0.3oz (8.6g) per cup, peas contain more protein than steak and eggs.
Protein triggers the release of the fat burning hormone called glucagon, which scientists have demonstrated leads to fat loss, even in diabetics.
If you want your body to burn fat for energy quicker, or in other words to speed up your metabolism, protein-rich foods are the perfect solution.
Your body works much harder and requires much more energy to break down the proteins than it does to process fats and carbs. This hard word is the fat burning we’re after.
In addition, protein also helps you to build muscles, whose maintenance also requires energy and, thus, fat to be burned.
But here’s the best part:
Protein makes you feel full for long after you eat it. Several studies have found that people who eat plenty of protein lose weight faster than those who do not.
In smoothies, peas lend a great thickness and creaminess to the smoothie when cooked first. They work well with watery vegetables like lettuce and spinach.
Green Foods That Are Good for You
Avocados May Improve Your Vision, Thanks to Their Vitamin E
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Avocado toast anyone? Feel free to serve yourself up a piece, and reap avocado’s major health benefits.
Sure, you do score fat — about 20 grams (g) in a medium-size fruit, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). But it’s the cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated kind that nutrition experts love. According to MedlinePlus, the monounsaturated fats in avocado are one of the healthy fats that can help lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and help develop and maintain your cells.
One whole avocado also contains 2.8 milligrams (mg) of vitamin E, which is about 19 percent of your daily value (DV), making it a good source of the vitamin. Vitamin E works like an antioxidant, according to National Institutes of Health (NIH), which protects your body from harmful substances called free radicals. Also, a review of animal studies published in November 2017 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences shows that vitamin E may help improve cognitive and memory issues.
Avocados also contain lutein, an antioxidant that protects eye health — clocking in at 369 micrograms (mcg) per medium-size fruit, notes the USDA. According to a review published in September 2018 in the journal Nutrients, lutein may improve or prevent age-related macular degeneration, which is the No. 1 cause of blindness and vision impairment.
The perks of avocado don’t stop there. A whole avocado provides 9 g of dietary fiber, according to the USDA, which is 32 percent of your DV, making it an excellent source. Fiber not only helps relieve constipation but also helps you keep a healthy weight and lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Avocados are a wonderfully versatile addition to salads, tacos, soups, and sandwiches. Add some slices to your next meal, and reap the rewards.
Kale Contains Potential Cancer-Fighting Compounds
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Kale belongs to the powerhouse family of produce known as cruciferous veggies (a fancy word for the cabbage family).
While kale often gets a lot of hype in the nutrition world, there’s a good reason why. “Kale has an impressive nutrient profile,” says Natalie Rizzo, RD, the New York City–based founder of Nutrition à la Natalie.
One cup of loosely packed raw kale has 1 g of fiber, according to the USDA, which is almost 4 percent of your DV.
Kale also comes through with 176 mcg of vitamin K, bringing it over the DV (which is 120 mcg). And that’s important, because vitamin K helps with blood clotting and keeping your bones healthy, along with many other health benefits, according to the NIH.
You’ll also score 30 mg of vitamin C, according to the USDA, which is about 33 percent of your DV, making it an excellent source. Plus, the NIH notes that vitamin C helps protect cells that would otherwise be damaged from free radicals. Vitamin C can also help make a protein necessary for wounds to heal and helps the immune system work properly, so it can help fight diseases.
Plus, a study published in September 2016 in Biomedical Reports found that eating kale can suppress rises in blood glucose after a meal, meaning that kale may help regulate blood sugar and help keep you feeling full, says Rizzo.
On top of all this, compounds in kale called glucosinolates get broken down in digestion and form compounds called “indoles” and “isothiocyanates,” which are known for stopping the growth of certain cancers in animal and laboratory studies, according to the National Cancer Institute. Human studies looking at cruciferous veggies and the ability to reduce cancer risk are mixed, and the National Cancer Institute does note that more research needs to be done (but there is some potential for prevention of certain cancers like prostate, colorectal, lung, and breast, it says).
Looking for ways to enjoy kale? “I personally prefer cooked kale, and I add it to pasta dishes for some extra nutrients,” says Rizzo. (Try her pasta with ricotta and kale dish tonight!)
How to Cut It: Kale
Packed with antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamins C and K, kale is a superfood that will benefit anyone’s health. Everyday Health staff nutritionist Kelly Kennedy, RDN, shows you how to chop and simply dress this nutritious leafy green.
Brussels Sprouts Provide Potassium, Which Can Support Healthy Blood Pressure
Another potent cruciferous veggie, Brussels sprouts are loaded with immune-supporting vitamin C. A single cup of raw Brussel sprouts has about 75 mg of vitamin C, according to the USDA, which is 83 percent of your DV, making them an excellent source. Be mindful, however, that because vitamin C is heat sensitive, as an April 2018 study published in Food Science and Biotechnology notes, cooking Brussels sprouts will reduce this amount slightly.
Plus, you also score over 3.3 g of fiber, or 12 percent of your DV. A cup provides potassium, too (342 mg, for 7 percent of your DV).
And potassium is important for everything, from keeping your heart and kidneys functioning to your muscles contracting, according to the NIH. Meanwhile, too little intake of the mineral is associated with an increase in blood pressure, especially for people who eat a diet high in sodium, the NIH notes. The agency recommends increasing the amount of potassium in your diet by eating foods like Brussels sprouts, and limiting your sodium intake to help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.
To make Brussels sprouts more tempting, consider roasting them. “Brussels sprouts have a naturally bitter taste, so I like to pair them with something mild, like bread and cheese,” says Rizzo. “Whether you add them as a topping to a traditional pizza or make an untraditional recipe, you’re going to love this new way to eat Brussels,” Rizzo adds.
Kiwi Contains Serotonin, a Hormone That Aids Healthy Sleep
Calling all kiwifruit lovers! According to the USDA, two kiwis (yes, you can eat the peel!) have 84 calories combined, about 4 g fiber (15 percent of the DV), 128 mg of vitamin C (142 percent of the DV), and 34.4 mcg of folate (9 percent of the DV).
Folate does everything from helping to make DNA and other genetic material to helping cells to divide, according to the NIH.
Kiwi may also help you have a better night’s slumber. “Interestingly, research suggests that kiwi contains serotonin, which may be beneficial to those with sleep disturbances, says Rizzo. According to a small, previous study eating kiwifruit regularly could help people fall asleep, as well as have longer and better-quality sleep.
Slice some kiwi into your cereal, yogurt, or salad for a refreshing health boost. “I like to put kiwi in a smoothie or use them to make chia seed pudding or overnight oats,” suggests Rizzo.
Edamame Could Help Lower Unhealthy Cholesterol With Its Plant Protein
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These soybeans are worth ordering as a side dish or sprinkling on top of your next salad. Edamame is a good source of plant-based protein, and it is also considered a complete protein. Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids that the body does not produce on its own, according to the Cleveland Clinic. One cup of cooked, shelled edamame contains a whopping 18.5 g of protein, according to the USDA.
Getting enough protein is key because it’s found in virtually every body part and is responsible for crucial processes in your body, like making the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Yet replacing animal sources of protein with ones from plants can be a boon to your heart because the latter tend to contain less saturated fat, according to Harvard. A review published in June 2019 in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that the positive impacts of soy protein, in particular, on heart health — including lowering LDL cholesterol — have been proven consistent over the past two decades.