The 6 Foods To Support Healthy Weight This Nutritionist Recommends To All Her Patients
Healthy weight is not just about the food we eat, it is often reflective of the lifestyle choices we make. Your sleeping patterns, exercise regimens, stress levels, and spiritual practices all contribute to the way your body utilizes energy, which has the potential to either slow down or normalize your metabolism.
Digestion also has a far-reaching impact on the entire body. Our digestion has the capacity to affect our mood (due to serotonin production) and our overall sense of well-being. When we make smart dietary choices, it can set the stage for healthy digestion, improved metabolism, and a healthy weight. Here are the six foods I recommend that everyone incorporate into their diets for a balanced body and healthy weight.
Antioxidant-rich colorful fruits are rich in many vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and flavonoids, which are associated with protection from oxidative stress, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. My favorites are wild blueberries, cranberries, huckleberries, and sea buckthorn, as well as organic seasonal raspberries, cherries, and cherry juice. I also like citrus fruits, apples, red and purple grapes, and pomegranate.
Because these beneficial phytonutrients get cleared from the body quickly, it is important to consume plant foods daily for optimal health.
Cruciferous and colorful veggies
Colorful vegetables are high in powerful antioxidants, which are integral for a healthy metabolism. I reach for green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, salad greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, Swiss chard, and arugula.
The bioactive compound in cruciferous vegetables, sulforaphane (a well-studied compound found in broccoli) has been found to lower inflammatory markers, support liver functioning, improve natural detoxification processes, and improve some GI conditions by providing fiber for optimal digestion. That's the reason we cannot ignore the value of eating the whole food versus isolating the individual components. Strive to get three to five servings of these every day.
Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats
These are considered essential fats because the body can't make them. Beneficial for autoimmune conditions, they are also critical for brain health and the prevention of cognitive decline and depression. Food sources include small fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerels, trout, and wild salmon. Vegetarian sources include walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. Monounsaturated fats are in olive oil, avocado, and nuts.
Probiotic and fiber-rich foods
Probiotics are an important component of a balanced gut microbiome. This is the major "ingredient" required for proper digestion and weight management and is intricately involved with immune competence and normal inflammatory processes, and there is mounting scientific evidence about the vital role that it plays in the process of digestion and absorption.*
Four targeted strains to beat bloating and help reduce abdominal fat.*
A lack of balance in the gut microbiome, known as dysbiosis, could lead to a variety of symptoms and can result in the development of GI discomfort and even autoimmune conditions. The gut also contains between 70 and 80% of the body's immune cells. Make sure to eat a variety of naturally occurring probiotics daily as well as fiber-rich fruits and vegetables to support your gut microbiome and diversity of microbes. Include fermented vegetables and things like sauerkraut, pickled beets, cucumbers, kimchi, and plain probiotic-rich yogurt.
Upgrade every meal with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices
Herbs and spices maximize the nutrient density of your meal and can help keep you satiated for longer:
- Curcumin: A bioactive compound found in turmeric, has been shown to reduce markers of oxidative stress
- Ginger: Supports digestion and GI motility, helps with constipation, and lowers risk of developing GI issues. My favorite way to eat these two is by combining it in Golden Latte made with plant-based milk and spices.
- Garlic: Used for centuries, well studied for immune-boosting effect, it contains anti-inflammatory chemical quercetin, it's a sulfur compound that stimulates the immune system to fight disease.
Other anti-inflammatory herbs include:
- Rose hips
- Chili powder
Other mucilage herbs beneficial for digestive health include:
- Aloe vera
- Chia seeds
I cannot stress enough the healing and weight loss power of tea. A well-studied antioxidant (epigallocatechin gallate) found in green tea and black tea is beneficial for energy production, metabolism, and prevention of heart-related conditions, as well as continuous support of the liver detoxification process. My other favorite is South African rooibos herbal tea, which is packed with vitamin C.
The bottom line:
Eat a rainbow of real, unprocessed, and whole foods. As you begin to lead a healthy lifestyle, you'll find it natural to have spices on your table, to drink plenty of water throughout the day, to load up on herbal teas, and to say no to the foods that cause you to gain weight. These food choices will optimize your metabolism to make you feel more youthful and energetic.