Most of us think of comfort foods as treats that make us feel good and yet pack on the pounds. There are some of our favorites that don’t have to be placed into the category of fattening. In fact, there are a few that can actually help us lose weight.
Now that fall and winter are rearing their weatherly heads, we tend to grab for drinks that warm us up. Coffee is the common drink but you might want to rethink the cup of cocoa. Cocoa is full of antioxidants. A stress hormone, known as cortisol, can cause weight gain by telling your body to pack on those extra pounds by increasing body fat. Antioxidants reduce the levels of cortisol.
A study conducted through Cornell University found more antioxidants in hot chocolate than in black tea. Cocoa hosts a healthy combination of carbs and protein that help muscles bounce back after a workout too, according to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
Sprinkle that cinnamon on top of the cocoa to avoid the body fat buildup and to push insulin out of the blood stream.
People from the southern part of the United States know about collard greens. One serving of collard greens is only 46 calories and the benefits are huge. The daily amount of vitamins A and K are fulfilled in just one serving of the magical greenery.
Vitamins A and K boost the immune system and keep it in a healthy balance. When your immune system is healthy, your metabolism kicks in. This is why we lose weight when we eat a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables maintain our immune system, which in turn helps our metabolism kick into gear.
A cup of collard greens will also fill you up faster. The fiber in just one cup of collard greens boasts 7.6 grams of fiber. According to the US Department of Agriculture, eating fiber-rich foods will lower the body’s absorption of calories from the carbohydrates we consume.
To lose weight, some people eat vegetable based soups before their meal. In doing this, we can reduce caloric intake. Water in the broth of the soup will not only fill you up, but eating soup slows down the eating process. When we slow our intake of food, we feel fuller.
In a study by Penn State, the introduction of soups before meals reduced the total calorie intake by 20%. Soups are a healthy weight loss food as well. Chicken noodle is packed full of protein, vitamins and the fiber needed to get your metabolism moving.
With the health studies on coffee, people are downing that cup of Joe at an all-time high. It has been found that coffee is not only good for your mood, but it boosts the metabolism rate. CGA, or antioxidant chlorogenic acid, will shed pounds by trading out the fat for energy.
The CGA in coffee can also slow up the sugary flow of glucose into the bloodstream after eating. The insulin levels are lowered and thereby so is the weight gain.
Several studies have found that caffeine, in small doses, can increase performance in exercise. Coffee also helps muscles bounce back after those workouts.
Who doesn’t love pot roast? The protein in pot roast smacks down the fat levels in your body immediately by the body having to work hard to break down those proteins. The digestion process of breaking down those proteins means the body has to use more calories to digest the meat. Roast beef also helps keep you fuller feeling, avoiding the need to eat more often.
According to the journal, “Nutrition Metabolism,” people who increase the protein ratio in their diets eat about 450 fewer calories per day.
For breakfast, you might grab a quick bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is a wonderful choice at 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. Both fiber and protein will slow the carbs in the body and will reduce the insulin response.
Oatmeal keeps us full for a longer period of time, making us less likely to grab snacks during the morning hours. Taking in less calories means weight loss. If possible, grab the steel-cut oatmeal. The steel-cut variety endures less processing in the factory and that lowers the glycemic score rating. The glycemic score is a way to measure the blood sugar intake of foods.
Carrots contain a high water and fiber content that can fill you up quickly. Carrots that are roasted instead of stewed or eaten raw hold three times the antioxidants.
After a long day, nothing is more satisfying than relaxing with a glass of red wine. Red wine is great for the heart and it may reduce weight. A study conducted in 2009 at the University of Ulm (Germany), implies that resveratrol, the antioxidant in grape skins, stops the production of fat cells.
Calcium pyruvate assists us in the ability to burn more energy. Women who drink one or two helpings of red wine were 30% less likely to gain weight than women who drank tea. Keep it at one glass though, ladies. One 6-ounce serving of wine also contains about 150 calories.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are around the corner and one dessert that helps boost our fiber content is the wonderful pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is only 46 calories per serving, but holds 3 grams of fiber. Beta-carotene, a great antioxidant, is packed into the pumpkin, which will relieve stress and reduce inflammation in the body that is connected to increased fat storage.
The colder seasons don’t have to mean a weight gain by eating more. Cold weather meals can include chili, a product that is packed with muscle-building proteins. Chili is filling, warms us up and contains a large amount of fiber, proteins and fills us quickly so we eat less.
Capsaicin is found in cayenne, chili peppers and jalapenos. When these are mixed in the chili, it may cause fire in the belly, but also burns fat. Spices can trigger the sympathetic nervous system and will help fight off the weight. Capsaicin is at the base of the “fight or flight” response in the body, along with the sweating from eating spicy foods.
Eating chili with these spicy hot chilies increases the daily calorie burn by approximately 50 calories which drops about 5 pounds per year.
Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas depending on the region you live, is a healthy beans that provides about 40% of the daily protein intake. These legumes are responsible for about 70% of the daily fiber intake. Together, blood sugar is stabilized and the full-feeling from eating beans is a great thing.
Garbanzos deliver plenty of healthy fats that not only reduce weight but keep the heart healthy. A study done in Australia at the University of Newcastle proved that those who ate unsaturated fats had a much lower body mass and a reduction in belly fat than those who ate fewer beans.
Potatoes are a huge no-no in most diets. Rethink the spud and include it as a roasted side dish due to the high value of nutrients. White foods fight diseases with the chemical allicin. The chemical is also found in garlic.
Allicin fights inflammation in the body, which will reduce body fat. Calorie for calorie, white potatoes satisfy hunger while giving the body what it needs.
With mashed potatoes, serve up some mashed sweet potatoes to help your waistline. Sweet potatoes can prevent sugar from turning into fat and landing on the thighs, stomach and derriere. The orange and yellow pigments help bodies take care of the insulin. As in coffee, the CGA and carotenoids slow your body’s release of glucose and insulin.
Sweet potatoes are packed full of fiber. We all know that fiber helps fill the body and slows down digestion. It’s a win-win situation. Great taste and amazing results for the body.
So rethink the idea that those spuds on the holiday table are a nightmare. Consider eating a serving or two and know that your body will respond well. A meal of pot roast, garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes, finished up with a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate may be the key to keeping your body slim and trim. Don’t forget to serve a bowl of chicken noodle soup beforehand and you will have the perfect meal. Just remember the golden rule of everything in moderation.