No food can melt away fat, but these nutrient powerhouses can help stave off junk food cravings, keep blood sugar levels in check, even give your metabolism a kick.
In a Brazilian study, dieters who ate three apples daily shed more weight than those who ate three oat cookies with equal calories and fiber. But don’t ditch the peel. Studies link the skin’s ursolic acid to a lower risk of obesity.
Chestnuts boast many of the health benefits of other nuts, with a fraction of the fat and calories. They’re also a good source of protein, fiber and vitamin E — but unlike their tree-nut cousins, they’re also high in vitamin C, a nutrient linked to efficient fat-burning.
- Brussels Sprouts
Just a cup of this super food packs 4 grams of fiber and more than a day’s worth of vitamin C. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the more vitamin C there is in your blood, the less weight you’re carrying around.
- Butternut Squash
Even after it’s baked, butternut squash is about 88 percent water, so it fills you up with fewer calories, says dietitian Karen Ansel, coauthor of The Calendar Diet (Wagging Tail Press, 2012). It’s also a huge source of fiber, with more than 6.5 grams per cup.
- Pumpkin Seeds
These tiny gems contain an ideal combination of protein, healthy fat and fiber. Your body digests all three nutrients slowly, which helps you feel full and keeps blood sugar levels steady.
These root veggies boast a trifecta of nutrients that help with weight loss: fiber, calcium and vitamin C, Ansel says. The fiber content alone (more than 5 grams per cup) makes turnips a natural choice for weight loss. They’re also surprisingly low in calories — only 50 calories per cup.
- Pine Nuts
The fatty acids in pine nuts boost production of a hormone called cholecystokinin, which helps you feel full, according to some studies. Plus, nut eaters tend to weigh less than people who don’t eat nuts, says Jonny Bowden, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (Fair Winds Press, 2007).
Loaded with slimming fiber, pears are a good source of vitamin C. Recent research suggests the plant nutrients in pears also improve your body’s ability to convert food into fuel. A bonus: Eating pears is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Fresh or dried, figs are a fiber dynamo, each containing more than 4 grams for a 100-calorie serving. They also contain calcium, which helps your body burn fat more efficiently. And they help squash a sweet tooth to boot.