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Foods for healthy weight loss

Posted by Naturopath . on

Protein helps weight loss

Protein helps your body build new cells. Amino acids, the building blocks we require from protein, are not stored in your body, so you need to eat some protein every day, ideally at every meal. Protein also increases your brain’s levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone that tells you when your belly is full. Aim to include a palm-sized serving of any of the following at each meal to assist weight loss.

Eggs: If you’re a fan of omelettes or a good old hard-boiled egg, you’ll be pleased to know that eggs are no longer considered a problem for cholesterol levels. They even carry the Heart Foundation’s tick of approval as a nutritious food. Always choose free-range eggs, organic if possible, as they’re more nutritious, taste better and the crowded conditions of battery hens increases the risk of salmonella from eggs.

Fish: Rich in easy-to-digest proteins, fish is a superfood for a healthy heart, brain and nervous and immune systems. Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and tuna is packed with health-giving vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. If you buy your fish fresh, choose fish that smells sweet, not “fishy”, which indicates it is old. Fish fillets and steaks should look moist without dried or curled edges. Choose wild fish varieties instead of farmed fish, especially salmon; there are concerns it may be contaminated with PCBs, pesticides and antibiotics.

Spirulina: The protein in spirulina is 85–95 per cent digestible. It’s also packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Use spirulina as a breakfast powder in a smoothie, along with some fruit, yoghurt or kefir.

Chicken: This incredibly versatile food can be roasted, broiled, grilled or poached and combines well with a wide range of herbs and spices. Rich in the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the brain chemical serotonin, which improves mood, chicken really is a feel-good food. As with eggs, choose free-range, organic chicken.

Soy: Tempe, tamari and miso are good soy choices because they are high in protein and have been fermented, a process that helps deactivate the phytates that occur naturally in soy but may interfere with mineral absorption.

Dairy and weight loss

Dairy foods are a good way to dose up on both protein and calcium, but should you go light or full-cream? A 2006 Swedish study by the National Institute of Environmental Medicine examined a group of nearly 20,000 menopausal women and found that women who had one serving of either full-fat milk or cheese per day gained less weight over a nine-year period than women who opted for low-fat dairy products or avoided dairy. The researchers hypothesised that a special type of fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) may be responsible. So if you want some full-cream milk in your tea, enjoy. For other dairy foods to enhance weight loss, consider the following.

Soft cheese: Although hard cheeses such as cheddar and Parmesan are tasty, some may be high in fat, so don’t overdo it. Instead, add some goat’s fetta to a salad, ricotta cheese to a vegetable lasagne and cottage cheese to a crispbread or sandwich.

Yoghurt: Made by fermenting milk with healthy bacteria such as lactobacillus bulgaricus, acidophilus and bifidus, yoghurt with its live cultures blitzes bad bacteria in your gut, which enhances the good bacteria, digestion and absorption of nutrients. Yoghurt is often well tolerated by people who are lactose intolerant. Studies show it can also reduce digestive problems such as bloating and constipation. When buying yoghurt, read the label to ensure it’s not packed with sugar or flavours.

Kefir: This cultured milk tastes a little like a yoghurt drink. Rich in beneficial bacteria for a healthy digestive and immune system, it makes a great addition to a morning power smoothie. Ask your local healthfood store for kefir culture and simply follow the instructions on the packet.

At a glance

The key to weight loss is understanding nutrition!




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