Fall Superfoods that Help with Weight Loss from Fall Superfoods that Help with Weight Loss

Fall Superfoods that Help with Weight Loss

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Fall Superfoods that Help with Weight Loss

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Most people associate colder weather with weight gain – cool temperatures outside tend to discourage physical activity as people find snuggling in bed while watching their favorite TV shows cozier than running in the park. Food choices also change. You may notice less familiar produce in the store, but that doesn’t mean what’s available is not going to help you lose weight. Fall foods are not all about Thanksgiving – stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and desserts – and overeating in general.

Apples

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One medium apple has 5g of fiber and only 80 calories. “Fiber promotes healthy digestion and helps fill us up and keep us satisfied, which makes it an ideal food for weight loss and maintenance,” Alexandra Miller, RDN, LDN, Corporate Dietitian, Medifast, says. “Try baked apples for dessert with a dollop of low-fat plain Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon; you’ll save calories while getting a good dose of fiber and other health-promoting nutrients.”

Pumpkin

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Pumpkin, a type of winter squash, is a rich source of vitamin A and carotenoids, nutrients shown to benefit heart health, Miller says. “In terms of weight loss, pumpkin is a source of fiber, a nutrient that helps fill us up and keep us satisfied.” The best part is that pumpkin can easily be incorporated into an array of foods. Pureed pumpkin goes great in casseroles, chili, muffins, and soups, she adds.

Nutmeg

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“Nutmeg has a warm, spicy sweet flavor, which makes it a low calorie way to sweeten foods,” Miller says. “Reduce the sugar content in any dish and add more spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon, for a boost of natural sweetness.” Nutmeg also goes great on coffee grounds prior to brewing. When not consumed in excess, caffeine can boost brainpower.

Ginger

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Ginger has an active compound called gingerol, which is known for its antimicrobial properties, Miller says. Ginger is also known for its ability help ease cold symptoms by relieving congestion and stimulating circulation in the body. “Staying healthy and strong is especially important when you’re trying to lose weight,” she adds.

Garlic

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Garlic is rich in phytochemicals that have cholesterol-lowering and cancer-fighting effects, Miller says. “They’re also a natural aromatic that can add flavor to foods with very few calories.”  Garlic acts as a NSAID pain medication by blocking pathways that lead to inflammation, according to some studies. It contains diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound.

Pears

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“Pears have pectin, a soluble fiber that attracts water and turns to gel during digestion,” Miller says. “Soluble fiber helps slow down digestion, which helps stabilize blood sugar levels and keeps us feeling full.” One pear contains a quarter of the amount of fiber you need on a daily basis. Also, pears are 84 percent water, which means you can snack on them and not gain weight.

Tangerines

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“Tangerines are a great source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body and a vitamin that supports protein metabolism and immune health,” Miller says. Research suggests that a person with vitamin C deficiencies oxidize less fat and is the reason why some people are unsuccessful in their weight loss attempts. Tangerines contain just 0.3g of dietary fat per 100g serving and 2g of fiber, which will increase feelings of satiety.

Pomegranate

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“Pomegranates contain antioxidants, like ellagic acid, that reduce inflammation in the body,” Miller says. “Inflammation can alter hormone regulation within the body; that’s why chronic inflammation has been associated with overweight and obesity,” she adds.

Cauliflower

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“Cauliflower is a low calorie and carbohydrate vegetable that can be readily used in place of high-carb foods,” Miller says. Cauliflower is jam-packed with vitamins, manganese and omega-3s. It also has plenty of fiber, which is why it’s a good idea to replace white rice with this vegetable. “Use grated cauliflower to make cauliflower tortillas or a cauliflower pizza crust. Try grated cauliflower in place of rice or pureed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes,” Miller adds.

Squash

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“In fall, squash abounds,” Miller says. “Think acorn, butternut, spaghetti, and kabocha squash. All are packed with health-promoting nutrients, like vitamin A, and fiber.” For a lower calorie alternative to pasta, try spaghetti squash. One cup has 40 calories, whereas one cup of pasta has about 220 calories, she adds. Squash is a good source of antioxidants needed for a healthy immune system.

Sweet potato

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“One medium potato provides over 100% of your vitamin A along with other vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, Miller says. Sweet potatoes can be used as part of a quick, healthy lunch or dinner. It bakes easily in the oven or microwave. “Cut the potato in half and add a little cinnamon and low-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese to balance out your meal.”

Organic sweet corn

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“Sweet corn is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that promote healthy vision,” Miller says. It is also a good source of fiber. “Many people think corn is high in sugar and unhealthy; however, a medium-sized ear of corn has fewer calories than the average medium-sized piece of fruit,” she adds. “At a cookout, it’s actually one of the healthier options. Just be wary of added salt and butter.”

Parsnips

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“A half a cup of sliced, cooked parsnips has 3 grams of fiber and only 55 calories. They are a good source of vitamin C, folate, and manganese,” Miller says. As a low-calorie option with high levels of soluble fiber, parsnips fill you up and prevent the release of ghrelin, the “hunger” hormone, according to Organic Facts.

Kiwi

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“One medium kiwifruit has about 60 calories, 100% daily value for vitamin C, and more than ½ of the potassium than one banana has to offer,” Miller says. “Kiwi is also an excellent all-natural meat tenderizer due to a unique enzyme called actinidin.” Simply cut the kiwi in half and rub it on the cut end of your meat. It’ll improve the tenderness of the meat without adding calories, she adds.

Brussels sprouts

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“Brussels sprouts are another great vegetable rich in fiber, vitamin C, and folate,” Miller says. “Fiber plays an important role in weight loss as it helps keep us full and satisfied.” Brussels sprouts have carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which have been linked to lower cancer risks, according to the American Institute for Cancer.