Can food actually help prevent fat from forming? When you think about this statement at first it doesn't seem right. And then you remember, maybe not everything you're eating, but food is fuel for our body and does so much good. Once you find the good in food, it's easy to make the leap to the idea that there are actually foods that can help you with fat. But, more specifically, it's the nutrients in some foods that help you fight the flab.
What are those nutrients? Let’s take a look:
We've heard quite a bit about amino acids over the past few years. Do you know why they are so important? They are the building blocks of protein, whether it’s food protein or a protein supplement. Arginine is an amino acid that improves blood flow.
Okay great, but it's not like we can just take a teaspoon and go on with our day. A handful of almonds, peanuts, or walnuts consumed before your workout can help you burn more fats and carbs. Tofu or eggs will do the job as well.
The National Institute of Health1 reports that your body can be rewarded with lower levels of fasting glucose and insulin. How can this be done? By consuming higher amounts of magnesium. Bananas seem to be the most popular supplier of magnesium, but so are cashews and almonds. Also high in magnesium are spinach and chard.
Would you like a flatter belly? Who wouldn't? After a workout, potassium helps the body flush out water and pesky sodium. This in turn, helps dispose of belly flab. According to the U.S. Library of Medicine2, potassium is a mineral that your body needs in order to work properly. It is an electrolyte, which regulates nerve and muscle function. Bananas get most of the credit for providing larger amounts of potassium, but there are others just as good. As a matter of fact, in addition to molasses and bananas, try adding avocados, leafy green vegetables, and nuts to your menu.
Do you enjoys lentils or peas? How about sweet potatoes or ever so slightly green bananas? These foods all contain resistant starches3, which resist digestion and can have multiple health benefits, such as improved insulin sensitivity, lowered blood glucose, and improved digestion. Eating foods that include resistant starches also feed your healthy gut flora. And what exactly is gut flora4?
- It helps the body digest the foods that the stomach and the smaller intestines cannot.
- It helps in the production of vitamins B and K.
- Also known as gut bacteria, it helps fight 'bad' bacteria in your system.
- It creates a sort of protective wall in our immune system.
- Gut bacteria aids greatly in our digestion.
This amino acid has the ability to create protein which is necessary for building muscle. Researchers at the University of Illinois5 reported that the people they fed 10 grams of leucine a day lost more weight and body fat than those with a low leucine diet. Those consuming the higher amounts of leucine also maintained the most lean body weight. What are the best sources for leucine? Eating chicken will give you the most advantage, but you can also see happy results from eggs, tofu, beef, and pork.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you include wild salmon (it's important that it is wild salmon and not farmed6) and other oily fish, you will be rewarding your body with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3's also give us lower blood pressure and lower triglycerides. Omega-3 eggs, flaxseed oil, walnuts and grass-fed beef also provide higher amounts of the omega-3 acids. The rewards to be received are better heart health. Who wouldn't want that?
Also known as the Sunshine Vitamin, vitamin D regulates appetite and hunger. In addition, it helps in the fight against cancer. Vitamin D plays a major role in weight loss. A vitamin D supplement can be responsible for a 7 percent loss in body fat, particularly belly fat. Fortified dairy products, along with eggs and fish are good sources for vitamin D.
The Nutrition Journal7 found that those who ate half an avocado at lunchtime didn't feel the desire to eat for hours. Coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed beef and dark chocolate are also good food to eat for monounsaturated fats.
Choline is a chemical compound8 that is an essential nutrient to the body. The genes that are credited with storing unwanted fat around your liver can be 'switched off' by eating eggs including the yoke. Eggs are the number one source for choline. Collard greens, lean meat and seafood are also good ways to get choline into your body.
So, there you have it. This regular exercise and healthy daily diet, we can eat our way to a leaner body.