Fad diets are a trend that may never die, as much as most of us want them to. It’s high time we took the focus off skinny and turned to natural weight management through a whole food diet instead.
Thankfully, a tide is turning, and more and more people are deciding to manage their weight the cheapest, easiest, and most effective way possible over the long term: by eating real foods that keep us full.
Real foods contain properties for weight loss that you will never find in a pill, powder, or bottle of any kind. Most of us know that, but it can be hard to resist the tempting messages that marketing companies send our way. We’re sure you’ve heard of all kinds of products that promote detox, help you stop overeating, increase your metabolism, and more.
However, did you know that many common foods can do that too, and the best part is that these foods come with no side effects to your liver, heart, and metabolism over the long-haul, like those products on the market do. On the contrary, whole foods from the earth actually benefit these systems of the body, rather than harming them!
Here are 10 foods to fill up on that promote natural detoxification the way the body prefers. When enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet, they will help to keep you full, and this in turn will help you to lose weight and keep it off.
These plants (which include kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and collard greens) are packed with magnesium, chlorophyll, and fiber, not to mention amino acids, iron, and vitamin C. Greens help lower cravings for sugar and refined carbs due to their magnesium and chlorophyll; they help keep you regular, and they promote alkaline blood to help prevent inflammation that leads to weight gain.
Eat three to four cups of greens a day if possible, or at least have a cup a day to start with.
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and bok choy all contain a compound that helps detoxify carcinogenic substances from the liver. They may also help to remove excess estrogen from the body, which can lead to hormonal imbalances. Their high fiber content also helps lower cholesterol and keeps you full.
Cruciferous veggies are also high in the vitamin C needed for a healthy nervous and immune system. Vitamin C also flushes out the digestive tract naturally, so skip the laxatives and eat your crucifers!
Peppers are high in vitamin C, low in calories and sugar, and high in fiber and metabolism-boosting properties. Peppers also boost digestive function to assist with elimination. Enjoy a red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, or if you’re game, toss a few jalapeno or cayenne peppers into your daily meals!
Grapefruits, lemons, and limes are all great for detox and weight loss because they help to lower blood sugar levels. Don’t forget oranges and tangerines either — they’re a great source of soluble fiber known as pectin, which helps keep you full. Citrus fruits are also a terrific source of vitamin C.
Just don’t hop on the grapefruit weight loss train … though grapefruit can be effective for boosting weight loss efforts, a healthy balance of all citrus fruits may provide more stable and reliable results.
Blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, raspberries, goji berries, mulberries, acai, camu camu, maqui, and golden berries (lingonberries) — to name just a few — are also phenomenal for weight loss. You can thank berries’ high amounts of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C for making them such metabolism-boosting and detox stars.
Berries also help to expel toxins from the body, lower blood sugar, regulate nervous system function, improve immune health, and help satisfy your sweet tooth in place of sugar and refined foods.
Wild rice is a grass, not a grain, and it’s packed with anti-inflammatory benefits. Wild rice grows in aquatic waters throughout the United States, and was first cultivated by Native Americans in the lakes of Minnesota and other nearby regions. If you hate brown rice and want a healthier option to white rice, give wild rice a try.
Organic, cultivated wild rice has a sweet and nutty flavor, yet cooks up much like regular rice. It’s also very easy to digest, is packed with magnesium, helps lower blood sugar, aids in digestion, and can help alkalize the blood. It’s also richer in fiber and lower in overall carbs than other types of rice.
Wild herbs (saffron, oregano)
Wild herbs are potent little detoxifiers. They help regulate blood sugar, lower inflammation, satisfy your taste buds without excess salt or sugar, and can help assist with elimination.
Try options like saffron, which has been linked to a higher metabolism and better brain health, or oregano, which has been shown to improve digestive health, and is rich in antioxidants. Oregano may also help to reduce yeast overgrowth and even eliminate parasites!
Lentils are a great, easy-to-digest source of protein. They’re also high in iron, magnesium, and fiber, which make them excellent for blood sugar and satiety. Lentils are quick-cooking, so you don’t need to soak them to remove phytic acid from their shells.
However, do be aware that red lentils are easier to digest than brown or black, and will also cook up quicker with a sweeter, nuttier flavor.
Green peas are sweet, satisfying, and packed with detoxifying and weight loss benefits! They boast a nearly complete amino acid profile, as well as high fiber and nutrient content. Green peas are very low in overall carbs compared to starchier beans, are higher in Vitamin C, and are a good source of protein, with eight grams per cup.
Since they’re naturally sweet, they make a great food to use to satisfy your cravings, while their high soluble fiber content will fill you up fast and help to lower cholesterol.
Root vegetables (beets, sweet potatoes, squash)
Root vegetables are wonderful for both detox and weight loss. Carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, beets, and even purple and red potatoes are great sources of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C. Even the white potato is a better option than bread, refined grains, or processed starches of any kind.
Root vegetables are high in potassium, which helps lower the stress that can lead to excessive eating or sugar cravings. They’re also high in vitamin C, which improves immune and metabolic health. They’re one of the best sources of fiber you can eat, which won’t cause discomfort or blood sugar spikes. Enjoy a cup or two a day to get in on the benefits!
Improving your health with whole foods starts with your very next bite. Choosing real, nutritious foods not only improves your chances of fighting obesity, but also helps lower your risk for many diseases.
Don’t forget to also add probiotic-rich foods to your meals to boost the detoxifying and weight loss benefits of your diet even further.
You could easily fill up your whole day with these foods and create some delicious meals! Not only do they taste great, they’ll likely improve your mood, and help the pounds to fall off faster.
What are your favorite ways to combine these foods to reap even more benefits?
Heather McClees is a professional health journalist and Certified Holistic Nutritionist from South Carolina.She received her B.S. Degree in Nutrition Science and Dietetics, and is most passionate about helping others discover the gift of of holistic health, showing others how to create healthy recipes based on their favorite foods, physical fitness and yoga, and creative writing.