Try these 10 foods to encourage weight loss

Foods with the same calories are quite different nutritionally. This is at the core of understanding how to use foods the right way to reduce weight.
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I had a client a year ago who came to me after she had tried calorie restriction for weight loss, and it had done nothing for her. After eight months of eating the right way, without any restriction on calories, she lost 15 kilograms.

Weight loss is one of the highest reasons for dietary changes. However, repeatedly I have only seen those who have focused on optimal nutrition and reduction in systemic inflammation as having the greatest weight loss. I am sure you are thinking that this is just one more way of selling weight loss. I hear you. I encourage you to try adding foods that help improve detoxification and reduce inflammation, without restricting calories and see for yourself.

Let your eating be intuitive and mindful. Stop eating with the first burp, and you really do not need to look at calories and quantities.

Are there foods that help weight loss?

Foods with the same calories are quite different nutritionally. This is at the core of understanding how to use foods the right way to reduce weight. The same number of calories from a fried potato and leafy greens have an enormous difference.

Fried potatoes can mess with blood sugar, increasing hunger, preventing satiety, stressing the liver, and increasing inflammation. The leafy greens help with liver detoxification, lymphatic decongestion, hormone optimisation, and blood sugar stability. You can also eat much more than the same calories from a fried potato, which means that you feel satiated. Let us look at other foods that are nutrient dense, and where you do not have to worry about how much you eat.

1.   Free range eggs

Free range eggs that are free from antibiotics and hormones are a nutrient-rich powerhouse. They contain several nutrients that support optimal liver detoxification and prevent systemic inflammation. These include vitamins B, A, D, E, and K. They are also a source of omega 3. They are wonderfully satiating and balance blood sugar and mood. Fry them in ghee, poach them, or make a masala omelette. Combine them with vegetables and you have yourself a full meal. Avoid having just the whites. The whole egg is where the nutrient density lies.

2.   Leafy greens

Indian greens are always available, and these include palak, methi, and other leafy greens local and seasonal to your area. You can also include arugula, kale, bitter lettuce, and baby spinach. Leafy greens are a star when it comes to optimal detoxification, helping to aid elimination, metabolise estrogen, and move the lymphatic system.

In Ayurveda, greens are considered an extractive food, which ask the body to give up something to digest them.

Excess weight means that the body has been receiving an excess of augmenting foods, which are their opposite. To rebalance, the body may need a little bit more extractive food for some time. Combine them with some protein and healthy fats, and that’s all you need.

Leafy greens are a star when it comes to optimal detoxification, helping to aid elimination, metabolise estrogen, and move the lymphatic system.

3.   Whole grains

Grains are constantly vilified and it’s just unfair. As a country, India has always boasted nutrient-dense whole grains. The problem is not the grain, but in the inability to balance a meal or digest the grain that can be potentially problematic.

Whole grains should be combined with one source of lentils, one sweet vegetable, and one bitter vegetable for perfect balance. They help with satiety, stable blood sugar, smooth elimination, and great sleep. Rotate your grains as much as possible to avoid problems that come from overeating any one kind of grain.

4.   Nuts

Nuts are also considered an extractive food, where they help to rebalance weight gain from overeating augmenting foods. They are wonderful for healthy fats and proteins, which balance blood sugar. They can be problematic when digestion is weak, which is why so many people show up as allergic to nuts on allergy tests. In few cases, there are truly allergic responses, but in most cases, it is just a sign of weak digestion.

To derive the benefits from nuts and avoid any problems, have 8-10 nuts per day, with a meal, and have them soaked and blended. If digestion is strong, use them soaked and toasted, with proteins and vegetables for a complete meal.

5.   Extractive vegetables

The qualities of extractive foods are cleansing in nature and the do make the body give up something to digest them. They break down essential fats needed for healthy function of body and mind and the result is that they provide a lighter feeling to the body.

Extractive vegetables include asparagus, bamboo shoots, beet greens, bitter gourd, bok choy, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green cabbage, purple cabbage, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, palak, methi, kale, mustard greens, arugula, endive, okra, peas, and spinach. Once your weight has reduced, balance them with sweet vegetables like carrots and beets.

6.   Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a plant protein powerhouse! They are lentils which are rich in protein and fibre. They are a nutrient-dense food and consuming them provides a rich source of nutrients while supporting weight loss. They are also very versatile and can be used in innumerable ways.

Chickpeas are a plant protein powerhouse, which makes hummus a super-healthy food.

Use them blended in hummus, add them to soups with vegetables, have them as chole with sabji and roti, or mash them with some chopped tomatoes and coriander as a topping in a whole grain sandwich. My favorite is using chickpea flour whipped with vegetables and fried in ghee to make a wholesome eggless omelet.

7.   Yoghurt

Yoghurt is excellent for completing a meal. It is rich in gut-healthy probiotics, improving your ability to digest other weight reducing foods. It is a sour taste. It reduces gas and spasm in the intestine, refreshing, nourishing, and enlivening the mind, and eliminating excess kapha. In proper amounts, it promotes clarity, appreciation, discrimination, makes the mind alert, and gives the ability to focus.

However, in excess the sour taste has some negative aspects. It dries membranes, creates congestion, promotes fermentation leading to toxic blood, skin problems, and burning sensation anywhere from throat to urethra. Excess use causes sensitive teeth, excess thirst, heartburn, acid indigestion, gastritis, colitis, ulcers, diarrhoea, edema, congestive disorders, and an agitated mind. Have your yoghurt freshly made at home from organic milk.

Avoid yoghurt which is too sour. If you are plant based, consider plant-based yoghurt, but be mindful that many of them have thickeners and additives which congest the detox pathways.

8.   Ginger

Ginger is the star when it comes to weight loss, and I will explain why. Often, if you are struggling with weight loss, your body constitution and metabolism is one that is excessively cold. Ginger helps to fire up the heat in the body, combating that sluggish metabolism. It is also a digestive star, which can keep agni robust. The key to healthy weight is optimal digestion. Using ginger in cooking helps to keep the fire burning strong!

9.   Water

Water is not given its due importance. Most thirst is commonly experienced as hunger. If there are three optimal meals with nutrient-dense foods that help keep blood sugar stable and promote satiety, you should not experience hunger until it is time for the next meal.

When you feel hungry, drink hot water, and notice that disappear. You can also spice up your water with some ginger which will allow you to combine two great weight reducing foods together!

Most thirst is commonly experienced as hunger, which makes drinking water regularly extremely important.

10. Raw oats

While we did speak about whole grains, we must conclude by talking about raw oats, which are a resistant starch. They help to feed a robust and diverse microbiome, are chockful of fibre, and wonderful for detoxification. They do contain phytates which are antinutrients. Soak them in water overnight and discard the water the next day to get rid of the phytates. Combine them with your favorite nut milk and you have a great meal.

These are foods that are helpful to weight loss but do remember that we are all unique. If you struggle with weight loss, the challenges might be deeper. Consider collaborating with a skilled clinician who can assess and recommend based on your body constitution, season, location, and present state of health.  

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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