Best weight loss superfoods nutritionists say you must keep in your kitchen
If you are trying to lose weight, don’t be confused by diet fads and ‘superfoods’ flooding supermarket shelves. Two nutritionists reveal 12 healthy essentials in their kitchen that will help you reach your fitness goals and lose kilos.
When it comes to weight loss, one of the biggest myths most people fall for is to think you need to make drastic changes in your meal patterns (think going on a juice cleanse diet, or living on a slice of orange for the whole day). You are also confused if you need to splurge on ‘superfoods’ like kale or avocado. But nutritionists swear that it is basic changes in diet that matter, especially for long-term weight loss.
If you are struggling with losing weight, one good method is to follow what nutritionists like to eat on a daily basis, and take a leaf from their diet journal. We spoke to Mumbai-based nutritionist Anjali Peswani, and Niyati P Likhite, dietician, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai to know about the foods they swear by:
“Eggs are one of the most essential ingredients and a great source of protein. It has all 9 essential amino acids,” says Peswani. Studies have also shown that eggs contain a nutrient called lutein, which could be a factor in keeping your brain healthy later in life.An egg a day can also cut down risk of stroke by 12%.
Carrots and cucumber
Carrot can be a versatile root that can be used in salads, vegetable preparations, sauces and can work as a snack at odd hours. “It is rich in beta carotene and is excellent for one’s eyesight,” says Peswani. Cucumber is also a good vegetable to stock in summer as it has a high water content and is loaded with fibre and B-complex vitamins, says Peswani.
Both nutritionists agree that curd is a ‘superfood’. “It contains good bacteria that keeps your gut healthy and keeps acidity at bay. It is also rich source of calcium,” says Peswani. Yoghurt is good source of diary protein, magnesium, Vitamin B12, and good fatty acids. “Combining yoghurt and fruit provides probiotics, high quality protein, important fatty acids and micronutrients. It is beneficial for weight loss, and for those with diabetes and heart disease,” says Likhite. A recent study also showed that long-term yoghurt intake might reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
“It is a great way to get my daily dose of essential fatty acids. It helps me keep my good cholesterol (HDL) up and brings the bad cholesterol (LDL) down. one spoon a day is all that I need,” says Peswani.
For those with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate can be a healthier option. “It is rich in antioxidants and keeps skin glowing,” says Peswani. Studies show that compounds found in cocoa are good for your heart, and it can reverse ageing by reducing damaging oxidative stress and neuroinflammation.
Sprouts are rich in protein and nutrients like Vitamin E & K, iron, phytochemicals and antioxidants. “It strengthens the immune system, boosts your blood supply and is good for the hair as it contains micronutrients like zinc, folic acid, riboflavin, copper and magnesium. Sprouts can be steamed quickly in a small amount of water, or they can be immersed in boiling water for 2 minutes. This will minimise nutrient loss and aid digestion,” says Likhite. They are also versatile and can be enjoyed as sprout salad, sprouts & vegetable sandwich, or sprouts bhel.
“It is a mixture of oats, wheat flakes, cornflakes, barley, ragi, puffed rice, jowar and rice flakes. It is an ideal snack for munching in between meals and can be consumed with milk. They are low in calories and packed with nutrients, including Fibre, Vitamin B, antioxidants and minerals like zinc, copper and magnesium,” says Likhite.
Buttermilk is the ideal drink to have during summer as it has a cooling effect. “90% of buttermilk is water, hence it helps maintain the water balance in the body. It is rich in proteins, vitamins, essential bacteria (probiotics) for digestion, calcium and is a low-fat drink. It can be taken along with meals or in between meals. Spices such as cumin powder, pepper, ginger, green chilies, curry leaves and coriander can be crushed and added to the mixture, to enhance its taste and therapeutic benefits,” says Likhite.
Nuts are considered to be heart-healthy snacks. “They are rich in protein, unsaturated fatty acids, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and fibre. It helps in improving HDL (good) cholesterol. The only concern while eating nuts is that they are high in calories. Hence it is important to limit the portion size,” says Likhite. She recommends that a handful of nuts be eaten in a day. Healthy nuts include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, figs, apricots and dates. Peswani also recommends dates as they are a rich source of iron and fibre. “This power-packed food helps me get off my mood swings in a jiffy,” says Peswani.
Waterchestnut (singhara) flour pancakes
It is good source of protein and minerals and is rich in vitamin B and potassium. “It is an ideal food choice as it is low in calories, but high in vitamins and fibre. It is good for diabetics. It has detoxifying and cooling properties as well. You can use it to make dosas and dhokla by adding vegetables and groundnuts to it. Enjoy it with tomato or green chutney or with curd,” says Likhite.
Aam Panna is a tasty and refreshing summer drink prepared from raw mangoes. “It is known for its heat-resistant properties. It is good source of B1, B2, Niacin, Vitamin E, A and C. It is good to treat GI disorders, good for skin and the eyes as well. It prevents your body from excreting excess iron and salt through sweat, and improves digestion,” says Likhite.
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