Everybody should be eating these foods to support a healthy weight, and the key is to eat a balance of nutrition-dense foods
If you’re a health conscious person who focuses on nutrition and makes sure the body receives all the necessary goodness it needs to thrive, this doesn’t always mean that your weight remains stable or at a place you’d prefer it to be. Health and fitness is a balance; we need to exercise to keep fit and we need to feed our bodies the correct levels of fuel to keep it at its best. We also need a regular sleep pattern, a healthy digestive system, as well as keeping stress to a minimum and a spiritual equilibrium. All of these have a significant effect on our metabolism, and therefore our weight.
A predominantly plant-based, nutrient-dense diet which includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, pulses, greens and grains will help weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight. The following are six nutritionist-recommended foods to incorporate into your diet, (in conjunction with healthy lifestyle choices) in order to benefit the metabolism and keep weight under control.
Start the day with a glass of room temperature water with some freshly squeezed lemon juice. This is best served on an empty stomach in order to boost the metabolism, alkalise the stomach, and prepare the digestive system for the day ahead. You’ll also receive a decent dose of vitamin C, help to remove toxins and lower sugar cravings.
Fruit is an obvious choice when it comes to a nutrition-dense diet, but a focus on a wide variety of fresh fruits and berries will provide a good amount of antioxidants for the body to fight off free radicals, as well as a plentiful variety of vitamins. We must make sure that we do this daily as all the goodness is passed through the body within 24 hours. Blueberries, blackberries, red currants, strawberries, raspberries, any berries! And all the other types of fruits you can find locally and seasonally. Try papaya with freshly squeezed lime juice, a smattering of various berries, and a handful of granola on top for breakfast; you’ll never look back!
Eat your greens, as well as every other colour of vegetable under the sun and you’ll be well on your way to an optimal metabolic rate. Pretty much everything green is great for the system. Try and include as many different types of vegetable as you can into your daily meals, play the ‘count the veggies’ game like my family and I do, and see how many you can reach on one day! Scientifically this will reduce inflammation, help your liver to function effectively, and aid digestion. Colourful vegetables are rich in antioxidants which will also aid your metabolism. Red, green, yellow peppers, kale, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, red cabbage, tomatoes, avocado, sprouts, peas, green beans, beetroot, chard…the list is endless!
For the discerning vegan this can be somewhat trying as you’re obviously not going to get your omega-3s or monounsaturated fats from fish oils. The alternative options, and for everybody of course, are from nuts and seeds; flaxseeds, chia and hemp seeds, as well as all types of nut, walnuts are a great source. For the perfect nutrition-dense diet try olive oils, avocado and nuts to get your dose of monounsaturated fats. For anyone who is ok with using fish as a source, opt for fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout or anchovies.
An essential part of the diet is to promote a healthy metabolism and gut. The micro-biome in our system needs to be balanced in order for our body to digest well and keep our weight under control. The gut is also directly associated with our immune system as well as our mental health and so plays a vital role in our overall wellbeing. To keep this at a healthy situation we need to ingest fibre rich fruits and vegetables as well as incorporate fermented goods into the diet. Kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, Kombucha, etc., all aid in achieving a diversity of microbes and probiotics.
HERBS, SPICES & TEAS
A nutrient-dense diet is a diet of champions, you’re already well on your way towards achieving this if you are incorporating all of the above, however to really put the icing on the cake (or not as that isn’t a healthy option!), add a good variety of herbs, spices and herbal teas to your daily meals to really maximise on what nature has to offer our body. Turmeric, ginger, parsley, oregano, rosemary, coriander, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, chilli, paprika, fenugreek, sage, all help to boost our immune systems, help fight inflammation, aid digestion, and help prevent oxidative stress (see last blog: What is Oxidative Stress? And how to combat it). A healthy cup of tea has never tasted so good when you realise that you are boosting your energy, immune system, metabolism, supporting liver function and helping to prevent heart problems all in one go. Try a high-quality, loose-leaf green tea, chamomile or rooibos.
Eat fresh, eat whole, eat well! Know your foods and know why you’re ingesting them. Don’t opt for packaged, processed, high-sugar or salt content, opt for real foods that contain real nutrition. And keep hydrated!
Online diploma in Plant-Based Nutrition
Here at the School of Natural Health Sciences we provide a wide selection of nutrition-based courses as nutrition has becomes one of the most sought-after qualifications of our time. Click on the course title for more information:
- Child & Adolescent Nutrition
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