A sensible diet with a wide range of nutritious foods and an active lifestyle with plenty of exercise – sounds like a great plan, if you want to lose weight. No matter which of today’s healthy dieting options you favor, fruits offer a variety of essential nutrients and should be part of your daily plan.
For people with a sweet tooth, a piece of fruit can simply be a delicious replacement for snacks and desserts, but most types of fruit are also versatile enough to be added to many dishes from breakfast to dinner. They add flavor and texture to salads and a sweet touch to a stir-fry or curry. If you are short on time for breakfast in the morning, just throw your favorite frozen fruit, some dairy or plant milk and a scoop of protein powder in your blender for a nutritious breakfast on the go.
9 best fruits for weight loss
When it comes to fruit, you really can’t go wrong. For a head start on your healthy weight loss plan, here is a selection of 9 super fruits to add more color, sweetness and a rainbow of health benefits to your meals.
Eating as little a cup of delicious strawberries boosts the production of leptin, a hormone that controls hunger and satiety. Although people with a higher percentage of body fat tend to have higher leptin levels, they develop a resistance to the hormone’s signals, so eating leptin-promoting foods like strawberries can help you feeling full faster. Strawberries also help control the blood sugar spike after a meal with lots of carbohydrates. As if those weren’t enough superpowers, strawberries contain calcium, potassium, magnesium, lots of fiber and a generous dose of vitamin c.
Plan your meal: 1 cup of strawberries has 54 calories. Try them sliced in a spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
There is a reason why pomegranates have become one of the trendiest foods in recent years – they are tasty, packed with vitamins and a terrific choice for people on a healthy diet. First and foremost, pomegranate arils – that’s the proper name of the little seeds – contain a lot of fiber for their size, which makes them a satisfying, healthy snack that will keep you full longer. Plus, if you pick the arils out one by one, you’ll be busy snacking for quite a while. The nutrients contained in pomegranates may also help control your cholesterol levels. While pure pomegranate juice (mixed with sparkling water or diet tonic) is a refreshing way of stocking up on antioxidants, you’ll want to enjoy the arils as a snack or meal addition to benefit from the fiber.
Plan your meal: 1/2 cup of pomegranate arils has 72 calories. They make a great topping for a parfait or frozen yogurt.
Bananas are certainly one of the more calorie-dense fruits out there. Nevertheless, they are a great addition to a healthy weight-loss diet. A banana is a satisfying, pre-packaged snack, especially when you find yourself craving something sweet. Despite their sweetness, bananas rank low on the glycemic index, which means that they can have a stabilizing effect on you blood sugar levels. The curvy fruit is also packed with potassium. Studies have shown that this electrolyte is essential for cell and organ health and plays a big role in controlling high blood pressure and water retention.
Plan your meal: 1 medium banana (about 7 inches long) has 105 calories. Mash a very ripe banana with a drop of lemon juice as a sweet spread for wholegrain bread.
Nothing beats a cold wedge of juicy watermelon on a hot day – or after a strenuous workout. Watermelon is the perfect post-exercise snack, because the high water content (approximately 90%) helps you with rehydrating your body, while also replenishing lost electrolytes. As an added benefit, snacking on watermelon keeps you feeling full. A recent study found that water contained in food stays in your stomach longer than a drink of water. A cup of watermelon delivers 20% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C as well as vitamins A, B-6, B-12 and D.
Plan your meal: 1 cup of watermelon contains 46 calories. Enjoy with protein-rich cooked shrimp or a little shaved prosciutto.
The creamy, delicious avocado is the fruit with the highest calorie and fat content. Still, a little avocado goes a long way, and you should eat avocados on a regular basis, because they are full of healthy fats that your body needs to function – and you need to feel satisfied. About two-thirds of an avocado’s calories are made up of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to benefit insulin and blood sugar levels and deliver long-lasting energy. Avocados are an excellent source of valuable omega-9 fats. These fats can help with absorbing some vitamins and increase HDL cholesterol, the “good” kind, while reducing LDL levels.
Plan your meal: 1 cup of avocado has 240 calories. Add it to deep green salads for creaminess and lasting satiety.
If you want to lose belly fat, sweet blueberries should be high on your list of favorite foods. They contain catechin, a powerful antioxidant that promotes the loss of abdominal fat, according to new university studies. Even more importantly, blueberries lower LDL cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity as well as the body’s reaction to leptin, which makes them the perfect ally in combating metabolic syndrome, also known as pre-diabetes. The fiber-rich fruit also contains a big dose of vitamin C.
Plan your meal: 1 cup of blueberries contains 85 calories. Blueberries are best eaten raw and turn the low-fat milk in your cereal bowl an entertaining shade of purple.
Nutrition experts often recommend eating a pear about 30 minutes before sitting down to a meal, because it is an excellent source of fiber, which will help you feel full and avoid overeating. Much of the fiber is the soluble kind, which stabilizes blood sugar levels and can help lower cholesterol. Apart from vitamin C, potassium and flavonoids, pears also contain boron, which has been shown to boost the effectiveness of calcium and magnesium, promoting bone health and counteracting fluid retention.
Plan your meal: 1 medium pear (about 6 oz.) has 100 calories. Baked pear halves filled with raisins and chopped walnuts are a treat.
Ripe papaya tastes like a sweet mix of peach and pineapple – which is reason enough to eat them raw or cooked on a regular basis. But they also contain generous helpings of vitamins A and C, potassium, folate and fiber, but relatively few calories. Recent studies have suggested that papain, an enzyme contained in papayas, promotes and accelerates the digestion of proteins. To get the benefits of papain and the sweet papaya taste, look for a ripe, mostly yellow fruit with some green skin.
Plan your meal: 1 cup of papaya contains 62 calories. Blend it with diced pineapple, mango and orange juice for a tropical vitamin cocktail.
Stone fruits are among the fruits with the lowest fruit sugar content. Peaches are high in soluble fiber, Vitamin C and potassium. Their nutrient combination gives them a mildly diuretic effect, which helps with excess water retention – but remember to stay hydrated when eating diuretic foods. Peaches also contain phenolics, promoting cell health and help prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol, as new US studies suggest. On top of that, eating a peach means ingesting phytonutrients that have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety and promote healthy sleep.
Plan your meal: 1 medium peach (approx. 6 oz.) contains 60 calories. Peaches pair very well with raspberries for an easy fruit snack with lots of fiber.