Can certain foods really help you control your weight and lose pounds in time for summer?
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, also known as ‘good’ fats. Other sources of omega-3 include; walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds. These ‘good’ fats have been found to boost metabolism, and encourage weight loss. Interestingly omega-3 fats are thought to improve sensitivity to the hormone leptin, which is thought to also act as an appetite suppressant. As leptin levels rise, metabolism increases and appetite diminishes. On the other hand, as the hormone leptin falls, metabolism decreases with appetite increasing. According to research from Monash University in Australia, the hormone leptin may significantly increase thermogenesis which is thought to regulate the number of calories we burn.
Many research studies suggest that a compound found in chillies known as capsaicin may speed up metabolism, consequently aiding in weight loss. Researchers at the University of Wyoming in the United States reports that capsaicin may help burn off calories by stimulating the body to create heat through a process known as thermogenesis. Studies suggest that a spicy meal may temporarily raise a person’s metabolic rate by up to 25% more than their average metabolic rate. Interestingly, a Canadian study found that capsaicin may also act as a mild appetite suppressant. Researchers assessed a group of adult men who consumed hot sauce with appetizers prior to a meal. These men ended up consuming an average of 200 fewer calories at later meals in contrast to another group of men who didn’t eat anything containing capsaicin.
Experts believe that the celery is another thermogenic food, meaning that your body temperature may be raised, and as a result, you burn more calories than usual. Researchers report that both the time it takes for a person to eat celery and then to digest it burns the same number of calories as naturally contained in celery itself. In addition as well as being low in calories, celery is both high in fiber and water content which makes you feel full very quickly. The celery also has diuretic properties that encourages the flow of urine out of the body prompting an increase in metabolism, and consequently the breakdown of fat cells.
Green tea has many health benefits, the tea is rich in free radical fighting antioxidants, and contains the amino acid L-theanine which is thought to help increase calmness. In addition, researchers report that green tea may enhance weight loss by increasing metabolism. Powerful antioxidants known as catechins found in green tea are what experts believe boosts the metabolic rate. Interestingly, experts have found that green tea catechins work particularly well to reduce fat around the abdominal area. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who drank green tea whilst also exercising regularly burned more calories than those who just exercised and didn’t consume any green tea.
Much to the delight of dieters, research reveals that the consumption of dark chocolate could actually promote weight loss. Scientists report that this exciting discovery is thought to be due to chocolate’s effects on stress hormones. When the stress hormone cortisol spikes, it encourages the conversion of blood sugar into fat for long-term storage. Appetite may also be increased – so managing stress levels may allow for better control of what goes into the mouth by preventing emotional eating. The consumption of even a small amount of dark chocolate is thought to increase levels of the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin, consequently helping to alleviate feelings of stress and boosting mood. Participants in one study who consumed a small amount of dark chocolate daily were shown to have reduced levels of cortisol.
BSc (Hons), MSc, PG Cert CC, NT, CNELM Dip NT, MBANT, CNHCreg.
Miss Salma S. Khan, Nutrition Consultant & Health Writer is the Founder and Director of ZingTality Ltd, a Nutrition Consultancy. Salma is a highly qualified Health Practitioner - she advises clients on a broad range of nutritional issues, and specialises in all matters related to nutrition. Salma incorporates Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques within each consultation in order to motivate clients to reach their nutritional goals. Salma offers appointments at a clinic on Harley Street in London, and can be reached directly through her website; www.zingtality.com
Salma is a member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy (BANT). She is registered with the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), and is also an associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM).