Posted on Jul 10, 2020, 2 p.m.
Losing weight and maintaining it can be a daunting task with all the choices of food available at convenience with ease. Will power often gives in to cakes, cookies, candy, and ice cream, but picking some sweet treats that nature provides can satisfy that sweet tooth while boosting your fiber intake to support weight loss and provide some serious health benefits as an added perk.
Fruits can help you to ditch those desserts as they tend to be naturally sweet while being high in fiber and low in calories, making them a great choice for weight loss or maintenance. Fruit may be your weight loss journey friend, it can meet that sweet craving, while unlike those processed treat options they carry many nutrients, such as vitamin C to boost the immune system, which may be how fruit earned the nickname of being mother nature’s candy.
It is recommended that one fills half of their plate with portions of fruits and vegetables for optimal health, and phrases like “eat the rainbow” have been created to help people remember. When it comes to whole fruit, one must remember that all food has calories, and some fruits are better than others if you have carbohydrate restrictions, or need to monitor blood sugar spikes.
The right amount of fruit to consume can differ from person to person, but what doesn’t change is that it can be a healthy addition to weight loss goals, as research has well established connections between eating fiber rich foods and managing weight.
"When you're trying to lose weight, an important aspect is feeling full for longer, but also enjoying what you eat — that's a huge part of sustainable, healthy weight loss," says Martha Lawder, RDN, president of the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who is based in Roseville, California. "Fruit can give you that fullness because of the fiber, but also it's delicious. That makes it a great go-to option."
“Foods with increased fiber can help slow digestion and keep you feeling satiated for longer periods of time,” says Kristen Smith, RDN, spokesperson for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and registered dietitian for Piedmont Healthcare. “For optimal satiety and fiber intake, keep the skin on."
Apples are rich sources of antioxidants and fiber that will allow you to get that sweet fix pretty much anywhere at any time. According to the USDA one medium apple contains 96.4 calories and 4.37 grams of fiber which is around 16% of the daily recommended value. They also contain 0.26 grams of protein, 6 mg of calcium, 5 mg of magnesium, 11 mg of phosphorus, 107 mg of potassium, 4.6 mg of vitamin C, 27 ug of beta carotene, 29 ug of lutein, and 10.39 grams of natural sugars.
Apples make great additions to salads, smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or just plain as they are. As far as the extras to make a yummy snack with apples, according to a study published in Nutritional Reviews, Greek yogurt can also assist with weight management, and for an extra helping of fiber the USDA says that each half cup of oats provides about 4 grams, which is 14% of the daily recommended value.
Raspberries are one of the richest sources of fiber, and they have that sweet kick to satisfy any craving. These berries are also loaded with antioxidants that help to combat free radical damage. One cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber which is about 28% of the daily recommended value; 32 mg of vitamin C/35% of the DRV; and 1.07 mg of vitamin E/7% of the DRV. Raspberries have high levels of vitamin C and vitamin E, and according to a study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology these antioxidants can help to fend off chronic disease.
Skip the juice and stick with whole oranges when it comes to weight management. One whole medium orange contains 3.14 grams of fiber which is 11% of the DMV, and 69.7 mg of vitamin C which is 77% of the daily recommended value. But this is just for the fruit not juice, as such most experts suggest avoiding orange juice and eating whole or sliced fruits instead to enjoy benefits such as boosting the immune system, assisting the body make collagen, and helping the body to absorb iron.
Mangoes can help to boost your metabolism and help to lower inflammation while providing an impressive no-sugar sweetness kick. A study published in The FASEB Journal found that this sweetness hero helped to lower blood pressure, assisted with blood sugar regulation, and improved inflammation markers which all play roles in metabolism. One mango contains 3.31 grams of fiber which is about 12% of the DRV. This fruit also makes a great salsa, they also taste great with a lime juice and chili powder sprinkling; chili powder contains capsaicin which may also help to accelerate weight loss according to a study published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition.
Making sure that you get enough protein is also important to weight loss, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition it will help to keep you feeling full for longer, and Harvard University notes that a person needs about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Using the fruits that have been covered thus far you could easily whip up a salsa and use it to top a piece of fish/seafood/chicken/turkey to get a decent helping of fiber, vitamin C and protein fix all at the same time.
Avocados contain “good fats” which can help you to feel full for longer, about 77% of their calories come from the “good kind” of fat. A study published in Nutrients showed that overweight/obese people who consumed avocado as part of a meal felt less hungry after 6 hours. One half of an avocado contains 4.55 grams of fiber which is about 16% of the DRV. This fruit can go into a salsa, smoothie, milkshake, salad, with scrambled eggs, or with Greek yogurt.
Bananas also can help to make you feel full for longer. "Bananas often get badmouthed for being 'too high' in carbs," says dietitian Kelsey Lorencz, RDN."In reality, part of the carbohydrates from bananas are in the form of the fibers pectin and resistant starch. Both of these can actually help regulate blood sugars, not spike it," says Lorencz. Bananas are a staple in smoothies, fruit salads, with oatmeal, and with Greek yogurt. For an extra boost in feeling full for longer try adding a small handful of nuts, as research has shown that nuts can aid in weight loss because their healthy fat and protein content helps to keep you feeling full to aid in your efforts.
Pineapples help to boost hydration and satiety while providing a big hit of vitamin C and knocking out that sweet craving. One cup of pineapple chunks contains 78.9 mg of vitamin C which is around 88% of the DRV to go along with that high water content which can help with weight loss. Research has shown that adding water rich food to the diet is associated with weight loss, even when the diet is not restricted in calories. This sweet treat also makes a great addition to salads, smoothies, and salsa as well as pairing well with savory dishes such as pizza or even cottage cheese which is high in protein to make a great snack option.
These are just a few of the many fruit options available to choose from and play around with combinations to create a sweet treat whenever that craving hits you. Fruit options are better choices to deliver that one two punch to cravings compared to all those processed options when it comes to nutrition and weight loss that is backed by science, making them ideal additions to weight loss efforts when consumed in moderation. Eat the rainbow, experiment, food does not have to be boring, enjoy.
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