Although there isn’t a single food that can elevate fat loss, it is absolutely certain that the key to increasing potential weight-loss success (and more importantly overall wellness) is eating more!
You heard me correctly! Focusing on eating MORE across the food groups you are missing has been shown to be far more successful for permanent habit change, weight loss and positive health outcomes, rather than focusing on simply eating LESS overall.
And the food group that we want you to eat MORE of? The ever so versatile and highly nutritious vegetable. In fact, according to the last Australian Health Survey less than 1 in 10 Australian Adults ate the recommended daily serves of vegetables. No wonder chronic disease is on the rise.
But what is it about the humble vegetable that can be so incredibly beneficial?
Vegetables are incredibly nutrient dense, which means they have a huge number of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) for a remarkably small portion of product. These micro-nutrients are involved in all kinds of essential metabolic processes that would falter if not in adequate supply. Metabolic processes that are not only essential to improve energy and fat metabolism but also essential to live a long and healthy life. Vegetables also contain a high amount of both insoluble and soluble fibre. These fibres are essential for keeping you full for longer, regulating your bowels and optimising your gut health.
Now, all vegetables provide varying levels of essential nutrients, which is why eating a diverse diet is so important. But for those of you specifically looking to optimise weight loss here are my personal ‘top 9’ vegetables to give you an additional boost:
Technically not a vegetable (it is a fungi), mushrooms are loved by meat-eaters and vegetarians alike.
Weight loss benefits– 15 cal per cup (when sliced), relatively high in protein and fibre mushrooms have a satisfying ‘hearty’ flavour, all of which are essential for keeping our appetites at bay.
Notable nutrients- Unique in its ability to produce Vitamin D(bone health immunity and mental health) when exposed to sunlight
Prep tips– Fresh, steamed roasted or grilled, in salads, sauces or on their own. This really has to be one of my absolute health and flavour favourites.
Broccoli belongs to the Cruciferous vegetable family and is a nutrition powerhouse.
Weight loss benefits- 30 cal per cup and high in fibre keeps you fuller for longer. Broccoli is also a good vegetable source of calcium, a mineral essential for body fat breakdown processes.
Notable nutrients- Antioxidants and vitamin C (both essential for immunity) as well as high in indole-3-carbinol which is a chemical that helps boost DNA repair in cells and helps in the prevention of many cancers.
Prep tips- raw with dips or salads, roasted, steamed or even broccoli rice.
Weight loss benefits– 10 cal per cup, high in fibre keeps you fuller for longer.
Notable nutrients- High in Potassium which is great for reducing blood pressure, Vitamin K and Calcium to keep bones strong and iron.
Prep tips- steamed, boiled, blanched or made try it in blended into a dip.
A member of the nightshade family, the capsicum (in Australia) is a mild form of its spicy sisters (Red Pepper or chili pepper).
Weight loss benefits– 24 cal per cup, high in fibre and super sweet this vegetable would have you thinking it may not help with weight loss, but in fact the humble capsicum is low in calories. In fact for a bit more of a fat loss boost, you may like to consider adding some of the spicier members of the capsicum family. Capsaicin which causes the ‘heat’ in chilli peppers has been shown to increase thermogenesis and boost metabolism.
Notable nutrients- A red capsicum(medium) contains 1.5 times the daily recommended intake of Vitamin C as well as many other immune supporting nutrients. Super high in Beta Carotene.
Prep tips- Raw, with dip, in salads, in stir fry’s, baked, BBQ grilled, stuffed.
Cauliflower belongs to the Cruciferous vegetable family and is a nutrition powerhouse.
Weight loss benefits– 30 cal per cup, high in fibre and one of the most versatile vegetables. Great to use as a ‘substitute’ to decrease the calories in a meal for example as a rice or mash. Cauliflower flour is also a wheat flour substitute.
Notable nutrients- Potassium, Folate, iron
Prep tips- raw with dips and in salads or made into cauliflower mash/rice, steamed, roasted and even dried to make cauliflower chips.
Technically a fruit, but they contain minimal sugar so for health and culinary reasons grouped as a vegetable.
Weight loss benefits– 240 cal per cup (sliced), High in good fats (which means higher in calories) a little goes a long way, despite this, avocados have been shown to help consumers lose weight as they help to stabilise blood sugars, satisfy palates and keep you fuller for longer.
Notable nutrients- Monounsaturated fats which lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels. High in Potassium.
Prep tips- Use in place of butters and oils in recipes for a healthy and lower calorie fat substitute. Use in salads, as a dip or on its own.
Super versatile the white potato gets a bad rap when it comes to health and weight loss however, the truth is, that when prepared and eaten in the right way and quantities potatoes can be super useful for weight loss efforts and improving our health.
Weight loss benefits– 166cal per cup and as high in fibre as apples. LOADED with resistant starch (slows down digestion) and a proteinase inhibitor both which help decrease hunger.
Notable nutrients- Resistant starch also feeds good gut bacteria. High in potassium and vitamin c.
Prep tips- steamed, baked, mashed, cooked and cooled in salads, stuffed.
Weight loss benefits– 72 cal per cup and high in both soluble and insoluble fibres.
Notable nutrients- Contains a natural diuretic which helps reduce fluid retention.
Prep tips- blanched, roasted, grilled.
Weight loss benefits-30 cal per cup. Pumpkins hearty flavour and fibre curbs appetite while satisfying our palate.
Notable nutrients- High in many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Notably beta carotene, which is an important nutrient for the prevention of many cancers and eye-sight.
Prep tips- steamed, roasted, grilled, mashed.
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