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31 Superfoods For Weight Loss Backed By Science

by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
31 Superfoods For Weight Loss Backed By Science June 28, 2018

Superfoods are like superheroes. They combat and solve every darn problem! So, if you are losing your mind but not losing weight, turn to these 31 superfoods. The fat burning phytochemicals, like antioxidants, in these foods aid fast weight loss without putting your health at risk. Also, consuming these will make 90% of your health problems disappear. But, unfortunately, you cannot find these foods labeled as ‘superfoods’ in the market. So, here’s your guide to choosing the best superfoods for weight loss – supported by scientific research. Swipe up!

31 Best Superfoods For Weight Loss 

Superfoods For Weight Loss – Fruits

1. Goji Berries

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Servings/Day – 1-3 oz

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast

Calories – 23-69 calories

These rusted red berries not only taste great but also top the list of best superfoods for weight loss for many reasons. Goji berries are low in calories, and the antioxidants present in them help reduce the oxidative stress state of your body. They help reduce waist circumference, improve lipid profile, and prevent cardiovascular disease in patients with metabolic syndrome (1).

How To Consume

Add goji berries to your smoothies and breakfast bowls or just have them as a snack.

2. Grapefruit

Servings/Day – 1 medium-sized grapefruit

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast or snack

Calories – 104 calories

This pink-fleshed fruit is known for its nutritional benefits – and one of them is weight loss. Scientists have found that people who consume grapefruit have better blood lipid profile, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and improved insulin sensitivity and are protected from cardiovascular diseases (2), (3).

How To Consume

Add it to salads, drink its juice, or just halve it and scoop it with a spoon to eat it.

3. Avocado

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Servings/Day – 1 medium-sized avocado

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack

Calories – 322 calories

Though high in calories, the healthy fats and nutrients in avocado make it one of the best foods for weight loss. American researchers have found that the healthy monounsaturated fats, dietary fiber, and other beneficial phytochemicals in avocado aided weight loss and provided protection against metabolic disorders (4).

How To Consume

You can consume avocado as it is, make delicious guacamole, or add it to salads, tacos, and smoothies.

4. Banana

Servings/Day – 1 or 2

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast or snack

Calories – 121-242 calories

Have you been avoiding the banana because you think it is going to bulk you up? Well, science says that maybe that’s the reason you are unable to lose weight! Surprised? The fact is, bananas provide energy, which means you will be able to work a lot more and be attentive. The fiber, vitamins, and minerals in banana help improve insulin sensitivity, thereby protecting you from diabetes type 2 (5).

How To Consume

Consume it as it is, add it to your smoothie/cereal bowl, or make pancakes with it.

5. Blueberries

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Servings/Day – ½ cup

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast or snack

Calories – 42 calories

Check Instagram and you will know why blueberries are so loved. This dark blue frosted fruit is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Its dietary fiber content also helps keep hunger pangs at bay. Scientists have also found that blueberries may help lower blood sugar and prevent insulin resistance (6). Extra points for the hypnotizing color blueberries impart to any and cereal bowl or smoothie.

How To Consume

Add them to cereal bowls or smoothies, or just consume them as a snack.

6. Watermelon

Servings/Day – 1 cup

Best Time To Consume – Mid-morning or evening snack

Calories – 47 calories

Watermelon contains a potent antioxidant, lycopene (7). It is also a great source of complex carbs, vitamins, minerals, and water. Consuming a cup of watermelon when you are hungry will keep you satiated for at least an hour, rehydrate you, and lower the inflammation in your body. As a result, you will start to lose weight without even knowing it!

How To Consume

Cut into cubes, scoop out with a round spoon, or juice it.

 Superfoods For Weight Loss – Veggies

7. Kale

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Servings/Day – 1 cup

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast, lunch, or dinner

Calories – 33 calories

This dark leafy green is the new ‘broccoli.’ It helps suppress your appetite without compromising on nutrition. Japanese scientists have found that consumption of kale helps lower blood glucose levels (8). As a result, kale can indirectly prevent insulin resistance and protect you from obesity, diabetes type 2, and other obesity-related diseases.

How To Consume

Add it to your salad, smoothies, soups, sandwiches, and wraps.

8. Spinach

Servings/Day – 1 cup

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast, lunch, or dinner

Calories – 7 calories

Remember Popeye? Well, apart from gaining muscle, spinach also helps in shedding extra fat. It works by neutralizing harmful free oxygen radicals, thereby lowering toxicity in your body. It also helps increase the expression of genes involved in metabolism and prevents you from consuming excess amounts of food by secreting satiety hormones (9).

How To Consume

Consume blanched spinach. You can also make smoothies or curries with it.

9. Chili

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Servings/Day – ½ teaspoon

Best Time To Consume – Lunch

Calories – 5 calories

Chilis are reported to aid weight loss. American scientists have found that the main phytonutrient, capsaicin is responsible for all the good health benefits that chili provides. It aids weight loss by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, reducing inflammation, increasing antioxidant activity, preventing metabolic disorders, and protecting your heart (10).

How To Consume

Slit a chili and take out the seeds with the help of a spoon or fork. Chop it finely and use a little bit in salad dressings, curries, wraps, etc.

10. Bottle Gourd

Servings/Day – 1 cup

Best Time To Consume – Lunch or dinner

Calories – 10 calories

Bottle gourd aids weight loss and is a traditional medicine that protects from various skin problems and diseases. Scientists have found that consuming bottle gourd can help lower blood lipids and blood glucose levels, improve heart health, and lower the chances of dyslipidemia (11).

How To Consume

Boiled bottle gourd is the best food for weight loss. However, if it is too bland for your taste, you can make a yummy soup out of it. You can also make bottle gourd juice that you can gulp down in one go.

11. Broccoli

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Servings/Day – ½ cup

Best Time To Consume – Lunch or dinner

Calories – 15 calories

If there’s one food that can protect you from weight gain, heart disease, aging, cancer, and every other disease on the planet, it is broccoli. So, like it or not, you must include it in your diet to reap the various benefits it provides (12). Not only is broccoli low in calories, but it is also rich in dietary fiber, which increases your satiety levels. Plus, the antioxidants present in it helps reduce toxin and inflammation levels.

How To Consume

Consume blanched or grilled broccoli in salads, smoothies, and soups.

Superfoods For Weight Loss – Proteins

12. Fatty Fish

Servings/Day – 3 oz

Best Time To Consume – Lunch or dinner

Calories – 100-200 calories

Fatty fish like salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines should be consumed if you want to lose weight and protect your heart from various diseases. They rebalance the omega-3 and omega-6 ratio. The foods that we generally consume are high in omega-6, which leads to inflammation and stress in your body. This, in turn, causes toxic build-up in your body, leading to weight gain and metabolic disorders. Fatty fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, and by providing your body more omega-3, you will lower the inflammation and stress levels (13). This will ultimately lead to weight loss.

How To Consume

Consume poached, grilled, baked, or shallow fried fish with grilled veggies, salad, or soup to consume a completely balanced meal.

13. Eggs

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Servings/Day – 1-2 whole eggs

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast

Calories – 78-156 calories

Eggs are great sources of protein, fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins (vitamin A, B, C, D, E, and K), minerals such as iron and selenium, and antioxidants (14). Consuming eggs for breakfast will keep you recharged throughout the day, prevent you from snacking on junk food, and also improve your brain function. Plus, the vitamins present in the eggs will aid better and proper functioning of your body.

How To Consume

Consume them however you like your breakfast eggs to be!

14. Kidney Beans

Servings/Day – ¼ cup

Best Time To Consume – Lunch or dinner

Calories – 75-110 calories

If you love a good ‘ol kidney bean chili, good for you! Because kidney beans are great for weight loss. They contain a good amount of proteins, vitamins A and folate, minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, dietary fiber, and healthy fats (15). Proteins take longer to get digested and also help build lean muscle mass. This, in turn, increases satiety and metabolism, respectively.

How To Consume

Soak and boil kidney beans. Make chili or have baked kidney beans with salads, tacos, etc.

15. Lentils

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Servings/Day – 25-50 g

Best Time To Consume – Lunch or dinner

Calories – 27-58 calories

Yellow, red, green, or black – lentils are one of the best nutrient sources since time immemorial. Apart from being rich in protein, they also contain dietary fiber, iron, potassium, folate, and manganese in abundance (16). Since protein and dietary fiber take time to digest, you will feel satiated for a longer duration after consuming lentils. As a result, you will not be shuffling through the kitchen cabinets right after you have had lunch or dinner.

How To Consume

Consume boiled lentils with veggies to make them extra delicious and nutritious.

16. Garbanzo Beans

Servings/Day – ¼ cup

Best Time To Consume – Lunch or dinner

Calories – 206 calories

Garbanzo beans are great sources of plant protein, vitamins A, C, and E, iron, magnesium, potassium, and healthy polyunsaturated fats. These beans help regulate blood sugar levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and protect from cardiovascular diseases (17).

How To Consume

Soak and boil garbanzo beans. Make hummus with or add them to salads or a quinoa bowl.

Superfoods For Weight Loss – Healthy Fats

17. Almonds

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Servings/Day – 4

Best Time To Consume – With breakfast

Calories – 28 calories

Almonds are great sources of dietary fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Limited amounts of almonds can help you reduce weight, get energy, and have good skin! Scientists have also found that almonds aid greater weight loss as compared to low-calorie diets (LCD) (18). So, consume these tasty nuts and lose the extra pounds.

How To Consume

You may soak them in water. But do not remove their outer sheath so that you get the benefits of dietary fiber and nutrients they contain.

18. Olive Oil

Servings/Day – 2 tablespoons

Best Time To Consume – Early morning

Calories – 268 calories

Olive oil has numerous health benefits. It is a rich source of healthy fats and is light on your heart. It has a good amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Various studies on olive oil have confirmed that it aids weight loss in obese patients and should be consumed by those who want to lose weight (19), (20).

How To Consume

Use olive oil to shallow fry, bake, and roast and as a salad dressing.

19. Flax Seeds

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Servings/Day – 1 tablespoon whole or ground flax seed

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast

Calories – 37-55 calories

Flax seeds are the most popular seeds that aid weight loss. These tiny, brown seeds contain 30% dietary fiber, which forms a viscous gel-like layer in your stomach. As a result, it traps all the food and slows down the digestion, absorption, and excretion process. This ensures that you do not feel hungry too soon. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties also help prevent weight gain and are good for your heart (21).

How To Consume

Add a tablespoon of whole or dried and ground flax seeds to your breakfast bowls and smoothies.

 20. Sunflower Seeds

Servings/Day – ½ ounce per day

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast or snack

Calories – 82 calories

Adding sunflower seeds to your diet can have immense health benefits. They are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Researchers have found that sunflower seeds contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They also help heal wounds, lower blood pressure, and protect your heart (22).

How To Consume

Consume about ½ oz in-shell sunflower seeds per day. You can add them to your breakfast bowl or have them as a mid-morning or evening snack.

21. Pistachios

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Servings/Day – 15

Best Time To Consume – Mid-morning or evening snack

Calories – 60 calories

The soothing green and flavorful pistachios are the best snacks you can have without gaining weight. However, in-shell pistachios are your friends, not the shelled ones. Scientists have found that pistachios are rich in good fats, dietary fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients like flavonoids, anthocyanins, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help lower serum triglyceride levels, protect from diabetes type II, reduce blood pressure, and lower the chances of cardiovascular diseases (23).

How To Consume

Consume 15 in-shell, unsalted pistachios for mid-morning or evening snack.

Superfoods For Weight Loss – Starch

22. Quinoa

Servings/Day – ½ cup

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast or dinner

Calories – 114 calories

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain that is highly recommended for those trying to lose weight. Researchers at Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute have found that it contains proteins, saponins, and 20-hydroxyecdysone. These phytonutrients help improve blood lipid profile and prevent weight gain (24).

How To Consume

Consume quinoa with 4-5 different veggies and some boiled kidney beans (or poached, shredded chicken) for a power-packed breakfast or dinner.

 23. Oats

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Servings/Day – ½ – ⅔ cup

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast or lunch

Calories – 109 calories

Oats are the most common healthy breakfast consumed all over the world. That’s because they are loaded with dietary fiber and essential nutrients like folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Scientists at Louisiana State University have found that oats have anti-inflammatory properties, increase insulin sensitivity, and improve digestion and colonic transit period. This leads to reduced fat accumulation and keeps hyperglycemia in check (25).

How To Consume

Consume oats for breakfast, add them to smoothie bowls, or make savory oats for lunch.

24. Brown Rice

Servings/Day – ½ cup

Best Time To Consume – Lunch

Calories – 108 calories

Brown rice is nothing but rice with its outer husk intact. This husk is a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. By consuming controlled amounts of brown rice with veggies and protein, you can get an extra dose of nutrients. These will help cleanse your colon and improve digestion. As a result, your metabolic rate will increase, and you will lose weight without feeling hungry all the time. Korean scientists found that consuming brown rice regularly led to decreased waist circumference in type 2 diabetes patients (26).

How To Consume

Soak brown rice in water 30 minutes before cooking it. Have it with 3-4 different grilled or blanched vegetables and a source of protein to have a balanced lunch.

Superfoods For Weight Loss – Dairy

25. Full-Fat Milk

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Servings/Day – 1-2 cups

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast and before going to sleep

Calories – 103 calories

Shoo, low-fat milk! Gone are the days of low-fat or fancy “slim” milk. New scientific evidence suggests that full-fat milk can aid weight loss. Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco conducted an experiment and found that full-fat milk and dairy consumers were on the lower side of the obesity scale. They have hypothesized that the butyric acid present in milk helps lower inflammation and inflammation-related fat gain. Full-fat milk also increases insulin sensitivity and metabolism (27).

How To Consume

Consume pasteurized full-fat milk with oats, in a smoothie bowl, or just drink a cup of it in the morning or before bed.

26. Full-Fat Yogurt

Servings/Day – 1-2 cups (8-16 oz)

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast, post-lunch, post-dinner

Calories – 149 calories

If you suffer from bloating, constipation, or generally bad digestive health, you need to consume yogurt (28). This is because bad digestion and constipation lead to toxin accumulation, which results in a metabolic slowdown. The end result – weight gain. Though full-fat yogurt is higher in calories, it is nutritious and helps keep your hunger pangs at bay. The bacteria in it help improve digestion and colonic movement, thereby preventing constipation (29). Consequently, you start losing weight rapidly.

How To Consume

Add a cup of yogurt to your breakfast bowls, smoothies,  or salad dressings, or just enjoy plain yogurt post lunch and dinner.

 27. Buttermilk

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Servings/Day – 100-200 mL

Best Time To Consume – Post lunch and dinner

Calories – 40-80 calories

Like yogurt, buttermilk is also loaded with probiotics. It has an acidic-tangy taste and is a great drink for weight loss. The probiotics in buttermilk help improve digestion and increase the number and types of good gut bacteria (30). Once your digestion is fixed, it prevents fat and toxin accumulation in your body. As a result, you start losing the flab.

How To Consume

Add a little bit of salt (do not add too much as overconsumption of salt prevents weight loss), a pinch of cumin powder, and some chopped cilantro. Mix well and drink after lunch or dinner.

Superfoods For Weight Loss – Spices

28. Cinnamon

Servings/Day – 1-inch cinnamon stick

Best Time To Consume – After breakfast

Calories – 6 calories

If you are doing everything right and yet are unsuccessful at losing that last bit of flab, consume Ceylon cinnamon. Chinese and American scientists found that the proanthocyanidins in cinnamon had a direct effect on blood glucose, blood lipid, and insulin levels. The researchers conducted an experiment and found that by consuming 500mg of water extract of cinnamon, the participants were able to be more sensitive to insulin and lower LDL cholesterol (31).

How To Consume

Bring a cup of water to a boil. Add an inch long stick of Ceylon cinnamon (or use cinnamon powder) and let it boil until the water level drops to half. Pour it into a cup and let it cool down a bit before drinking.

29. Fenugreek Seeds

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Servings/Day – 2 teaspoons in 300 mL water

Best Time To Consume – Early morning

Calories – 24 calories

Fenugreek seeds are one of the most effective weight loss superfoods that I have ever consumed! They work by boosting your metabolism, preventing fat accumulation, increasing insulin sensitivity, improving antioxidant activity, and promoting downregulation of fat synthesizing enzymes (32).

How To Consume

Soak two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds overnight in a cup of water (about 300 mL). Drink it first thing in the morning. I kid you not, you will see results in two weeks’ time – provided you follow a healthy lifestyle as well.

Superfoods For Weight Loss – Extra

30. Fish Oil Supplements

Servings/Day – 1 capsule/alternate day

Best Time To Consume – As per doctor’s advice

Calories – 110 calories

Fish oil supplements are the best supplements for weight loss on the market right now. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help retain the 1:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. This, in turn, helps reduce inflammation in the body. When the inflammation is low in your body, it will encounter lesser number of harmful free oxygen radicals. As a result, your body will start functioning normally, your metabolic rate will improve, and you will start to lose weight. Additionally, fish oil is good for your heart health and helps treat skin and hair problems (33).

How To Consume

Take fish oil supplements as per your doctor’s recommendation.

31. Green Tea

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Servings/Day – 2-4 cups

Best Time To Consume – Breakfast, post-lunch, and pre-dinner

Calories – 2 calories

Consumed for thousands of years, green tea is the best beverage for weight loss. It contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a phytonutrient that has antioxidant properties. It helps scavenge the harmful free oxygen radicals that mess with the normal functioning of your body (34). So, by drinking green tea regularly, you can shed the pounds by laser attacking the root cause of weight gain.

How To Consume

Prepare a cup of green tea by bringing a cup of water to a boil. Remove from flame and add a teaspoon of green tea leaves. Let it steep for 3 minutes. Strain it and drink. You can also use green tea bags if you are traveling.

There you have it – 31 superfoods for weight loss that will help you shred the inches quickly. Make sure you follow other healthy habits like regular exercising, taking rest, meditating, avoiding too much alcohol, and having some ‘me time.’ Follow these and you will feel better inside and out. That’s a guarantee. Good luck!

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Charushila is an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and a full-time contributor to Diet & Weight Loss at Stylecraze. She believes that food has healing powers and eating good food is the best way to lose weight. A binge eater-turned-fitness enthusiast, Charushila likes to share her knowledge and experience with the world. When she is not working, she loves to cook healthy food, watch movies, travel, workout, and read Bengali literature.