Food

8 Natural Nutrients To Aid Weight Loss

Pallavi Srivastava
Are you exercising yourself to exhaustion to see that hard-to-come-by dip in the weighing machine? Running out of diet ideas that will work? Losing energy but not so much flab? Weight loss programs generally lead to a frustrating point where despite your best efforts you feel you've reached a dead-end; nothing you do will budge that needle to the next lower reading - and you will be doing everything you can - even taking off your denims before you stand on the weighing scale! Sigh...

Well, don't lose hope. You aren't alone. We all reach a stalemate in our weight loss initiatives. What's needed at this juncture is a dash of smart catalysts - nutrients that can provide that much needed nudge to your body's metabolism in burning away extra calories. Here's a list of some commonly available foods that contain nutrients that can accelerate your progress in losing those extra kilos:

Capsaicin

The next speed dial on your weight loss directory ought to be hot peppers. Hot peppers contain a nutrient called capsaicin, which has long been associated with losing weight. The hotter a pepper is, the more capsaicin it contains. And greater would be its effect in boosting metabolism and weight loss. If you like spicy foods, this should be a natural addition to your weight loss armory. Capsaicin is also helpful in reducing cholesterol and in maintaining blood sugar levels among several other health benefits.

Calcium

Low fat dairy products, unsweetened soy milk, almonds, canned fishes like sardines, dark leafy greens, and vegetables like ladies' fingers, broccoli and beans are rich sources of calcium. Calcium together with vitamin D helps shed flab. Fat cells contain calcium and research shows that greater the amount of calcium present in a fat cell, higher will be the amount of fat that the cell will burn. Calcium also prevents the absorption of fat into your bloodstream by binding to some of it present in your gastro-intestinal tract. Including more of the above-mentioned calcium-rich foods into your diet will boost your journey to your dream physique.

Vitamin D
However for calcium to work you need to have your share of vitamin D - naturally present in very few foods like salmon, and usually available as a dietary supplement. Mostly, vitamin D is produced endogenously when UV rays from the sun penetrate the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. With more and more hours spent indoors, a lot of people are deficient in this nutrient. Let's see how vitamin D promotes weight loss: Studies show that vitamin D helps body cells respond better to insulin, a hormone that helps the body cells absorb glucose and release energy. In other words if your cells are insulin insensitive, the calories you consume will end up getting stored as fat, leading to obesity.

Low levels of vitamin D also lead to higher levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), which in turn leads to fat cells storing greater amounts of fat. Vitamin D deficiency is also known to subdue the production of leptin, a hormone that signals your brain to stop eating. If you're not into taking supplements, ensure that you spend sometime out in the open everyday to naturally replenish your body's vitamin D.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Next you should look at including more of flaxseeds, walnuts, beans, fishes and olive oil into your diet. These foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which switch on the fat-burning enzymes in our bodies. Including more of soybeans, kidney beans, salmons and sardines in your diet will also have a feel-good effect in you. Omega 3s are helpful in boosting mood, which can bring down the need for comfort eating. Omega 3s also enhance leptin signaling, thus bringing down appetite. Those who do not mind taking dietary increments should go for fish oil supplements, which are again rich in omega 3s. Not only do they promote weight loss but also keep the body healthy and glowing.

Monounsaturated fatty acids

Olive oil, peanuts, seeds and almonds are also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs. MUFAs are those nutrients that help regulate blood sugar and reduce appetite. MUFAs are especially known to be good for belly fat and for improving the body's thermogenesis, or the rate at which the body burns fat. And cheer up folks, for MUFAs are found in delicious avocados, and hold your breath, chocolates too! However, don't expect to slim down if you decide to gorge on chocolates.

Ketone

Raspberry Ketone found in red raspberries has a chemical structure similar to capsaicin and works likewise in promoting weight loss. Including fresh raspberries in your diet will therefore give a boost to your body's thermogenesis (explained above). Raspberry ketone also enhances norepinephrine levels, a neuro-hormone that boosts metabolic rate, fat-burning and better fat distribution in the body.

Green tea

Green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that prevents the breakdown of norepinephrine (described above). It also contains a group of antioxidants called catechins that help the body burn fat. Additionally, green tea is also known to curb appetite. This is surely a must-have for all those corporate honchos who love distressing with nicotine breaks and emotional eating!


Caffeine

Caffeine is certainly no nutrient. And yet it can have a positive role to play in shedding extra flab, when taken in moderation. Commonly found in coffee, tea and soft drinks, caffeine needn't be shunned completely. Research has shown it to be an effective supplement for athletes and is even known to promote aspects of a healthy life. Caffeine binds to fat cells and inhibits the storage of dietary fat in the fat cells. Thus the dietary fat is available to be released as energy - especially advantageous during physical labor or workouts.
So, take your pick of these foods/ nutrients to supplement your weight loss program - especially if you have reached a roadblock with your smart workout training and diet strategies.
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