You already know that nutrients like fiber, protein, and monounsaturated fats are necessary to sustain long-term health. Now, our Diet Doctor, Mike Roussell, phD, outlines the best ways to add 8 of these super nutrients to your diet so that you can optimize your weight-loss progress.
1. Monounsaturated fats: Replacing carbohydrates in your diet with monounsaturated fats will help you slim down by shuttling fat away from your midsection (See my Ask the Diet Doctor column on this topic for a more in-depth explanation).
Where to get it: Avocados, Macadamia nuts, and olive oil are great sources of monounsaturated fats. They also come packaged with great nutrients such as antioxidants (in olive oil), fiber (in avocado), and B-vitamins (in macadamia nuts).
2. EGCG: EGCG or Epigallocatechin gallate is an antioxidant found in green tea (and put in most weight-loss supplements available today). EGCG can increase thermogenesis or heat production through extra calorie burning and the use of stored fat as energy. Some research also shows that EGCG can stop the growth of new fat cells.
Where to get it: The greatest weight loss effects of EGCG are seen when combined with caffeine, as it naturally occurs in green tea.
3. Raspberry ketones: Raspberry ketones are an antioxidant found in raspberries that preliminary research shows have some interesting fat loss effects. Raspberry ketones can increase the production of the muscle-energizing, fat-burning hormone adiponectin as well as directly increasing the burning of stored fat.
Where to get it: You can't come close to getting enough raspberry ketones via eating raspberries so to reap these benefits you'll need to take a concentrated raspberry ketone supplement (they are inexpensive and available at more health food stores). Keep an eye out for more about raspberry ketones and weight loss as new research gets published.
4. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA is one of the two omega-3 fats found in oily fish like salmon. DHA can stop growth of young fat cells and actually causes them to die, says research published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Where to get it: To get more DHA in your diet, you can eat more oily fish or just take a fish oil supplement. If you are a vegetarian, pick up an algae-based DHA supplement to reap the same benefits.
5. Acetic acid: Vinegar, a dilute form of acetic acid, has potent glucose-lowering effects. One study in Italy found that when participants added just more than1 tablespoon of vinegar to their meal (as salad dressing) they experienced a 30 percent decrease in their post-meal blood sugar levels. Controlling blood sugar remains an essential component to weight loss and maintaining a lean body.
Where to get it: Adding vinegar to salads should be standard protocol, but if you can manage to find chocolate balsamic vinegar, it makes an excellent addition to a protein-packed chocolate smoothie.
6. Protein: Protein from lean sources like beef, poultry, fish, dairy, or soy are weight loss rock stars. The amino acids that make up protein cause your body to release the fat-burning and energy-stabilizing hormone glucagon. The process of digesting protein also stimulates your body to release the satiety hormone CCK. This one-two punch combined with the fact that it takes your body more energy to digest and breakdown protein compared to carbohydrates or fat makes it a must-have at every meal throughout your day.
Where to get it: The possibilities are endless, but lean proteins like Greek yogurt , cottage cheese, and organic grilled chicken strips are especially convenient.
7. Caffeine: Caffeine is one of the most potent weight loss compounds available to you each and every day. Caffeine blocks the breakdown of a compound call camp, which is responsible for mobilizing stored fats so they can be burned as energy.
Where to get it: If you are looking for a bigger fat-burning boost, then make sure to choose black tea over green tea or light roast coffee over dark roast for a larger dose of caffeine.
8. Fiber: Fiber is often touted to be a great nutrient for weight loss because it slows down digestion, allowing for sustained energy and stable blood sugar. However fiber can also optimize hormones released during digestion that are responsible for feelings of hunger and satiety.
Where to get it: Try to get your fiber in its raw form instead of from foods that have been overly processed. The processing of fiber can change its chemical make-up, which can decrease its effectiveness at promoting satiety or lowering cholesterol. Next time you have the choice between oatmeal and cereal made from baked oat crisps, opt for regular oatmeal.