Losing weight is not easy. Our bodies evolved to store fat to protect against periods of famine, but since millions of us are now eating way more than our bodies need, we end up with too much fat. To lose it, you need to trick your body into thinking you really are starving by taking in fewer calories than you burn.
Luckily, beyond calorie restriction, there are a few things you can do to jumpstart and extend your weight loss in a healthy way. Fruits that contain the antioxidant anthocyanin (a flavonoid) have been shown in multiple studies to increase the effects of a weight loss diet. You can usually spot an anthocyanin-rich fruit because it will be some shade of red or purple. Here are 7 great ones to add to your daily meal plan.
1. Tart Cherries
Tart cherries are a fantastic thing to eat when you’re trying to lose weight. The University of Michigan did a rat study in which it determined that over the course of 12 weeks, rats fed tart cherries had a 9% greater reduction in belly fat than rats fed a so-called Western diet. The cherries actually altered the way the animals’ fat genes worked.
Tart cherries have also been linked to heart health and a reduction in inflammation, making them a great all around choice.
2. Berries of All Kinds
This is great news, because you won’t get bored with every type of berry to choose from. Fruits in this category are full of healthy polyphenols, which not only help you lose weight, they actually stop fat from forming. A study out of Texas Women’s University discovered that mice who received 3 daily servings of berry or berry powder reduced the expected formation of fat cells by 73%.
Berries are fantastic plain, sprinkled into oatmeal, yogurt, or salads, and even dried or powdered. With this many options, it should be easy to get a little berry with each of your meals.
We may avoid watermelon on the assumption that it is mostly sugar and well, water, but it is actually quite healthy for you. According to the University of Kentucky, eating watermelon may lower your fat accumulation and improve lipid profiles to boot.
Watermelon juice is also credited with a reduction in post-workout muscle soreness. Though largely a summer fruit, when it’s available, you should feel free to have all the watermelon you want.
4. Ruby Red Grapefruit
This breakfast staple is great for reducing belly fat and lowering cholesterol levels. In fact, participants in a six-week study who ate grapefruit with every meal shrunk their waists by an inch on average. Researchers think the reason is down to the powerhouse combination of phytochemicals and vitamin C found in this citrus fruit.
Grapefruit is fun to eat, too. Simply slice it in half and scoop out the segments with a spoon. It also gives a nice tart zing to salads.
5. Pink Lady Apples
Apples in general are a great source of soluble fiber, which becomes gel-like in your stomach and helps you feel full longer. The Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center reports that every time you build in 10 more grams of soluble fiber to your diet, belly fat reduces by 3.7% over a five-year period.
That means that apples can assist your weight loss by cutting food cravings, as well as continue to slim your waistline years into the future. Pink Lady apples have been found to have the most flavonoid antioxidants, making them top among a lot of great apple varieties for weight loss.
6. Nectarines, Peaches & Plums
This family of fruits (stone fruits) is known to help prevent metabolic syndrome, which is simply a name for a group of risk factors tied to obesity and obesity-related diseases. Diabetes is the prime example of a metabolic disorder, and belly fat is a serious risk factor for it.
Stone fruits are high in phenolic compounds that play a part in instructing the behavior of fat genes. They are also lower in sugars than many other fruits, making them ideal for dieters.
Despite being so sweet in taste, pears are predominantly water and fiber, two things that really aid weight loss. You will stay full longer, even though a 100 gram serving of pear only has 56 calories. The fiber also supports healthy digestion and elimination, so that you don’t feel bogged down and bloated.
As a bonus, the vitamin C and vitamin A in pears fight free radical damage and reduce inflammation. That helps you look younger and feel great overall. Just be sure to choose fresh or frozen pears, as canned pears tend to be packed in sugary syrup.
When you’re on a diet, fruit should be your primary source of sugar. It’s something that the body needs for fuel, but the refined sugars in so many processed foods are excessive and harmful. You don’t need to worry about the sugar in fruit very much as long as you eat the whole fruit rather than just the juice. The fiber you’ll get helps modulate the release of sugar into your bloodstream, avoiding a spike and sudden drop in glucose levels. That’s important not only to protect against type 2 diabetes, but also to reduce the food cravings that happen when your blood sugar crashes.
Aim to eat at least a serving of one of these fruits with each meal to amplify your weight loss results – and to enjoy the sweet flavor that’s a gift from nature. Best of luck on your weight loss journey!