For someone trying to shed a few pounds, the countless weight-loss strategies that have surfaced over the past years can be a little overwhelming and confusing. We all know a combination of exercise and dieting are the cornerstones of most weight-loss programs, but with too many choices, people spend more time thinking about losing weight than actually losing it.
While a variety of exercise programs allow for some flexibility, dieting often calls for stricter limitations and adjustments on the amount of food and water you take. But did you know certain foods actually help you burn more calories? And that drinking 17 ounces of water a day can increase your metabolic rate by up to 30%?
Here’s a closer look at how food and water can help you lose weight:
- Eat eggs for breakfast. A protein-rich breakfast can help make you snack less during the day and well into the evening. Studies show protein benefits the body in three ways: it makes you feel fuller, makes you less hungry, and increases calorie burn after eating. Other protein-rich foods include beans, nuts, turkey/chicken breast, tuna, salmon, tofu, and lean beef.
- Drink a glass of water before meals. Make that two glasses. Researchers from Virgina Tech University report that people who drink 1-2 glasses of water 30 minutes before every meal lose weight more quickly and lower their calorie intake for that meal. Plus, staying hydrated prevents your metabolism rate from dropping. So always carry a small bottle of water with you!
- Pair your salad with a vinegar-based dressing. The acetic acid in vinegar has been linked to prevention of body-fat accumulation. Research also shows it can help lower the body’s blood sugar response to foods you eat (digesting carbohydrates naturally trigger an increase in blood sugar), thereby making you feel fuller. Next time you feel like bringing out some lettuce and tomatoes, remember to opt for zesty vinaigrette rather than mayo-based dressings.
- A word about oats. Oats often confuse dieters since it contains both carbohydrates and fiber. That’s just because all sources of fiber contain carbohydrates. Oats are rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and fat levels in the body. Another great source of fiber? Eating apples before a meal are just as great in making you feel fuller; they also limit the body’s absorption of fat.
- A glass of wine a day. Wine has long been reputed to help reduce the risk of heart diseases. Exactly how? Wine contains reservatrol, which lowers blood cholesterol and therefore reduces a person’s risk of becoming overweight. Doctors do advice drinking moderately: a small glass a day is considered enough to get heart-healthy benefits. For people with existing ailments, it’s always best to consult a doctor as alcohol intake can worsen health problems or cause drug interactions.
- Unlikely suspects. Cinnamon and dark chocolate are surprisingly linked to lower blood sugar levels and increased weight loss. According to the USDA, up to two teaspoons of cinnamon a day helps reduce sugar levels. On the other hand, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants that not only help protect your nerves from inflammation and skin from UV damage, its bitter flavor is also known to aid in suppressing appetite. Definitely good news for chocolate lovers.
Whether you’re thinking about a new exercise regimen or about trying out another diet, one thing’s for sure – you need not look far for a little help in staying thin. Sometimes, it’s only a matter of reviewing your food and water intake that can make a difference.