Ask anybody who has tried to lose weight… The worst part is the hunger.
No one wants to deal with an empty, growling stomach while trying to stave off temptation.
But there’s an easier way. Sometimes losing weight is just a matter of eating foods that work for you—not against you.
Some foods naturally suppress your appetite. A little bit of them goes a long way. One study found that adding just one to your diet can cause you to lose over a half pound a week.1
Here are five of the best foods for keeping hunger pangs away.
Regular Health Watch readers know that avocados are among the world’s healthiest foods. They are an excellent source of heart-healthy fats. And they’re nutrient-dense, containing some 20 vitamins and minerals.2
For years, doctors told dieters to avoid avocados because they are high in fat. That advice was nonsense.
Avocados are rich in a fat known as oleic acid. It causes nerve fibers in the gut to send early satiety signals to the brain. That means you feel full fast…and end up eating fewer calories.3
A recent study of obese adults found that if they ate one avocado a day for six weeks—and changed nothing else in their diet—they reduced their body fat by as much as 10%.4
Ordinarily we recommend organic fruits and vegetables. But with avocadoes, it’s less important. Even conventionally farmed ones have low levels of chemical residue. That’s because few pesticides are needed to raise avocadoes. And the thick peel keeps agrichemicals out of the flesh.
The plant compound capsaicin not only gives chili peppers their hot taste, it also curbs hunger.
One study found that when people consumed hot peppers with their breakfast, they had decreased appetite all morning. And they ate less for lunch.5
Capsaicin turns on taste receptors in your mouth that cause a burning sensation. This leads to two actions that aid weight loss.
First, it activates the sympathetic nervous system to fire off satiety signals. And it speeds your metabolism so you burn more calories.
Perhaps you’ve seen capsaicin capsules sold as weight loss supplements. Don’t bother with them. Research shows that capsaicin capsules do not stimulate mouth receptors and therefor have almost no effect on weight loss.6
If there is just one food that you should add to your diet to lose weight, this is it. Flaxseed is rich in omega-3 fats and fiber. Both are powerful appetite suppressants.
The best news? The fiber keeps you feeling full and has zero calories. As it expands in your digestive tract, it causes a bulking effect that keeps away hunger. Studies show that consuming flaxseed fiber in a drink or as a tablet significantly reduces overall calorie intake.
When eaten with carbohydrate-rich food, the omega-3 fats in flaxseed reduce blood sugar spikes. This means you’ll have an easier time controlling your appetite.7
And there’s a bonus… Canadian researchers found that adding flaxseed to the diet of people with high blood pressure lowered their systolic reading by an average of 15 points. Their diastolic reading dropped 7 points.
Be sure to use ground flaxseed, not whole. This form is easier to digest. Add ground flaxseed, sometimes called linseed, to salads, steamed veggies, broiled fish, smoothies, and even soups.8
Spinach contains thylakoids. These are plant structures that aid in photosynthesis. When you eat spinach, thylakoids cause beneficial hormone changes.
They increase your level of a satiety hormone called cholecystokinin. It helps you feel full.
Thylakoids also cause a drop in levels of the hormone ghrelin. It triggers hunger. Plus, thylakoids contain the hormone leptin. It signals your brain to stop eating.
One study found that thylakoids suppress the urge for sweets.
Spinach is one of the most versatile vegetables. Enjoy it cooked, or in salads, soups, or smoothies.
Greek and Icelandic Yogurts
These are strained to remove liquid whey. This results in a thicker texture with less sugar. And they are higher in protein than other yogurts.
Every 5 ounces of plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt contains about 15 grams of protein. Regular fat-free plain yogurt has less than half that amount.
Research shows that eating high-protein foods makes you feel fuller longer.
One study found that when people increased their protein intake by 15-30% of their caloric intake, they reported a marked decrease in hunger and an increase in feelings of fullness. They ate almost 500 fewer total calories a day.
After 16 weeks, they lost an average of 11 pounds.9
Another benefit? And Greek and Icelandic yogurts are high in probiotics. These good bacteria keep your digestive system healthy and are linked to weight loss.10
Just make sure you choose no-sugar-added varieties of yogurt. Many brands are packed with sugar.
Editor’s Note: What’s the secret to lasting weight loss? Here’s a hint: It starts—and ends—in your brain. But it has NOTHING to do with willpower… Get all the details HERE.