Superfoods are not only packed with nutrients and antioxidants to keep us healthy, but some are bursting into the news as efficient weight-loss foods. Is this fact or fiction? Here are three superfoods and what they can really do for your waistline.
Matcha is being hailed as a new miracle weight-loss superfood. It’s basically a powdered form of green tea leaves that have been steamed and then dried. Since these leaves contain an ingredient called EGCG which boosts metabolism, it can help you knock off the pounds. Research has also found that green tea’s antioxidants called catechins (of which EGCG is one) can help to reduce your amount of body fat if you drink tea containing 690mg of catechins daily for three months. One gram of matcha (which would be a serving) contains 105mg of total catechin content, so you’d have to have over six cups a day.
Tips for Trying it: Don’t forget that matcha still contains caffeine so you might not be able to have six cups every day. However, you can still reap the benefits from smaller amounts – it’s 10 times more powerful than green tea when it comes to its antioxidant content! Besides, if you drink this tea instead of sugary drinks or coffee, you’ll be cutting calories anyway.
You might not realise that those strands of seaweed in your sushi can actually help you fight fat. Research from the University of Newcastle has found that a substance called alginate which is found in kelp can prevent your gut from absorbing fat by up to 75 percent. However, other clinical trials are required.
Tips for Trying it: It can be good to eat seaweed because it’s low in calories. If you try it, go easy on the stuff, though. It can sometimes contain too many nutrients which in excess can be bad for you, such as iodine. Eat it in moderation, such as by having one or two tablespoons every week.
There are many seaweed supplements around but sometimes they’re only listed as ‘kelp’, even though there are a variety of types of algae out there. Do your research into them to find out exactly what the product contains as sometimes the side-effects can be harmful. You should also speak to your doctor before taking supplements (especially if you have a health condition, are breastfeeding, or you’re pregnant).
Hummus is filled with chickpeas that fill you up because they’re a great source of fibre and protein. These keep your energy going for longer, which could prevent you from reaching for unhealthy snacks during the day. A study in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences found that when people ate hummus, they ingested more fibre, polyunsaturated fats and less sugar than those who didn’t eat hummus. Added to this, the study found that people who ate hummus tended to be healthier eaters. Overall, the people in the study who ate hummus had an average of eight percent smaller waists than their non-hummus eating counterparts.
Tips for Trying it: When shopping for hummus, choose one that has olive oil for an extra nutrient boost. If it bothers you that store-bought varieties sometimes contain preservatives or anti-foaming agents (a type of silicone), make your own hummus. When doing so, wash chickpeas out of the can before mashing them – this lowers their sodium content, making it a healthier snack for which your waist will thank you.