Healthy Food Choices for Faster Weight Loss
The bewildering array of foods in the supermarket, all of them shouting “I'm healthy,” is enough to give you a headache. If you want to lose weight, though, it's important to understand what foods really are healthy. There are several key issues for you to consider: nutrient-dense, no (or minimal) processing, ingredients and additives.
The Role of Nutrient Dense Foods
Nutrient-dense foods should be the mainstay of your weight loss meal plans. These are the foods that are low in calories but provide you with lots of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber. Build your menus around fruits, vegetables, whole grains and high quality proteins from meat, fish, dairy or poultry, with some healthy fats like olive oil.
As you'll notice, most of the foods in the group above are not processed or only minimally processed. That means they are more likely to retain vitamins and minerals. There are some exceptions, however. Frozen fruits and vegetables that were processed in season often have more nutrition than those fresh in the store because they spent less time in transit from field to freezer. Yogurt offers beneficial probiotics, which plain milk doesn't have.
Avoid Most Processed Foods
Processed foods by their very nature contain additives, such as preservatives, artificial colors and flavors. They are also more likely to be high in sugar, salt and fat, because those ingredients promote taste and entourage you to eat more. You should also pay attention to the kind of ingredients – if it's a grain product, for example, is it primarily made from whole grains?
What about organic foods? There's a lot of debate about whether organic foods are healthier and more nutritious – research results vary. However, one advantage of organic fruits and vegetables is that they won't contain the more toxic pesticides and herbicides. Nor will they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), if that's important to you.
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