Energy and weight loss go hand-in-hand. Think about it: When you're full of energy, you're going to crush it at the gym and see results. So why not eat foods that will boost energy AND weight loss? Women's Health asked Amanda Bontempo, M.S., R.D., an ambulatory oncology dietitian at New York University Langone Medical Center, to explain which foods boost your mojo while helping you drop pounds. Read on to get a little taste of this double-duty heaven.
1. Beans: Legumes like black beans and lentils are packed with resistant starches. “They’re a special kind of fiber that act as prebiotics to promote healthy gut bacteria and boost energy,” says Bontempo. They slowly release protein and energy, keeping you full to promote weight loss. “When cooking legumes, include some kind of high vitamin C food item such as citrus or tomato to increase iron absorption,” recommends Bontempo.
2. Oats: As a whole grain, oats are free of the refining process that can tank the health benefits of other grains. “Oats have soluble fiber, which means they absorb water, cholesterol, and help you avoid a sluggish immune system,” says Bontempo. Besides filling you up, that soluble fiber helps regulate your blood glucose levels, delivering a steady stream of energy, rather than spikes and crashes. “Seek out steel-cut and rolled oats over instant varieties to avoid craving-inducing added sugars,” says Bontempo. “Pair them with a topping of chopped nuts or Greek yogurt for added protein and longer-lasting satiety.”
>> Recipe: Reese's Overnight Oats
3. Sweet potatoes, yams and winter squash: Bring on the delicious seasonal options! Rather than shedding their skin, use it to your benefit. “Other than butternut, kabocha, and spaghetti squash, you can eat the skin,” says Bontempo. “It provides added nutrients. Plus, the fiber in these starchy vegetables will give you a slow and steady increase in energy.” Complex carbohydrates work to keep you full and promote portion control.
4. Chia and flax seeds: These are popular for a reason — rich in fiber and heart-healthy fats, they help keep your digestive tract moving smoothly, which is key for optimal metabolism. “Chia seeds are unique in their ability to absorb liquids, creating a gel that helps you feel fuller longer,” says Bontempo. “They’re trendy now, but they’re an ancient secret for sustained energy and metabolism.”
>> Read more: 12 Ways to Use Chia Seeds
5. Veggies in the cabbage family: “Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, and kale promote weight loss and help the body get rid of potential carcinogens,” says Bontempo. They’re super low-cal but have high fiber and water contents, which will work their special magic to keep you feeling satisfied. “Selenium and sulfur-rich, cruciferous vegetables help promote liver detoxification and optimal organ function for sustained energy,” says Bontempo. Bonus: They boost collagen production for healthy skin and hair.
Want to see the other five energy and weight loss boosting foods? Click here to read the original article from Women's Health!