(NaturalNews) With more than one-third of the U.S. adult population now clinically obese, and roughly half of the overall population veering into overweight territory, there is no better time than the present to begin taking a serious inventory of your diet to see how it might be affecting your own figure. And if you already struggle with weight issues, perhaps it is time to start eating in ways that will help promote natural weight loss without the need for diet pills, drugs, or surgery later on down the road. Here are four foods you can begin incorporating into your diet today to help promote weight loss:
1) Avocados. Though they are relatively high in fat, avocados will not actually make you fat, at least not when included as part of an otherwise healthy diet. As it turns out, the monounsaturated fat content in avocados actually helps to reduce the systemic inflammation that can lead to high cholesterol, as well as prevent the blood sugar spikes that communicate to your body to store excess calories as fat, particularly around your midsection. Both of these actions can help balance your hormones and prevent excess cortisol production, which can lead to obesity.
Avocados are also rich in potassium, which aids in the conversion of food and nutrients into energy and muscle tissue. The B vitamins, amino acids, fiber, and sheer density of avocados -- anyone who eats avocados will tell you just how filling they are -- all play a role in maintaining a healthy weight as well. Substituting an avocado as a snack in place of, say, chips or crackers will go a long way in helping you to achieve your weight loss goals naturally.
2) Green tea. Because of its metabolism-boosting properties, green tea is an excellent addition to virtually any weight maintenance program. Several studies have shown that drinking green tea can help induce thermogenesis, or the production of heat inside the body, as well as stimulate fat oxidation. Green tea is also rich in polyphenols and catechins, as well as one catechin in particular, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to stimulate the burning of fat.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry found that green tea actually promotes weight loss on the genetic level, as it appears to trigger genes that not only help shed excess body fat, but also inhibit the formation of new fat cells at the digestive tract level. EGCG in particular was observed to prevent body fat accumulation, decrease lipid absorption, and reduce levels of inflammatory cytokines throughout the body (http://www.naturalnews.com/034153_green_tea_weight_loss.html).
3) Citrus fruits. Lemons, limes, oranges, and other citrus fruits are great for fat loss as well because they are rich in flavonoids, a class of antioxidants that not only help boost immunity and fight inflammation, but also assist the liver in burning fat and controlling weight. A 2009 study out of Canada found that one unique citrus flavonoid in particular, naringenin, effectively neutralizes many of the damaging effects of eating a poor, "Western-style" diet.
Running contrary to many of the more popular theories surrounding weight loss, citrus fruits can oftentimes just be added to a normal diet to exert their weight-loss effects, without actually having to replace other sources of calories. Based on the research, eating citrus regularly, or simply squeezing fresh lemon or lime into your water every morning, can help significantly improve glucose metabolism, promote fat loss, and prevent the formation of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other conditions associated with obesity (http://www.naturalnews.com/026699_fat_fruit_weight.html).
4) Coconut oil. The low-fat craze has sent many people running for the hills away from foods that contain fat, and especially saturated fat, which has been unduly vilified as some kind of health threat. In reality, however, fats, and saturated fat in particular, are extraordinarily important and beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight, as these necessary nutrients promote the health of your heart and circulatory system, bones, vital organs, brain and central nervous system, and immune system. A lack of healthy saturated fat, in other words, can actually cause your body to go into shut-down mode, as each of these systems is unable to properly function without it (http://www.naturalnews.com/036156_Coconut_oil_superfood_healing.html).
And along with this decline in overall health can also come an inability to maintain a healthy weight. As it turns out, simple carbohydrates and excess starches, which are found in high volume in the typical American diet, rather than fats, are a primary cause of obesity today. Numerous studies have found that maintaining a diet high in saturated fats and low in starches and carbohydrates is actually one of the most effective ways to shed the excess pounds and keep them off (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031111064519.htm).