4 Super nutrients that fight fat

The news about all the amazing ways eating-NOT dieting-can improve your health, help you lose weight and give you all-day energy just keeps getting better and better. In fact, new research shows that certain nutrients found in loads of foods are powerful factors when it comes to balancing blood sugar and encouraging weight loss. Here are four that can have a powerful effect on your weight, your energy level and your long-term health.

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1. CALCIUM

Scientists aren't sure how calcium burns body fat-some believe it reduces the fat-producing effects of a steroid hormone called calcitriol. What we do know is that it works: Researchers at the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie diet that contained three daily servings of calcium rich dairy lost 70% more weight and 64% more body fat than those who ate just one serving of dairy a day.

WHAT TO EAT:

Fat-free milk and low-fat dairy, spinach, kale, broccoli, and white beans

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2. VITAMIN D

A landmark study from Tufts-New England Medical Center showed that low levels of vitamin D raise a person's risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 46%. Researchers believe vitamin D quells cellular inflammation that contributes to diabetes. Plus, your body needs D to absorb calcium-and together, they can help fight diabetes: According to the Nurses' Health Study, an ongoing investigation of more than 83,000 women, those who consumed more than 1,200 mg of calcium and more than 800 IU of vitamin D a day were 33% less likely to have developed diabetes than those taking in less of both nutrients.

WHAT TO EAT:

Salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, fortified whole grain cereal, fortified fat-free milk, and Swiss cheese

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3. OMEGA-3s

New science published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women who ate a balanced diet including omega-3s lost 1 1โ„2 more pounds of torso fat than women on the same exact diet but minus the omega-3s. These healthy fats slow the rate of digestion, which makes you feel fuller longer, so you eat fewer calories throughout the day.

WHAT TO EAT:

Tofu, enriched eggs, shrimp, salmon, tuna, walnuts, flax, and flaxseed oil

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4. FIBER

Foods high in fiber are nutrient-rich, filling, and low in calories-a combination that makes them weight loss wonders. According to a study done at the University of Minnesota, people who stuck to higher-fiber diets lost 2 to 3 pounds more per month than those who followed lower-fiber diets. Fiber triggers hormones that control appetite, which also helps with weight loss. Plus, both soluble and insoluble fiber help control blood sugar: The soluble type dissolves in water and forms a thick gel during digestion, which can interfere with and slow down carbohydrate and glucose absorption in the intestines, explains Quinn. Insoluble fiber doesn't dissolve in water. It stays solid and moves quickly through the digestive tract, so intestines have less time to absorb carbohydrates, and blood sugar levels stay even.

WHAT TO EAT:

Whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, barley, oatmeal and oat bran, apples, pears, citrus fruits, carrots, beans, and artichokes

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