Foods that curb appetite
Leverage these natural foods to feel fuller longer and help ward off the urge to overeat.
Imagine trying to tackle weight management goals with a healthy diet plus exercise. Except you get hungry frequently and don’t feel truly full after eating. All the daily stresses and tempting sweets only make the situation worse. Sound familiar? Fortunately, there are foods that can make it easier to rein in appetite and cut down on overall calorie intake.
Beans and lentils
Skip the refined carbohydrates, and go for some starchy legumes instead. Beans and lentils satisfy the appetite better because they’re packed with protein and fiber. The soluble fiber, in particular, can form a thick gel-like substance with water and slow the passage of food through the digestive tract. This helps both enhance and prolong fullness.
Green leafy vegetables
The benefits of leafy greens go beyond powerful nutrition. The photosynthetic membranes of green leaves, known as thylakoids, have been shown to influence hormones that regulate hunger and satiety. The result is decreased appetite and fewer fat and sugar cravings. Besides loading up on fresh spinach, kale and collard greens, thylakoid-rich spinach extracts are also available as supplements.
Nuts and seeds
When consumed in moderation, nuts and seeds can aid appetite control. They contain a uniquely satisfying mix of healthy fats, protein and fiber. Their high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) appears to curb overeating through effects on hunger and satiety hormones. The delicious choices include almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios and sunflower seeds.
Of the three macronutrients—protein, carbohydrates and fats—protein is the most fullness inducing. It also takes the most calories to digest and metabolize and helps build lean muscle, which benefits overall weight management. Increase protein intake by adding more eggs, cheese, fish, chicken, beef, beans or nuts to your diet. Supplement with protein shakes if needed. Worth mentioning are the fast-absorbing whey protein, which can quickly trigger feelings of fullness, and the slow-digesting casein protein, useful for maintaining fullness for longer time periods.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar helps reduce appetite in a few different ways. The main active substance, acetic acid, slows the rate at which foods leaves the stomach after consuming a high-carb meal. It also diminishes the impact of such a meal on blood sugar and insulin levels and the ensuing feelings of hunger. Moreover, acetic acid in the gut may send appetite-suppressing signals to the brain.
The root of the konjac plant is rich in glucomannan, a soluble fiber that absorbs up to 50 times its weight in water. This volume expansion produces a temporary sensation of fullness in the stomach, allowing one to eat less afterwards. Konjac root can be consumed as prepared foods known as konnyaku (Japanese yam cake) and shirataki noodles, as well as glucomannan supplements.
Garcinia cambogia fruit
Also called malabar tamarind, this tropical fruit has a well-recognized appetite-suppressing effect. The active substance, hydroxycitric acid (HCA), works by increasing the levels of the appetite and mood regulating brain chemical serotonin, and makes it harder for the body to store fat. Garcinia cambogia is available as a dried fruit rind and also in supplement form.
Prepared from meticulously harvested stigmas of its flowers, saffron is more than an expensive exotic spice. Extracts of saffron can enhance the balance of brain chemicals including serotonin and dopamine, and help lift mood, lower appetite and reduce food cravings. So for more flavorful meals and a happier relationship with food, try saffron in recipes or as supplements.
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In short, natural appetite controllers can be useful in facilitating your health goals while giving you a greater sense of satisfaction from every meal, every day.