You can’t go wrong with eating veggies. In fact, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet that contains plenty of vegetables on a regular basis can help you prevent heart disease, manage blood pressure, improve your digestive health, and help you manage your blood sugar levels.
Along with these health benefits, vegetables can help you meet your weight loss goals as well. One study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing your consumption of veggies could contribute to increased weight loss.
To learn more, we asked a couple of expert dietitians to weigh in on the best vegetables to eat for weight loss. And for more healthy weight loss tips, check out 5 Best Breakfast Habits for Belly Fat Loss.
Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that people love eating raw, steamed, or sautéed. And along with its versatility, it’s also a great addition to your eating plan when you’re trying to shed a few pounds.
“Broccoli contains antioxidants, which are known to lower the inflammation in the body, among other things. These nutrients in broccoli are unique in how they work,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements.
“This vegetable also provides the body with sulforaphane, an antioxidant plant compound that gives this vegetable most of its anti-inflammatory benefits. Sulforaphane works by lowering cytokines and NF-kB, the substances that drive the inflammation process. When these are abundant in the body and allowed to persist dangerous levels of inflammation can be reached.” As research shows that chronic inflammation can cause weight gain, being able to reduce it can help you lose weight.
Bell peppers are a delicious vegetable with a mild flavor, so they’re great for adding to different types of dishes.
“Bell peppers are ideal vegetables to add to a weight loss diet. They are low in calories and high in nutrients while also helping to create a sense of fullness after meals. This combination can help to prevent overeating throughout the rest of the day,” says Best.
In addition to supporting weight loss, “bell peppers are also packed full of nutrients that benefit the body in significant ways, yet most of the general public is unaware of how healthy they actually are. Red bell peppers are higher in vitamin C than oranges, which is an important nutrient for immune support benefits but also improves the absorption of iron.
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Things like onions, garlic, scallion, shallot, leek, and chives are considered alliums. These veggies are flavor-packed and great for a healthy meal plan, and because they’re so high in flavor, they can make up for higher-calorie flavor additives you may add to food.
“These low-calorie, high-flavor vegetables can be used in so many ways from soups to sauces, seasonings and salads, and more. One of the easiest ways to reduce total calories is to go for a whole-foods flavor and swap out ultra-processed dressings and sauces, soups, and other packaged foods that while may provide you with familiar flavors, they come with very little nutrients and lots of extra empty calories,” says Jonathan Isbill MS, RD, LD, Master’s in Nutrition and Dietetics, Registered Dietitian, Holistic Health Coach, and Educator.
As a bonus, Isbill notes that onions “are also a great source of whole food prebiotics to support a healthy microbiome balance and happy digestion.”
If you’re someone who can handle a little bit of spice in the kitchen, you may want to try adding some hot peppers to your next meal to support weight loss!
“I love adding hot peppers and chili peppers to someone’s meal plan to boost flavor and heat to their dishes. The interesting thing about veggies that come from the capsicum genus of plants is that they contain Capsaicin, which has been known to boost mood and metabolism and reduce inflammation while also promoting an endorphin release and giving some people an extra calorie burn. Capsaicin can heat up the body’s temperature and cause you to burn off a few extra calories thanks to this thermic effect of these foods,” says Isbill.
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Some people love beets, others hate them. But if you’re a beet-lover, you’ll be happy to know that they are packed with plenty of helpful nutrients to aid in weight loss.
“Being rich in nitrates, beets have been long appreciated by athletes and high performers as a way to increase nitric oxide in the body. This extra boost of NO can help fuel workouts, support blood flow, maximize recovery, and may even boost performance for some,” says Isbill. And when you get more out of your fat-burning workouts, you can support your weight loss goals.
“Many people enjoy beetroot juice, and you can also sauté their greens in stir-fry, add them to a salad, or blend them in a smoothie,” he adds.
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