A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that simply increasing the amount of fiber you eat—even if everything else about your diet stays the same—will help you lose weight just as successfully as if you were following a strict diet plan. Imagine that: just adding a handful of high-fiber foods is all you really need to do to jumpstart your quest to a Zero Belly summer!
And spring is the best time for finding high-fiber foods, because all of the farmer’s markets are stocked with fresh young spring greens—some of which are among the most fibrous foods on the planet. And these particular foods are also bursting with micronutrients that help turn off your fat-storage genes, leading to even more rapid, sustainable weight loss. But many of them will only be for sale for the next several weeks, so act now. Here are the 10 best spring foods for blasting away extra those winter pounds. And click here for the full Zero Belly Diet plan, and start losing weight while eating the foods you love!
This plant might look like celery, but if you’ve ever been adventurous enough to cook with it, you know that this tart vegetable loves to partner with fruit to become a sweet treat. (Just don’t eat the leaves, because they’re poisonous). Rhubarb is high in catechins, the same compound that gives green tea its belly-fat fighting properties. Catechins blast adipose tissue by triggering the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), and then speed up the liver’s capacity for turning that fat into energy.
These delicate spirals are packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids, and they are only around for a few weeks in early spring. Clean by removing any of the papery outer coating, then soaking them briefly in a bath of cold water with a bit of lemon and salt. Drain and then steam them for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the steamed fiddleheads to a skillet with a few tablespoons of melted butter and cook on each side for a minute or two. They’ll turn golden like asparagus. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
The consummate spring vegetable, asparagus is packed with fiber—just 4 spears of cooked asparagus has 1.2 grams of fiber. Add the plant’s anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and health-promoting antioxidants and you’ve got yourself a powerful weight-loss arrow in your quiver.
Rich in muscle-building protein, satiating fiber and vitamins A, C and K, spinach is one of the healthiest greens out there. It also contains powerful appetite-suppressing compounds called thylakoids. Add this leafy spring green to your meals liberally throughout your day and you’ll feel your cravings start to vanish.
With a mild sweet flavor, these wild onions, similar to leeks, are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Plus, like leeks they can pack up to 1 gram of fiber per ramp. You can eat them raw, make a pesto, or add them to eggs (with asparagus!) for an amazingly fresh tasting spring treat. Ramp season is quick, so grab them when you see them or else you just might miss them.
These bitter-sweet spring greens are bursting with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They are also a diuretic, which means they can help blast excess weight by helping your body get rid of extra fluids. A recent study found that steaming the greens increases their total antioxidant properties by 67 percent. And studies have found that this plant is protective against obesity as well as depression, fatigue, immune system problems, and even cancer.
One cooked medium artichoke contains a whopping 10.7 grams of fiber, and a half of a cup of artichoke hearts contains 7 grams of fiber. These numbers make artichokes one of the most potent high-fiber foods for weight loss.
An abundant spring green, nettles are also a powerful diuretic best enjoyed as a hot tea for cleansing the liver and ridding the body of excess fluids. By steeping the leaves in water and straining (a French press pot works great for this) you can avoid being stung by the tiny hairs that coat the leaf stems. This plant has been used for years in the UK as a springtime cleanse to rid the body of toxins after a winter filled with fatty foods.
Red Leaf Lettuce
One serving of red leaf lettuce is only 14 calories, but it’s bursting with fiber. It’s the one of the world’s greatest weight loss foods because it will fill you up and keep you feeling full for hours after you eat it.
While I don’t recommend that you go out and try the watercress soup diet (even if Elizabeth Hurley swears by it), this tiny herb is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. In fact, it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet and it’s only 2 calories per half cup. Add it to soups, salads, and smoothies for a belly-fighting boost.