Every time you walk into a supermarket, you face a YOLO moment: You Only Live Once. So how do you intend to play it? Do you want to seize excellence—grab the absolute best that life has to offer and take a deep bite, and be on your way to rapid weight loss? Or are you going to settle for something less?
The choice is the most important one you can make. Great food means not just great eating—it can mean a rockin’ body, perfect health and even a sharper brain. And toss some extra money in there, too: A study at the University of Florida found that for American women, gaining 25 pounds results in an average salary differential of $15,572. Eat the best food, and you live the best life.
The next time you drop by the market or order up a food delivery, make sure your grocery list contains as many of these foods as possible. The editors of Eat This, Not That! have crunched the nutritional numbers on every single food known to man to find you the 50 Healthiest Foods on the Planet—the highest in protein, with the best healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Each will lead to your healthiest and happiest life. And to discover the world’s easiest ways to slim down, don’t miss these essential 50 Best-Ever Weight-Loss Secrets From Skinny People!
For most Americans, tea is tea. However, in places like Japan, the UK, and large swaths of Southeast Asia, tea leaves are as diverse and nuanced as wine grapes. Not only does the flavor profile change dramatically between one tea variety and the next, but so do the health benefits. Not only can certain brews fight off various diseases, select teas have also been shown to rev the metabolism, quell hunger, slash waist-widening stress and shrink fat cells. When Taiwanese researchers studied more than 1,100 people over a 10-year period, they determined that those who drank tea had nearly 20 percent less body fat than those who drank none!
To ensure you brew the best cups for your weight loss goals, we’ve rounded up the most potent waist-whittling teas from around the world.
Get this: Green tea literally blasts away flab! Researchers in The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse attribute the fat-burning properties of green tea to catechins, specifically EGCG — the name of a group of antioxidative compounds that blast adipose tissue by revving the metabolism, increasing the release of fat from fat cells (particularly in the belly), and then speeding up the liver’s fat burning capacity. It gets better: Research suggests that combining regular green-tea drinking with exercise may maximize the weight loss benefits. In one study, participants who combined a daily habit of 4-5 cups of green tea with a 25-minute workout lost 2 more pounds than the non-tea-drinking exercisers. Eat This, Not That! loves tea so much, we made it part of our revolutionary new diet plan, The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse. Test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in one week!
Italian researchers in The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse found that drinking a cup of black tea per day improves cardiovascular function—and the more cups you drink, the more you benefit! Better cardiovascular function means you can breeze through that 5K you signed up for. And a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed that drinking 20 ounces of black tea daily causes the body to secrete five times more interferon, a key element of your body’s infection-protection arsenal.
Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the “red bush” plant, grown exclusively in the small Cederberg region of South Africa, near Cape Town. What makes rooibos tea particularly good for your belly is a unique and powerful flavonoid called Aspalathin. According to South African researchers, polyphenols and flavonoids found in the plant inhibits adipogenesis–the formation of new fat cells–by as much as 22 percent. The chemicals also help aid fat metabolism. Plus, Rooibos is naturally sweet, so you won’t need to add sugar. It’s also not technically a tea—it’s an herbal infusion. Want to give your metabolism a kick? Check out these 55 Best-Ever Ways to Boost Your Metabolism!
Another star of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, this fermented Chinese tea can literally shrink the size of your fat cells! To discover the brew’s fat-crusading powers Chinese researchers divided rats into five groups and fed them varying diets over a two month period. In addition to a control group, there was a group given a high-fat diet with no tea supplementation and three additional groups that were fed a high-fat diet with varying doses of pu-erh tea extract. The researchers found that the tea significantly lowered triglyceride concentrations (potentially dangerous fat found in the blood) and belly fat in the high-fat diet groups. Lose up to 10 pounds, like our test panelists, on The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse!
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
Newsflash: Vegetables can help you lose weight!
Okay, okay, we admit that’s not exactly breaking news, but did you know that when it comes to rapid weight loss some veggies reign supreme while others fall fairly flat in comparison? It’s true! Thanks to their specific nutritional profiles, certain produce-aisle picks can help you trim down by revving your metabolism, turning off belly fat genes and frying flab—and that’s on top of all their other health-boosting benefits.
These powerful veggies remind us a bit of those overachievers you loved to hate in high school—you know, the ones who not only got straight A’s, but also scored the hottest date to prom and got voted soccer captain, too. The primary difference between produce and Mr. Popular? Veggies don’t aim to make you jealous with their superhuman skills, they want you to use them to your advantage so you can reach your better body goals. Read on to learn which delicious picks fit the bill and discover delicious ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Protein Payout: 1 cup (cooked), 41 calories, 5 grams of protein
Popeye's favorite veggie is a great source of not only protein, but also vitamins A and C, antioxidants and heart-healthy folate. One cup of the green superfood has nearly as much protein as a hard-boiled egg—for half the calories. Looking to get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck? Be sure to steam your spinach instead of eating it raw. This cooking method helps retain vitamins and makes it easier for the body to absorb the green’s calcium content. Add a handful to soups, omelets, pasta dishes and veggie stir-fries, or simply steam it and top with pepper, garlic, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Or blend some into these 23 Best Protein Shake Recipes!
Protein Payout: 1 cup, 139 calories, 6 g protein
Tomatoes are packed with the antioxidant lycopene, which studies show can decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Just one cup of the sun-dried version will lend you 6 grams of satiating protein, 7 grams of fiber and ¾ of your RDA of potassium, which is essential for heart health and tissue repair. They’re also rich in vitamins A and K. Use them as a pizza topping, a tangy addition to salads, or snack on them right out of the bag.
Protein Payout: 1 medium vegetable, 60 calories, 4.2 g protein
Ghrelin is your body's "I'm hungry" hormone, which is suppressed when your stomach is full, so eating satiating high-fiber and high-protein foods is a no-brainer. The humble artichoke is a winner on both counts: It has almost twice as much fiber as kale (10.3 g per medium artichoke, or 40% of the daily fiber the average woman needs) and one of the highest protein counts among vegetables. Boil and eat the whole shebang as a self-contained salad (why not add a little goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes?),toss the leaves with your favorite greens and dressing, or peel and pop the hearts onto healthy pizzas and flatbreads and lose belly fat.
Protein Payout: 1 cup, 118 calories, 8 g protein
It's enough to make Popeye do a spit take: Despite their wimpy reputation, a cup of green peas contains eight times the protein of a cup of spinach. And with almost 100% of your daily value of vitamin C in a single cup, they’ll help keep your immune system up to snuff. Layer them into a mason jar salad or add them to an omelet to boost eggs' satiating power.
You may have heard that spicy hot peppers can help you scorch calories, but did you know that mild peppers can have the same effect? Thanks to a metabolism-boosting compound, dihydrocapsiate, and their high vitamin-C content, sweet red and green peppers can help you lose weight. A cup of these bell-shaped veggies serves up to three times the day’s recommended vitamin C—a nutrient that counteracts stress hormones which trigger fat storage around the midsection. For fat-blasting ways to cook with any of these best vegetables, don’t miss the 150+ weight-loss recipes in Zero Belly Cookbook!
In addition to warding off prostate, breast, lung and skin cancers, this flowery vegetable can also help you whittle your middle. According to experts, broccoli contains a phytonutrient called sulforaphane that increase testosterone and fights off body fat storage. It’s also rich in vitamin C ( a mere cup of the stuff can help you hit your daily mark), a nutrient that can lower levels of cortisol during stressful situations, helping those abs take center stage. The only downside? It can make some people with sensitive stomachs a bit gassy—which isn’t a good look if you’re planning to hit the beach or rock a tight-fitting outfit. That’s no reason to steer clear of this veggie on a day-to-day basis, though. Whip up our Garlicky Beef and Broccoli with Broccoli Noodles recipe to reap the belly-flattening benefits —just not the day before you need to look your leanest.
Pickles are low-cal, filled with fiber and covered in vinegar—which is all good news for your waistline. In fact, just one large pickle has 15 calories and 2 grams of belly-filling fiber, so eating three or four can actually leave you feeling pretty satiated for less than 100 calories! Every dieter knows that eating filling snacks are paramount to weight-loss success, but how does the vinegar help the fat-fighting cause? Studies show acidic foods help increase the rate at which the body burns off carbs by up to 40 percent—and the faster you burn off carbs, the sooner your body starts incinerating fat, which can help you get that lean look you crave. Add these tangy, pickled cucumbers to sandwiches and burgers or munch on them solo to start feeling more confident in your skivvies.