Weekly Wellness: Natural Appetite Suppressants?
COLUMBIA — As we continue our trek towards Thanksgiving, some of us may be concerned about ruining all of our hard work.
“I’ve been exercising daily, watching my calories… I’m SCARED that I’m going to blow it this holiday season.”
Fear not. Did you know that there are some natural appetite suppressants hiding in your cabinets, fridge, or waiting for you to buy them at the store? It’s TRUE!
Here’s a great list of food items that are found to be natural appetite suppressants…
- Nuts: Nuts don't just contain healthy fats to help keep your cholesterol low — they are also good sources of appetite-killing fiber, which digests slowly so it stays in your stomach much longer than other carbohydrates. A quarter-cup of almonds, for example, contains four grams of fiber.
- Oatmeal: Stay fuller longer with a bowl of oatmeal; half a cup of rolled oats contains five grams of fiber. Besides that, oatmeal can help increase your body's levels of the appetite-regulating hormone cholecystokinin, which may help control hunger in some people.
- Apples: An apple makes an ideal morning or afternoon snack; the fruit is a great source of fiber to keep you feeling full, and its high water content helps fill your belly, as well. Apples also contain pectin, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes that spur hunger.
- Spices: Studies have shown that spicy food can help keep you fuller longer as well as increase metabolism. A recent study, for example, found that people ate 60 fewer calories when cayenne pepper was added to their tomato soup (compared with those who ate non-spiced soup).
- Mint: The smell of mint is not only calming but also an effective appetite suppressant. Try burning a mint-flavored candle or drinking mint tea if you are trying to cut back on over-snacking.
- Avocado: Avocados are full of healthy monounsaturated fats, which help keep you full. Add half an avocado to a slice of toast for a breakfast that'll keep you full until lunch.
- Edamame: Half a cup of edamame is only 95 calories but contains over eight grams of protein, making the baby soy beans a good snacking choice.
- Leafy Greens: High water content and fiber also help leafy vegetables fill your stomach.
- Flaxseeds: Another great source of appetite-suppressing omega-3s, one tablespoon of flaxseeds contains 2.3 grams of omega-3s, not to mention three grams of stomach-filling fiber. Flaxseeds are also a good source of omega-6 fatty acids, which may increase levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone cholecystokinin.
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3s, protein, and fiber — all of which can help suppress hunger. Some people swear by chia seeds as a diet tool, since the seeds swell with water to fill your stomach, but this theory is mostly unsubstantiated.
- Eggs: Another protein-packed food is eggs, which studies have shown can help you control your appetite for up to 36 hours.
- Yogurt: Another excellent source of protein, yogurt has the added benefit of its fat-burning potential. Choose low- or nonfat Greek yogurt for added protein potential.
- Coffee: Some studies have found that caffeine may suppress your appetite for a short time, although the effects haven't been shown with long-term consumption.
- Lemon: Eating something sour can help curb sweet cravings, helping you feel satisfied after a meal. Lemon juice also contains pectin (a soluble fiber) that can help slow digestion and aid in weight loss.
- Vinegar: Studies have shown that vinegar may help keep you from feeling hungry by slowing stomach emptying; it also lowers the glycemic index of high-carb foods like pasta, which means it can help you feel fuller longer by slowing the release of glucose into your bloodstream. Some people swear by drinking apple cider vinegar every day because it's also rich in vitamins and can aid in digestion, among many other uses, but even incorporating vinegar into a meal (like a vinaigrette for your salad) can help reap its benefits.
- Soup: Studies have shown that people who ate soup as an appetizer ended up eating less throughout their meal. Just make sure you choose a broth-based soup over a high-fat creamy version.
- Water: Sometimes a craving can be quelled with just a glass of water, and it can also keep you hydrated as well (in fact, drinking water before you eat is a good practice, since sometimes people confuse dehydration with hunger). If a glass of water isn't cutting it, eating a snack featuring fruits and vegetables that have a high water content like apples, watermelon, or cucumbers can have the same effect.
- Beans: Beans are a low-calorie source of fiber and protein, so they are a good choice if you're looking to stay full.
- Green Tea: Drinking hot water can help keep you full, and not only that, but green tea may also help increase your levels of the appetite-regulating-hormone cholecystokinin.
- Salmon: Besides being a good source of lean protein, salmon (and other types of seafood) is a good source of omega-3s. Studies have shown that omega-3s can help increase satiety, and further research suggests that eating omega-3s may help reduce food reward cues.