You’ve probably heard that some foods, known as “zero calorie” foods, will help you lose weight. The idea behind these claims is that these foods are so low in calories that your body will burn more calories through digestion than you have consumed. While eating to your heart’s content without weight gain may sound appealing, nutritionists warn that you’d have to eat an enormous amount of these foods to actually lose weight. That’s not to say that there aren’t advantages to including these foods in your diet, however. Foods touted as having zero calories usually tend to be low-calorie and high in nutrients. Adding these foods to your diet will help you consume fewer calories throughout the day, and thus promote weight loss.
Here are a few of our favorite (almost) zero calorie foods:
Asparagus is about as close to a zero calorie food as it gets. Believe it, or not, an entire cup of this spring favorite contains only 20 calories and is loaded with healthy benefits. Packed with essential vitamins and nutrients, doctors claim that asparagus may even help prevent certain types of cancers. Add that to a healthy dose of age defying antioxidants, and you’ve got the perfect addition to a healthy diet.
Few foods offer the disease-fighting qualities that broccoli does. Turns out that the green cruciferous veggie that you hated as a kid can actually reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, broccoli is rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and folate, to boost your immune system. Although healthiest when eaten raw, broccoli still offers quite a nutritious punch when lightly steamed or stir-fried. Try serving broccoli tarts as an appetizer at your next gathering.
Whether you’re in the mood for red, yellow, orange, or green, bell peppers offer dozens of healthy benefits. These sweet vegetables are full of flavor and contain potassium, fiber, lycopene, and folic acid. Dice them up to add some color to your salad, or slice them and enjoy a slice of Zucchini-Bell Pepper Pizza.
This leafy, green is a fabulous source of pretty much every important vitamin and nutrient your body needs. Doctors believe that a diet heavy in dark, leafy vegetables can help prevent everything from cancer, to heart disease, to osteoporosis. Can’t stand the texture of spinach? Try blending a handful of leaves into a juice or smoothie.
You’ve probably heard that carrots can improve eyesight, but that isn’t the only thing that these crunchy, orange root vegetables offer. Carrots are rich in antioxidants, and are excellent sources of potassium, magnesium, and folate. Grab two medium-sized carrots (50 calories) and a tablespoon of Zucchini Hummus or Pea and Avocado Dip for a tasty, low calorie snack.
By consuming foods that are high in nutritional value and low in calories, you will ensure that you keep your body healthy and looking fabulous.