“Superfoods” is a word often used for nutrient-rich ingredients that confer major health benefits.
Besides promoting overall health, many superfoods contain specific compounds, antioxidants, and micronutrients that may enhance weight loss.
Here are 20 of the best superfoods for weight loss, all backed by science.
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that’s well known for its health-promoting properties.
It’s a great source of antioxidants and several key nutrients, including manganese and vitamins C and vitamin K (
Kale is also low in calories and high in fiber, a compound that moves slowly through the digestive tract and helps keep you feeling fuller for longer, which may support weight loss (
Try adding kale to your favorite salads, sautéing it with garlic for an easy side dish, or using it to add a pop of color to pasta dishes.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are vibrant, flavorful, and highly nutritious.
For example, blueberries are rich in fiber and vitamins C and K (
They can also help satisfy your sweet tooth while providing fewer calories than many other high sugar snacks or desserts (
Berries work well in smoothies or as a topping for yogurt or oatmeal. They also make an excellent snack, either on their own or combined with other fruits in a fruit salad.
Broccoli is a nutrient-dense superfood and an excellent addition to a healthy weight loss diet.
In particular, broccoli is a great source of fiber and micronutrients, such as vitamin C, folate, potassium, and manganese (
Multiple studies also show that upping your intake of cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, could help prevent weight gain over time (
Add a bit of garlic, lemon juice, or Parmesan — or all three — to your broccoli for a quick and easy side dish. You can also try adding broccoli to salads, casseroles, quiches, or pasta dishes to ramp up their nutritional value.
Chia seeds are loaded with important nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, and manganese (
They’re also packed with soluble fiber, which is a type of fiber that absorbs water and forms a gel in the digestive tract (
Research suggests that consuming soluble fiber may be linked to increased weight loss and body fat loss (
Chia seeds are also high in protein, which can help reduce hunger and regulate your appetite (
Try sprinkling chia seeds over your favorite smoothies, yogurts, or oat bowls to enhance the flavor and texture.
Eggs are versatile, delicious, and simple to prepare. It’s easy to see why they’re one of the best superfoods for weight loss.
In fact, eggs are packed with a variety of essential vitamins and minerals in each serving, including selenium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and phosphorus (
Additionally, eggs are brimming with protein, which can help promote feelings of fullness to boost weight loss (
Hard-boiled eggs make a great snack sprinkled with some salt and pepper or a bit of hot sauce. You can also enjoy eggs in omelets, quiches, breakfast burritos, and stir-fries.
Avocados are popular for their unique taste and texture, as well as their impressive nutrient profile.
In particular, avocados high in potassium, folate, and vitamins C and K (
Although avocados are considered a calorie-dense food, they’re loaded with fiber and heart-healthy unsaturated fats, which can keep you feeling full between meals to help you lose weight (
Avocados can bring a creamy texture and rich flavor to toast, salads, soups, or scrambled eggs. They also make an excellent addition to sauces and dips like guacamole, hummus, and salsa.
Sweet potatoes are a vibrant, delicious, and nutritious superfood.
They’re loaded with antioxidants, along with vitamins A and C, manganese, and B vitamins (
What’s more, sweet potatoes are high in fiber, which can slow stomach emptying to boost both weight loss and fat loss (
You can bake, mash, boil, or sauté sweet potatoes and enjoy them as a filling snack or side dish.
Kimchi is a common ingredient in Korean cuisine. It typically consists of salted, fermented vegetables like cabbage and radish.
Sauerkraut is the European version of this dish, also typically made with fermented cabbage.
Like other fermented foods, kimchi and sauerkraut are great sources of probiotics. These are a type of beneficial bacteria also found in your gut, and they support several aspects of health (
Interestingly, some studies suggest that probiotic supplements may play a role in weight regulation and affect appetite and feelings of fullness (
To squeeze more probiotics into your diet, try eating kimchi with rice or adding it to stews, grain bowls, or noodle dishes. Sauerkraut goes well in wraps and burgers and alongside sausages, including vegan varieties. It also pairs well with cheese.
There are no rules for how to eat kimchi and sauerkraut, so feel free to experiment with your food pairings. Many people also eat them on their own.
When you’re choosing kimchi and sauerkraut, avoid varieties that contain added preservatives or sugar, as well as those that have been pasteurized. Look in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.
You can also easily make your own kimchi or sauerkraut at home.
Also sometimes referred to as sweet peppers, bell peppers are a highly nutritious veggie available in a variety of colors.
They’re rich in fiber and boast an array of other important nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium (
Thanks to their high water content, they’re also very low in calories and can replace other ingredients in your diet to decrease your daily calorie intake and support weight loss (
Pair bell peppers with hummus, tzatziki, or yogurt dip for a quick and easy low calorie snack. Alternatively, try dicing them and adding them to soups, salads, or stir-fries to brighten your dishes.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a type of legume closely related to other types of beans, including kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans.
Each serving of chickpeas is high in manganese, folate, phosphorus, and copper (
Chickpeas are also high in fiber and protein, which can slow digestion, regulate your appetite, and promote weight loss (
You can swap chickpeas in for other sources of protein in meals to give any recipe a plant-based twist. You can also bake or roast chickpeas and season them with your favorite spices for a simple snack.
Apples are not only one of the most popular fruits on the planet but also one of the most nutritious.
Apples are chock-full of antioxidants, plus essential micronutrients like vitamin C and potassium (
They also contain a specific type of soluble fiber called pectin, which animal studies have shown may help reduce food intake and increase weight loss (
Studies have suggested that including apples in a healthy diet may promote weight loss and improve your overall health (
You can enjoy apples in their whole, raw form for a healthy, high fiber snack. They’re also delicious sliced up and paired with peanut butter, cream cheese, or yogurt dip.
Spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable originally from ancient Persia.
It’s low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins C and A, and iron (
What’s more, spinach contains thylakoids, which are a type of plant compound that may delay fat digestion and reduce hunger and cravings (
In addition to salads, there are plenty of other creative ways to add spinach to your diet. Try adding it to stir-fries, soups, smoothies, or pasta dishes to bring some extra color and micronutrients to your meal.
Walnuts are a type of tree nut known for containing many healthy nutrients.
Along with being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts contain a concentrated amount of vitamin E, folate, and copper (
Although they’re relatively high in calories, studies show that the body absorbs 21% fewer calories from walnuts than expected based on their nutritional value (
Studies have also shown that walnuts may reduce hunger and appetite, which could be beneficial for long-term weight loss (
Walnuts are great for adding a heart-healthy crunch to salads, cereals, oatmeal, or yogurt. You can also season and toast them for a tasty, filling snack.
Oats are a whole grain food and beloved breakfast staple. Their scientific name is Avena sativa.
They’re a good source of fiber, manganese, phosphorus, copper, and protein (
Thanks to the plentiful protein and fiber in oats, they may be beneficial for weight management and appetite control, according to several studies (
Besides oatmeal, you can also enjoy oats in yogurt, smoothies, porridge, or baked goods.
Tomatoes are a tangy, flavorful superfood and an excellent addition to a well-rounded weight loss diet.
Tomatoes are also jam-packed with antioxidants, as well as vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C and K and potassium (
Additionally, because of their high water content, tomatoes have a low calorie density, which could help support long-term weight loss (
Tomatoes can add a zip of flavor to salads, wraps, and sandwiches. You can also use them to whip up delicious soups, sauces, salsas, and jams.
Green tea is a potent source of disease-fighting polyphenols and antioxidants.
In particular, green tea is rich in antioxidants like quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and theogallin (
It’s also high in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant that may help increase weight loss, boost metabolism, and reduce belly fat when taken in high doses (
You can brew a cup of green tea and enjoy it as is, or try adding a bit of lemon, honey, or ginger for some extra flavor.
Salmon is a type of fatty fish notable for its impressive nutritional profile.
Salmon not only contains a good amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in each serving but also high amounts of B vitamins, selenium, and potassium (
It’s also one of the best sources of protein available, which can help manage your appetite and enhance feelings of fullness (
You can bake, sear, grill, or pan-fry salmon and pair it with your choice of herbs, veggies, and whole grains for a healthy, wholesome meal.
Grapefruit is a popular citrus fruit that’s known for its distinct flavor, which can be sour, slightly sweet, and a little bitter.
Each serving of grapefruit contains a good amount of the fiber and vitamin A and C that you need each day (
It’s also low in calories, and some older human and animal studies have shown it may increase weight loss and fat burning (
One of the most popular ways to enjoy grapefruit is by sprinkling it with a bit of salt and sugar. You can also add grapefruit to salads, salsas, smoothies, or juices.
Yogurt is a dairy product that’s high in calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and riboflavin (
Some yogurt varieties, including Greek yogurt, are especially high in protein, which could be beneficial for weight loss (
Certain types also contain probiotics, which may be involved in weight control and appetite regulation (
Multiple studies have shown that eating yogurt is linked to a lower body weight and reduced risk of developing metabolic disease and type 2 diabetes (
Try topping your yogurt with some fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds, or mix it into dips and spreads to give recipes a healthy, high protein upgrade.
Quinoa is a whole grain superfood that has gained popularity in recent years.
In addition to its rich protein and fiber contents, quinoa contains plenty of manganese, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus (
Plus, it’s one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine of the essential amino acids your body needs. Its protein content may help decrease hunger and appetite (
You can swap quinoa in for other grains, including rice, couscous, or barley, in your favorite dishes. It also makes a great addition to grain salads, soups, stews, and veggie burgers.
Many superfoods can help support your weight loss efforts.
These foods not only contain high amounts of important vitamins and minerals but also nutrients that may promote weight loss, such as protein and fiber.
To get the best results from eating these foods, enjoy them as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet and pair them with a variety of other nutrient-dense ingredients.