How Berries Can Boost Your Weight Loss
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries… These fruits might be small, but they are packed with power. Berries add a touch of summer to your cooking and are simply irresistible and delicious. But more than that, they provide you with plenty of nutrients and can help you get the figure you always wanted. Read on if you want to find out how these fruits can help you lose weight. Plus, we have three fruity recipes for you.
Berries get their amazing color from anthocyanins, which are part of the flavonoid family of phytochemicals. Anthocyanins are known to be powerful antioxidants. These neutralize free radicals and are thus referred to as radical scavengers. An adequate supply of antioxidants is particularly important if you want to train at high volume and go running regularly in order to avoid putting oxidative stress on your body which has been linked with numerous diseases. Norwegian researchers have found that berries, in contrast to some other fruits, contain extremely high levels of antioxidants. So they are a real nutritional powerhouse and boost your immune system!
Great sources of vitamins and fiber
Berries are packed with vitamins and minerals. For instance, blackcurrants are tops when it comes to vitamin C. They contain more than 170 mg per 100 g – that is nearly twice our daily requirement of this vitamin. Thus, a handful a day gives you almost more than you really need.
Plus, the colorful fruit is an important source of fiber. Fiber keeps you feeling full longer and allows your blood sugar to rise slightly and slowly. This helps to avoid blood sugar peaks and thus puts an end to awful cravings for ice cream and sweets. And let’s be honest: fresh raspberries from the bush are sweet enough, aren’t they? 😉
Did you know that a sharp increase in your blood sugar level causes the hormone insulin to be released? This is produced in the pancreas and its job is to lower your blood sugar level back to normal. Plus, it promotes the storage of fat in adipose tissue. So when you eat a lot of sweets and white flour products (these are low in fiber), your blood sugar level rises sharply. This causes a lot of insulin to be produced – meaning you will put on weight! Thus, you should opt for a high fiber diet which, in combination with regular workouts, will supercharge your fat burning. Say “goodbye” to excess pounds before your summer vacation!
Contrary to other fruits, berries fit with a low-carb diet. They are also lower in calories. For instance, a banana has around 100 kcal and 20 g of carbohydrates, whereas 100 g of strawberries has around 30 kcal and only 6 g of carbohydrates. If you want to lose weight and are looking for a low-carb post-workout snack, then try low-fat Greek yogurt with fresh strawberries and some grated vanilla. It tastes so sweet you won’t need any extra sugar 😉
Perfect for salads, smoothies and desserts
Berries are very versatile. Especially in sweet – as well as savory- dishes, they add a fruity kick and an extra dose of vitamins. In salads, they are perfect as the sweet contrast to the sour dressing. Berries give smoothies a magnificent red or purple color. Ready for a taste? Then try out one of the three recipes below:
1. Spinach salad with blueberries, avocado and feta
Ingredients for two servings:
- 2-3 handfuls of fresh baby spinach
- 250 g fresh blueberries
- 1 avocado
- 1 package of feta (diced)
- 25 g pine nuts
- 1 shallot (minced)
- 2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. mustard
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
Directions: Whisk together the minced shallot, vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper to form a dressing. Wash the baby spinach and the blueberries and then dab them dry with a paper towel. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and then cut the flesh in thin slices. Add everything to a bowl and carefully mix the ingredients with the dressing. Roast the pine nuts in a pan without oil. Be careful not to burn them (it can happen pretty fast!). Serve the salad on two plates and sprinkle feta cubes and pine nuts on top. Enjoy your salad! You can also substitute goat cheese for the feta.
2. Warm berry crumble
Ingredients for a small baking dish:
- 250 g mixed berries
- zest of ½ organic lemon
- 50 g oats
- 4 Tbsp. grated almonds
- 2 tsp. soft or melted coconut oil
- 2 tsp. maple syrup
- a pinch of salt
Directions: Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Mix the berries with some of the vanilla and the lemon zest. Feel free to squish the berries with a fork to squeeze out some of the juice. Then combine the oats, almonds, coconut oil, maple syrup, the remaining vanilla and salt – these are the ingredients for the crumble. Now spread the berry mix in a small baking dish and then sprinkle the crumble ingredients on top. Put the dish in the oven for 40 minutes. Our tip: the warm crumble tastes amazing with the following ice cream recipe:
3. Vegan ice cream with raspberries
Ingredients for two servings:
- 2 frozen bananas
- 60 g frozen raspberries (you can also use strawberries or blueberries)
- 3 Tbsp. coconut milk
- 1 tsp. agave syrup
Directions: Combine all the ingredients in a good food processor. Mix until it has a creamy consistency. This can take several minutes. Decorate your ice cream with coconut flakes and fresh raspberries.
Do you want to get your abs ready for summer? Then you won’t want to miss next Friday’s post when Fitness Coach Lunden gives us some tips on how to get a flat stomach.