You’ve heard for years to stock up on your C to fend off colds, but are you aware of the vitamin’s reputation as a weight-loss aid? Research suggests that the bodies of folks who are deficient in vitamin C cling more stubbornly to fat. In 2008, researchers in Quebec reviewed a stack of studies to find what they called “unsuspected determinants of obesity.” Their review linked less-than-ideal intakes of particular micronutrients to an increased likelihood of being overweight. They identified deficiencies in vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin E as risk factors for having a higher percentage of body fat and belly fat.
This natural sweetener has also shown great promise in animal studies for reducing weight gain and body fat when substituted for sugar. Known to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, honey boasts wide-ranging health benefits. It may improve blood sugar control and immunity, and it’s an effective cough suppressant.
If you’re like me, you welcome any new excuse to add more chocolate to your life. Cocoa contains more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. Just look at this list of benefits from a recent study done at the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center by David L. Katz, MD, and his colleagues: “Cocoa can protect nerves from injury and inflammation, protect the skin from oxidative damage from UV radiation … and have beneficial effects on satiety, cognitive function, and mood.”
The surprise here? The vinegar that comes along for the ride in salad dressing also helps you feel full. Research has shown that vinegar can lessen the glycemic effect of a meal (meaning it tends not to spike your blood sugar), which has been linked to satiety that reduces food intake. Vinegar may also prevent body-fat accumulation, according to a 2009 animal study by Japanese researchers. Mice that were fed acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, for six weeks accumulated less body fat.
“This sweet tropical fruit is the perfect ingredient for summer smoothies and juices,” says Beth Aldrich, a certified holistic health and nutrition counselor, and author of the book Real Moms Love to Eat. “It contains the proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which aids in the digestion of protein and blood clot formation. As an anti-inflammatory super food, pineapple can help reduce swelling and in turn, you'll have a flatter belly.”
These sweet, juicy summer berries are tasty both fresh and dried in trail mix or in a salad, says Lisa Dorfman, a registered dietitian and author of The Reunion Diet. “At just 43 calories per 3.5 oz serving, they contain 61 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, and they’re also chock full of potassium, fiber, and resveratrol, a phytonutrient shown to protect the heart.”
“Watermelon is my favorite summertime pound-shedding food,” says Jennifer Cassetta, a Clinical Nutritionist and owner of Health and the City in New York City. Watermelon is 92 percent water—it fills you up, is low in calories and yet still contains great amounts of nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants like Vitamin C and lycopene."