14 Super Foods to Help Shed Pounds

Sardines: These little fish are one of the biggest health bargains of all time, and they're definitely a boon to anyone who wants to lose weight. Why? First, sardines are loaded with protein. Second, they're a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which boost mood and strengthen the cardiovascular system. (Not to mention making hair, skin and nails look better!) Third, sardines are convenient, easy to find and cheap.

Blueberries: Berries are one food that virtually all nutritionists agree upon; they're on everybody's list of super foods. They're very low in calories, extremely rich in nutrients, high in fiber and best of all, have a minimal impact on your blood sugar. Blueberries, in particular, contain a plant compound shown to have cholesterol-lowering properties, and they boast the highest antioxidant rating of any fruit.

More: 5 Nutrients to Help You Stay Young

Nuts: Nuts are often given a bad rap as a "fattening" food. While nuts are high in calories and probably shouldn't be eaten by the fistful, a moderate intake won't cause weight gain. In the Nurses' Health Study, frequent nut consumers were actually thinner than those who didn't indulge. The "magic" amount seems to be five ounces per week. Also, a number of studies have shown that nuts can lower your risk of heart disease dramatically.

Apples: The apple's reputation for keeping you out of the doctor's office is well deserved. This fruit is loaded with fiber. Here's a great trick that will help you keep your weight down permanently: if you're about to go out to a party or meal where you may be tempted to overindulge, eat an apple with a glass of water half an hour before arriving. It's one of the greatest natural appetite suppressants on the planet.

Coconut Oil: This superb oil has long been neglected by health nuts because it contains saturated fat. But don't worry; the saturated fat in coconut is a very healthy kind, which is easily burned by the body for energy. Coconut oil also has a natural antiviral and anti-microbial component to help you stay healthy.

More: Protect Your Body With This Coconut Smoothie

Guava: This tropical fruit is a super-food sleeper. With a taste that's been described as "part strawberry, part pear," this vitamin-rich fruit contains eight grams of fiber to aid in weight management and digestion. And in one widely used test of antioxidant power in fruits, guava scored second only to blueberries. Guava also contains the same cancer-fighting ingredient found in tomatoes.

Kale: Kale is a member of the Brassica family, vegetable royalty that boasts cabbage and broccoli among its relatives. It's rich in potent cancer-fighting substances, and loaded with bone-building vitamin K. Kale helps the liver detoxify carcinogens and other harmful substances. It also has the highest antioxidant rating of any vegetable and is extremely low in calories.

Flaxseeds: Flaxseed oil is one of the only plant sources of omega-3 fats, but the flaxseeds themselves provide the added benefit of weight-controlling fiber. Flaxseeds can be thrown on salads, tossed into smoothies, or sprinkled on vegetables. They also contain nutrients that have been studied by the National Cancer Institute for their disease-preventing properties.

More: 5 Heart-Healthy Nutrients for Athletes

Eggs: Choosing eggs for breakfast helps manage hunger while lowering calorie consumption throughout the day. And feel free to ease up on the egg-white omelets. The yolk is loaded with good stuff that helps support brain and eye function. The small amount of fat in the yolk contributes mightily to the feeling of sustained fullness and satisfaction. Don't be afraid of it.

More: How Eating Breakfast Can Help You Lose Weight

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