Here’s a happy tip for those struggling with weight loss – scientists are actually urging you to eat more! Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health followed 125,000 people between 27 and 65 for 25 years scanning their diet, lifestyle habits and weight, and found that the more fruit they ate, the slimmer they were.
Published in the British Medical Journal, the findings show that this has largely to do with a naturally occurring compound called flavonoids found in fruits and vegetables that is known to trigger weight loss. “Our results suggest that choosing high flavonoid fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, berries, and peppers, may help with weight control,” said Monica Bertoia, from Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health.
After adjusting for lifestyle factors such as smoking and fitness level, it was found that these types of flavonoids were associated with 0.16 to 0.23 pounds less weight gain over four years, reports the Newsweek. These findings were consistent for both men and women and across all age groups.
As per the figures from the study, fruits like blueberries, strawberries, apples, pears and oranges, that have increasing concentrations of anthocyanins, flavonoid polymers and flavonols have the maximum impact on weight loss. Adding extra portions of flavonoid-rich foods to your diet could therefore potentially help you watch your weight. Flavonoids also contain free-radical-scavenging properties that prevent disease-causing molecules from damaging the cells in your body. Tea and onions were also shown to be in the same category.
While no diet works on stuffing yourself with just one category of food, you can hardly go wrong with adding more fresh fruits to your daily meals. Here are some that are known for their flavonoid content as well as other beneficial properties:
Citrus fruits, including oranges, tangerines and lemons, belong to the flavonone group of flavonoids, which may protect your body against various chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease, according to the USDA. Pectin, a soluble fiber found in citrus fruit, may help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Berries, including raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are concentrated with the anthocyanidin group of flavonoids. Through their high antioxidant content, these compounds can protect against cholesterol oxidation, which occurs when the LDL in your body reacts with free radicals.
Bananas also contain anthocyanidin group of flavonoids, as well as other healthy nutrients, such as potassium, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C and E, lutein and selenium. Moreover, a medium-sized banana contains over 3 grams of soluble fiber which can slow down the blood’s absorption of glucose and improve blood sugar levels.