You may have heard of zero calorie foods that will help to lose weight. But, what are they in real? How do they help in burning the excess fats? Read to know more about these so called zero calorie foods.
All healthy fruits and vegetables contain some amount of calories. There is practically no zero calorie food or beverage besides water. Foods that are touted as having zero calories, contain extremely low calories and high concentrations of nutrients in them. A zero calorie food burns more calories during the consumption and digestion process than it actually contains. The calories burned should be more or equal to the total calories in the food itself.
25 Best Zero Calorie Foods:
Zero calorie foods are healthy and make an excellent addition to your weight loss diet. These foods keep you full for longer time on fewer calories. You simply do not have to worry about eating these foods in large quantities. Here is a list of the best zero calorie foods that you can include in your diet.
Vegetables are naturally low in calories and full of healthy minerals and vitamins. Cucumber is a perfect negative or zero calorie food. It contains just 15 calories per cup. Besides, cucumber is also packed with vitamin C, K, potassium and silica, a compound that helps to build the connective tissues. The high water content in cucumber keeps you full for some time by taking up a small room in the tummy. So, snack on the cucumber slices to fend off the hunger pangs. Make sure you eat cucumbers with the skin as it contains all the fiber.
Grapefruit might not be the lowest calorie food in the list, but it contains naringenin, an antioxidant that triggers the liver to break down fat. It contains 42 calories per 100 grams serving. Grapefruit reduces bloating by flushing out water from the body. People who consume grapefruit daily are also reported to have a lower waist to hip ratio. A study has also found that people with higher levels of vitamin C in the body, oxidized 25% more fat during a treadmill session than those with lower levels of vitamin C.
Each medium stalk of celery contains about 3 calories and high amount of nutrients. One cup of celery can provide one third of the daily-recommended value of vitamin A, K, folate, fiber and potassium. Celery contains phthalates, a compound that relaxes the muscle tissues and increases blood flow, thereby lowering the blood pressure. It can also reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in women.
Apple is often referred to as a negative calorie food as it burns more calories than it ingests it. A single, medium sized apple contains around 100 calories, but takes around 120 calories to digest it. Apple peel contains pectin, a type of soluble fiber that boosts the metabolism. Frolic acid, on the other hand, prevents the pounds from piling on. Eating apples for evening snack will prevent you from eating junk foods.
Kelp is a form of marine algae, which tastes delicious when combined with other vegetables. A 4-ounce serving of kelp provides just 6 calories. Kelp contains alginate, a natural fiber that blocks fat absorption, preventing weight gain. Kelp is also loaded with vitamin K, which helps to keep the bones strong. You can incorporate kelp in soups, salads and stir-fries.
A half cup of cooked asparagus will set you back with just 20 calories. Asparagus acts as a natural diuretic, flushing out water from the body. Asparagine, an alkaloid chemical in asparagus helps to break down the fat cells, reducing overall weight. It also provides high doses of vitamin A, K and B complex vitamins. B complex vitamins help to break down the sugar and starches, thereby regulating the blood sugar and fending off type 2 diabetes. Asparagus also protects the body from cancer and inflammation. You can eat asparagus as a salad or a satisfying side meal.
Despite being naturally sweet, watermelon is a low calorie food. A cup of watermelon provides just 80 calories. Watermelon is loaded with arginine, an amino acid that aids weight loss. A research has found that obese mice fed with arginine supplements lost more weight and gained more lean muscle than those who did not receive them. Watermelon also has antioxidants that benefit the body in several ways. Watermelon is quite high in sugar, hence should be consumed in moderation.
This cruciferous vegetable contains just 25 calories per half cup. A cup of broccoli contains as much fiber and vitamin C as an orange. Although broccoli is best eaten raw, it still offers a punch of nutrition when stir-fried or steamed. The soluble and insoluble fiber in broccoli keeps the digestive system humming along, preventing colon cancer. It also contains plant-based protein, which helps to build lean muscles.
9. Leafy Greens:
Green leafy vegetables are the lowest calorie foods that you can include in your diet. Watercress contains just 4 calories per cup and is loaded with vitamin A, C, and K. Eating watercress on a daily basis will increase the levels of cancer fighting antioxidants lutein and beta carotene in your body. Spinach contains just 4 calories per cup and is an excellent source of nutrients like vitamin K, calcium, selenium, potassium, zinc and phosphorus. Green leafy vegetables also prevent the body from osteoporosis, cancer and heart diseases. Take a bowl of salad with plenty of greens to keep weight at bay.
Mushrooms, when digested produce cancer fighting, immune boosting metabolites in the body. The high levels of vitamin D in mushrooms aids in the absorption of calcium. A hundred grams of portabella mushrooms provides 22 calories and Chanterelle mushrooms contain 38 calories per serving. Mushrooms contain just 22 calories, but the body expends 30 calories in digesting it. Besides making a delicious pizza topping, mushrooms go with soups, salads and a variety of savory dishes as well.
Red, green and yellow bell peppers are nutrition powerhouses. These peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that helps to burn more calories. A medium sized bell pepper provides the daily-recommended amount of vitamin C and 75% of the vitamin A. This sweet and delicious vegetable also contains potassium, folic acid, lycopene and fiber. You can add this versatile vegetable to almost everything, be it stir-fries, salad, sandwiches or pasta. A 100 grams serving of bell peppers will add just 30 calories to your diet.
Summer squash contains a chock full of belly fighting fiber. You can eat as much as summer squash you want without gaining any extra weight. Squash also improves the health of the eyes and bones. Summer squash will not add many calories when we add them in soup and main dishes. A cup of summer squash contains just 15 calories.
This versatile vegetable provides just 17 calories per 100 grams serving. Zucchini contains essential phytonutrients that can also help prevent prostate cancer in men. Manganese in zucchini helps to process fat, carbohydrates and glucose in the body.
Turnip will not affect your calorie intake much as it contains just 28 calories per serving. It contains glucosinolates, a cancer-fighting compound. This anti-inflammatory food calms down the symptoms caused due to excessive inflammation in the body. It is a good source of potassium, calcium and fiber too. You can use turnip as a side dish or on a salad.
Green tea is a complete calorie free beverage when taken without sugar. It contains ECGC, an antioxidant that reduces the risk of heart diseases and cancer. It also revs up the metabolism, aiding you burn maximum calories. According to a research, people who drank three cups of green tea daily lost twice as much weight than those who did not drink the tea. They even lost a lot more belly fat.
Carrots are crunchy, root vegetables that are excellent for the eyes. Two medium-sized carrots contain just 50 calories. Carrots are also rich in antioxidants, folate, potassium and magnesium. They have a low glycemic index that can help you manage the blood glucose levels. In addition, the diuretic properties of carrot can help the body get rid of excess sodium and retained water.
Lettuce is essentially water, so it is nearly impossible to gain weight from it. Each cup of lettuce contains just 8 calories. A lettuce salad will fill you up quickly without adding unnecessary fats and calories. It is a good source of iron and magnesium too.
The tangy and tart flavor of lemon can make any dull meal sumptuous. Drink warm water with lemon juice every morning to jump start the metabolism for the day. The high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants in lemon promote immunity and fight infections. Lemons are also alkalizing foods. A hundred grams serving provides just 29 calories.
Garlic adds flavor to the foods without adding calories to your meals. It contains oils that wash out the fat cells from the body. 100 grams of garlic contain just 23 calories.
Apricot is an excellent source of fiber, which helps the body to break down the sugar contained in the fruit. You spend a lot more energy in the digestion process, which means more calories are burned. It also contains high levels of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant, promoting a healthy immune system. A serving of apricots provides 40 calories.
Tomato is one of the healthiest foods to include in your diet. It is high in fiber, low in calories and is loaded with essential nutrients. You can eat salad as a side dish, in a salad or simply as a snack. The good levels of folate in tomato aids in the cell growth. It also helps in the synthesis and repair of the DNA. It also contains potassium, an electrolyte that is essential in nerve transmission. Combine tomato with other foods in this list for a delicious, low calorie meal. Tomato contains 17 calories per 100 grams serving.
Cabbage is another best food for weight loss. Its calorie count is so low that you end up burning more than you ingest. It is also known to prevent cancer and heart diseases. Cabbage soup is one of the best ways to eat cabbage. It is a filling meal and contains far less calories than most of the soup. Cabbage contains 25 calories per 100 grams serving.
100 grams serving of beet provides 43 calories. In addition to being low in calories, beets also contain betalain, an antioxidant that prevents premature ageing.
Cauliflower is one of the lowest calorie foods. It provides 25 calories per 100 grams serving. This anti-inflammatory food is very beneficial for the digestive and cardiovascular system. You can burn its caloric load by cooking.
Kale is one of the best foods to keep your calorie levels down. It also provides protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Kale chips are the best alternative to potato chips. Kale contains 23 calories per 100 grams serving.
The importance of water can never be overstated. Drinking loads of water daily improves the metabolism and keeps you energized throughout the day. Drink two glasses of water before every meal to keep yourself from overeating. Dieticians recommend drinking 12 ounces of water daily.
Low Calorie Meal Preparation:
Some amazing ways to prepare these low calorie meals are:
Steaming is the best way to prepare vegetables. It retains the flavors and nutrients, which often gets lost due to boiling or frying. While steaming green leafy vegetables, add some unprocessed salt or a dash of lemon to enhance the taste. You can also add some white pepper, garlic and ginger for an Eastern flair.
Coat veggies like zucchini, asparagus, summer squash with butter or olive oil and grill on an electric griller.
Combine green leafy vegetables, tomato, carrots, red peppers and healthy fats to make a delicious salad. You can also add some natural sweetness by combing the salad with apples, oranges and other delicious fruits mentioned in the list.
Most of the dieters are under the assumption that zero calorie foods or negative calorie foods could help you lose weight just by eating them. This is a completely wrong assumption. It is only a healthy diet plan, combined with exercises that can help you reach your weight loss goal. Hope you find this article helpful. Do not forget to leave your comments below.