Which Healthy Green Foods Help You Lose Weight?

All green foods aren't fully loaded with fat releasing nutrients, but these power picks are.

By Liz Vaccariello with additional reporting by Perri O. Blumberg
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    1) Green Cabbage

    Often paired with corned beef on St. Patrick's Day, fiber-filled green cabbage also goes nicely with a lean protein like chicken breasts, lean ground turkey, or tofu on the side. You heard right: Make this veggie the focus of your plate—it's rich in fiber, vitamin C, folate, and manganese—and you'll fill up on the good stuff faster and be less likely to grab seconds or dessert. Easiest recipe? Shred a small head of green cabbage and sprinkle with olive oil, vinegar, honey, sea salt, and pepper.

    2) Avocados

    Avocados provide a healthy dose of belly fat-melting monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) as well as 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E,  and folic acid. A recent CDC study found that people who ate them frequently had more nutritious diets overall, ate less sugar, and had a lower BMI and waist circumference. A new UCLA study found that participants who topped their burgers with a slice of Hass avocado had lower levels of inflammation and less reduction in blood flow than those who ate their burgers without it. Not a fan? Blend them to smoothies and you'll also add body and creamy texture.

    3) Pumpkin Seeds

    These tasty green morsels burst with essential minerals like iron, phosphorus, and magnesium, and are also a great source of zinc. Try sprinkling a handful of the toasted seeds on a savory soup, or chomping on them as a mid-morning snack. If you can't easily locate the seeds, then pistachios are an equally excellent bet. These green nuts are filled with antioxidants, and have been linked to a decrease in heart disease. The extra effort it takes to open each one also helps with weight management, because it slows down snacking and may help prevent overeating.

    4) Green Peppers

    Green peppers are loaded with vitamin C, a powerful fat releaser. Studies show that people who have inadequate levels of C cling more tightly to fat, so chowing down on fruits and veggies rich in this vitamin can help coax your body into weight loss mode. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb iron—so try tossing your peppers into mineral-rich dishes with beef, salmon, chicken, or spinach. Looking for a quick weight-loss snack? Top a pepper slice with a scoop of low-fat ricotta cheese and a sprinkle of black pepper and crunch on.

    5) Kale

    This nutrient-dense green, with a subdued, cabbage flavor, is superfood royalty. It’s chock full of fat releasing calcium, which research has linked to slimmer waistlines, It’s also got iron and lutein (“the eye vitamin”) and is versatile enough to use in soups in place of other greens. A great snack: Bake washed kale in the oven for 10 minutes with a sprinkle of sea salt as a healthier alternative to potato chips.

    6) Limes

    Not just a drink garnish, this incredibly versatile citrus fruit has also been linked to weight loss. Choose limes that are firm and heavy for their size, with glossy skin and a deep green color. For a simple and healthy dessert, grate the rinds of two large limes and then mix with their juices, three cups of light coconut milk, and a half of cup of pure honey. Mix in a blender, pour in a bowl, and set in the freezer until frozen. Limes are also the easiest way to jazz up a glass of ice water—or a light beer.

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