Weight management is crucial for health and overall wellness, and is quite often a challenge. But with quick, yummy hunger fixes like kale shakes, chia seed snack bars, kale chips, chia pancakes, chia & banana smoothies, turmeric teas and the like, dropping weight and keeping it in check is actually tasty fun! Here’s a closer look at the hard hitting trio of weight management foods, kale, chia seeds and turmeric.
KALE – Cool & Cruciferous
Kale is easily the most nutritious green leafy vegetable and is loaded with many medicinal properties that make it an excellent choice for burning fat fast. It is a member of the Cabbage family and is related to cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and Brussels sprouts.
A single cup of kale (about 67 grams) contains Vitamins A (206% Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)), K (684% of RDA), C (134% of RDA) and B6 (9% of RDA) apart from manganese, copper, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Apart from these, Kale contains 3% or more of RDA for Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Iron and Phosphorous.
The above mentioned portion of Kale contains a total of 33 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates (2 of which are fibre) and 3 grams of protein. Kale contains very little fat, of which a large portion is the omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid. Alpha linolenic acid is easily broken down and does not contribute to bad cholesterol. Given that kale does not contribute to unhealthy fats, it is an excellent fat burning vegetable that is nutritious to the boot.
The Liver serves the function of turning cholesterol into bile acids, which help us digest fats. These bile acids tend to get reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Reabsorbed bile acids carry cholesterol from the previous digestive cycle, which accumulates over time and reduces the efficiency of cholesterol absorption. Substances called bile acid sequestrants can bind these bile acids in the digestive system and prevent them from entering the bloodstream, thereby maintaining the efficiency of the absorption process. Kale contains naturally occurring bile acid sequestrants that automatically lower cholesterol levels in the body.
Steamed Kale has proved to be much more effective in binding bile acids and is comparable to Cholestyramine, a cholesterol lowering drug. Daily consumption over a period of 12 weeks has shown to increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels by up to 27% and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by up to 10%. Because of the low calorie and high water content, kale has a low energy density. A low energy density diet has been shown to aid weight loss in numerous studies.
Despite the low amount of calories, it contains small amounts of protein and fibre, which are two of the most important nutrients for weight loss.
CHIA SEEDS – The Strongman’s Snackbar
The unassuming chia seed has been making a regular appearance in the form of chia snack bars, in puddings, pancakes, muffins, jams and even brownies. Native to South America, Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, which is related to the mint family. “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “Strength” and the seeds were prized by the Mayans along with the Aztecs for its ability to pack a powerful nutritional punch in a tiny package.
A 28 gram (1 ounce) serving of chia seeds fulfils the required daily allowance (RDA) of calcium (18%), manganese (30%), magnesium (30%), phosphorous (27%) and also provides zinc, potassium and vitamins b1, b2 and b3. Apart from this it also provides protein (4 gm), fat (5 gm of omega-3s) and 11 grams of fibre. With only 137 calories per said serving and just one gram of digestible carbohydrate, chia seeds are one of the world’s best sources of several important nutrients, calorie for calorie. Moreover, chia seeds, being a “non GMO, whole grain” food, are grown organically, and are free of gluten making it an excellent, natural, fat burning supplement.
Chia seeds are 40% fibre, by weight. Because of the fibre, Chia seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach. This automatically reduces the calorie intake. The fibre also feeds the beneficial bacteria in the intestines and is crucial in maintaining gut health.
Given that protein takes longer for the body to break down, a high protein intake reduces appetite. A protein laden meal has been shown to reduce obsessive food cravings by 60%, and can be effective in killing late night cravings by 50%. By weight, Chia seeds contain about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants. This makes Chia seeds an excellent protein source for vegans.
TURMERIC – Rooted In Nutrition
Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence and is loaded with bioactive compounds known as Curcuminoids. The most important of these, Curcumin, is the main ingredient in Turmeric and constitutes 3% of overall weight. It serves not only as an anti inflammatory agent but also as a very strong antioxidant.
Curcumin is chiefly responsible for blocking NF –kb, a protein that activates genes associated with inflammation. NF-kb promotes many chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and various degenerative conditions. Curcumin has been shown to be as effective as many pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs and when consumed with pepper is very effectively absorbed into the bloodstream.
Certain highly reactive molecules called free radicals are responsible for oxidative damage to the body. Turmeric is very effective in controlling Oxidative damage and does so by using its chemical structure to neutralize free radicals. Moreover, it boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
Endothelial dysfunction is a major driver of heart disease and involves the inability of a thin membranous structure called endothelium, to regulate blood pressure, blood clotting and various other factors. Curcumin has been shown to improve endothelial function, and when combined with its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation properties, serves as an excellent ingredient for weight management and a healthy heart.
While fitness goals and outings to either the gym or your nearby workout space are just as important, supplementing the diet to meet your energy requirements is absolutely crucial. So don’t think twice about digging into that bowl of yummy kale chips, or a strawberry pudding with chia seeds, banana & kale smoothies with chia seeds or flavoured turmeric teas. The road to a fitter you is actually quite lip smacking!