Usually people who want to lose weight are told to eat less. Now new research finds that eating more foods like blueberries and apples that are rich in certain types of flavonoids can also help shed pounds.
The scientists from Harvard University found that increasing your intake of certain flavenoid-rich fruits can in fact prevent weight gain - even while eating the same number of calories, as reported in Newsweek.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal, examined the link between eating flavonoid-rich foods and weight gain among 124,086 U.S. participants between 1986 and 2011.
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"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, of the Department of Nutrition at Havard T H Chan School of Public Health.
There are at least seven different flavonoid subgroups in fruits and vegetables. The compounds are known for their anti-oxidant properties and for the bright colors they often lend fruits and vegetables. The anthocyanins class of flavonoids, found in blueberries and strawberries, was linked with greatest weight loss.
After adjusting for factors such as smoking, preexisting conditions and fitness, the researchers found that this type of flavonoid was associated with 0.16 to 0.23 pounds less weight gained over four years.
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That may not sounds like a significant amount of weight loss but, hey, every little bit counts.
"Our results show very small changes in weight-even losing small amounts of weight-can have a very big impact on your health," Bertoia told Newsweek.
So how many blueberries should you eat to get the benefit? Bertoia says just half a cup of blueberries offers 120 milligrams of the key flavonoid – anthocyanin. Eat that daily and expect to feel the burn.
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The Harvard University team's new research follows up on a study they conducted last year that determined which fruits and vegetables are best for weight loss - and which are the worst.
Making the pro-dieter's list were blueberries (of course), apples, pears, strawberries, bell peppers, cauliflower and leafy greens. The more fattening veggies, they found, included starch-packed corn, peas and potatoes.