10 Foods That Help You Shed Pounds

Grapefruits on a wooden table.

Water works

Ever heard of drinking water to lose weight? The diet tactic actually works, along with eating foods that contain a lot of water, like fruits and veggies. In a University of Tokyo study, women who ate high-water-content foods had lower body mass indexes and smaller waistlines. Researchers speculate that the water in these foods may fill you up so you eat less. Make the strategy work for you by adding more of these in-season fruits and veggies—each is at least 90% water—to your meals.

Broccoli

Did you know broccoli is a great source of fiber and calcium? Try this delicious recipe for Broccoli Salad With Sesame Dressing and Cashews.

Cabbage

Rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, cabbage is a great immune-booster. Enjoy it lightly sautéed in a stir-fry or paired with sweet-tart apples. Or, try this recipe for red cabbage and apple salad with ginger vinaigrette.

Cauliflower

Like other cruciferous veggies, cauliflower is full of cancer-fighting phytonutrients and is a great source of vitamin C and folate. Nibble on raw or lightly steamed florets to maximize cauliflower’s antioxidant power, or try this potassium-rich recipe for Cauliflower and Yukon Gold Soup.

Grapefruit

A powerhouse for heart health, grapefruit contains vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium, along with pectin, a soluble fiber that may be a strong ally against atherosclerosis. Pink and red varieties also have vitamin A and lycopene, a phytochemical that protects arterial walls from oxidative damage. To get the juiciest specimens, select fruits heavy for their size and make sure to try them in this refreshing salad.

Lettuce

With a mere 60–70 calories per pound, lettuce is high on the list of diet-friendly foods. Romaine lettuce alone is a great source of B vitamins, folic acid, and manganese, which helps regulate blood sugar and is essential for proper immune system function. Choose other dark green or purple varieties such as green or red leaf for the most nutrients, and toss with a zesty homemade vinaigrette, or use in this hearty Layered Cobb Salad.

Radishes

These brightly colored vegetables are packed with potassium, folic acid, antioxidants, and sulfur compounds that aid in digestion. Don’t forget the leafy green tops, which contain six times the vitamin C and more calcium than the roots. Thinly slice and toss in a fresh green salad or julienne for coleslaw. Try this recipe for grilled chicken with sweet-and-sour cucumber-radish salad.

Spinach

Tender and flavorful, this leafy green is rich in iron, folic acid, and vitamin K. It also contains disease-fighting antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as the phytochemical lutein, which protects eyes against age-related macular degeneration. Use as a substitute for lettuce in salad, lightly sauté with shredded carrot, sliced mushrooms, and garlic for a savory omelet filling, or try this simple Seasoned Spinach recipe for a quick and nutritious side dish.

Cucumber

This summer veggie has a higher concentration of water than any other food—in fact, 96.7% of the fruit is made up of water. It’s also incredibly easy to integrate into your meals. Toss some sliced cucumber on salad, dip some sticks in hummus for a snack, or try whipping up refreshing cucumber soup!

Celery

You may have heard that celery has negative calories. While that may not quite be accurate, it’s also not that far off from the truth. Since celery is mostly made up of water, it only contains 6 calories per stalk. But despite the low calorie count, it keeps you feeling full and satiated, thanks to the added bonus of fiber. Celery also isn’t short on nutritionit contains folate along with vitamins A, C, and K. So whether you need a filling snack or meal add-on, celery is a pretty amazing weight loss superfood.

Green peppers

They may seem pretty dense and hearty, but bell peppers are actually made up of 92% water. And not only are these veggies great for your waistline, but they also pack a ton of antioxidants. Grill them up for a satisfying dinner or slice up some raw pieces for a healthy snack.