25 Foods That Are Natural Appetite Suppressants
Just a handful of almonds is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin E, and magnesium—and they're a natural appetite suppressant. Almonds have been shown to increase feelings of fullness in people and help with weight management, according to a study presented at The 2006 Obesity Society Annual Scientific Meeting. So what are you waiting for? Nosh on almonds for your next healthy snack!
While drinking more than one to two cups of Joe a day can leave you feeling jittery and nervous, a moderate amount of coffee can help boost metabolism and act as an appetite suppressant. Coffee's secret? Caffeine, along with antioxidants from the coffee beans. Just don't cancel out those good effects with too much sugar or cream.
For centuries, many cultures have used ginger root for its amazing digestive powers. Whether it's in a smoothie or in an Indian dish (sorry, ginger ale doesn't count!), ginger works as a stimulant that energizes the body and improves digestion, thereby making you less hungry. (And being a natural appetite suppressant is just one of the many benefits of ginger.)
Full of fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, avocados suppress appetite when eaten in moderation. In fact, the fats in these little guys send signals to your brain that tell your stomach that it's full. (Try it in these creative ways to eat avocado.)
According to research published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, just half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper can boost metabolism and cause the body to burn an extra 10 calories on its own. Not to mention that for those who don't regularly eat spicy meals, adding cayenne pepper cuts an average of 60 calories from their next meal. Do that at two meals a day for a month and you'll lose 4 pounds without even trying.
Apples of all varieties and types act as appetite suppressants for a number of reasons. First, apples are filled with soluble fiber and pectin, which help you feel full. Apples also regulate your glucose and boost your energy level. Finally, apples require lots of chewing time, which helps slow you down and gives your body more time to realize that you're no longer hungry. Plus, they just taste good!
Studies have shown that eating an egg or two for breakfast can help you feel more full over 24 hours than if they eat a bagel with the same amount of calories. In the same study, those who ate eggs ingested an average of 330 fewer calories over the course of a day than the bagel-eaters. Food for thought, no?
Could taming your appetite be as easy as drinking an extra glass or two of water? Science says yes. In one 2010 study, people who drank two glasses of water before a meal ate between 75 and 90 fewer calories at the meal than those who didn't drink water. Love that H2O!
According to food scientists, sweet potatoes contain a special type of starch that resists digestive enzymes, making them stay in your stomach longer and therefore keep you full, which helps suppress your appetite. Plus, they're full of vitamin A and vitamin C!
Have a sweet craving you just can't shake? Sometimes the best thing to do is to shock it with something sour. Umeboshi plums are basically pickled plums and can be fantastic for squashing sugar cravings. Find them at your local specialty store, Asian grocer, or even online.
Hot, broth-based vegetable soup can fill you up and take the edge off of your hunger with minimal calories. Try having a cup (perhaps, of one of these low-calorie soup recipes) before your next meal or simply have a big bowl as your main course!
Yes, really—chocolate is an appetite suppressant. Just try slowly savoring a piece or two of dark chocolate (not milk chocolate) with at least 70 percent cocoa the next time you crave it. A little dark chocolate helps to lower your cravings because the bitter taste signals the body to decrease your appetite. Not to mention that the stearic acid in dark chocolate helps slow digestion to help you feel fuller longer. If dark chocolate is too bitter for you, try having a piece with a cup of black coffee—it'll bring out the sweetness!
A rich plant-based protein source, tofu isn't just for vegetarians! Tofu is high in an isoflavone called genistein, which has been shown to suppress appetite and lower food intake. For an easy way to introduce tofu in your diet, try adding it to your next healthy stir-fry or in a grain bowl with tofu and veggies.
Ever notice how when you eat sushi it doesn't seem to take as much food to fill you up? Well, part of that is because of the healthy fish in sushi, but the other part is due to that spicy green stuff: wasabi! The spiciness in wasabi makes it an appetite suppressant and a natural anti-inflammatory.
If you're not a coffee drinker and get sick of water easily, try sipping on a cup of hot green tea, which can act as a natural appetite suppressant. Green tea can help you to stop mindlessly snacking, and nutritionists say that the catechins in green tea help to inhibit the movement of glucose into fat cells, which slows the rise of blood sugar and prevents high insulin and subsequent fat storage. And when your blood sugar is more stable, so is your hunger! (Here's more on the benefits of tea.)
Did this one surprise you? While high in carbs, the type of carbs in oatmeal are slow-digesting and keep you feeling full for hours after breakfast, which makes it a natural appetite suppressant. Why? Because they suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin. In fact, oatmeal is pretty low on the glycemic index—just be sure to make steel-cut oats to get the most benefit! (Yes, healthy carbs exist and you should definitely be eating them.)
You probably think that vegetable juice is just a way to get more veggies in your diet, right? That's true, but veggie juice has also been shown to fill you up and act as an appetite suppressant. In fact, when people drank vegetable juice before a meal, they ended up eating 135 fewer calories. Now that's some appetite suppression! Just be sure to drink the low-sodium varieties, which are less likely to make you bloat.
Green Leafy Vegetables
If you're really looking for a highly nutritious food that will fill you up for hours, you can't beat green leafy vegetables—they're the ultimate natural appetite suppressant. From kale to spinach to Swiss chard, these fibrous greens (eaten raw or gently sautéed with a little olive oil) are delicious and definitely keep hunger at bay. (This complete guide to leafy greens will help you pick which to try.)
When you eat fish like salmon that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, your body increases the amount of the hormone leptin in your system. Leptin is known for suppressing hunger. Don't like salmon? Try tuna and herring, which are also high in omega-3s!
Here's a super-easy way to make anything you're eating a natural appetite suppressant: Next time you have cereal, oatmeal, fruit, or even coffee, sprinkle some cinnamon on it. Cinnamon, like other ground spices such as cloves and ginger, helps lower your blood sugar levels, which—you guessed it—helps to control your appetite!
If PMS cravings have your hunger all out of whack during that time of the month, try drinking skim milk. Studies show that women who have at least one serving of dairy a day about two weeks before menstruation significantly decrease their cravings for unhealthy junk foods and processed carbs. Of course, skim milk can help act as a natural appetite suppressant any time of the month.
When it comes to hot sauce as an appetite suppressant, the hotter you can go the better. So get some Tabasco and sprinkle some heat on your burrito, scrambled eggs, or even soup! The spiciness keeps you from overeating and helps you to stay full longer!
With a nutritional mix of soluble fiber and essential fatty acids, flax seeds are the perfect addition to your yogurt, smoothie, or salad. Just make sure you grind them first because the human body can't digest whole flax seeds. As a natural appetite suppressant, they'll help you stay full and fueled.
If you want to keep the hunger monster from rearing its food-devouring head, eat a small salad before you sit down for a meal. Just a cup or two of veggies is all it takes to signal to your brain that you're getting calories and nutrition. Since it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal to your brain that you're full, starting with a small salad before your meal is a perfect way to get a head-start on that hunger signal.
Protein is known as an appetite suppressant, but it seems that whey protein is especially good. Research shows that after people have a liquid meal with whey protein, they consume significantly fewer calories at their next meal than those who had a liquid meal with casein protein. (Pick one from this list of the best protein powders for women.)