Don’t let swimsuit season get you down, I’ve got the skinny on the superfoods for trimming your waistline and making you look and feel better from the inside out. I’ve spent the last 28 years in search of the most potent and healing foods and herbs to use in my nutrition clinic, traveling from the dense jungles of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil to the Himalayan Mountain region of Inner Mongolia and everywhere in between.
While, I’ve come across some amazing herbs and powerful foods in my travels around the globe, the good news is that several of my most tried and true superfoods for slimming down are available in your local grocery store! Here are my top five accessible and delicious superfoods that will help burn off those extra pounds and give you that radiant summertime glow that will make heads turn.
1. Spice it up with Capsicum & Ginger – Put the spice in your summer refreshment. Capsicum is one of my favorite superfoods because it is chock full of nutrients and medicinal properties. I’ll bet you didn’t know that a cayenne pepper has more Vitamin C than an orange. And ginger is also an amazing superfood that works wonders for your digestive system, helping to ease indigestion and bloating.
So, how do these two potent foods help you slim down for summer? That sizzle on your tongue is the same spark that ignites your internal fire and generates heat, which in turn revs up your metabolism. I recommend drinking a hot unsweetened Chai tea once or twice a day and adding a little fresh ginger and crushed cayenne pepper to jump start your weight loss.
2. Guarana Boosts Energy & Binds the Appetite – This amazing little seed from the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest has over 2.5 times the amount of caffeine as coffee without any of the side effects commonly known in caffeinated coffee. It also boasts theobromine, which is the same active “feel good” compound in chocolate, which counters the negative side effects of caffeine. Guarana is Mother Nature’s perfect little energy booster with a bonus – it has also been used traditionally by the indigenous people of the Amazon Rainforest to suppress appetite in addition to boosting energy!
Now, be careful, because a lot of energy drinks tout Guarana as their key ingredient, but these are often loaded with sugars, artificial sweeteners and other harmful ingredients. Be sure to read the label. My top pick for energy is Genesis Today’s Wake Me beverage, which is available at Walmart in the refrigerated section next to the Orange Juice. This all-natural beverage contains generous amounts of Guarana and also has 500% of your Daily Value of Vitamin B12 for an added energy boost.
3. Go Green for Beauty – The darker the green, the better the veggie is for you. I could go on and on and on about how Kale, Mustard Greens, Celery, Parsley and all these dark leafy green vegetables help detoxify the blood and balance the body, but I’ll just tell you how incorporating them will speed your weight loss. Replace your breakfast with a green veggie juice and you’ll enjoy a whole load of alkalinizing beauty benefits.
On top of flushing excess water and toxins, the green juice is loaded with chlorophyll, minerals and numerous plant compounds as well as tons of natural enzymes, which aid digestion and reduce bloat. I understand that freshly juiced Kale and Spinach is sometimes hard to come by, that’s why I turn to this new product called GenEssentials Greens, which you can find at Whole Foods and other health foods retailers. These Greens have over 25 billion probiotics per serving, and each serving is chock full of vitamins, minerals, dark leafy green veggies and a plethora of essential herbs to cleanse and nourish the body and support the immune system, brain and eye power – and beauty! I drink them every morning by adding them to my fresh made veggie juice, it’s double the benefit.
4. Add a Splash of the Sea – Look at cultures who rely on the sea for the majority of their diet and you’ll note that they experience very few weight concerns – obesity is not an epidemic in Japan. That’s because the sea is chock full of waistline-friendly superfoods like Kelp, Fish and Algae. Kelp is a sea vegetable that is loaded with iodine, which is the key nutrient for the thyroid gland that is responsible for regulating metabolism. A happy thyroid means happy metabolism, so try adding some dried kelp flakes on top of your salad or adding the powder to your green veggie juice.
Also hailing from the sea are several sources of Omega 3 fatty acids, like Fish and Algae, which are important for supporting healthy weight as well as healthy skin and hair. There are two products I love for Omega Fatty Acids, one is Genesis Today’s Omega Orange Juice available at Walmart in the refrigerated section and Genesis Today’s Superfruit Omega Gummy Vitamins which are available at Walgreens. Both are excellent additions to a daily diet.
5. B-Vitamin Beauty Booster – If I told you there was one family or group of vitamins that could improve just about every system in your body, make your hair grow thicker, make your nails grow stronger, boost your energy levels and support your metabolism, would you believe me? B Complex Vitamins are one of my secrets to health and beauty, they are key to turning our food into energy (this would be called metabolism) and most people don’t get enough in their daily diet. That’s because B Vitamins are found in foods like brown rice, liver, and oysters, and they are wiped out of our system by caffeine, stress and alcohol. Additionally, B Vitamins have to be brought into our bodies daily because our bodies do not produce them on their own.
The best way to get your B Vitamins is by eating liver every day. Just kidding! Try a liquid supplement, I recommend one of the Genesis Today juices like Acai Berry Juice, Pomegranate & Berries with Resveratrol or Cranberry Goji Juice. You can find these in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store and they contain 1,000 percent of you daily value of Vitamin B12 as well as strong doses of the rest of the B complex family of vitamins. Have a glass every morning instead of your coffee and you’ll notice a dramatic change in your energy levels in only one week, and when your energy is up – so is your metabolism!
It’s that time of the year: you shed your winter layers and suddenly notice your muscles again – or rather, the lack thereof! The tee shirts and shorts aren’t looking quite as you’d like (and forget about that swimsuit). No need to panic – there’s still time to get in shape for summer…but you need to start now!
No more procrastinating. From this moment forward, every morsel of food that you consume counts as calories going in – and every step that you consciously take (forgoing the escalator for the stairs) counts as calories going out. At the end of the day, it’s simple math: over consume and you gain weight. Over exert and you lose weight.
Once you shift to choosing your calories wisely, it’s time to implement a series of strengthening and toning exercises. I want to share some of the most fun, challenging, and muscle-burning moves from our Core Fusion Boot Camp class at exhale (also found on the Core Fusion Boot Camp DVD). This series will jump start your fitness routine and get you on the path of exerting energy through challenging movements. Your muscles will start to become stronger and in the process become shapelier. Lean muscle is what burns those calories. So get started today!
Core Fusion Boot Camp Workout for Bikini Blaster Results!
You can do this Core Fusion Boot Camp Workout 2 to 3 times per week. The classes use a Core Ball, but you can switch in any ball—volleyball, soccer ball, kickball, beach ball—that you have available. It just needs to be able to support your bodyweight for pushups. You’ll also need a 5-to-8 pound dumbbell for the lifting moves.
Single Leg Pulse
Targets: Shoulders, abs, butt, legs
Stand on right leg with left leg held out in front of you. Hold the ball or weight with arms extended directly in front of you at chest height. Bend right leg slightly lowering your body 2-3 inches, then straighten the leg and return to standing. Do 20 pulses in this style. Switch legs and repeat.
Single Leg Squat and Leap
Targets: Shoulders, obliques, butt, legs
Stand with your legs wider than shoulder width, toes turned out slightly. Hold the ball or weight overhead slightly in front of your forehead, elbows partially bent. Squat down until you can touch the ball to the floor in between your feet – then spring up to the right, extending the ball over head as the left foot leaves the floor. Return the ball to the floor between your feet and then spring up to the left, extending the ball overhead until the right foot leaves the floor. Twist from your trunk as you leap to activate the oblique abdominal muscles. Do 10 reps. Repeat a second set.
Targets: Chest, triceps, abs
Get in full pushup position with your right palm on the ground and your left palm on top of the ball. Make sure your left elbow is directly over your left wrist – the body should form a straight line from head to heels. (Beginners can do a modified pushup position with knees on the ground.) Bend elbows and lower yourself toward the ground – then straighten arms and return to starting position. Do 10 reps. Switch sides, repeat.
Oblique Trunk Twister with weights in the Curl Position
Targets: the full abdominal wall with emphasis on the obliques, the inner thighs.
Start by sitting on the ground with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place the ball between your inner-thighs and hold there. Holding a 2-pound weight in each hand, roll slowly down to your waist, vertebrae by vertebrae. Bring fists together near the breast bone. Rotate trunk from side to side to work the oblique muscles. Do 10 reps. Repeat 2 sets.
Targets chest, biceps, abs, hips, butt
Sit on ground with left knee bent in front of your left hip, right knee bent and positioned behind your right hip. Rotate right hip forward so that the right ankle is higher than the right knee. Place ball on ground in front of your left leg to get started for the basic position. The next, more advanced level is to press into ball with palms at chest level, shoulders down, elbows out. Lift bent right leg a few inches off ground, then press right leg back. Be sure to keep the right ankle higher than the knee and the right knee behind the right hip. If you can’t lift the right knee in the beginning, just slide it along the floor, working to keep the ankle higher than the knee. Do 2 sets of push backs. A second variation is to keep the same position and lift the right knee up just enough to clear the floor. Do 2 sets of 20 lifts. Switch legs in between sets.
|Fred DeVito, Health & Fitness Contributing Editor
For over 30 years, Fred DeVito has taught New Yorkers to live healthier, leading fitness classes at the acclaimed Lotte Berk Method Studios, and more recently, at Exhale Spa, where he serves as Executive Vice President of Mind Body Training. With his wife and partner, Elisabeth Halfpapp . . . Read more about Fred DeVito