We all know food can have a significant impact on our health. Eating the right foods can help increase metabolism while supporting lean muscle development. Focus on a diet that is free from processed foods and provides natural, whole-food sources, and you are on the right track.

These four foods have been shown to help support weight loss, control hunger and even help increase lean muscle! Try including these four in your daily diet routine.

1. Nuts

You probably already know that nuts are good for you— they provide a great source of energy and are high in good-for-you fats. But many of people avoid eating of them because they are calorie dense. However, multiple studies have shown that including peanuts or tree nuts in your diet can help with weight loss. An analysis of multiple studies indicates that nuts’ ability to help with weight loss is due to their high satiety level and as well as improving diet compliance when nuts are permitted. In one study, those who ate just an ounce of nuts each day had higher levels of the hormone serotonin, which can work as an appetite suppressant. Low-carbohydrate diets experience lowered serotonin levels that can cause carb cravings. Include at least one ounce of nuts or nut butter per day in your diet!

2. Oatmeal

This whole grain delivers a high amount of fiber and complex carbs that provide long-lasting energy. One study that compared eating noodles with eating oatmeal over six weeks showed improvements in not just cholesterol levels but also waist circumference. Those who ate oatmeal also felt more full and satisfied for longer. Oatmeal is already a staple for most fitness enthusiasts.

The best part about oatmeal is that you can make it many ways. Try making overnight oats with your favorite fruit, nuts, nut butter, spice and whey protein. Just half a cup provides 28 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fiber.

3. Green Tea

Green tea extract has been shown to help improve 24-hour energy expenditure— or metabolic rate when at rest. Drinking the tea, as opposed to taking an extract, may also have a weight-loss benefit. In a review of clinical research on green tea, it was shown that those who consumed a combination of green tea with caffeine lost an average of 2.9 pounds within 12 weeks while adhering to a regular diet. Meta-analysis studies have also shown lower BMIs and smaller waistlines of tea drinkers compared to non-tea drinkers. One interesting fact is that 24-hour energy expenditure increased by about 16 percent per milligrams of catechins— the active ingredient in tea!

Include green tea in your daily diet routine, or try matcha green tea powder. Blend matcha powder with your favorite vanilla protein smoothie for an energizing boost!

4. Whey Protein

A diet high in protein intake has been shown to help improve weight loss, while also improving body composition. One protein in particular has shown to help decrease body fat and preserve lean muscle— that protein is whey. In an isocaloric 12-week diet, subjects consumed two whey protein shakes— once before breakfast and once before dinner— and lost more weight and significantly more body fat compared to control subjects. If you’re not already including whey protein in your diet, consider adding a shake or two to your routine. Not a fan of whey protein? Try non-fat dairy such as Greek yogurt, which also contains whey protein.

Hursel R, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Catechin and caffeine-rich teas for control of body weight in humans. AM J Clin Nutr. 2013. 98: 1682S-1693S.

Frestedt J, et al. A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutr & Metab. 2008. 5:8.

Mattes RD, et al. Impact of peanuts and tree nuts on body weight and healthy weight loss in adults. J Nutr. 2008. 138(9): 1741S-5S.
Zhang J, et al. Randomized controlled trial of oatmeal consumption versus noodle consumption on blood lipids of urban Chinese adults with hypercholesterolemia. Nut J. 2012. 11:54.