An apple a day keeps cravings at bay. High-fiber foods like apples generally require more chewing time, giving your body extra time to register the fact that you're no longer hungry. Therefore, you're less likely to overeat.
One study in Brazil found that women who ate the equivalent of three small apples a day as part of a healthy diet lost significantly more weight than those who didn't eat apples. And apples are also a natural anti-inflammatory.
Pine nuts contain the highest amount of protein of any nut or seed. In Siberia, a handful of pine nuts are traditionally taken with a meal to create a feeling of fullness.
What's the secret ingredient?
Pine nuts contain pinolenic acid, a naturally occurring polyunsaturated fat that actually stimulates two powerful hunger suppressing hormones. Both hormones play a major role in signaling to the brain that you're no longer hungry. In one study, participants consuming an extract of pinoleic acid reduced their food intake by 36 percent.
Flaxseed oil is the best known plant source of omega-3 fats but raw flaxseeds are even better, especially for appetite control. In addition to the omega-3, one ounce of flaxseeds provides the added benefit of 8 grams of fiber. The more fiber you eat at any meal or snack, the slower the rise in your blood sugar, helping to keep the hunger hormones at bay.
Flaxseeds can be tossed onto salads, thrown into smoothies or sprinkled over vegetables. Studies at the National Cancer Institute show that flaxseeds have cancer preventive properties and lowers cholesterol.
Real oatmeal -- not instant -- is one of the healthiest carbohydrates. It's low on the glycemic load scale and has a high fiber content, so it enters your bloodstream slowly and keeps you full for a long time.
One bowl of oatmeal consumed daily can reduce cholesterol 8 to 23 percent.
For breakfast or as a snack, a small bowl makes an excellent hunger reducer.
We suggest adding a little butter or a handful of pine nuts for longer-lasting fullness. Or how about sprinkling on some ground flaxseed or cinnamon?
If you want to avoid overeating, try eating a small salad before a meal. The fiber helps slow the entrance of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream, making you less likely to be hungry.
According to one study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Assocation, when 42 women ate a simple 100-calorie salad before dinner, they consumed 12 percent less calories during the meal, even without trying to diet or limit their intake.
Try varying your salad choices with spinach, mesculin, endives and cabbages -- all types of greens will help curb your cravings.
Soup is one of the best kept secrets to appetite control and weight loss. Research at Pennsylvania State University shows that men and women consuming two servings of low-calorie soup daily lost a whopping 50 percent more weight than those consuming the exact same number of calories with snack foods.
The secret is soup's combination of high water and low calories. Make sure to choose broths or vegetable soups, not their creamy-rich cousins.
Green drinks are becoming more popular and are now available premade in many grocery stores. The best ones are made with a mix of high-cholorophyll, detoxifying organic grasses like wheatgrass and vegetables (like spinach).
You can make your own from powders sold at health food stores or buy ready-made drinks (but read the label and watch out for added sugar and calories).
Typically, these drinks should be low in calories, very low in sugar and loaded with enzymes and phytonutrients. They have the ability to take the edge off your appetite very effectively.
Whey Protein Powder
Whey protein powder can help you lose weight and build muscle. New studies suggest that whey may have an impact on food intake through its effect on hormones that influence a feeling of fullness. In one study, participants consumed a liquid meal consisting of either whey or casein and 90 minutes later were allowed to eat freely at a buffet table. The whey group consumed significantly less calories.
Whey also supports the immune system and can lower your blood pressure.
Can't control your sweet tooth? In Eastern medicine, foods are regarded as having certain properties and a craving for one kind can best be treated by eating its opposite taste.
Umeboshi plums -- basically pickled plums -- are the ultimate in "contractive" foods. The founder of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Healing and Culinary Arts, Dr. Annemarie Colbin, recommends them highly for sugar cravings. They are widely available at specialty stores and Asian grocers.
Need a quick fix? Try dipping a chopstick or spoon into a jar of umeboshi plum paste and licking it off next time you have a sugar craving. The sourness will give you a jolt.