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5 Antioxidant-Rich Foods That Trigger an Ozempic-Like Weight Loss Effect, Doctors Say

These nutrient-dense foods can help you burn fat faster.

Ozempic has seen an epic rise in popularity over the last year for its off-label use as a weight loss medication. The GLP-1 agonist works—and works well—by suppressing appetite, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and promoting fullness and satiety, studies show. However, weight loss medication isn't right for everyone, and it's not a panacea for those who take it. The drug works in conjunction with the help of major dietary changes, which can make or break your weight loss progress.

If you're going the route of pursuing weight loss without the help of Ozempic, you may be wondering how to give yourself an extra edge by other means. Some experts say that certain foods can help trigger Ozempic-like effects, putting your weight loss goals within reach.

You'll want to begin with a diet that's rich in unprocessed, plant-based, nutrient-dense foods, says Christopher McGowan, MD, a triple board-certified obesity medicine specialist and founder of True You Weight Loss. In particular, eating foods that are full of antioxidants and fiber may be especially beneficial for shedding pounds.

McGowan says that beyond helping you lose weight, these foods can also help protect your body from the negative effects of excess weight, "including insulin resistance, metabolic dysregulation, increased free fatty acids, and chronic low-grade inflammation."

"Antioxidants are natural scavengers that can help to neutralize the oxidative stress caused by free radicals within the body, helping to mitigate some of the inflammatory changes that occur from excess weight and obesity. These effects can help to reduce cellular damage, which could have a downstream impact on obesity-related conditions like cardiovascular disease," he tells Best Life.

Wondering which antioxidant-rich foods can help you lose weight and protect your health in the process? These are the five foods doctors recommend for their weight loss benefits.

RELATED: 4 Probiotics That Trigger an Ozempic-Like Weight Loss Effect, Doctors Say.

Dark-colored fruits and vegetables

bowl of blackberries on a wooden table
marisc / Shutterstock

Color coding your meal plan and striving to include lots of dark-colored plant foods is one way to ensure that you get plenty of antioxidants in your diet. That's because, as a 2020 study published in the journal Current Research in Food Science notes, antioxidant compounds are often directly responsible for plants' pigmentation.

"For example, anthocyanins being one of the main phenolic groups found in fruits and vegetables are responsible for red, blue and purple color in fruits and vegetables. Carotenoids are associated with red or orange color, while chlorophyll gives the green color to fruits and vegetables present in," the study authors write.

"Darker-colored fruits and vegetables tend to be loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants," says McGowan. "Examples include dark berries (blueberries and blackberries), tomatoes, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts," he tells Best Life.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and Seeds in small bowls on a gray background
Oksana Mizina / Shutterstock

When you think of antioxidant-rich foods, nuts and seeds may be left off your list. However, they're among the plants with the highest antioxidant content, including ample polyphenols and selenium.

"Tiny but mighty, nuts and seeds deliver a protein, fiber, and nutrient punch with every bite," says Harvard Health Publishing. "Nuts are flavorful little packages containing healthy unsaturated fats, protein, fiber, and other nutrients."

Walnuts, rich in folate, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium, are believed to be especially beneficial for weight loss. In fact, one recent study concluded that similar to certain weight loss drugs that reduce "food noise," walnuts may activate parts of the brain involved in appetite and impulse control.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Eat Whatever You Want Without Gaining Weight.

Beans and legumes

Beans and Lentils Anti-Aging Foods

Beans and legumes are also rich in antioxidants such as phenolic acids, flavonoids, saponins, tocopherols, and vitamin C. Besides that, they're brimming with protein and fiber, making them a powerhouse addition to your weight-loss diet.

"Beans are low in fat and the glycemic index. They are high in fiber and plant protein. They contribute significantly to satiety and they improve the gut microbiome. Clearly, they have the potential to play a meaningful role in the battle against obesity," says a 2020 study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.

Once again, looking for deeply colored plants will help increase your antioxidant intake. "Most reports have suggested that legumes with colored seed coats possess strong antioxidant potential owing to the presence of high content of antioxidants," notes a separate 2020 study published in the journal Sustainable Agriculture Reviews.

Green tea

green tea

Green tea is packed with catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols, and is believed to increase metabolism and help you burn fat faster.

In fact, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that drinking green tea every day had major weight loss and health benefits: "Consumption of four cups of green tea per day caused a significant decrease in body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and systolic blood pressure in this group. No significant change was seen in the other groups and between group comparisons."

RELATED: What Really Happens If You Stop Taking Ozempic, Doctors Say.

Foods that are rich in vitamin C

Heap of fresh oranges with one half slice.

To turbocharge your weight loss, McGowan also suggests eating foods that are rich in the antioxidant vitamin C. This includes "citrus fruits, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe," he notes.

"Vitamin C status is inversely related to body mass. Individuals with adequate vitamin C status oxidize 30 percent more fat during a moderate exercise bout than individuals with low vitamin C status; thus, vitamin C depleted individuals may be more resistant to fat mass loss," explains a 2005 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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