You may remember the old school yard legend that eating celery would make you lose weight because it had no calories, but you burned calories chewing it. It may sound too good to be true, but there are actually delicious, healthy, nutritious foods that we can eat that work with our body and all of our other weight-loss, get fit efforts to help us lose weight!
The truth is that it isn’t actually the foods that are burning calories, it’s the ingredients in them. Some of them cause us to release hormones that actually raise the body’s temperature (which means that they are thermogenic – they actually change the way that the body burns calories), and others have ingredients or elements that accomplish the very same thing, or make the metabolism speed up by stimulating the thyroid. Some foods are said to help with weight loss but the science behind the claims is weak, so it’s important that you do your due diligence and make sure that you’re eating the right things. To help you along, here’s our list of top fat-burning foods to rev up your weight loss program.
Research has shown that people who eat nuts tend to have less visceral fat – that’s the belly fat that is so unattractive and can be so dangerous – and there’s good reason for that. Almonds keep you from feeling hungry because they pack a ton of protein and fiber into a small serving. Keep yourself to three ounces or less per day.
Peppers are loaded with a chemical called capsaicin; it’s the thing that burns your skin, your lips and your eyes if you make the mistake of touching the seeds. It also will fire up your metabolism, no matter what form it’s in. Add chopped peppers to meals, or use the powdered form (cayenne) to help melt away the fat.
There are just so many reasons that the old adage about “an apple a day” was correct, and this is another one. Turns out that apples contain a compound that keeps the body from absorbing fat. Plus, they are so loaded with fiber that they prevent you from getting hungry. Eat an apple before you sit down for a meal and you’ll definitely end up cutting your calories.
Cinnamon is much like cayenne pepper in that it has no calories AND it does the body good. Turns out that cinnamon helps metabolize sugar faster. Plus studies have shown that it reduces cholesterol substantially. Winner all around!
Speaking of cholesterol, did you know that eggs are no longer a no-no? Eggs are high in protein and low in fat, and on top of that studies have shown that people who eat a single egg for breakfast rather than taking in carbs from a bagel or toast tend to take in fewer calories for the rest of the day.
This category encompasses foods that have not been processed or refined such as brown rice or oatmeal. Breaking down whole grains is hard work for the body, and the process burns tons of calories. Plus, whole grains make you feel full longer than other foods, minimizing the chance that you’ll take in empty calories.
When you take in high-quality, low-fat proteins such as chicken or lean cuts of beef, you are eating one of the top thermogenic foods available; it takes almost one third of the calories in the food to break it down.
There has been a lot of press about low-fat dairy, and some of it has been a bit overstated. The truth is that dairy has high quantities of calcium and protein, and that’s what’s needed to build muscle and bones. More muscle mass means higher metabolic activity. Simple!
Green tea really is a super-food. It doesn’t take much to do a lot. Recent studies have shown that drinking just four or five cups a day can boost your metabolism by 8%, and can definitely peel off the pounds.
Asparagus does great things for dieters – in fact, it’s been shown to have double benefits. This super-low-calorie veggie helps clear the body of excess fluid, and also contains a chemical compound that helps the body break down excess fat. Asparagus is great grilled or steamed, and it can be poached in broth to make a delicious, filling soup.
Here’s an interesting diet tip: if your body recognizes that you’re low in a vital nutrient, it automatically slows down the metabolism to make sure you’re not taxing the system too much. And many people are low on iron, so keeping your iron stores up is an important part of keeping your metabolism revved. Lentils are loaded with iron and high in fiber too.
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