While there are many foods that are healthy for the body, there are certain ones that will actually rev up your metabolism and help you to burn fat on your weight loss journey.
Included below this article will be foods that are extremely healthy in terms of essential vitamins and minerals, but they do not focus as much on fat burning as these foods we are going to discuss:
1. Whole Grains
Whole grain foods include barley, oatmeal, brown and black rice, corn, quinoa, rye, spelt, and bulgur. Oatmeal can be somewhat high in carbs, but it has 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per cup and can keep you feeling fuller longer. Steel cut oats are superior to instant oats because they have a much lower glycemic index. Try to make oatmeal with a natural sweetener, like honey and mix it with fruit for a more complete breakfast.
Brown rice has 2 grams of both protein and fiber in each half cup serving, along with a nice variety of minerals and some vitamins. A study was conducted where one group of people ate only white rice and one ate only a brown and black mixed rice. The mixed rice group lost more weight and body fat than the white rice group. Black rice is rich in antioxidants, low in fat, and has the highest amount of protein of any rice. Cook it with a lot of water though, as this rice has been found to contain arsenic.
2. Lean Meats
Our bodies burn 30% of the calories in whichever lean meat we are eating just to break it down and digest it. Lean meats include pork tenderloin, lamb chops, veal cutlets, chicken breasts, turkey cutlets, and leaner beef cuts. Meat is rich in B vitamins, iron, magnesium and zinc. If you’re thinking of drinking whey protein shakes for protein instead of meat, you may want to rethink that. Those shakes do not provide the same amount of vitamins and minerals as real meat. Also, they can add carbs, sugar, and unhealthy chemicals.
3. Low Fat Dairy Products
A diet high in low fat dairy has been shown to be twice as effective as just a low calorie diet that was low in dairy. Calcium found in dairy (not supplements) boosts weight loss by breaking down the fat in fat cells. The phosphorus and magnesium in dairy aid the calcium’s effect on this breakdown of fat, and proteins help muscles and increase metabolism. However, only a certain amount of calories per day should be from dairy.
Among the best dairy products are organic milk, hard cheeses, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese. Organic milk is less salty than regular milk, has Omega-3 fatty acids to lower insulin levels, and other essential nutrients that are lower or missing in regular milk. Hard cheeses like parmesan, cheddar and pecorino romano are higher in fat and salt, but also high in calcium. Because the cheese is dry, the calcium becomes concentrated, so the softer and more a cheese crumbles, the less calcium it will have.
Greek yogurt is a powerhouse in itself, as it is not only a good source of calcium, but it has a nice amount of protein as well. It has double the amount of protein as regular yogurt, as well as lower carbs, but it does not have more calcium. Greek yogurt has half the sodium, but costs twice as much due to demand and being high in protein.
4. Green And White Teas
Green tea is well known for being an aid to weight loss, as well as having high antioxidants to fight free radicals in the body (the type that can cause cancer). Both of these teas are minimally processed, which keeps their antioxidant properties intact. However, it is in this area that white tea is far superior, containing three times as much antioxidants than green tea.
The reason white tea has more is because it is not fermented, and green tea is. It is even less processed than green tea, therefore having more antiviral and antibacterial properties. However, you are still getting a good source of antioxidants from green tea, and both are good for the skin as well as boosting the immune system.
White tea is very delicate, so in order to keep the benefits, it must be brewed in water at a lower temperature, whereas green tea can be brewed when the water is almost boiling. White tea is three times as expensive as green because of its lack of processing and the fact that not as much is produced. It has a light subtle flavor vs green having a grassy flavor. If you can’t afford the white, go with the green, because you will still reap the good benefits. Or if you can splurge a little, why not do both?
5. Hot Peppers
Hot peppers like the jalapeno, habanero, serrano, and poblano all contain capsaicin, which is what gives peppers their heat. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it is likely to contain, and also the more painful it is to eat! Capsaicin helps to turn white fat into brown fat inside your body, which helps you burn more calories. Brown fat heats up to burn the white fat cells, the same effect you’d get if you spent time in colder temperatures.
Peppers are involved in a study to fight cancer, since the capsaicin binds to a protein of certain cells, making tumor cells commit suicide. Scientists are also trying to develop a diet supplement containing capsaicin to prevent and combat obesity. How great to hear of both of these things! Contrary to popular belief, removing the seeds from a pepper will not make it less hot. Most of the capsaicin is concentrated in the white ribs on the inside of the pepper.
6. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter, in moderation (up to 3 Tbsp a day) boosts testosterone (not just good for men), is good for muscles, and prevents weight gain. As long as you set aside the calories for it, it’s a delicious, satisfying, rich treat to have instead of an unhealthy snack. It also contains mono and poly unsaturated fats, which both help to reduce blood cholesterol levels, control blood sugar levels, making it especially great for people with type 2 diabetes. Add it to your smoothies (with banana and milk, yum!), spread it on whole wheat toast, or have it by itself!
Most people cringe when they think of eating grapefruit. But if you can handle it, eating half of a grapefruit a day add lycopene (cancer fighter) and vitamin C to your diet, but that’s not all. It also has a nice amount of fiber, which helps to keep you fuller longer, stabilizes blood sugar by reducing insulin levels, and the mere smell of it helps with cravings. Lower levels of insulin helps your body to use food for energy instead of storing it as fat. Be sure to check with your doctor if you’re taking medications whose absorption could be affected by grapefruit.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which helps lower bad cholesterol, oleic acid which can reduce abdominal fat. It also allows your body to absorb 3-5 times more carotenoids (disease fighting agents that also help with weight loss) when added to a salad. Avocados fight free radicals (disease causing compounds) in your body at a molecular level, deeper than other foods can go.
There are also other benefits to eating avocados. It reduces hunger, has a high amount of fiber and over 60% of your daily vitamin K (helps to control blood sugar). You can spread it on toast, have it in salads, cook with avocado oil (if you can afford it), or make guacamole. Guacamole has added ingredients that will only add the health benefits of the avocado, like tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and limes.
9. Dark Chocolate
Not everyone likes the bitterness of dark chocolate, but in moderation, it can help to burn fat as fuel instead of storing it, and works to reduce inflammation in the body. It helps to lower blood pressure and increase circulation, as well as preventing spikes in blood sugar levels, which in turn keeps you from overeating.
Dark chocolate also aids in blocking the absorption of fats and carbs during digestion and contains anandamide, a lipid that gives you a feeling of well being. Anandamide is usually easily broken down, so you don’t experience the benefits for too long, but the chemicals in dark chocolate suspend that breakdown, allowing you to feel better for longer. Make sure to only have a serving three times a week, as it is high in calories, but don’t worry about the fat. Dark chocolate has three kinds of fat, and two of them cancel out the third bad one. Make sure to buy chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking apple cider vinegar before a meal helps to lower blood sugar and interfere with the body digesting starch. Less starch breaking down means less calories absorbed, thus having an effect on weight loss. You can add it to water before a meal or use it in place of balsamic vinegar in salad dressings.
Apple cider vinegar can be used for many things, including a facial toner, spray cleaner, mouthwash, and a post workout tonic for fatigue, among others. For consumption, it’s better to get the organic version, as it has a mix of beneficial enzymes, fiber, and bacteria. The more cloudy it looks, the better it will work to clean your whole system.
In conjunction with the fat busters listed above, these fat burning foods are healthy additions to any diet and have their own benefits, which will be discussed later: berries, cinnamon, watermelon, apples, sweet potatoes, broth based soups, lemon water, green leafy vegetables, garlic, eggs, fatty fish, nuts, beans, tomatoes.