Expert-Recommend Foods that Help Burn Fat
Exercising obviously boosts your metabolism, but how great is it that you can also boost your metabolism by simply eating certain foods? Yep, that’s right. Experts weigh in on what you should be putting in your mouth to help you become a lean, mean, calorie-burning machine.
(Remember: It doesn’t matter how many of these nutritious foods you add into your diet–if you’re not eating often enough, it’ll cancel out their positive effects. Skipping meals or not eating for longer than 4 or 5 hours between meals can actually slow down your metabolism—uh, no thanks.)
Certain Fruits & Veggies
Just like mom always said, it’s important to eat your fruits and vegetables. Fruits and non-starchy vegetables are high in fiber and vitamins, which help to cleanse the body and promote metabolism.
“Fruits that are high in vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B12, potassium, andphosphorus help in the efficient operation of your metabolism,” says Registered Dietitian Samantha Lynch, MS, RD, CDN.
Instead of your afternoon coffee, trade up for a cup of green tea. “Green tea or green tea extracts have chemicals such as EGCG that not only help foods burn fat and increase the metabolism, but also have anti-cancer properties, prevent heart disease, and uplift your mood,” says Lynch.
Goji Berry Juice
Not a tea drinker? Try goji berry juice. “A small 2011 study found that drinking anywhere from 1 to 4 ounces of goji berry juice boosted metabolism,” says Boone. Goji berry juice has also been shown to improve overall energy and vitality.
Between your sips of green tea and goji berry juice, remember to drink your water. Not only is water a great way to banish bloat, but it also flushes out the toxins from your body that may be slowing down your metabolism. Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Consultant Jaclyn Tane notes that studies have even shown that water can increase metabolic rate by 30 percent. Is there anything that drinking water isn’t good for? We think not.
Hot peppers—like cayenne and jalapeno—can help wake-up your metabolism, and body temperature, due to the compound capsaicin. “The heat generated from this compound is thought to help boost metabolism and calorie and fat-burning,” says Boone.
If you can’t handle the fire of peppers, try vinegar instead. Not only is vinegar effective in getting your metabolism going, but it also can treat metabolic disorders by maintaining balanced insulin levels. “The property can actually lower blood sugar by 30 percent when consumed with a meal,” advises Lynch.
Just as peppers raise your body temperature to awaken your metabolism, so does garlic. “This herb contains sulfur-rich compounds (like thiacremonone) that may help you lose weight and fat, and improve blood sugar and lipid levels,” advises Boone. Make sure that any garlic you add to a meal is raw or only minimally cooked, as its active compounds are destroyed by heat.
Apart from boosting your metabolism (and warding off vampires), garlic can also help fight off the sniffles. “Regular intake of garlic boosts your immune system and helps prevent cold and flu,” Lynch recommends.
Protein + Complex High Fiber Carbs
Lean proteins are key to any healthy diet. In terms of metabolism, lean proteins help at the cellular level to rev up your calorie burn. “This is because the digestion of protein stimulates cellular activity leading to the burning of excess fats,” explains Lynch.
Paired with lean protein, complex high fiber carbs will also fire up your metabolic rate. “The complex carbohydrates in sync with lean protein creates a steady release of insulin into the blood stream and minimizes insulin swings,” says Lynch. This means your energy levels remain constant and you feel fuller longer.
Try pairing brown rice, yams (a.k.a. orange sweet potatoes), or beans with your choice of a lean protein, like skinless chicken or turkey breast, for a metabolism-minded dinner.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids will help liven up your metabolism due their relationship with the fat hormone leptin. “Leptin is said to influence the number of calories burnt and stored as fat,” says Lynch. Leptin also influences your feelings of fullness.
To increase your omega-3 intake, try adding tuna, lean white fish, salmon or freshly ground up flaxseeds to your diet. If you’re not into fish, you can always take an omega-3 supplement. Not only are omega-3 fatty acids great for your metabolism, but they’ve also been shown to help with joints and dry eyes.