Although we as people differ from each other a lot based on what we like, what we do, and the lifestyle we live, one thing unites us all: each of us wants to live a happy, long life surrounded by the people we love, doing things that fulfill us. But living a happy life is simply impossible if we are not healthy, and our health is influenced greatly by our diet and the food we consume regularly.
As we all know, our brain is responsible for our body: from our heartbeat to breathing, movement, thoughts, even our emotions, and moods – our brain controls everything; to function properly, our brain needs "fuel" which comes from the food we eat. The nutrients we consume transform into energy which helps our brain function well.
If we consume food which is heavily processed, therefore less nutritious, and rich solely in calories, we will not be able to provide enough fuel for our brain; that’s because even though we will consume more than enough calories, we still won’t have enough energy for our body to function properly and stay healthy. The result is quite obvious, we end up getting fatter and less healthy. That’s why, we need to have a nutritious, balanced diet.
Nutritious, balanced diets are rich in antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and all of the other nutrients our brain needs to protect our body. Furthermore, what we eat, influences our metabolism as well.
How fast or slow our body will burn the calories we eat, and how much ‘fuel’ our brain will get to keep us healthy heavily depends on our metabolism.
We can freely say that our metabolism is the one responsible for how fast we will burn down fat and lose weight.
Although several factors influence how well our metabolism works, such as our muscle mass, our age, gender, genetics, body size, hormones, physical activity, and the environment, we can freely say that food is one of, if not the most important factor.
Numerous studies showed that our diet greatly impacts our metabolism and regulates how our body burns fat.
Unhealthy diets consist of low-quality food which typically is more processed and refined. This food is rich in calories, but low in nutrition as a good amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrition get lost in its processing.
Healthy, nutritious diets, on the other hand, don’t include heavily processed, refined foods, instead, they consist of high –quality food such as fresh vegetables and fruits which are rich in vitamins and minerals, meat prepared healthily, and other nutritious foods. This diet provides everything our body needs to function well and stay healthy and it also helps our metabolism speed up the process of burning fats.
If you are trying to lose weight, burn fat and stay healthy at the same time, you need to consume a balanced diet. This diet should include all the major food groups that provide the seven main classes of nutrients that our body needs:
carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre and water; that being said, some of these need to be consumed in bigger amounts (such as vitamins, minerals, water and fiber) others in moderate amount (such as proteins) and others should be limited, (like carbohydrates and fats).
A healthy balanced diet will help your body function well and stay healthy; however, if your goal is to lose weight and burn fat, you should include certain healthy foods and ingredients more into your healthy diet, making sure that you are reviving your metabolism and giving it that extra boost it needs to burn fat easily and effortlessly.
By incorporating fat burning foods into your diet you will make sure that your body gets not only all the nutrients it needs but also works with you in fighting the battle of losing weight, by losing fat and building muscle and whittling your waist.
We have compiled a list of top 35 foods that you need to implement into your diet to make sure your metabolism burns out the extra fat:
Most carbohydrates are to be avoided, but if you can’t resist them, try adding oats instead of the usual carb foods. Oats which are steel-cut and unrefined are rich in resistant starch which we already said takes longer to be broken down, giving your body time to process it better and not rising your insulin drastically. This leads to boost metabolism and fat burning.
Who says you can’t indulge in chocolate and burn fats? All you need to do is choose the right one! Dark chocolate is considered one of the healthiest sweets, which protects your heart while satisfying your sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is considered any chocolate with at least 70 percent or more cacao content; these chocolates have the highest concentration of antioxidant polyphenols which help our body boost the production of various polyphenolic compounds like butyrate that further help our body use fat as fuel and reduce the inflammation.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, there are so many berries to choose from! Berries are one of the healthiest fruits as they are packed with a ton of fibers (some up to 9-10 grams a cup), vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; they also contain an extremely low amount of calories and contain less sugar than most other fruits. Additionally, studies done and published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that berries (especially raspberries) are rich in resveratrol which is an antioxidant that helps our body convert the excess, bad fat into a calorie-burning fat, which helps fight the obesity. All of this makes berries both healthy and super fat burning!
Besides being a great addition to various dishes like soups, pasta, salads, omelets, and meats, this veggie, and its prebiotics will help your body stay healthy and full. According to a study published in Health, asparagus is not only low in fats and calories but it also contains a ton of soluble and insoluble fiber which helps you with bloating issues as well as keeping your digestive tract healthy.
Cayenne Pepper does not only burn your mouth, but it also burns your fat! A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed this: according to them, cayenne pepper is a natural appetite suppressant: their research showed that people who consumed cayenne pepper together with their meal, in general, consumed up to 200 calories less than those who didn’t. Moreover, they found out that some of the compounds found in the cayenne pepper called capsaicin speeds up abdominal fat loss simply by boosting our metabolism and our body's ability to convert the food into energy.
People either love or hate bananas, although we are yet to meet the second type. Bananas are quite controversial in the weight loss community as many argue that their level of sugar is higher than the other fruits. That being said, if one is consuming it in normal amounts, he/she will find bananas extremely useful. Bananas are rich in potassium. And various studies done worldwide show that potassium is a key ingredient for regulating minerals and fluids in and out of our cells and body. This helps your body remove the excess fluids, avoid bloating and eventually lose weight.
Delicious, crunchy and extremely flexible for making, this veggie is on your side when it comes to fighting the fat! Its popularity raised in recent years as many studies confirmed that it is quite thermogenic – it burns more calories when you eat it. This made the ‘white version of the broccoli’ extremely popular in the weight-loss circles.
There are so many ways to eat this healthy delicious food: on salads, in smoothies, as an addition to other dishes or simply plain on its own, Greek yogurt is one of those foods that are great post-workout fuels. Greek yogurt is rich in vitamin D and calcium and they influence the stress hormone cortisol which contributes to fat storage. Moreover, the regular unsweetened versions are low in calories but high in proteins, which is a perfect combination for weight loss.
Do you want to lose an inch of your waist in 6 weeks? According to a recent study published in the Metabolism journal, if you add grapefruit to your diet for 6 weeks you will lower your waist for one inch. This is because grapefruit, on one hand, is low in calories and rich in nutrients and on other, it is rich in phytochemicals that stimulate the adiponectin hormone responsible for breaking down our belly fat. Moreover, grapefruit is rich in a ton of vitamin C and antioxidants which our body needs to stay healthy and strong. You can add it to your salads to give them juicier, rich taste or you can use it as late night snack – either way, grapefruit should be on the menu of everyone who wants to burn the stubborn belly fat.
Here is some good news: you don’t have to give up potatoes to help your body burn fat. Instead, you just need to change the way you prepare them. We all know that white food typically is rich in carbohydrates and as such is not recommended for weight loss. Nevertheless, according to an Australian study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, plain boiled potatoes can be your combat in fighting fat if you prepare them well. They claim that instead of frying, you need to switch to boiling your favorite potatoes and throw them in the refrigerator before making a salad. When they are in the refrigerator they will cool off and this process will crystallize the tubers into resistant starch which will take time to break down and help your body stay full for a longer period.
Who can resist the rich, gorgeous red color of delicious plum? There is a reason why red-colored fruits are recommended a lot by nutritionists; besides being great for our blood as it is rich in iron, the red color also suggests richness in flavonoids. According to Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity research, the flavonoids, especially the anthocyanins influence our fat-storage genes by boosting the phenolic compounds which reduce the function of these genes. Moreover, they are rich in vitamins and fibers which help our body absorb better the nutrients it needs.
We already said it, one of the best ways to fight bad fats is with good fats; another perfect source of healthy monosaturated fats is the coconut oil. Numerous studies showed that adding coconut oil to your diet or replacing the regular oil with coconut oil can help your body burn fats easier. That’s because coconut oil fats are C.O.'s medium-chain triglycerides, and these don’t get to be stored as fat but they burn out as energy.
Only a few things are as widely recommended as lemon water; this water does not only help you stay hydrated and brings taste to the water making it more delicious, but it also boosts your metabolism; many people choose to go with the variation of warm water and lemon juice, drinking it first thing in the morning. Studies showed that the polyphenols in lemon juice successfully suppress body fat accumulation and help you lose weight and stay hydrated.
While you may be surprised to learn that theoretically, tomatoes are fruit and not a vegetable, you probably won’t be surprised to know that they are one of the healthiest fruits to consume. How healthy and fat burning? Well, a 2012 Japanese research confirmed that tomatoes, especially dry are rich in 9-oxo-ODA compound which activates your DNA making it effectively burn more fat. Additionally, tomatoes are rich in carotene and lycopene two powerful antioxidants that help your body stop the fat storage. There are numerous studies, among which is one published in the Journal of Nutrition that show the correlation between small waists with the least body fat and the consumption of carotene and lycopene. And if that is not enough for you, they also confirm that cooked tomatoes contain more carotene and lycopene than raw ones, so you can use them in any dish/sauce you make!
Speaking of seafood, we can’t go without mentioning oysters, and here is why: oysters are rich in zinc – a mineral that reduces the production of the hormone leptin. According to a study published in the Life Sciences journal, people with excess belly fat have increased levels of leptin and lowered levels of zinc. Being rich in zinc, oysters are a great way to add zinc and iron to your diet and keep your leptin and appetite balanced.
Our body needs food which will digest slowly and give our metabolism a chance to burn the calories properly. And black beans offer us precisely that; they have resistant starch which slowly digests and has a good amount of insoluble fiber which is great food for the healthy bacteria in our gut. This bacteria helps produce more butyrate – a chemical that encourages our body to not only burn more fats and use it as a fuel, also reduce any inflammation. This was all confirmed by a recent study done in the Wake Forest Baptist Medical center where researchers should that just by eating 10 grams of soluble fiber in 5 years your belly fat will get reduced by 3.7 percent.
We talked about cayenne but other hot peppers, such as Jalapeños, habaneros, chili peppers are also useful in fighting the tiresome battle with fat. Just like cayenne peppers, these also are rich in capsaicin - a compound that helps our body burn the fats easily resulting in visible weight loss. This was confirmed by a 2012 study published in the Journal Appetite which thoroughly explained how capsaicin can increase fat burning and reduce appetite. It is time to spice up your dishes and watch the fat burn!
Who can resist a good cup of tea? No one! It is a well-known fact that green tea helps with losing weight, and it is recommended by various nutritionists. Numerous studies confirmed that green and white tea is a great way to fire up your body’s fat-burning capabilities. Regularly drinking green/white tea (which is brewed and does not come in a form of supplements) simultaneously helps your body boost the lipolysis breaking down fats and it blocks the formation of fat cells.
How about we fly away to the Mediterranean kitchen and introduce ourselves to one of the most frequently used ingredients, the bulgur. If you are tired of eating the same old rice, a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine journal recommends that you try adding bulgur to your diet as it is rich in fiber and even if you eat the same normal amount of calories every day, if you increase your intake of fibers, your body will improve its insulin and this will result in lower blood pressure and weight loss. Worth trying, don’t you agree?
While on the subject of good news, another good news is that you won’t have to give up coffee either. While you still will need to avoid heavily creamed, fancy flavored and sugared coffee, you can still enjoy a cup of coffee every morning; the caffeine which is key ingredient in the coffee is actually your ally in losing weight as it helps your body move the food through your digestive tract and get rid of all the unnecessary things.
We all heard our parents insist that we include fish in at least two of our weekly meals, and as much as we hate admitting it, they were right! Besides being great for our health, fatty fishes are one of the greatest sources of high-quality proteins that keep us full throughout the day; digesting this protein increases our metabolism significantly more than digesting other proteins, carbs or fats. Moreover, fatty fishes are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which not only reduce the risk of inflammation and heart disease but also help our body reduce the level of cortisol – the stress hormone that contributes to fat storage.
If you are someone who has a good diet history you already know that many diets include apple cider vinegar. This is because apple cider vinegar is acetic acid; this acid delays the release of sugar into our bloodstream making it slower. This helps our body to use that sugar as energy instead of storing it as fat.
Turmeric is one of those spices used worldwide for making numerous delicious foods. Besides contributing to the taste, it also helps with losing weight. And here is how research published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine explains it: turmeric is rich in curcumin powerful anti-inflammatory component. Our body can hardly lose weight when it is forced to deal with both inflammations and burning fat, so consuming turmeric will help you reduce the inflammations and focus solely on burning fats.
If you are following any nutritionist or healthy blog online you have heard of the superfood called quinoa. The all-time favorite food of many health enthusiasts justifies its title of a superfood as it does wonders for our body. Quinoa is one of the best sources of complete proteins that are crucial for muscle building and burning fats. Moreover, according to a study published in Nutrients journal, they are the best source for betaine – a compound that revives metabolism and helps our body lower fat production.
Delicious and healthy, talking about the perfect combination! Peanut butter, our favorite creamy butter is incredibly nutritious as it has a great source of protein and monosaturated fats which lower the cholesterol and help you regulate your appetite. The protein in the peanut butter according to a study shown at the annual Society for Endocrinology conference, actually breaks down to amino acids – among which is phenylalanine which triggers hormones in your body to reduce your appetite and put you on the right way to weight loss.
All of you avocado lovers will be so happy to learn that avocadoes are one of the foods that burn out fat. To fight fat, you need good fat: avocadoes are rich in good fats – monosaturated fats; these fats help trigger the fat-burning hormones in our body speeding up the process of fat burning. Additionally, they provide a perfect energy boost and they help us stay full for a longer period. This was confirmed by a study published in the Nutrition Journal: the results confirmed that people who ate only half an avocado with their lunch had less desire to eat for hours afterward.
So much choice: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, you need to go nuts for nuts if you want to burn your fat! Although these are heavier on the calorie side, when the balanced, normal amount of them is added to our diet, our body tends to burn out fat easier and faster. Nuts are rich in mono-saturated fats, which are the good fats; if you are someone who adores snacking, replace your bag of chips with a handful of nuts. Studies done at several universities and published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that people who replaced their regular snacks with nuts had lower abdominal fats than those who went with carb-based refined snacks.
A fact as old as dieting, leafy greens are your best friends when it comes to weight loss. Kale, spinach, collards, swish chards, and other delicious leafy greens need to have a special place on your plate if you want to lose weight as they are rich energy-boosting nutrients (like vitamin A, C, iron, folate) and extremely low in calories. According to Swedish research published in Appetite, leafy greens are great to consume before breakfast as an entire cup of them has a really low amount of calories, oftentimes less than 100 or even 50, and they are rich in nutrients and thylakoids - natural compounds which reduce hunger and cravings, which results in weight loss.
Nothing like a delicious autumn spice to boost your metabolism in the morning and spice up your food, drinks and your day! You can add it to your favorite oats, coffee or smoothie, either way, this antioxidant-rich spice will help your body regulate the levels of insulin, speeding up your metabolism and prevent hunger for few hours.
If you are not familiar with Kefir, get to know it. Kefir is fermented food high in natural prebiotics. This is important because this natural prebiotics encourages the growth of good bacteria in your stomach which further helps your body break down the food more efficiently making the digestive process smoother and easier. This, of course, helps you lose weight and maintain a healthy gut.
Back to the root veggies, sunchoke also known as Jerusalem Artichokes is rich in a gut-healthy insoluble fiber called oligofructose which helps our body reduce hunger, stay full for longer and lose weight. The fibers inside the sunchoke also help you regulate your blood sugar levels, making it one of the best root veggies you need to add to your weight loss diet.
One of the best choices for getting protein is eggs. Although they are part of the group that needs to be moderate, protein is necessary for building up muscle. Eggs have a lean protein and as such is ideal for wholesome breakfast that will keep you full till lunch. Moreover, they are also rich in choline a major fat-burning nutrient that makes your body burn fat easily by influencing the genes responsible for belly-fat storage. When you are preparing them, make sure that you boil, or bake them, or if you go with frying, then use the least amount of oil possible, to save up on calories.
We know, the word oil does not typically associate with weight loss, but as we said, there are healthy fats that help our body fight the excess fat, and one of these foods rich in healthy oils is the olive oil. If you are looking for good oil, you need to switch to olive oil; a recent study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences spoke about polyphenol having the same inflammatory properties as ibuprofen, helping our body regulate the fat and stay healthy. They also emphasize that you need to choose unrefined extra virgin olive oil, as the polyphenol is present only in this variation.
Have you heard of black rice? If you haven’t, it is time that you meet and greet this amazing food; we talked how useful blueberries and other berries are for weight loss being rich in fibers, vitamins, and minerals, but according to the American Chemical Society and their research, black rice is even richer in antioxidants and vitamins than the berries, making it ideal for weight loss. The math is simple: more antioxidants equal to less inflammation, which equals to less fat storage!
Garlic – one of those foods we have a love-hate relationship with. On one side, we all know how powerful it is, but on the other hand, having garlic breath can sometimes be so hard to fight. Unfortunately, the compound that gives the garlic its pungent smell and taste is allicin, and this same compound helps fight fat and contributes to the garlic anti-inflammatory properties. Put it this way, perhaps the bad breath is a small price to pay to get that fat out of you?