If you want to lose weight or maintain your current body weight, your plan should always start with a sensible diet. Changing your diet can be difficult and frustrating. To begin with, you can add some fat-burning foods in your diet.
Many foods are conducive to weight loss and actually help you burn calories. Certain foods can help increase your metabolism, add satisfying bulk to meals, raise your body temperature, help you feel full for a longer time and provide nutrients that are conducive to weight loss.
Adding these foods to your diet regimen, along with regular physical exercise, will help you inch closer to your fitness goals.
Here are the top 10 fat-burning superfoods.
Grapefruit is a great fat-burning superfood. In fact, it is one of the best-known “negative calorie” foods, which means you burn more calories digesting it than the amount of calories you took in.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods highlights the positive effects of grapefruit on weight loss and insulin resistance. The study found that eating just half of a fresh grapefruit before meals promotes significant weight loss.
Another 2010 study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism notes that nootkatone, a characteristic constituent of grapefruit, stimulates energy metabolism and prevents diet-induced obesity by activating the enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).
This enzyme also helps your body utilize sugar, thereby boosting your metabolism and aiding in weight loss.
To help you burn fat quickly, try to eat more fresh grapefruit with its fleshy white membranes or grapefruit juice with a high amount of pulp.
2. Green Tea
Green tea, whether hot or cold, is one of the top beverages that contain fat-burning properties. This healthy beverage contains the antioxidant EGCG, which works to burn calories throughout the day and helps keep your metabolism rate high.
A 2007 study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition suggests that EGCG alone has the potential to increase fat oxidation in men and may thereby contribute to the anti-obesity effects of green tea.
Another 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that green tea extract can boost the fat burning effects of exercise.
The caffeine content in green tea also increases your metabolism, along with giving you an energy boost. It is also known to help suppress appetite, which helps you avoid overeating. However, be careful not to take caffeine in excess as it tends to increase your heart rate, leading to rapid, irregular heartbeats.
Drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea daily.
3. Cayenne Pepper
Eating cayenne pepper will also help speed up your metabolism, which in turn will help burn fat at a faster rate. The presence of capsaicin in cayenne pepper heats up the body, which in turn helps burn calories.
A 2003 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition notes that capsaicin causes sustained fat oxidation (the breakdown of fat) during weight maintenance. This clearly highlights the fat burning property of capsaicin.
Capsaicin even stimulates the production of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and evokes catecholamine secretion from the adrenal medulla, leading to further breakdown of fat.
You can eat it raw, cooked, dried, or in powdered form added in your favorite dishes. You can also add this spice in your detox drinks. Eating a single cayenne pepper can boost your metabolism by up to 25 percent, and the calorie-burning process can last for up to 3 hours after eating it.
Ginger is another popular fat-burning superfood, which you should include in your diet.
Being a vasodilator, it helps improve circulation of the blood. Increased blood flow raises the body temperature, called the thermogenic effect. This in turn gives a boost to your metabolism and helps you burn more calories.
In addition, ginger is boosts your metabolism and reduces feelings of hunger, thus helping you cut unhealthy calories from your diet.
A 2012 study published in Metabolism highlights thermogenesis and appetite suppressing properties of ginger. This shows a potential role of ginger in weight management.
Ginger also exhibits anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering benefits.
You can drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea daily. Also, include fresh or dry ginger in your regular cooking.
Blueberries are a rich source of resveratrol, which is best known as an antioxidant due to its high level of polyphenolic compound. Resveratrol helps neutralize free radicals and prevent obesity.
A 2009 University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study suggests that blueberries help in eliminating belly fat. The polyphenols in blueberries help burn belly fat and even reduce the risk factors for metabolic syndrome.
Another 2015 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that resveratrol helps to convert excess white fat into calorie-burning “beige” fat.
In addition, the high water and fiber content in blueberries contribute to a feeling of fullness. This prevents you from munching on unhealthy snacks unnecessarily.
Try to eat ½ to 1 cup of blueberries every day. You can eat them as a healthy snack or include them in fruit salad, smoothie, or yogurt.
Spirulina is a micro-algae superfood that can help burn fat easily.
Its high protein as well as all eight essential amino acid content helps build lean muscle and even helps your body burn more calories and fat throughout the day. When used in conjunction with a workout, it can increase stamina and the amount of fat you burn.
It is low in calories and can even reduce appetite to control weight gain.
A 2010 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise examined the effects of spirulina supplementation on subjects during an exhaustive cardiovascular exercise session. The study reports that spirulina supplementation induced a significant increase in exercise performance, fat oxidation, and GSH concentration and attenuated the exercise-induced increase in lipid per oxidation.
This superfood also has immune-boosting, cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties, thanks to its rich nutritional profile.
You can easily find spirulina in most health food stores in the form of a green powder. Add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of this power in your juices and smoothies. You can also take it in pill form, but only after consulting your doctor for proper dosage and suitability.
Note: Spirulina is not suitable for people suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure, gout and kidney stones.
7. Green Apples
Green apples are a great fat-burning food due to their high soluble fiber, vitamin C and a higher antioxidant content.
What makes this fruit all the more effective for weight loss is the presence of pectin in it, a soluble fiber that digests slowly but provides bulk. Pectin restricts the amount of fat your cells can absorb.
Green apples also have a higher content of polyphenol compounds that help manage fat cells in the body.
Plus, apples are great for boosting your metabolism which in turn helps burn fat.
Enjoy 1 green apple daily. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the skin of apples before eating them. If you don’t have green apples, you can still enjoy red apples. They also improve your metabolism and help keep you feeling full for longer.
Broccoli is one of those rare vegetables that help in fat-burning process in the body.
It is packed with phytochemicals that accelerate the breakdown of fat in the cells, thus getting the body into a fat burning state instead of storing fat.
Additionally, it is rich in vitamins C, A, K, B6 and B12; magnesium; folate; and dietary fiber which help in burning fat. This cruciferous vegetable also helps fight inflammation, a major factor that contributes to weight loss resistance in the body.
Include 1 to 1 ½ cups of raw or cooked broccoli in your regular diet, 4 to 5 times a week.
9. Red Grapes
Eating red grapes daily can also accelerate the fat burning process of your body.
The skin of red grapes contains a good amount of resveratrol antioxidant that stimulates enzymes that control important functions like aging, DNA repair and fat production. In fact, it helps increase your resistance to muscle fatigue.
A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism analyzed the effects of a resveratrol supplement on muscle metabolism. Experts found that resveratrol regulates energy expenditure through increased skeletal muscle SIRT1 and AMPK expression in people with type 2 diabetes, thus leading to exercise-mimetic effects.
Plus, red grapes are rich in ellagic acid that boosts the metabolism of fatty acids and inhibits the growth of existing and new fat cells. They also contain fiber that offers a satiating effect to curb your appetite.
Another bonus point is that red grapes are a moderate source of calories, making them just perfect for any weight loss diet.
Eat a cup of fresh red grapes like a snack, or include them in smoothies, juice and salad recipes.
Another fat burning superfood is alfalfa. This herb contains certain compounds known as sympathomimetics and xanthine that increase the body’s basal metabolic rate. This in turn accelerates the burning of fat and calories.
It is an extremely low glycemic food, thus it does not spike blood sugar when consumed. Sudden spike in blood sugar releases insulin, a hormone that promotes fat storage.
Plus, it works as a natural diuretic to promote detoxification and reduce water weight through sweating and urination.
This superfood is also rich in dietary fiber that keeps you feeling full for longer.
You can add alfalfa leaves or sprouts to sandwiches, wraps and soups to help your body burn more fat.