Eating right and exercising are key parts of a weight loss program, but what you eat matters, too. Some foods have a well-deserved reputation as fat-burners, and adding them to your regular diet can help boost your metabolism. These seven foods not only taste great, they can get you the weight loss results you want.
1. Hot Peppers
Hot peppers not only add heat and flavor to food, they have an interesting effect on your body. They trigger a thermogenic effect, in which your body burns calories to try to cool off. This means that they can slightly increase your body’s ability to burn calories, even after you’ve eaten them. Since they also dilate blood vessels, they’re also good for your cardiovascular system. Try adding some to either sweet or savory dishes — not only do hot peppers pair well with most meats and vegetables, they add an interesting spicy kick to foods raspberries, or even dark chocolate.
2. Green Tea
Green tea without milk or sugar is not only calorie-free; it may help you lose weight. Green tea contains an antioxidant called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) that reduces weight gain and increases fat-burning. While a regular cup of green tea doesn’t contain a large amount of EGCG, regular consumption can still help. The antioxidant is also available in supplement form. Replace regular black tea or coffee with green tea to benefit from not only EGCG, but other antioxidants and lower caffeine levels, too.
In addition to being packed with appetite-suppressing protein, eggs are one of a handful of foods that takes extra effort to digest. This means that not only are they a very filling food that can keep you from wanting to snack between meals, they help feed healthy muscle mass and give you a little calorie discount at the same time. Scramble an egg or two for breakfast (maybe with some metabolism-boosting hot pepper), or pack a hard-boiled egg with your lunch.
Ground from the woody inner bark of a tree, cinnamon is as beneficial as it is delicious. In a study by the American Heart Association, cinnamon was found to mitigate the effects of a high-fat diet in animals. The spice naturally contains an anti-inflammatory polyphenol that can help maintain healthy blood levels of lipids, insulin, and sugar, which can help curb cravings and reduce blood sugar spikes. Add a quarter teaspoon to smoothies, tea, cereal, or fruit to enjoy both its flavor and its benefits.
As long as you aren’t taking a medication affected by grapefruit, there are few healthier fruits you can eat. Just half of one fulfills more than half of your body’s vitamin C needs for the day, and may seriously improve weight loss. A study by the Department of Nutrition and Metabolic Research in California monitored a group of people over a period of twelve weeks, and found that those who consumed half a grapefruit each day lost, on average, 3.5 pounds. Just cut a ripe grapefruit in half, grab a spoon, and dig in.
As if you didn’t have enough good reasons to stay hydrated, water can help improve weight loss. Research shows that some hunger signals may actually be misinterpreted thirst, so it’s a good idea to drink a glass of water and wait before eating to make sure you’re actually hungry. Water also requires energy to bring up to body temperature; so drinking down 6-8 tall, cold glasses a day can trigger some extra fat-burning.
Eating a healthy diet cannot only keep you from consuming more calories than you need, it can even encourage your body to burn more fat. By adding hot peppers, green tea, eggs, cinnamon, and grapefruit to your diet, as well as staying properly hydrated, you can ensure that your resting metabolic rate is as revved-up as possible.