Food (and Drinks) that Fight Fat
by Megan McNamee, RD
Your metabolism, or the rate at which your body utilizes fuel and fights fat, is a complex, dynamic process that has many factors. Your age, gender, and genetics all play a role in your metabolism – your body uses more fuel when you’re younger, and men have higher metabolic rates than women. Some people are genetically blessed with bodies that scorch calories, while many of us have to work a little harder. Since you can’t control your age, gender, or genetic makeup, you have to rely on diet and exercise to spike your metabolism. Building lean muscle mass with resistance training and adding intervals to your workouts are great ways to boost your fat-blasting capacity, but food and beverages may help in your efforts as well!
Including these foods and drinks below into your diet is a great way to enhance, but not replace, your quality food choices, portion control, and overall healthy lifestyle choices.
- Lemon water– Since water is a pivotal co-factor in almost every metabolic process, even mild dehydration can slow your body’s usage of energy. Dehydration also confuses your hunger signals and causes you to crave food when you really need H2 The vitamin C in lemon helps your cells free up fatty acids for fuel and adds a refreshing flavor. Aim for a minimum of 8-10 cups of water daily, and add lemon or other citrus slices whenever possible.
- Eggs– Eggs provide a wide array of nutrients, including branched-chain amino acids and B vitamins, which can help you maintain lean muscle tissue – critical for improving your metabolic rate. Enjoy 1-2 whole eggs per day. While the yolk does contain some fat and cholesterol, it’s also a potent source of choline, vitamin D, and omega-3 fats.
- Hot peppers– Get spicy with metabolism-boosting capsaicin, found in chilies and red peppers. Capsaicin may also have cancer-protective capabilities, and adds kick and flavor for negligible calories. Add hot peppers to your salads, soups, and pasta dishes.
- Yogurt– Yogurt and other cultured foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi contain beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, that may help decrease abdominal fat. Probiotics also assist in digestion and improve immune function. Stick to non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt and sweeten with fruit.
- Coffee– A compelling reason to drink your java: coffee may increase your metabolic rate shortly after you drink it. Just be smart about what you add to your coffee. Low-fat milk and stevia are better options than flavored creamer and sugar.
- Salmon– Thank the omega-3s and protein in salmon for making this delicious fish a healthy part of your weight loss plan. Both protein and healthy fats keep your blood sugar stable and fill you up longer than carbohydrate foods, and omega-3s may have their own fat blasting capabilities. Include salmon and other fatty fish like mackerel and tuna in your diet at least three times per week.
- Green tea– EGCG, a compound found in green tea leaves, has been attributed to enhancing weight loss. The caffeine in green tea may play a role as well. Enjoy 1-2 mugs of green tea a day – hot or cold!
These are suggested guidelines. Follow the recommendations of your physician and consult your healthcare providers before modifying your diet and exercise.
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