Certain foods can help speed up your metabolism and thus promote weight loss. Unfortunately, many of the weight-loss or “fat-burning” supplements available on the market are either dangerous or ineffective, or both. Fortunately, many natural foods and beverages show the ability to jump-start the metabolism and promote fat loss. These are 12 healthy foods that will help you with weight loss. Also check out 14 foods that weight loss is hindered with.
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1. Fish rich in healthy fats
Not only does fatty fish taste good, but it’s also incredibly healthy. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout and carp are rich in fats and especially omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease. Plus, they can help you get rid of excess fat.
People who regularly indulge in fish dishes experience a reduction in levels of cortisol, a stress hormone associated with fat storage.
Fish is also a great source of protein. Digesting protein is significantly more energy-intensive than digesting fats or sugars, contributing to a longer feeling of satiety. The ideal ratio of fat to protein in fish that are rich in fat makes them an ideal source of protein on a keto or low-carbohydrate diet.
2. MCT oils as an alternative energy source
MCT oils are made by extracting MCTs from coconut oil and are also available online. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, these are shorter chain saturated fatty acids that are easier to digest than regular fats. Due to their shorter chain, they are rapidly absorbed by the liver and serve as a source of alternative energy in the form of ketones.
Studies have shown that MCTs help to kick-start metabolism, break down lactic acid faster for muscles, and keep you feeling fuller longer. Replacing a portion of fat sources with MCT oil can help optimize fat burning. MCT oils are especially suitable for athletes who need to provide an extra source of energy or for people following one of the low-carbohydrate diets. If you want to start consuming MCT oils, start at one teaspoon per day to avoid any digestive problems.
3. Morning coffee
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around the world. It is a great source of caffeine that improves mood and mental performance. Plus, it can help burn fat. Small studies show that people who drank coffee an hour before exercising were able to exercise 17% longer and burn almost twice as much fat.
Other studies have shown that caffeine speeds up metabolism by as much as 13%, depending on the amount and an individual’s ability to process it. For the ideal desired effect, a dose of 100-400 mg per day is recommended, which translates to 1-4 cups of coffee, depending on the size of a single serving.
At this amount, unpleasant side effects such as nervousness, headache or insomnia are avoided.
4. Eggs as a rich source of protein
Eggs are a great help in the fight against excess weight.
Although the yolk has been rejected for some time because of its high cholesterol content, it is now proven that eating a whole egg protects the heart from an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies show that eggs for breakfast help stave off hunger throughout the morning, even in overweight and obese people, leading to an overall reduction in body fat. Eggs are also a great source of quality protein, speeding up metabolism by as much as 20-35% for several hours after a meal.
5. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has many health benefits. Adding coconut oil to the diet has been shown to increase “healthy” HDL cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels, and promote weight loss.
Coconut oil is made up of 15% MCT oils, which help suppress appetite and are credited with the ability to burn fat. However, some studies claim that the effectiveness of coconut oil may begin to decline over time.
Unlike most oils, coconut oil remains stable at higher temperatures, making it ideal for higher temperature cooking, frying and baking. Consuming up to two tablespoons of coconut oil per day can help you maximize your fat-burning ability. However, as with MCT oils, it’s a good idea to start with one teaspoon a day to avoid adverse effects on digestion.
6. Green tea
Green tea is considered one of the healthiest drinks in the world. Consuming green tea reduces the risk of heart disease and protects against certain types of cancer. In addition, it provides a moderate amount of caffeine and is a great source of epigallocatechingallate, a fat-burning antioxidant, including stubborn fat in the abdominal area. The recommended daily dose of green tea is stated to be up to 4 cups.
However, some studies have found that green tea does not always work for weight loss. Due to differences in individual studies, the effectiveness of drinking green tea on metabolism is not completely conclusive. Results may also vary depending on the amount of tea drunk.
7. Supplement protein with a whey protein drink
Whey protein drink is a great source of protein not only for bodybuilders, but also for people who want to lose weight. Like all protein drinks, it promotes muscle growth when consumed with quality strength training, and the preservation of muscle mass during weight loss. Moreover, it seems to be more effective in curbing food cravings than other protein drinks.
Whey protein helps kick-start metabolism for fat burning and subsequent weight loss in all weight categories. A protein shake is a quick meal to help you reach your recommended daily protein intake (1-1.5 g per kg of body weight). It is therefore a handy tool not only for people who follow one of the low-carbohydrate diets, but also for those who want to gain muscle mass.
8. Apple cider vinegar
A drink made from lukewarm water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar is an ancient folk remedy that is said to have many health benefits including weight loss and fat burning. These effects of apple cider vinegar have so far been confirmed by only animal studies, but the results of a small number of studies conducted on humans are encouraging.
Weight loss and a reduction in body fat were observed in people who ingested 2 tablespoons of vinegar daily. Apple cider vinegar is also credited with the ability to suppress appetite and reduce blood sugar and insulin. Including apple cider vinegar in the diet can lead to the initiation of fat burning. Either mix one to two teaspoons of vinegar in lukewarm water and drink it every morning before breakfast, or add it to salads, for example.
9. Spice up your life with chillies
Chillies are full of antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage. Probably the most well-known antioxidant found in hot peppers is capsaicin. Capsaicin promotes satiety, counteracts increased appetite and prevents overeating, helping to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Furthermore, when consumed, it can burn up to 50 calories more per day, and also helps against slowing metabolism during a calorie deficit. So spice up your food by either adding different types of chillies – depending on your tolerance for spicy food, or try cayenne pepper.
10. Oolong teas
Similar to green tea, Oolong tea is one of the world’s healthiest drinks and a great source of caffeine and antioxidants. While not as popular as its green counterpart, it shares many health benefits with it. Among the antioxidants, catechin is found in Oolong tea, which, when combined with caffeine , helps increase calorie burning, up to 102 calories per day on average.
Drinking a few cups of this tea can thus help kick-start your metabolism and reduce body weight.
11. Full-fat Greek yoghurt as a healthy snack
Full-fat Greek yogurt has great nutritional properties, being a great source of protein, potassium and calcium. Thanks to its high protein content, it helps to kick-start fat burning, protect muscle mass during weight loss and prolongs the feeling of satiety.
The probiotics contained in Greek yoghurt help maintain a healthy microflora in the intestines and thus help against constipation and bloating. It also contains CLA – a mixture of linoleic acid isomers – a fatty acid commonly found in fatty animal products and sunflower seeds. CLA serves as a barrier that prevents the penetration of fats into fat cells, thereby promoting fat burning and weight loss.
When choosing Greek yogurt, make sure it is not flavored in any way and that it is truly full-fat. There is little or no CLA in non-fat versions.
12. Olive oil
Olive oil has been shown across studies to be a great fat-burning and weight loss aid. It helps lower triglyceride levels, and in turn raise HDL cholesterol levels, while stimulating the production of GPA-1 hormone, which is one of the hormones that keep us satiated.
Adding a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil to salads and other cold dishes can also get rid of stubborn belly fat, which is especially hard to lose for post-menopausal women.