Now that the colder months are making their annual comeback, you might find yourself really focusing on targeting any excess body fat you wish to shed before you indulge in all those holiday treats. And while there isn’t one food that is magically going to melt away all those unwanted pounds instantly, there are some fat-burning foods you can add to your diet that you might not even realize have been linked to an increased rate of fat loss.
So what exactly qualifies a food to be “fat-burning” you might ask? Well, they are foods that get your metabolism going, helping you burn fat or simply keep you feeling full for a longer time. They’re the foods you’re going to want to stock up on because of their fat-burning properties.
Check out our list of the most surprising foods you might’ve not even known blast and burn fat. And while you’re making healthy changes, check out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time!
Yes, you now have yet another reason to eat guacamole. See, avocados are not only packed with vitamin B6, which fights the stress hormone cortisol that can trigger belly-fat, but they provide monounsaturated fat. This is a healthy fat, that according to a study in Diabetes Care may actually prevent body fat distribution around your belly. The healthy fats from avocados keep on giving too, as they’ll most likely keep you fuller longer. So you won’t go looking for a snack, which then leads to you overall consuming more calories.
Chocolate to help burn fat? Yes, you’re in luck! Louisiana State University researchers found that chocolate can boost the body’s production of gut-healthy polyphenolic compounds, including a fatty acid that turns off genes linked to inflammation and encourage the body to burn fat as fuel. Now that’s just truly amazing!
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that water is necessary to keep your metabolism functioning to the best of its ability. But by adding lemon to it, you’re serving up d-limonene, an antioxidant in lemon peel that one study showed had therapeutic effects on metabolic disorders in mice with high-fat-diet-induced obesity.
Guava not only serves up a ton of vitamin C, but one cup has four grams of satiating protein. This fruit is one you want to add to your shopping list if you’re trying to drop those unwanted pounds.
Mustard might have a bit of a kick to it, and it’s going to help your kick those pounds off, too. Scientists at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that eating one teaspoon of mustard can actually boost your metabolism up by to 25% hours after you’re done eating it. Not a bad deal there!
Go ahead and have some pork tenderloin for dinner. A study published in the journal Nutrients had overweight subjects eat a diet rich in fresh lean pork and after three months, the participants saw a significant reduction in waist size, BMI, and belly fat, as pork protein is thought to contribute to greater fat burning.
Spaghetti squash is the low-calorie fix for when you’re craving spaghetti that happens to be a great source of fiber. And this is important because it will keep you fuller longer and help keep your belly from getting bloated.
Chocolate strikes again! Low-fat chocolate milk is actually packing eight grams of protein per cup, which means if you sip on some before and after your workout, you’re giving your body plenty of protein. It’s no secret that muscle burns more calories than fat and as you work out, you’re creating more muscles. It’s a lovely cycle, isn’t it? Just be careful to choose a chocolate milk that isn’t full of too much sugar.
Coffee is great for jumpstarting your metabolism, and as long as you’re drinking it black without any unhealthy creamers and artificial sweeteners, you’re on the right track. According to a study published in Physiology & Behavior, those who drank caffeinated coffee had a 16% higher average metabolic rate than those who drank decaf.
Go ahead and have that glass of red wine. “It contains resveratrol, a highly anti-inflammatory polyphenol whose benefits, like healthy hormone production, come from its estrogenic properties,” Blawnde founder and holistic health coach, Annie Lawless told us a previous article.
The key to cottage cheese is that it actually helps you get to sleep at night and according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more likely to eat meals that are more calorie-dense the next day. Cottage cheese is one of the best foods to eat before sleep because it’s packing with casein protein, a slow releasing milk protein that will keep you full throughout the night. No midnight snack is needed here!
Who doesn’t love peanut butter? Not only does this childhood staple taste great, but it’s packing in tons of flat-belly nutrients such as monounsaturated fats (which also helps lower cholesterol) and protein.
Cheese has plenty of calcium and both calcium and dairy intake have been linked to an overall lower body weight, according to one study. But you do want to be careful not to just eat an entire block of cheese at one time. Instead, it’s best to pair some cheese with other fiber-rich snacks.
If you’re not a peanut butter fan, perhaps almond butter is your go-to. It is a bit on the decadent side, which is a good thing, as you don’t need to eat a ton of it to feel satisfied. More importantly, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that eating just 1.5 ounces of almonds daily led to a reduction in belly and leg fat.
Hummus is made from chickpeas, so it makes sense this spread is packed with protein. But the best part about hummus is that it pairs perfectly with fiber-rich vegetables, as it’s truly a filling, low-calorie dip.
Munch on a slightly green banana? OK, hear us out here. Underripe bananas are rich in resistant starch, which is a type of starch that can pass through the small intestine without being digested. Essentially, it ends up helping to create healthy gut bacteria, which leads to longer feelings of fullness. And that beloved vitamin B6 is present, which as you already know is a nutrient that helps convert food into energy.
Yes, we’re calling out a specific type of apple here. It’s one of the best fruit sources of fiber, which is vital to reducing belly fat. And one study found that every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber that the participants ate per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7% over five years. So time to stock up on these apples!
We’re not talking about those maraschino cherries that are found in ice cream shops here! Actual antioxidant-rich tart cherries were found in one 12-week study by the University of Michigan done on rats to have a 9% greater belly fat reduction compared to rats who didn’t eat cherries. Cherries are also great for combating inflammation, which is overall going to help you reach your weight loss goals.
One study done by Texas AgriLife Research found that peaches may just help ward off the risk of obesity-related diseases and they help fight inflammation as well. Peaches are also naturally lower in sugar than other fruits, so you don’t have to be as wary about the sugar content here.
Who knew that cabbage serves up plenty of fiber per cup? It also can help to lower your cholesterol levels by preventing bile from absorbing fat after a meal. And what is bile exactly? That’s the fluid secreted by the liver that helps with digestion.
Red peppers are packed with vitamin C, and this is an antioxidant that’s been shown to reduce stress hormones levels. And when you’re more stressed, you have high levels of cortisol, which can lead to belly fat storage, and essentially, fat cells will flourish. No thanks! Munching on some peppers can help combat that.
As you know, soluble fiber is great for reducing belly fat and kidney beans may be the best of the best when it comes to which beans help with fat loss, as they contain slightly more protein and less fat. Beans might get a bad rap, but you can’t fight those nutritional benefits!
Most of the fat in macadamia nuts is monounsaturated, and you already know that eat this type of healthy fat will help you burn belly fat. But just be sure to eat these nuts all on their lonesome and not in the form of a white chocolate chip cookie so you can get the full benefits!
Another pepper strikes, this time it’s one that brings the heat. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, daily consumption of capsaicin, one of the compounds found in peppers, actually speeds up abdominal fat loss. How so? Well, it boosts the body’s ability to convert food into energy. Not only that, but the spicy cayenne pepper serves as an appetite suppressant, according to another study.
Tea, you might not realize, actually can do so much good for your body and white tea is a perfect example. One study found that white tea can stimulate lipolysis—the breakdown of fat—and block adipogenesis, which is the formation of fat cells. Drinking some of this is an easy way to burn fat, now isn’t it?