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We all know that eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are the keys to weight loss. But did you know that some foods actually help speed up your metabolism? It may sound too good to be true, but there’s scientific evidence that certain specific foods actually increase the rate by which your body burns calories!
Many supplement companies have caught on and started including these foods in their ‘fat burner’ pills and weight loss supplements. But, we can reap the benefits of these special foods without having to take weight loss pills with who-knows-what-else in them!
Instead, we can include them in our diets in a natural form every day. Let’s take a look at 5 super foods that blast fat and boost metabolism, and how you can incorporate more of each into your nutrition plan!
1) Spicy Peppers
Metabolism Boosting Properties: If you like spicy food you’re in luck! Spicy peppers like habaneros, cayenne and jalapenos contain a compound called capsaicin that is a metabolism booster. Studies have found that eating a spicy meal can create a temporary increase in metabolism of about 8%.
In addition to this metabolic boost, spicy foods have also been found to serve as appetite suppressants. Eating spicy foods makes you feel fuller and thus eat less overall.
Finally, capsaicin has also been found to help control pain (an extra help for recovery from your tough workouts), helps prevent blood clots and may even lower incidence of certain cancers.
How to Get More In Your Diet: Sprinkle cayenne, chop fresh or dried peppers into tiny bits or pour hot sauce onto just about anything! Even your morning eggs!
2) Green Tea
Metabolism Boosting Properties: Green tea contains a compound called ECGC (epigallocatechin gallate) which can help speed up metabolism by up to 10%. Additionally, green tea contains antioxidants called catechins that help to burn more fat, especially when accompanied by exercise. Finally green tea contains caffeine, another metabolism booster (see below).
Green tea has additional health benefits including protecting against heart disease, controlling blood sugars and preventing osteoporosis. Some studies show that green tea may even have benefits for dental health and could help to protect against some cancers.
How to Get More In Your Diet: Swap out your coffee for green tea or just keep a hot pot at your desk and sip throughout the day. If you’re not wild about the flavor of plain green tea, there are tons of tasty flavored options available in specialty tea stores like Teavana or even in the grocery store.
Another great way to take green tea is iced. Unsweetened iced green tea in flavors like mint, citrus or berry is really refreshing! If you’ve been a juice or soda drinker for a while, you may find iced tea to be a great replacement.
Finally, if you’re just not interested in drinking tea, but you’d like to reap the benefits of green tea, you can try taking green tea capsules. Look for supplements that contain at least 70% ECGC.
Metabolism Boosting Properties: A study published in the 1980s showed that caffeine increased metabolic rate by 8 – 11%, causing an additional calorie burn of 150 calories. Another study conducted in 2003 showed that those who drank caffeinated water or tea experienced a 3% increase in energy expenditure or an additional 67 calories per day more than those who drank only water.
Other studies have shown that caffeine may cause you to burn more fat. Researchers believe that caffeine combined with the catechins in teas (see above) may cause a bigger increase in fat burning than caffeine alone.
How to Get More In Your Diet: If you’re already a coffee drinker, great! Just make sure your dose of caffeine isn’t in the form of daily mochas or other sugary, fat-laden drinks. Try to take coffee black or with low-fat milk or cream. Drinking green tea is probably the easiest, calorie free way to get a bit of caffeine into your diet. Dark chocolate is another food with naturally occurring caffeine.
A Few Caveats: Drinking caffeine can decrease insulin sensitivity and increase blood glucose levels in diabetics. If caffeinated drinks make you feel jittery, better to skip them and try some of the other metabolism boosters in this article.
Metabolism Boosting Properties: Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugars and has been found to imitate insulin, thereby increasing the metabolism of glucose and preventing fat storage. Cinnamon also slows the passing of food from the stomach to the intestine, which will help you feel full for longer.
How to Get More In Your Diet: You can sprinkle cinnamon on just about any fruit to give it a sweet, spicy flavor. It also tastes great in tea or coffee or on bread or oatmeal. If you prefer, you can also take cinnamon in capsule form.
5) Coconut Oil
Metabolism Boosting Properties: Coconut oil contains high levels of MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) which are fatty acids that can help in the process of burning excess calories and fat. In one study, it was found that MCTs could increase metabolic rate by up to 48% for up to 24 hours. Now, that’s a serious metabolic boost!
Unlike other long chain fatty acid oils such as those in corn, canola, soy and sunflower oils, the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are mobilized immediately as energy and are rarely stored as fat.
How to Get More In Your Diet: Coconut oil is great for cooking, and imparts a sweet coconutty flavor to veggies and meats. It’s great for cooking apples and bananas, can be used in place of other oils in baking, or can even be blended into a smoothie.
At Athlean-XX for Women, we’re all about healthy nutrition because it helps us lose weight and have energy for our tough workouts! Our nutrition plan recommends combining proteins, fats and slow-burning carbohydrates at every meal and snack to help keep you feeling full. In fact, the Athlean-XX for Women nutrition plan is anything but a diet – we actually recommend you eat more – 5 – 6 times per day! This type of diet will help turn your metabolism into a fat burning machine – when combined with our killer 30 minute workouts. Yes, with Athlean-XX for Women, eat more, exercise shorter but harder and weigh less! Join us on Team Athlean to start your lifestyle makeover now!
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