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25 fat-busting superfoods you should be eating

FAT-BURNING SUPERFOODS – When it comes to our weight and long-term health it’s the fat stored around our bellies that should concern us.

Also known as visceral fat, it lodges around our organs and too much of it is a sign of metabolic syndrome, a term that incorporates diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. If left untreated it can cause inflammation, heart disease and strokes. But, together with a calorie-controlled diet, there are fat-burning foods that can help.

Read on to find out what they are.


A study conducted by researchers at Penn State University in the US found that eating 1.5 ounces (that’s about 30, or a large handful) of almonds a day reduces stomach fat and leg fat and also protects against heart disease.


Apple cider vinegar, or ACV for short, has a host of useful benefits, from cleaning the house to skincare. Taken before meals it’s also great for digestive health and can therefore stimulate weight loss – data published in The Journal of Food Science showed that regularly consuming vinegar resulted in taking in 275 less calories a day. Be sure to buy the organic kind which contains ‘the mother’, a natural substance rich in good bacteria and nutrients.


Perhaps ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ should be rephrased to ‘An apple a day keeps fat at bay’ after research discovered that pectin in this tree fruit binds to water when consumed and prevents our cells from absorbing fat. Apples are also abundant in satisfying fiber so we’re inclined to eat less after eating one.


Avocados used to be every dieter’s nightmare because of their high fat content. What we now know, however, is that avocados and avocado oil are high in monounsaturated and oleic fatty acids – both of which have shown to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome.


Bananas are another food traditionally regarded as fattening when, in fact, recent studies show that they have a fat-fighting effect. This is because bananas contain resistant starch that good bacteria in our guts help to ferment and change into fatty acids that, in turn, metabolize fat better.


Studies have shown that a flavonoid known as catechin, which is present in blueberries, can activate the genes responsible for burning fat, especially around the abdominal area.


Brown rice is a valuable source of resistant starch, a type of dietary fiber that research has found can increase our ability to burn fat. It does this by causing the body to go through a process that results in stored body fat being used as fuel. Eating brown rice also satisfies hunger hormones so we eat less.


Numerous studies, including one from Canada, have isolated capsaicin in chilies as a potential weight loss aid. This is the chemical that gives chilies and hot spices such as paprika and cayenne heat. Eating chilies with every meal triggers thermogenesis, which heats up the body. To generate heat we must burn more calories, resulting in weight loss.


Cinnamon isn’t a food as such, it’s a spice, but it’s a very useful one to eat. This is because it helps the body metabolize sugar – which is especially helpful if you’re pre-disposed to diabetes – and can cut bad cholesterol. Promising preliminary studies on mice also found that cinnamaldehyde, a compound in cinnamon, can reduce stomach fat. Sprinkle on coffee, juice, cereal or toast, or add it to pies or curries.


Coconut oil is on trend at the moment and is popular for its many uses, from cooking to skincare. As well as being useful in promoting belly fat loss, it’s high in medium chain triglycerides (fatty acids), which are easier to metabolize than other fats. The oil also boosts energy levels and curbs cravings, and stabilizes blood sugar levels.


Research undertaken at the University of Tennessee in the US found that a low calcium diet increases the body holding on to fat reserves and that a calcium-rich diet helps the body to burn fat. Another study at the University of Perth in Australia found that overweight people who ate five portions of dairy a day, including cheese and yogurt, lost the most weight out of the study group, as long as they were expending their energy intake, and lost the most stomach fat.


The good news? Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which are credited with preventing insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes). Without these sugar spikes the body can work on metabolizing fat properly. The bad news? It needs to be good quality 70% cacao and only a slab or two a day is recommended.

14/ EGGS

Repeated studies have found that people who eat eggs for breakfast lose more weight than those who eat a carb-based meal – in part because eggs are more filling. But these high protein, nutrient-rich foods also increase metabolism and the body’s ability to burn calories through a process called thermogenesis, and contain the amino acid leucine, which stimulates fat loss over muscle loss.


This tangy citrus fruit is high in a type of flavonoid called naringenin, which balances blood-sugar levels and encourage the liver to burn, rather than store, excess fat. This keeps metabolic syndrome at bay. For best results drink fresh grapefruit juice before every meal but check with your doctor before doing as it’s known to interfere with medications such as statins.


Green tea is particularly healthy and it’s also known for its fat-burning ability, which is triggered by its rich flavonoid and caffeine content. Drink at least three cups of tea a day, hot or cold, to reap the benefits.

17/ MISO

Not only is miso soup low in fat and calories it aids weight loss. The Hokkaido University Graduate School of Fisheries Science found that one serving a day could help people lose weight by up to 10%. This is, in part, due to two of its fat-busting ingredients – soy beans in the paste and seaweed.


Combined with lots of fruit, veg and fish as part of a Mediterranean diet, olive oil has long since been regarded as healthy. However, research undertaken by scientists at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Vienna also found that even the aroma of olive oil helps people to eat less. This is because the smell stimulates the satiety hormones that tell us when we’re full.


A high fat food yes, but the humble peanut can actually increase metabolic rate, which is good for burning energy. Like most nuts peanuts are a good source of fat and fiber, which are both good for feeling full and staying full, and have a low glycemic index so no crazy blood sugar ups and downs after eating.


Though it’s regarded as a grain this sublimely nutritious seed is an excellent source of fiber and protein and has a low glycemic index, which is good for maintaining steady sugar levels. It also contains resistant starch, which is known to reduce our fat stores, increase the feeling we’re full, and balance insulin spikes.


A small glass of good quality red wine with or after your evening meal may contribute to weight loss. This is because it contains resveratrol (found in grape skin), which can transform ‘white’ fat into calorie-burning ‘brown’ fat. It also curbs sugar cravings and even increases good cholesterol (HDL). However, more research needs to be done to confirm the effectiveness of wine as a dieting tool.


Salmon isn’t a magic bullet that will make people lose weight by eating it but as a protein the body uses up more calories digesting it than carbs. And like other oily fish such as mackerel it’s an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which early research indicates are potentially useful in preventing insulin resistance that leads to diabetes.


Research undertaken at the University of Newcastle in the UK found that seaweed contains alginates, fibres that prevent the body from absorbing fat. It’s also high in iodine, which triggers the metabolism – this is especially useful for people who have gained weight from having an underactive thyroid. And other studies discovered that fucoxanthin, a pigment found in brown seaweed, has fat-burning qualities.


Phytoestrogen in soy products such as soy beans, soy nuts and tofu may help women who are prone to gaining weight during or after the menopause because of hormonal changes and cravings. Soy is thought to mimic estrogen production, which slows down as women age resulting in body fat that’s hard to shift.


Like brown rice and quinoa, sweet potatoes are fiber-rich and a source of resistant starch, which is starting to play a bigger role in the quest to reduce obesity.

SOURCE: Lovefood

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