You’ve heard the phrase you are what you eat? Well, not literally, of course. But there is some truth to that cliché. We should seek nutritionally dense foods (the ratio of nutrients to calories) to gain the most benefits from our diet — protein to help promote building muscle, fiber to help regulate the digestive system and carbohydrates to provide energy. There are also some foods said to increase our metabolism and burn unwanted fat.
Our food choices alone won’t magically burn off that stubborn fat, but the right selections, combined with consistent physical activity and strength training, will help us on our way to sculpt the lean body we’ve always wanted.
The foods below will help increase our fat-burning metabolism:
1. Green Tea – The catechins (a natural flavonoid and antioxidant) in tea are believed to improve fat oxidation.
2. Whole Grains – Oats and brown rice are at the top of our list. The body burns twice as many calories breaking down whole foods as it does with processed foods. Also, whole grains help us feel fuller for a longer time.
3. Salmon – It’s full of omega-3’s and packed with protein. Not a fan of salmon? Try tuna or mackerel as a substitute.
4. Beans – As with most lentils, black and kidney beans pack in approximately 15 grams of protein per serving and none of the saturated fats that other protein sources add to our diet.
5. Almonds – In moderation because of their caloric density, these nuts provide a healthy alternative to carb-loaded snacks like crackers and chips, which offer little nutrients. Tired of almonds? Pine nuts can also fill this category.
6. Quinoa – This trendy whole grain can add a tasty protein-packed flair to any diet. It is a perfect replacement for rice and pasta.
7. Lean meats – Our body burns 30 percent of the food’s calories just in the digestion process. Low-fat options include poultry, wild game, and some red meats. Each serving provides an excellent source of protein as well as B vitamins.
8. Leafy greens – Spinach, Swiss chard, and kale are super foods. It’s practically impossible to overeat these weight-friendly staples. Low in calories and high in fiber, these greens also provide much-needed vitamin C.
9. Berries – A colorful mix of blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries help prevent cravings (especially sweets) and improve taste.
10. Coffee – Notice we didn’t say flavored latte. Black coffee can curb the appetite and acts as a stimulant in digestion. Also, coffee contains the antioxidant chlorogenic acid (CGA), which is hypothesized to slow the release of glucose and lowers insulin resistance. However, we have to leave out the cream and syrup or we’re simply drinking our daily calories.