Truth is: there’s no fast-track to getting in shape. If you want to lose weight or build muscle, you’ve got to work out and eat right.
And when it comes to diet, you may — or may not — have come across so-called ‘fat burning foods’. But what are fat burning foods? And do they really reduce body fat? Sounds too good to be true, right?
While fat burning foods don’t actually burn fat on their own, they can help rev up your body’s metabolism. These foods also aid digestion and keep you sustained for longer. So all of these things, over time, plus a few weekly trips to the gym, can certainly diminish body fat, as well as improve your energy and stabilise your mood.
If you want to supercharge your fat burn, these 7 foods should be on your shopping list:
1. Green tea and matcha
Green tea leaves have been on everyone’s countdown of the best fat burning foods for decades, and it’s no wonder why. Both green tea and matcha are derived from green tea leaves — matcha is just a ground, powdered form, so it’s extra concentrated and delivers an even greater amount of antioxidants, such as EGCG. However it comes, green tea and matcha both help speed up metabolism and therefore burn fat.
To kickstart your fat burn, replace your morning coffee with a green tea or matcha latte, or indulge in an energising, protein-packed matcha chia pudding.
Fats have gotten a bad rap for years, but finally, partially thanks to the keto craze, things are turning around for this once ostracised macronutrient.
Put simply: fats do not make you fat. Especially when you stick to healthy sources of fat with additional nutritional benefits, like everyone’s favourite toast topping: avocado. This tasty green fruit is full of fibre and healthy fats, which keep you satiated so you are less likely to reach for sweets later. Plus, the fats actually help balance blood sugar, which again helps with cravings.
So why does avocado, a fat, belong in our list of fat burning foods? Well, when your blood sugar is balanced, your energy is more stable, and you are less likely to store excess belly fat. Nice!
This one is super versatile too — mash it on toast, add it to smoothies, split in half and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper for a midday snack, and even blend it with garlic and basil for a super easy and delicious pasta sauce. Fat burn and delicious food, at the same time!
Baking ingredients may not be the first thing that springs to mind when we think “what are fat burning foods”, but cinnamon is here to prove us wrong! This hyper healthy spice has been shown in studies to spark thermogenesis in fat cells, resulting in increased calorie burn. Cinnamon is also another great blood sugar stabiliser.
Add a dash of it to your oats for all-star flavour and help keep those mid-morning hunger pangs at bay. Or, shake some onto a cut-up apple for an afternoon snack that won’t result in a crash one hour later. For something even sweeter, try topping this quinoa puff pudding recipe with a shake of cinnamon to make the chocolate flavour soar.
4. Probiotic-rich foods and fermented foods
You might think that your digestive system is functioning at full steam, but, if you’ve taken a course of antibiotics, are on birth control, and/or have had a stressful time at work, it probably needs a little extra boost.
Probiotic-rich foods help repopulate your gut with good bacteria (which could be depleted for any of the reasons mentioned) and facilitate in digestion. If you’ve felt sluggish, moody, and/or bloated lately, your digestion could be to blame.
So what’s the fat burn secret of this food group? By improving your digestive game means you’ll absorb more nutrients from what you eat and experience increased metabolism simultaneously.
Yoghurts, including vegan ones made from almond or coconut, are rich in probiotics and make an excellent base for smoothies or granola bowls. Kimchi and sauerkraut make flavourful sides, and kombucha is the trendy beverage of the moment with a variety to suit every taste.
5. Oily fish
In addition to being rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, salmon is a great source of protein — shown to be beneficial in maintaining a full feeling, building lean muscle, and boosting metabolism.
Add quality canned salmon to a prepped salad for a quick on-the-go lunch, bake a fillet in foil with lemon slices for a nourishing dinner, or break out the grill for a healthy beachside meal.
Broccoli may be a lesser known fat burn food, but it’s more than deserving of a place in our list.
Nutritionally dense and full of fibre, these healthy greens are extremely filling while also being low in calories. When it comes to burning fat, broccoli (as well as other cruciferous vegetables) has been proven helpful in helping women process estrogen which, in excess, can lead to inability to lose weight.
Slowly roast florets in avocado oil and enjoy on the side of salmon, for the ultimate fat burning meal!
7. Chili peppers
If you’re a fan of food that packs the heat, science supports you. Capsaicin, a compound prevalent in hot peppers, can induce thermogenesis, amping up your fat-burn potential. Spicy foods have also been linked to decreased appetite, meaning a potential lower caloric intake.
A friendly tip, though: it’s best to start milder and then work your way up. If you’re not the biggest fan of spice, then serrano peppers are relatively mild and work nicely in an omelet or chilli. Jalapeños add a kick to nachos and even chicken and fish. Lastly, but not for the faint of heart, habanero peppers can really heat up creamy pasta sauces — but remember the age-old adage ‘Play with fire, and you’ll get burnt.’.
Now you know what fat burning foods are — next stop, the grocery store!
True: food alone won’t melt away stubborn body fat. But with so many tasty, scientifically-proven options to assist your weight loss goals, eating any of these fat burning foods certainly won’t hurt.
Hungry for more fat burning tips and tricks? Then head over to our blog — from protein-packed recipes to workout ideas, we’ve got you covered!