Best Foods for Fat Loss

by Edie Pastis

In addition to regular exercise and eating right, recent health research has found that we can gain more of an edge in the fight against fat by incorporating specific foods and spices into our everyday diets.

Most health-conscious individuals already know to scrutinize food nutrition labels, and to monitor their total sodium and sugar consumption as well as their intake of saturated fats and calories. But some may not know that certain foods and ingredients help us maintain a healthy weight by assisting our bodies in breaking down unhealthy fats, and maximizing our body's potential to process rather than store these fats. Read on to find 10 simple foods that, worked into your regular diet, can help you ditch fat faster!

Top 10 Fat-Fighting Foods and Ingredients

1) Whole Grains

Whole grains provide several worthwhile weight loss benefits. Not only does the fiber contained in whole grains improve digestion, fight bloating, and ward off food cravings, it requires more work for our bodies to digest these grains than it does for refined carbs—digesting whole grains boosts our body's metabolic energy and fat-burning abilities. Whole grains have proven to be particularly effective at reducing belly fat over time, and they're also proven to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, which lowers the risk of heart disease and inflammation.

For extra healthy points: try to select whole grain cereals and/or granolas with flaxseed in them.

2) Lean Protein

Premium cuts of either turkey, chicken, beef or fish can all be excellent sources of lean protein, which helps build and maintain lean muscle mass for better fat-burning power. Lean meats also have an abundance of the amino acid leucine, which is an important regulator of blood-sugar levels. Protein in lean meats and fish also helps repair and strengthen muscles for more efficient fat burning.

3) Chili Peppers or Cayenne Pepper

These spicy ingredients can lower excess insulin levels, which are tied to increased fat storage. Additionally, they help regulate blood sugar levels and cholesterol, and consumption boosts the metabolism as the pepper temporarily increases consumers' heart rate.

4) Cinnamon and Ginger

Both of these spices are wonderful for speeding up the metabolism (by as much as 20%!). Cinnamon sprinkled on yogurt, fruit, or mixed into beverages can also lower blood-sugar levels, while ginger, known to dilate blood vessels, helps improve circulation.

5) Green Tea

Chock full of antioxidants and nutrients, green tea has demonstrated positive effects on drinkers' cardiovascular health, as well as in the prevention of Alzheimer's and certain cancers. The components of green tea that are most related to fat loss are catechins. In a published study in the Journal of Nutrition, these special antioxidants, which are more numerous in green tea than in any other type of tea, were shown to noticeably help reduce abdominal fat over time when paired with exercise.

6) Yogurt

Eating a plain or low-fat yogurt every day is a great way to help regulate body fat. Not only does yogurt contain protein and leucine, it has a good portion of our needed daily calcium. When we're short on calcium, our body produces a hormone called calcitriol that facilitates fat storage.

7) Garlic

Garlic may have a rep for causing bad breath, but it's also known to speed up the metabolism as it temporarily heats up our system and increases our heart rate. Garlic also keeps insulin levels fairly low, which helps our bodies burn fat more efficiently. In terms of its medicinal benefits, garlic has healing properties when used as a natural antiobiotic, and it regulates blood-sugar levels.

8) Beans

Beans and legumes are naturally low in fat and calories, they possess lots of dietary fiber, and they also have a hormone called cholecystokinin that acts as a natural appetite suppressant. By working beans into our diet, we can lower our cholesterol, improve our heart health, and simultaneously feel fuller longer and consume less fat than with low-fiber, and/or refined sugar-filled foods.

9) Apples, Pears and Berries

While both apples and pears contain useful fiber, another fat-burning boost these fruits offer us is thanks to their hydrating pectins. Pectins are water-soluble fibers that limit the amount of fat our cells absorb, so consumed fats are processed better throughout our bodies.

10) Nuts

For those who know that a majority of nuts have a sizable fat content, their place on this list might seem a bit counterproductive. However, the fats present in unsalted, raw nuts such as almonds, walnuts and peanuts tend to be the unsaturated variety, and they provide us with oodles of essential fatty acids like Omega 3's. By eating a portion of nuts every day, we will consume more of these beneficial EFA's (essential fatty acids) that are proven to boost the metabolism (by up to 11%), reduce the risk of heart disease, and keep us fuller longer so we don't succumb to junk food cravings.

Your Best Fat Loss Results

So, now that you know what to munch on to transform your body into a fat-burning machine, it's time to reiterate the other all-too-important method of reducing body fat: exercise. It's important to recognize that without a regular exercise routine, the positive benefits of eating these fat-fighting foods will have less of an impact. Plus, one of the biggest keys to burning fat is building muscle, and exercise is the best proven way to do that.

If you're new to exercising, it can be helpful to discuss your fitness goals and needs with a professional trainer or fitness coach at a local health club or gym. They will be able to analyze what kind of results you can expect to achieve through diet and exercise, then create a customized exercise plan tailored to your personal fitness goals. Additionally, if they find that you have a greater amount of fat and skin that you're trying to get rid of, they can help you ascertain if a medical weight loss or sustainable weight loss program or surgery will be your best bet.

Weight Loss Surgery

Of course, surgical weight loss methods are often recommended for obese patients with a great deal of weight to lose, and/or for those with medical conditions preventing them from keeping a healthy weight. You will want to consult with a or a plastic surgeon about whether or not you are a candidate for weight loss surgery.

Post gastric bypass and lap band surgery are a couple of the most popular weight loss surgical procedures around today. There are also cosmetic surgery procedures available to help cosmetic patients get a svelter figure quickly and safely. For removing excess fat and tissue, plastic surgery patients can choose from procedures such as liposuction, tummy tucks and buttock/thigh lifts to lose those frustrating extra inches and fat.

If you are a candidate for weight loss surgery, your medical weight loss program physician can recommend it as an effective way to achieve your goals. Patients considering weight loss surgery or cosmetic surgery should meet with a trusted plastic surgeon in their area for a treatment consultation before making any definite decisions.

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