Boosting your metabolic rate can help you burn body fat. However, most “fat-burning” supplements on the market are either unsafe, ineffective or both. Fortunately, several natural foods and beverages have been shown to increase your metabolism and promote fat loss.
Here are 12 healthy foods that help you burn body fat.
Fatty fish is delicious and incredibly good for you. Salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel and other oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and decrease heart disease risk.
In addition, omega-3 fatty acids may help you burn body fat.
In a six-week controlled study in 44 adults, those who took fish oil supplements lost an average of 1.1 pounds (0.5 kilograms) of fat and experienced a drop in cortisol, a stress hormone that’s associated with fat storage.
What’s more, fish is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Digesting protein leads to greater feelings of fullness and increases metabolic rate significantly more than digesting fat or carbs.
To boost fat loss and protect heart health, include a minimum of 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fatty fish in your diet at least twice a week.
MCT oil is made by extracting MCTs from coconut or palm oil. It is available online and at natural grocery stores. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which are a type of fat that’s metabolized differently than the long-chain fatty acids found in most foods.
Due to their shorter length, MCTs are rapidly absorbed by the body and go straight to the liver, where they can be used immediately for energy or converted into ketones for use as an alternative fuel source. Medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to increase metabolic rate in several studies. One study in eight healthy men found adding 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 grams) of MCTs per day to the men’s usual diets increased their metabolic rate by 5% over a 24-hour period, meaning they burned an average of 120 extra calories per day.
In addition, MCTs may reduce hunger and promote better retention of muscle mass during weight loss. Replacing some of the fat in your diet with 2 tablespoons of MCT oil per day may optimize fat burning. However, it’s best to start with 1 teaspoon daily and gradually increase the dosage in order to minimize potential digestive side effects like cramping, nausea and diarrhea.
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide. It’s a great source of caffeine, which can enhance mood and improve mental and physical performance.
Moreover, it can help you burn body fat. In a small study including nine people, those who took caffeine an hour before exercise burned nearly twice as much fat and were able to exercise 17% longer than the non-caffeine group.
Research has shown that caffeine increases metabolic rate by an impressive 3–13%, depending on the amount consumed and individual response.
In one study, people took 100 mg of caffeine every two hours for 12 hours. Lean adults burned an average of 150 extra calories and formerly obese adults burned 79 extra calories during the study time period.
To get the fat-burning benefits of caffeine without the potential side effects, such as anxiousness or insomnia, aim for 100–400 mg per day. This is the amount found in about 1–4 cups of coffee, depending on its strength.