How do you burn fat? We make sure to fit in cardio exercise a few times a week. Exercise is great but your diet also plays a big role in how your body digests and uses food. “Making it a habit to add anti-inflammatory foods to your plate each day means controlling hunger over time and preventing weight gain – or re-gain,” says Rachel Swanson, a RDN at Lifespan Medicine. Anti-inflammatory foods not only protect you from major diseases and slow the effects of aging, they also help fight weight gain thanks to their ability to stabilize blood sugar and increase metabolism. Weight loss and metabolism go hand in hand, which means both are affected by what you eat. Try these foods to keep your metabolism at peak performance and your weight loss goal on track.
We loooove pasta but let us clarify. We love really, really good pasta. If it comes from a box, we’ll pass. It’s not worth the possible extra lbs. Grain bowls have replaced our giant portions of store-bought spaghetti. “Whole grains reduce fat and takes inches off your waist because they’re absorbed into the blood stream at a slow pace,” says weight loss expert Dr. Rachita Reddy, MD. Barley and other whole grains like brown rice, bulgur and steel-cut oats are loaded with fiber that prevents inflammation and a sugar spike. “Without that sugar spike the sugar in your body isn’t convert to and stored as fat,” she says. “Fiber also helps to boost metabolism,” says Brooke Zigler, a registered dietician in Austin, Texas. Plus, all of that fiber in your belly actually absorbs calories and fat from other foods before it settles on and expands your rear end.
Fiber, specifically insoluble fiber, the structural part of the plant, is also found in leafy greens such as kale and spinach, explains Zigler. Insoluble fiber gets your system moving smoothly on the regular and that process helps the body burn calories. “Greens also help to prevent muscle loss that can slow metabolism and lead to weight gain,” says Dr. Caroline Apovian, MD, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center. Instead of a paltry side salad we prefer serving protein on a bed of greens. The whole meal feels entirely more filling.
“Salmon helps your body burn off fat rather than store it,” says Andrea Wise, a Chicago-based nutrition coach. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are healthy fats that directly inhibit inflammation. Salmon also provides you with vitamin D. Studies show that low levels of vitamin D have been linked to retaining fat instead of burning fat. Wild salmon has more omega-3s than farmed so choose wisely. If you can’t stand salmon (we know it’s an acquired taste!), there are more palatable ways to get omega-3 fatty acids like flaxseeds, walnuts and edamame.
“If this F word sounds foreign, don’t fret - it simply refers to the bioactive component of fruits and vegetables which have the potential to influence weight,” says Swanson. Upping your intake of flavonoid-filled foods like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples, pears and oranges is associated with preventing weight gain. Whole fruits are best: they have fiber and are low calorie. Blueberries are particularly outstanding: They are extraordinarily high in polyphenols, micronutrients that combat cellular stress by slowing down and blocking the inflammatory response in the body.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cook with extra virgin olive oil. Use it along with fresh lemon juice to make salad dressing. Drizzle a little on to Greek yogurt along with dried herbs for a savory snack. EVOO has been shown to significantly blunt the inflammatory response following high fat meals. Swanson says people who include it in their diets may have better success at shedding excess pounds. “But remember to take into account the amount of calories oil contains before liberalizing the pour of this golden elixir,” she says. “If you’re looking for improvements on the scale, then a caloric deficit still needs to be achieved at the end of the day no matter what your diet may entail!”