When you get down to business in your pursuit of health, you tend to find yourself with the same questions that dozens of people have asked before you.
What foods burn fat? Why do they burn fat? How can I encourage my body to burn that stubborn fat that hasn’t left yet?
The honest answer is that eating for fat loss is about choosing the foods that help your body burn fat. The best way to do this to know that the food themselves cannot burn fat. Instead, it’s your body that does the fat burning, and if you know what mechanisms in your body are triggered by the foods you are eating, then it becomes very simple to push your body to its peak fat burning levels.
To help facilitate your research we have compiled a list of 50 amazing fat burning foods. You will see similar themes throughout it, protein, vitamin C, and unique mechanisms within our bodies that trigger our ability to burn fat. You will see that each food is unique and has many health benefits that extend beyond just your weight and fat loss, but that could improve your quality of life in nearly infinite ways.
So dig in, relax, and get ready to start your next grocery list!
1. Dark Chocolate
Stick with me here, don’t doubt me just yet. This does not mean you should go out and eat your body weight in any kind of chocolate and then call it a healthy day. Everything in moderation! Dark chocolate is gently bitter, rich and luxurious, and… it’s good for you. One ounce, three times a week and you can help your digestion, improve your mood, ease your mind and give you a nice rush of energy.
How it helps: Dark chocolate helps your body feel more satisfied, especially if you have a small piece after a meal. Whether that is because it is helping your body or helping your mind is a matter of some debate, but in either way, if it stops you from overeating and boosts your metabolism with a shot of energy, it’s burning that stubborn fat.
What it prevents: The most surprising thing to most people is that dark chocolate is good for your mental health. Anandamide is a chemical that gives you a euphoric feeling and can adjust your stress levels and mild anxiety and depression. It’s no cure-all, but when you are feeling the effects of mental disorders any little bit helps.
Avocados are taking over the world, and have been for a few years now. If you have been to, or are from the West Coast of the USA then you know just how much they love their avocado’s out there. Turns out, it’s for good reason! Avocados aren’t just delicious, but the velvet soft texture is an amazing superfood that can be utilized in dozens of ways, from a sandwich topper to an ice cream substitute.
How it helps: Avocados get rid of fat by using fat! It’s a crazy world, folks. The oil from avocados is full of monounsaturated fat and oleic fatty acid. Those beautiful, funny words help spot burn abdominal fat. In addition, avocados are a fantastic food to get full on. They stop hunger right in its tracks and keep you from overeating.
What it prevents: What doesn’t it improve and help prevent? Avocados make a great pre-workout to keep you pushing harder longer, it’s full of a compound that helps fight off disease, and it decreases the risk for metabolic syndrome. It’s just the tip of the iceberg, there are articles galore out there detailing all the ways that avocados keep your body strong and powerful.
Not unlike edamame, Pistachios promote the concept of mindful eating. There is a tangible action to shelling the nuts, and then there is a tangible reminder of how much you have eaten left behind for you to observe. There are studies that show how beneficial this can be, and when paired with the many, many other health benefits of these nuts, you can’t go wrong with a handful of pistachios.
How it helps: With a large percentage of fiber and protein, pistachios keep you feeling full and satisfied for hours. That same protein is there to help you build muscle and burn fat. When eating nuts, the fat content is not fully absorbed which makes it pass right through you and keeps it from staying on your body.
What it prevents: Pistachios strengthen the lining inside of your blood vessels, lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and help your body grow healthy gut bacteria. The antioxidants in the nuts also help fight diseases and block free radicals.
4. Bone Broth
Bone broth is relatively new to the health food game, but it’s coming in hot in the health food world. Even critics have to admit that there are a plethora of vitamins and a significant amount of collagen in the delicious broth. You can drink this broth all on its own or you can use it as a base for soups and enjoy it as often as you can.
How it helps: Vitamins and minerals from the broth keep your body strong. The broth is also quite low in caloric value but, thanks to the gelatin in it, helps you feel full. Studies have shown that collagen can help decrease body fat and there is collagen galore in this tasty fluid.
What it prevents: Studies have shown that glycine (an amino acid) helps you relax and can help promote sleep, handy for anyone suffering from not getting enough rest– who does these days, right? Other nutrients found in bone broth helps decrease joint pain and strengthens joints and bones.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink with an intense amount of benefits. It is low fat, high protein, and a probiotic dream. Even better, people who are often unable to tolerate lactose can often still drink kefir, and it has more probiotics in it than the yogurts on the market.
How it helps: When used for its fat burning properties, kefir is best used as a protein drink. It helps build and repair muscles to make your body a day and night fat burning machine.
What it prevents: Kefir contains nearly thirty strains of bacteria and yeasts, that is what makes it such a strong probiotic. It works fantastically against infections, strengthens your bones, and keeps your digestive health powerful. The anti-inflammatory aspect of kefir has even been known to help with asthma and allergies.
6. Lemon Water
It’s the simplest thing in the world. You pour yourself a glass of water and squeeze in some lemon. There has been a world of myth build up around this drink, from fiber inside of it to that it alkalizes your body. It’s a strange phenomenon that people feel the need to embellish the effects of a simple drink that already does quite a lot of good for the human body!
How it helps: Lemon water helps make you feel full and it boosts your metabolism for a short while which burns the fat in your body easier. Aside from that it can help bolster your workouts as a pre-workout, and it can help keep your digestion regular.
What it prevents: There are many benefits to the simple drink, the acid has been known to help get rid of and prevent kidney stones, it’s a safe alternative for people who can’t handle potassium citrate. Lemon water contains flavonoids that can help your circulation and increase your overall metabolic health.
7. Whole Grains
With large amounts of the health community simultaneously shifting away from carbs, whole grains have been left in a strange grey area for a while. The science is in now, whole grains have too many benefits to avoid!
How it helps: Whole grains over refined grains are not only significantly better for your body, but a new study has shown that whole grains help boost your metabolism and help you burn fat and lose weight.
What it prevents: Whole grains are useful for aiding digestion, lowering cholesterol, keeping your blood pressure and blood sugar down. There are a lot of useful vitamins in the grains that can help prevent birth defects in unborn babies and promote prenatal health. They can even help your dental health!
Sardines are an acquired taste for many people, but one that is well worth the effort. These tiny little fish are overflowing with protein, omega-3’s and bioavailable calcium. They are one of the most sustainably farmed fish as well as one of the lowest in mercury.
How it helps: Protein is the name of the game. Use these little fish as a fresh burst of protein when you work out and they’ll help your muscles grow and help you burn through the fat that you are having trouble with.
What it prevents: Sardine’s are great for your thyroid and adrenals, they are full of nutrients and minerals we don’t often ingest since sardines are a dish that you eat all of (bones included), and those nutrients are well loved by your body.
Garlic is one of the most universally utilized ways to enhance the flavor of a meal. Most people use garlic daily and for good reason, not only is it delicious, but the health benefits are seemingly endless. The list never seems to end when you are researching garlic.
How it helps: There is research that indicates that garlic helps burn fat by inducing thermogenesis. Garlic is very low in calories and still requires energy from your body to metabolize while taking in all the beneficial nutrients.
What it prevents: Garlic is an excellent aide for your immune system and has been used to ward off even the common cold. Supplementation of garlic has been shown to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and reduce blood pressure.
Celery is one of the first foods people consider when it comes to healthy vegetables. It’s high in fiber, mostly water, and has virtually no calories. The trade-off is that it generally needs to be paired with another food to lend more flavor to it since celery is fairly flavorless on its own.
How it helps: Jam-packed with fiber-content and water, celery will keep you full for a very long time. It forces your body to burn more calories than it is made of. However, don’t go looking into negative calorie diets and only eat the foods that take more energy to burn than they give you. That is recipe for disaster.
What it prevents: Celery is good for your digestion, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol. It also helps to prevent urinary tract infections and can cause a regrowth of tissue in joints affected by arthritis, helping to lower the pain in inflamed joints.
There are dozens of studies on the effects of berries, some are very specific about which berry is the best for you, which are not as good, which will magically make your stomach deflate, and which will give you endless energy. The reality is most berries are comprised of the same basic enzymes and compounds. While they do have sugar in them, and it’s better not to eat tons of them, the sugar is natural and much easier for your body to process than refined sugars.
How it helps: Fiber, the energy from sugars, and then unique, natural chemicals called polyphenols. Polyphenols are shown to decrease the formation of fat by very large percentages.
What it prevents: Berries are chalk full of antioxidants that control free radicals, as well as compounds that help prevent disease. These are another food to load up on during cold and flu season. They are high in soluble fiber so they take longer to digest, which means you don’t get hungry very quickly. Berries lower cholesterol and also fight pecky inflammation.
Tuna is good for every part of you, it is full of essential nutrients and its lean protein helps you build muscle without eating high fat and high calorie foods. Tuna is sometimes paired with high-calorie, high-fat foods like mayonnaise of white rice but you can find healthier substitutes for those.
How it helps: Tuna is full of healthy, lean protein that will fill you up, bolster your muscle, and help you burn fat! The protein in it helps break down both carbs and fats to attack your fat from multiple angles.
What it prevents: With selenium and omega-3’s it’s good for heart health and brain health. There is also a healthy amount of B12 that helps transport oxygen through the body which is especially useful for anyone that does any sort of athletics.
13. Coconut Oil
It seems counterintuitive to tell you that coconut oil, a fat, will help your body burn fats. Try to suspend your disbelief for a moment. Coconut oil it mostly saturated fat, which for a long time people thought was the worst thing you could put in your body because of heart disease, however it has since been proved that the two things have no relationship. Coconut oil is good for cooking, for baking, for your skin, for your hair, and so many other things that it’s almost overwhelming.
How it helps: Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides which promote weight loss because they need more energy to burn them, they keep you full longer, and the weight lost when imbibing it is a high proportion of fat than otherwise.
What it prevents: Inside your liver coconut oil can turn into ketone bodies and give your brain a health dose of energy, they also help prevent epilepsy. Hair and skin both can benefit from certain effects of coconut oil, though beware because it is also comedogenic and can make you break out.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away– and don’t forget to eat the skin! Apples are a powerful fruit and everyone knows it, full of vitamins and minerals, fiber and high water content. Apples can help curb your sweet tooth with something healthy and they can be eaten in so many ways that it makes them a welcome addition to any healthy eater’s diet.
How it helps: High fiber and water content are the ideal foods to keep you full and away from overeating unhealthy foods. They take longer to digest in your stomach and it makes your body burn more energy to work through it.
What it prevents: Apples have been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease and strokes. They are a good source of prebiotics and keep your gut bacteria healthy. The petite fruit even has asthma fighting compounds inside of it.
So many people have no idea what kimchi is, and that is a genuine travesty! Kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish from Korea. It comes in mild and spicy varieties (though personally, I think the spicy is significantly more appealing than the mild.) It’s low-calorie, high in nutrient and even includes capsaicin (like cayenne)!
How it helps: Just like with cayenne the capsaicin inside of kimchi will heat up your body and boost that metabolism giving you a nice little fat burning boost. Like many other fermented foods, it can aid in your digestion and keep your stomach bacteria healthy.
What it prevents: It’s great for regulating your cholesterol and reducing your risk of cardiac disorders, such as strokes and heart attacks. It is ideal for protecting your body from free radicals by using phenols and flavonoids. Your immune system gets a neat little boost as well so keep some kimchi on hand during cold and flu season.
Oranges are another powerful citrus to add to your diet. They work well as a fiber-filled snack to keep you full all day, as a snack to eat before you go to work out, and it helps keep your body hydrated as you work through your day.
How it helps: Vitamin C is an amazing asset to another you eat before a workout, it helps you break down fat while you exercise at a higher rate than you would without it. The fiber and water of the fruit helps you stay full and reduces your calorie intake for the day
What it prevents: Citrus is good for your skin, your digestion and, your immune system. Orange juice is a solid beverage to drink any cold and flu season. Oranges are good for your heart and help to lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented in a brine. Usually, the low-calorie, sour food is paired with something fatty (like those ballpark hotdogs!), but it makes a delicious and healthy snack all on its own. When eating it try to take in mind the sodium content and plan the rest of your meals for the day accordingly.
How it helps: Like most fermented foods, sauerkraut helps fight inflammation and the healthy dose of probiotics keeps things in your digestive tract moving steadily to get rid of all the bad bacteria that slow things down.
What it prevents: Sauerkraut, and the rest of its fermented food family, help keep you from gaining weight, and fat specifically. They also can help disorders like leaky gut, IBS, and ulcerative colitis.
18. Grass-Fed Beef
Now, you might be asking yourself, “Why grass fed? I don’t really care what my food eats.” But you should. Grain-fed beef has significantly less omega-3’s, is more likely to harbor e.coli, and is much less sustainable for the environment. Grass-fed beef is widely regarded as the safer option for beef.
How it helps: Beef is full of healthy fats and a significant amount of protein. It is fantastic for building muscle, keeping you full, and helping your body work to shed unwanted fat.
What it prevents: It reduces heart disease risk, helps keep your body free of unwanted hormones and antibodies, and there are even studies that show that grass-fed beef can help prevent some of the precursors to cancer.
Oats are a healthy source of carbs and fiber that are generally used either in oatmeal or in baking. They are a fantastic way to get a healthy boost of energy in the morning that will keep you from feeling tired and hungry before lunch. They have more protein in them than most grains and contain a lot of important vitamins.
How it helps: Oatmeal keeps your stomach full of food for longer, releasing beta-glucan which makes helps suppress your body’s hunger signals for longer. Oats also help to promote muscle growth and burn fat all day long.
What it prevents: Oats help dilate blood vessels and improve circulation and lower LDL cholesterol levels. These two effects together help to improve overall cardiovascular health. When applied topically, finely-ground oats have significant skin benefits, as well.
Eggs have had a terrible reputation for a very, very long time. In the past few years, however, studies are showing them in a much more positive light these days. Eggs are a super dense food that is incredibly filling and jam packed with protein and nutrients. The best thing about eggs is that, in terms of healthy food, they are cheap and simple to make, making them super accessible.
How it helps: Protein is the name of the game. Eggs are filled to the brim with protein that helps you pack in that lean muscle and burn fat all day long. The density of eggs also prevents overeating. You also get a sweet metabolism boost from the amino acids found inside of eggs.
What it prevents: Eggs are great for curbing the effects of late night binging, or obsessive thinking about food. It’s dense enough to keep you satisfied and from thinking about what your next meal will be so you can go about your day.
21. White Tea
White tea is a light, easy to digest tea that is packed full of health benefits. It can be made hot or cold and as long as you stay away from refined sugars it is great to keep you from hanging on to unwanted fats.
How it helps: White tea blocks the formation of fat and some studies show that it has the potential to control the lifecycle of fat cells, possibly burning them fast than if you did not have the tea.
What it prevents: White tea helps to prevent and kill bacteria in the mouth, promoting oral health. It is hydrating and can help keep your skin blemish free and healthy both internally and topically. It is antibacterial and during the cold and flu season, it is amazing for easing the effects of the cold.
You either love it or you hate it, but there is just no denying that grapefruit is a nutrition monster. It’s one of the best possible ways to start the day (for your body, if not your taste buds) and if you use natural sweeteners to cut some of the bitterness it might appeal to even those that previously were unimpressed with it.
How it helps: If you are diligent with eating grapefruit frequently then it can improve your blood sugar and lipid levels, both of which directly affect obesity. Lowering your lipid levels helps burn fat from your body and improve your metabolism to keep the fat off.
What it prevents: Grapefruit prevents a whole host of issues from Ischemic strokes in women to lowering blood pressure. It fights dehydration, cancer, and constipation, and none of that even starts to discuss the wonders it can do for your skin!
23. Soy Milk
Soy milk causes some debate when it comes to its long-term health benefits, but when it comes to foods that promote fat burning, it makes the list. It’s heavy in protein, light in calories, and full of vitamins that promote more fat burning. While there isn’t a lot know about the long-term effects of soy, especially the estrogen-like hormones found in it, for the purpose of this list– it’s relevant!
How it helps: Full of riboflavin and B12, soy milk promotes the body’s natural mechanisms for fat burning. It also increases your ability to build muscle and burn more fat naturally, all day long. Phytosterol also has a fat blocking function that helps keep you from building fatty deposits.
What it prevents: The estrogen-like substance inside of soy milk is helpful for reducing the effects of menopause, and the vitamins and minerals within the drink are also useful for lowering cholesterol and aiding in bone formation. There are a significant amount of positives when drinking soy milk.
Turmeric is an herb that has been used recently in a significant amount of anti-inflammation based diets, prior to its more recent exposure in the west it was used widely in India to make curry. A powerful compound within turmeric called curcumin gives it many medicinal properties.
How it helps: Curcumin helps prevent fat buildup in adipose tissue, it triggers thermogenesis to burn more calories and fat, and it banishes obesity-related inflammation.
What it prevents: Turmeric has shown its wide range of benefits in areas like improving brain function and lowering the risk of brain diseases, increasing the body’s capacity for antioxidants, and can help prevent cancer. There are even studies now testing its capacity to treat cancer.
Flaxseed is a multipurpose food. It can be added to meals, snacks, beverages in many ways. It’s full of soluble fiber that keeps you feeling full and promotes weight loss. It’s a great source of extra protein that is no fuss to add to just about any dish.
How it helps: Protein and fiber is such a powerful combination, especially in such a versatile food. It keeps you full, it’s simple to add, and then it helps you build muscle and keep that fat at bay. It is widely regarded as a healthy additive to any well-balanced diet.
What it prevents: Full of dietary fiber, flaxseed keep your digestive tract in good health and promotes easier bowel movements. There is evidence that it may help your cholesterol and also lower blood sugar. Lignans are a plant compound, that resides in flaxseed, that have antioxidants and estrogen within them.
26. Cayenne Pepper
Whether in its natural and fresh form or it’s dried, ground up and in your spice cabinet cayenne is world renowned for its metabolism boosting effects. It’s been used in dozens of dieting trends and legitimate healthy eating practices for years because it is so well known and so effective.
How it helps: Cayenne pepper contains a substance known as capsaicin. This compound raises the temperature of your body– which is why when you eat it you feel hot, hot, hot! That spike temperature creates a spike in metabolism and fat burning.
What it prevents: There is a recent study debating the merits of cayenne on lowering sugar and glucose levels in the blood. While the results so far have been mixed there is a fair amount of compelling evidence that it has some effect.
An important note: The effects mentioned here relate to plain, unsweetened yogurt. It can be made of different kinds of milks, have added sugars, colorant, and fruits. When you purchase commercially sold yogurt it is important that you read labels and check to be sure you are getting something that is actually good for you. It is a delicious and versatile food with many health benefits.
How it helps: The protein and calcium in this food work together to keep you full and satisfied longer. Recently, it has been found that the full-fat varieties of yogurt are shown to help shed fat in the diets of those eating it which is changing the way many people once saw fake intake in diets.
What it prevents: The calcium in yogurt helps prevent osteoporosis, while the probiotics help to strengthen the immune system when yogurt is eaten regularly. It is also full of vitamin D which has depression and heart disease-fighting benefits.
People eat cinnamon all over in the world and in a wide variety of dishes, but it is most commonly associated with dessert foods. Cinnamon is full of antioxidants, it can help lower the risk of heart disease and it can reduce insulin resistance. There are numerous other possible benefits of the spice. It is widely acknowledged that it is better to use Ceylon cinnamon (also called True Cinnamon) instead of Cassia cinnamon which is the more commonly found type. Both will have the health benefits, but there are some ongoing studies that a large amount of Cassia may have adverse effects.
How it helps: There is evidence to suggest that cinnamon has metabolism boosting benefits that help lower body weight and help to burn fat. It has also been found that cinnamon lowers the fasting blood sugar. Cinnamaldehyde, a chemical compound found in cinnamon, has been shown to help produce protein and increase fat burning ability.
What it prevents: This spice has long been thought of as medicinal spice, recently science has come to lend weight to what many cultures already thought. Cinnamaldehyde helps fight bacterial infections and the oil helps cut down the effects of fungal infections. Cinnamon has also been recently shown to have anti-diabetic effects with his powerful ability to lower fasting blood sugar levels.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans as they are also called, are a legume that is full of protein, vitamins, and minerals. They have a large amount of fiber inside of them that helps keep your stomach feeling full for a long amount of time after they have been eaten.
How it helps: The fiber and protein pack a one, two punch for building muscle and keeping the body from craving more food before it is done digesting the chickpeas. While it working on digesting this bulky fiber, your body works extra hard, burning off more fat and calories that it would with simple, processed foods.
What it prevents: Chickpeas are good for your bone health, your cardiovascular health, and have been linked to reducing the likelihood of developing diabetes. It is anti-inflammatory and works to keep your cholesterol low.
Everyone’s heard that they should eat more Kale, and everyone is pretty tired of hearing about why they should eat more of it. Unfortunately, there just isn’t any way to argue with that nutrient dense, leafy greens ability to fill you up with the best vitamins and minerals. They don’t call kale King of the Vegetable for no reason.
How it helps: Not only is kale full of an absolutely insane amount of vitamins, but almost all of them benefit weight loss in some way. Even the tiny amount of fat that lives inside of kale is primarily is an omega-3 fatty acid. There just isn’t any denying how beneficial the vegetable is in your fitness journey.
What it prevents: There are claims for so many health benefits for kale that it’s impossible to list them all. Everything from cancer (Thanks to sulforaphane, out there fighting the very formation of cancer) to heart disease (it lowers cholesterol with the use of bile acid sequestrants).
31. Green Tea
Green Tea is everywhere in the health food world. I would challenge you to pick up any supplement that makes fat-burning claims and look through the list of ingredients. Most of them will have green tea on there. Not only is it great for fat burning, but it has a range of health benefits that make it a worldwide staple of health.
How it helps: Green Tea boosts your metabolism and forces your body to expend more energy, burning more fat. The caffeine in it also helps by mobilizing the fatty acids in your fat tissues. There are even some studies that would suggest that green tea can selectively increase fat burning with fat oxidation.
What it prevents: Green tea is a stimulant and has been proven to sharpen mental acuity, without the jitters that other caffeinated beverages cause. It is full of disease-fighting antioxidants, and while it isn’t as full of minerals as other foods on this list, there are still some very important ones nestled inside of the drink.
There’s a good reason why bodybuilders make chicken a primary staple of their protein intake. Lean, white meat has very little fat and no carbs. Chicken is, essentially, as healthy as what you cook it in. Stay with virgin oils, fresh herbs, and vegetables and you’ll have a solid fat-burning protein on your plate.
How it helps: Protein, as we all know, is the foundation of muscle, and muscle is the enemy of fat. The best way to help burn that stubborn fat is to build muscle. Then you aren’t just burning fat while you are working out, but instead, you are carrying out that fat burning all day long, every day.
What it prevents: For the most part chicken is just a protein building asset, but what you pair it with can make all the difference. You can add some kale or sauerkraut and get the benefits of those foods in your dinner.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that grows in salt and freshwater. It is capable of growing in space and is used by astronauts which is how it became a focus of health world recently. With relatively small doses the algae is wildly nutritious, almost unbelievably so.
How it helps: Spirulina is rich in protein and helps promote low-fat stores. It takes a lot of energy to metabolize it and that helps your body burn fat quickly. It has been known to help slow hunger signals and keep you from overeating.
What it prevents: Spirulina can increase hemoglobin, which is good for both helping fight anemia and raises immunity function. It also protects against LDL cholesterol (the bad one) becoming oxidized and keeps your cholesterol levels lower.
Much like Kale– they are both cruciferous greens and share plenty of the same benefits– Cauliflower is a nutrient high, low-calorie food with plenty of fiber to keep you full for longer. Cauliflower has come into popularity recently with the realization that it makes a beautiful alternative for carb-heavy foods, such as white rice and potatoes.
How it helps: The fiber in cauliflower helps fill you up and make your body work to process it. Not only can you eat quite a bit of cauliflower and not overeat on calories, but you won’t need to eat a ton of it, it’ll fill you up with a limited number of servings.
What it prevents: Extra fiber will help reduce the risk of heart disease, keep you regular, keep you from feeling hungry a few hours after eating. While cauliflower can’t make all the same mind-blowing claims that some of the most intense of superfoods can, it is always consistent and a solid staple of a healthy diet.
Edamame is immature soybeans that are loaded up with minerals and essential nutrients. They are a labor of love when you snack on them since you must first cook them, then shell them to eat the beans within. Soy foods, in general, are a little controversial in the health food community, but there are definite benefits that cannot be argued.
How it helps: Not only is edamame low in calorie, high in fiber, and take time and consideration to eat (all of which forces you to be more mindful of how much you eat and help you feel full), but they are also very high in protein and a great part of a diet that builds muscle and burns fat.
What it prevents: There is some evidence that suggests that while people once associated soy products with isoflavones which can increase breast tissue and create cancerous tissue, new research suggests that they may, in fact, help slightly reduce the risk. This food is also useful in mitigating the unpleasant effects of menopause.
36. Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard is a vibrant, vitamin filled, earthy vegetable. It is a leafy green, not unlike kale. It’s easy to add any meal, high in fiber and incredibly filling. It has a host of benefits that are unexpected and thoroughly exciting.
How it helps: Vitamin C is the name of the weight loss game where Swiss chard is concerned. It helps you burn through that fat by breaking it down inside of you, and the fiber content helps fill you up and keep you feeling full for the whole day!
What it prevents: The essential vitamins and minerals in this green help do everything from promote eye health to protecting your brain and nervous system, and even maintains your bone health. Your heart and digestive system both benefit heavily from this cruciferous green, as well!
Ginger is a fragrant and powerful spice. It’s loaded with health-boosting minerals and has long been a staple in fighting nausea. The spice is a strong, little vasodilator, this means that it increases the size of your veins and keeps your blood moving along smoothly. Not only is it delicious and well-loved in Asian dishes, but it’s consistently proven to be a healthy addition to any diet.
How it helps: There is research that shows ginger can increase your metabolic rates by as much as 20%, it has been shown to be effective as an extract that is applied to the skin as well which is something that could have potentially very exciting benefits.
What it prevents: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, ginger can help with joint diseases like osteoarthritis, relieving pain and stiffness in your joints. Thanks to the same effects, when your muscles are sore and hurting after a particularly rough work out, ginger can help ease those pains. Ginger is often used for pregnant mothers suffering from morning sickness, and people suffering from nausea for its ability to help settle an upset stomach.
It’s not unusual to think of salmon when thinking of a “diet food”, but it’s unusual for someone to know why. It’s often thought of as something that is less filling, and less dense than other lean proteins, however, that just isn’t factual. Salmon is a very lean protein, but protein is proven to be one of the most satiating macros in your diet, more than fat and carbs.
How it helps: Salmon is fantastic at filling you up and keeping you full until your next meal, feeling you from overeating. At the same time, our good friend protein makes another appearance, helping our bodies build muscle and burn fat. A 2007 study from the International Journal of Obesity found that men supplementing salmon in a reduced-calorie diet lost more weight than those without supplementing salmon.
What it prevents: With vitamins B, D, phosphorus, and potassium in every serving of salmon the fish help promote health in your brain, your bones, and your heart. It’s a very simple food to cook and something versatile that can make it ideal for any palate in your home with the right pairing.
This addictive, spicy sauce isn’t just delicious. It turns out that it contains a lot of health benefits of other foods on this list, and has lots of fat burning potential. What’s better than something everyone loves that is also good for you? I can’t think of anything either.
How it helps: Its the red chili peppers inside of Sriracha that make it such a fat burning powerhouse. Those peppers are full of capsaicin– which has made an appearance a few times now on this list. The compound within the sauce boots metabolism and raises your body heat to help burn fat.
What it prevents: Capsaicin helps fight inflammation while it helps you burn your fat. There is research suggesting that it is also antibacterial and can help fight sinus infections, especially of the chronic variety. It is useful in clearing congestion and providing pain relief while ingested, as well.
40. Brussel Sprouts
Brussel sprouts are a rather polarizing food, some people can’t get enough of them and others are immediately repelled. Love them or hate them, there isn’t any denying that the uniquely-shaped, little balls of green leaves are little bombs of nutrition. Like most other vegetables they are low in calories and low in fat, but unlike others, nearly a quarter of their calories come from protein!
How it helps: Protein, protein, protein! Are you tired of hearing about protein yet? Too bad, because it’s one of the most effective fat-burning tools out there! It takes what your body has and lets you build more muscle on top it. The benefit of these veggies is that they let you skip something with more calories and still fill up on the protein you need.
What it prevents: Like other members of the cabbage family, these little guys are disease fighting, high in fiber, and some studies indicate that they have cancer-fighting benefits. They are full of vitamin A, calcium, and potassium to keep your body healthy.
This is one to be aware of, shellfish is a common allergen. So if you have a sensitivity to shellfish, stay away from this guy. For those of you without any shellfish allergy though, shrimp is low in calorie, high is nutrients, and loaded with protein making it an ideal food for fat burning.
How it helps: In just four ounces you can get a third of your daily protein needs, and getting so much of your daily calorie intake from protein is a sure fire way to keep your metabolism high and bust through that fat.
What it prevents: Most animal-based proteins aren’t high in antioxidants, but this one is! It helps you fight off free radicals, reduces inflammation, and provides loads of anti-aging effects. On top of that, it contains selenium, which has been shown to help immunity and thyroid health.
42. Forbidden Rice
Forbidden rice, also known as black rice, is not a popular as it’s white or brown counterparts, but that might be a mistake. This grain is a powerful disease fighter, it’s anti-inflammatory, and it’s full of amazing minerals like iron and copper. While it can be a little more elusive, and occasionally, more expensive than other kinds of rice, the benefits are well worth it.
How it helps: Black rice is high in plant-based protein and is a solid way to build up some muscle to help burn that pesky fat all day long. It is also a more difficult grain to digest making your body work harder, and leaving you feeling full for much, much longer.
What it prevents: Forbidden rice does some amazing things, this complex carbohydrate can help slow down the absorption of sugar in your blood and this helps keep diabetes at bay. The antioxidants in it help to keep free radicals in your body at bay and help reduce plaque build-up in arteries. In addition, it also helps reduce bad cholesterol levels and protects your cardiovascular system.
43. Nut Butters
Nut butters, aside from the typical peanut butter, have really come into fashion in the last decade. It’s no surprise since almonds have also made this list that almond butter is a benefit in the fat burning category, but so is walnut butter! Nut butters help fight bad cholesterol and rescue your heart, they are stuffed with healthy fats and flavorful nutrients.
How it helps: Nut butters are not particularly low in calorie, but they are dense in nutrition. They are full of protein, positive fats, and fibers. They keep you full for longer and help build that always necessary muscle to burn fat twenty-four hours a day.
What it prevents: Nut butters reduce cholesterol levels that negatively affect your heart, they are also capable of lowering blood sugar levels, and they can improve your energy levels. Just the same they can improve your feeling ability to feel full and satisfy a sweet tooth when you are desperate for something sweet and creamy.
44. Sweet Potatoes
The danger with sweet potatoes comes in the form of what people like to add to it. From brown sugar to butter to heavy sour cream, it’s easy to take a healthy, fat-burning root veggie and make it a heavy, calorie dense meal. While nothing can negate the benefits of a food, it can certainly add fat when you are trying to burn it.
How it helps: There is recent evidence that suggests that sweet potatoes may reduce your appetite, which is always a bonus when you are trying to rid yourself of fat, another study in 2011 found purple sweet potatoes could even shrink your fat cells! In order to make the best of a food that can help you lose weight try topping them with fresh veggies, salsa, seasonings, or even plain nonfat Greek yogurt.
What it prevents: The vitamin C inside of the vegetable is good for your connective tissues, skin, and hair. There is also collagen and antioxidants within your servings of sweet potatoes. Don’t forget to eat the skin! There’s lots of extra fiber in it.
Tempeh is often passed over by grocery shoppers that check out a few nutrition sections, but don’t have the full picture. The fermented soybean block is higher in calorie then it’s more well-known counterpart– Tofu, but it is also far denser and chalk full of muscle-building protein. It is important to be aware of serving sizes with Tempeh as it is easy to overeat.
How it helps: Tempeh is naturally high in protein and helps build those muscles– which we all know are the key to really burning fat! In addition, it’s loaded with Riboflavin and Niacin to keep your metabolism high and burning away.
What it prevents: The copper and manganese inside of tempeh heal your body from the inside out, promoting wound healing and helping clear glutamate, a neurotoxin, from your brain.
Lime is found just about everywhere, Mexican food, sodas, desserts. It seems like it’s hard to turn and not see lime represented somewhere. As it turns out that is a great thing. The small, citrus fruit is fantastic for weight loss and contains a whole host of benefits for your body.
How it helps: Lime is water helps fill you up for longer and the addition of it to a meal can keep you from overeating or snacking again quickly after your meal is over. Vitamin C (which our friend the lime here is full of) helps our bodies break down fat when we exercise, making this a useful pre-workout drink.
What it prevents: Limes can do so many things for our bodies it would be impossible to list them all. They help prevent constipation, prevents heart disease, soothes peptic ulcers, and can help manage your diabetes.
Popeye knew it, and we know it, too. Spinach is one of the best foods out there in terms of health. It’s rich in vitamin K, which is what helps your bones absorb calcium and makes them strong. The amount of nutrients and minerals you get from a single serving of spinach is mind-blowing and there isn’t a single part of your body it isn’t great for.
How it helps: The fiber and protein inside of the leafy vegetable are what makes it so good at helping your body burn through fat, keep your digestion in check, and build more muscle. (And say it with me, guys. Muscle burns fat!)
What it prevents: Spinach helps remove free radicals from your body, your colon especially, and helps promote a healthy heart. It lowers blood pressure by utilizing magnesium. There are studies that also suggest that your memory and brain function benefit significantly from everyone’s favorite green.
48. Black Beans
Black beans are inexpensive, easy to cook, easy to flavor, and add a density to any meal they are added to. That density comes from the high amount of fiber and protein that most legumes have. In addition, black beans are full of flavonoids, omega-3 fatty acids, and they are even good sources of folic acid for pregnant women.
How it helps: All that fiber and protein helps things flow through the digestive tract and keeps food from hanging around too long, it is digested slower than meat keeping your from eating more sooner, and helps your body gain muscle mass easily.
What it prevents: Blood sugar levels, digestive issues, and sexual dysfunction are all helped along by black beans. The unique combination of vitamins helps pregnant women maintain prenatal health and they also contain anthocyanins which are reportedly good at inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells.
Almonds are also full of fats, but the good kind! They are low calorie and have a fair amount of protein in them. Interestingly 10 to 15% of the calories you eat in almonds aren’t even digested! You take in fewer calories than you are eating, who doesn’t like that? They are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and magnesium.
How it helps: The protein and fiber help keep you from being hungry shortly after eating a handful. They make a great mid-day snack to keep yourself from reaching for something worse. They are also hard to digest which means your body must expend more energy to break them down, and every time your body works to digest something it is burning fat.
What it prevents: Almonds can help prevent heart disease but keeping some of the cholesterol in your body from oxidizing using polyphenols. The magnesium inside of almonds helps keep your blood pressure levels down and regulates your blood sugar levels. There is a high level of vitamin E within the food and that has been linked with lower rates of Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
50. Hemp Seeds
Containing only trace amount of THC, hemp seeds aren’t going to drug you, but they are densely nutritious and incredibly delicious. They have a mild, nutty flavor and are full of protein and other nutrients that keep your body well regulated and healthy.
How it helps: Over 25% of hemp seeds calories come from protein, so the tiny seeds are practically brimming with that macro. They are great to up your protein and keep those muscle working hard to get stronger and work harder to burn that fat away!
What it prevents: Hemp seeds are full of vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and iron. A significant amount of the fats within them are Omega-3’s and can help your eczema, dry skin, and itchiness. They have also been found to help relieve the discomfort of PMS and cramps in women.