The Best Superfoods For Fat Loss
Eat yourself lean?
You should already know this is possible if you’ve started my Whole Foods Diet For Fat Loss.
It never hurts to have a little extra ammunition up your sleeve. Ammunition in the form of the best superfoods for fat burning.
And the best superfoods for fat burning might not be the ones you’d expect.
Naturally, my top 10 are 100% compliant with The Diet.
While I’m at it, I’ve thrown in a go-to list for “zero-calorie” foods. I know, I know, food has calories. Just hear me out, there’s a method to my madness.
Last but not least is some more info on protein and good fats. Specifically, nuts. I’ve already mentioned you should keep nuts to a minimum, but even then, it pays to know what you’re eating.
These three elements, when used together, will help you reach your fat loss goals, so let’s jump right in...
10 Best Superfoods For Fat Burning
We all know abs are made in the kitchen. No matter how many crunches you perform, your diet will always determine your overall levels of stored fat.
What I’m saying is, master getting these superfoods into your diet and your journey to visible abs will be a lot easier.
Yes, certain foods increase metabolism, boost fat-burning hormone levels, inhibit fat storage and increase the oxidation of fat cells. Some better than others.
I’ll make it easy for you, with my guide to the 10 best superfoods for fat burning. You’re welcome.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which reduce your insulin sensitivity, and act as an anti-inflammatory to keep your body operating at peak health, free from cardiovascular disease and chronic pain.
With a decreased propensity to release insulin, you’re less likely to store unused blood sugar around your waist as unsightly fat.
Omega-3s also stimulate your thyroid gland, the hormonal center responsible for increasing metabolic rates, via a hormone called leptin.
So what are you waiting for? Go out and get that fat burning goodness now. (Or after you finish reading - you’ll have a whole grocery list).
Fact: Eating good fats won’t make you fat (but excessively refined carbs, industrial seed oils, and their inflammatory responses will).
The monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in avocados actually empower cell membranes to better communicate with the hormone receptors responsible for fat burning.
In fact, this heavenly green ovoid can help switch off the fat storage hormone, ghrelin.
As if you needed any more reason to make guacamole. Guacamole itself should have made the list of best superfoods, in my opinion!
As well as providing us with many temptations that make it harder to burn fat such as pizza and pasta, the Italians have also helped us to find more ways to enjoy garlic.
Thanks to the active ingredient “allicin” garlic has been shown to not only help with fat loss but also with the maintaining of healthy cholesterol levels.
And on top of that, the anti-microbial effects of garlic make it an excellent immune system booster too.
Sorry to get your hopes up but no, this doesn’t mean you can go out and eat garlic bread and garlic infused pastas in your quest for faster fat loss.
Try adding garlic to healthy stir fries, sauces and other dishes involving lean meats and vegetables for a healthy, flavor filled fat burning boost.
Remember the grapefruit diet? I can recall the sweatpants and headbands like yesterday…
If you’ve reintroduced some fruit post workout, feel free to enjoy this tart citrus blast from the past to effectively lower your body’s insulin levels thanks to the active ingredient Naringin.
Lowered insulin levels decrease your appetite and discourage your body from storing additional blood sugar as fat.
Weighing in at only 80 calories on average, grapefruit almost holds a position in the “zero-calorie” foods lists. Just don’t add sugar. That’s never a good idea. If you can’t handle the tartness, don’t eat it!
#5 Green Tea
Cultures of the East typically consume lots of green tea so there must be something to it, right? In fact, there is.
As a thermogenic with 40 mg of caffeine, green tea stimulates the metabolism and helps burn calories.
Thermogenic basically means energy expenditure above the resting metabolic rate due to the cost of processing food for use and storage. That is, the act of eating these foods raises your metabolic rate.
Meanwhile, phytochemicals in green tea, called catechins, also affect your metabolism by promoting additional fat oxidation.
Another nice bonus from drinking green tea comes from the amino acid L-Theanine, it won’t boost your fat loss efforts but it will provide you with a nice calm and relaxed feeling.
Given the caffeine content, I recommend switching it up with your morning coffee rather than consuming both. And like always, don’t drink either after 12pm.
#6 Coconut Oil
As a saturated fat, coconut oil gets a bad rap in some circles. However, if you’re up on the latest health research you’ll know there’s nothing to worry about with this multi-faceted superfood.
First up are the medium-chain triglycerides, which the body prefers to use for energy rather than store as fat.
Next, the ketones in coconut oil provide instant energy to the brain.
Let’s also not forget coconut oil’s amazing powers for preventing the onset of sickness and disease, thanks to the anti-microbial properties of lauric acid.
#7 Grass-Fed Meats
Protein is thermogenic, so stuffing yourself with lean meats is simultaneously tasty, nourishing and fat-burning.
Besides facilitating protein synthesis for muscle growth - which only helps burn more calories and fat during the day - grass-fed meat contains essential omega-3s.
Grass fed meats also contain CLA, a fatty acid that has been linked to fat loss and that is not found in regular grain fed meat.
Also, as much as lean meat is our preferred choice for most meals be sure to eat the occasional fattier piece of grass fed meat (like the deliciously marbled steak in the photo above).
By doing this you will get a much bigger dose of Omega-3’s which not only prevent fat cells from growing in size, but also help turn off fat genes and provide a mental boost. Seconds, please!
Broccoli and its leafy cousin broccoli rabe are chock-full of sulforaphane, a potent phytonutrient that stimulates the release of enzymes to burn fat from cells.
This cruciferous green is a giant health asset to boot, full of antioxidant power that fights cancer, blocks sun damage and reduces inflammatory responses to external toxins.
You’ll also hear me mention it as one of my go-to veggies for satiety.
Curcumin, the primary polyphenol antioxidant in turmeric, is shown to suppress fatty tissue growth in mice and reduce their weight gain. I get it, mice aren’t people, but that’s promising!
It’s believed that angiogenesis, the process of creating new blood cells to allow new fat growth, can’t happen with curcumin around.
What does that mean for you? Pass the curry! (But hold the sugar and rice, obviously)
#10 Spicy Peppers
Capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers “spicy,” causes a spike in calorie burning after a meal. The thermogenic process pumps up the metabolism and helps you burn bonus calories without you even having to lift a finger.
It’s not much, but it’s a start. However, you will get a happy buzz off that jalapeno because spicy foods cause the release of endorphins - your body’s natural painkillers - to combat burning tongue.
You can get your fat oxidation and metabolism boost via lots of healthy whole foods.
But if you want to keep those fat loss fires burning throughout the day, these are the best superfoods to add to your routine.
Always remember that even the best superfoods are all about layering: adding benefits on top of the nutritional value of any meal, as well as increasing micronutrient levels.
If you train yourself to eat high-impact foods such as these (as part of a healthy, whole diet) you can expect fat loss as naturally as breathing.
Because the body takes care of itself - if you take care of your body.
The 10 Best Superfoods: “Zero-Calorie” Category
I thought I’d throw these in here as I figure we can all use a shortcut sometimes. If there was a zero-calorie talent show, these would be the top contenders.
“Zero-calorie” is a bit of a stretch. Although we’ve all seen it splashed across the headlines, it’s clearly not true. Food has calories. We need them to survive.
But if you’re really struggling with hunger pangs or cravings and know you’ve eaten enough for the day, these will fill the spaces without ruining your fat loss efforts:
Celery: 16 calories
Cucumber: 16 calories
Zucchini: 17 calories
Tomatoes: 17 calories
Asparagus: 20 calories
Cabbage: 25 calories
Cauliflower: 25 calories
Turnips: 28 calories
Watermelon: 30 calories
Broccoli: 34 calories
*All servings are 100 grams
Getting Your Head Around Nuts
As I covered in the Whole Foods Diet For Fat Loss, nuts are best enjoyed selectively.
Delicious bite-size sources of protein and healthy fats, they can help you feel full throughout the day.
The downside is they’re loaded with calories. So if you’re going to indulge in a handful, it’s best to know what you’re eating.
All nuts offer distinct health benefits, and some nuts are better for you than others.
If you’re uncertain about snacking on a grab bag, it’s understandable.
Some nuts are really legumes and inherently suspect. Many are high in phytate, which can be bad for you in large quantities.
So, which nuts should you - and should you not - be shelling out for at the grocery store?
Here’s the lowdown on which nuts you can occasionally add to your best superfoods for fat burning list. Look for the 5 best up front and watch your intake of the 3 at the end.
An ounce offers:
14 g fat, mostly healthy MUFAs
6 g protein
50% Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) - vitamin E
30% RDA - copper
28% RDA - manganese
Almonds are great for overall health.
These ovoids are full of dietary fiber to keep your insides clean and your stomach feeling full (and your appetite curbed).
The skins also contain powerful prebiotic components proven to promote gut health and maintain digestive regularity.
High in vitamin E, you can expect almonds to fight inflammation in muscle and joints as well as prevent cardiovascular disease.
Studies show they reduce insulin levels and improve glycemic control to effectively prevent diabetes.
Almonds carry phytate, a compound which limits micronutrient absorption and should, therefore, only be consumed as a supplemental food.
These phytates are fine in small doses, helping soothe the stomach and create anti-cancer compounds.
Pine Nuts, Please
In one ounce:
17.3 g fat
3.3 g protein
53% RDA - manganese
33% RDA - copper
29% RDA - vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Most often found in pesto (no, that does not mean you can eat pasta), pine nuts offer a select choice of manganese, the essential mineral that contributes to bone density and bone metabolism.
Great as we age, they’re also very helpful for cravings: pine nut oil was shown to be an appetite suppressant in postmenopausal women carrying extra weight.
An ounce gives you:
12.9 g fat, mostly healthy MUFAs
5.7 g protein
28% RDA - vitamin B6
21% RDA - vitamin B1 (thiamine)
17% RDA - vitamin K
14% RDA - iron
Beyond the annoying shells, pistachios are 100% green goodness.
Low in phytic acid, these little gems are full of prebiotic fiber which directly benefits gut health and promotes feelings of happiness (even more than almonds).
Pistachios have been shown to reduce the impact of high-carb meals, effectively limiting glucose spikes and maintaining energy consistency afterward.
If you’re feeling drowsy, the iron in pistachios can help you feel more active and alert.
Banging Brazil Nuts
An ounce delivers:
18.8 g fat
4.1 g protein
777% RDA - selenium
25% RDA - magnesium
15% RDA - manganese
Selenium is the standout micronutrient here - crucial to immune and thyroid function, cardiovascular health and subsequent antioxidant capacities.
The selenium content is so high you won’t need many of these large, creamy nuts to get your fill.
This is fortunate as phytate levels are also high, meaning you’ll want to consume them sparingly to reap the benefits while maintaining proper micronutrient absorption.
If you’re carrying a bit of extra weight around the midsection, Brazil nuts will reduce your lipid profile nicely and help you burn more fat.
They’ll also take a shot at reducing inflammation, making these nuts a useful dietary additive for active or ailing people.
An ounce provides:
17.2 g fat, mostly MUFAs
4.2 g protein
76% RDA - manganese
28% RDA - vitamin E
17% RDA - iron
Mostly relegated to desserts and often found in syrup form (avoid, please) in morning lattes, hazelnuts were a popular food with our ancestors.
Also known as filberts, hazelnut skin is the most significant and edible source of polyphenols.
Offering antioxidative properties 10 times greater than dark coffee and 7 times greater than dark chocolate, hazelnuts can prevent skin damage, reduce signs of aging and inhibit the growth of cancer.
Hazelnuts elevate the anti-inflammatory receptors for vitamin E, reducing fat levels, improving cardiovascular health and curbing the oxidation of harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Macadamia Nuts, Maybe
An ounce holds:
21.5 g fat
2.2 g protein
51% RDA - manganese
28% RDA - vitamin B1 (thiamine)
13% RDA - iron
Macadamia nuts are packed with fat and calories, but are low on protein. That doesn't mean you should omit them from your diet completely… just watch out for overindulging.
As they’re low in phytates and omega-6 fatty acids (compared to other nuts), they’re great for optimizing vitamin intake and keeping your body’s inflammatory, acidic responses in check.
They also decrease markers for oxidative stresses, something especially important for those who lead active lives.
7. Watch the Walnuts
An ounce contains:
18.5 g fat
4.3 g protein
50% RDA - copper
42% RDA - manganese
10% RDA - iron
Walnuts are the only nut containing alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that’s linked to lowering inflammation, preventing disease and increasing focused mental performance.
Like all superior omega-3 foods, walnuts are great for lowering harmful levels of HDL cholesterol and reducing the cardio-harming lipid profile in your diet.
This nut may look like a brain, but it’s not all smart. Walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), a compound which already exists at dangerously high levels in modern diets.
Because omega-6 PUFAs counteract the positive effect of omega-3s, be sure to consume walnuts conservatively alongside a diet full of complete omega-3s.
An ounce provides:
14 g fat
7 g protein
11% RDA - magnesium
7% RDA - iron
It’s easy to get addicted to peanut butter. That smooth creamy texture that adds instant flavour to any snack. And what’s wrong with a protein hit conveniently combined with some satisfying fats?
The problem is, a significant 33% of those fats are PUFAs, the known enemy of healthy omega-3 levels.
On the upside, peanuts contain folate (vitamin B9), which is particularly essential for pregnant women and vegetarians. This micronutrient is crucial to brain development in fetuses and preventing cognitive decline in adults.
Peanuts grow in soil, and while “nut” is in their name, legumes are their game. You know how I feel about legumes. AVOID.
To add to my argument, peanuts grow underground amid aflatoxins, a dangerous fungal mycotoxin from the Aspergillus spore, linked to causing cancer in rats.
Though peanut butter processing has been shown to remove 89% of these aflatoxins, roasting methods are much less reliable, removing just 50% of this dangerous microorganism.
These days peanuts are banned in many schools and a good proportion of people avoid them entirely for fear of allergies.
Last Notes From The Peanut Gallery
Though all nuts provide health benefits, some carry a hefty amount of PUFAs known to increased levels of inflammation. It’s important to choose wisely.
When eating nuts, go for the high protein, healthy fat ones first: almonds, pistachios, Brazil nuts and macadamia nuts will fill you up and give you lasting energy.
Try some pine nuts for weight loss and hazelnuts for antioxidant properties. Peanuts are relatively low in calories and high in protein but carry high levels of PUFAs, as do walnuts.
Ultimately, moderate your intake and try to maximize your omega-3 levels when consuming nuts.
Figuring out the best superfoods for your own version of healthy eating can be a challenge, but you’ll get there.
It’s worth the time and testing, and with a little effort your body will be running like a well-oiled, fat burning engine.