Everyone wants a flat belly, and most people understand that it takes both diet and exercise to get fit. The trick is knowing exactly which foods to eat to achieve your goals.
The truth is, there are a lot of different foods you could eat to help you lose weight. The best fat-burning foods, though, are nutrient-dense and low in calories. To help you get started on your fat-burning journey, I’ve created the following list of the 20 best foods for burning fat. Please enjoy it! At the end of the list, I’ll share three strategies for burning fat every day.
20 Fat Burning Foods
- Fermented Foods
- Green Leafy Veggies
- Chia Seeds
- Brown Rice
- Protein Shakes
- Cruciferous Veggies
Oatmeal is a great food for helping to burn fat because it’s low in calories and high in fiber. The fiber helps keep you full longer so you don’t overeat.
Oatmeal is also known for helping improve insulin sensitivity and managing blood sugar levels. This could also help you get into fat-burning mode, and oatmeal is great for heart health, too.
One caution, though: plain oatmeal or oatmeal with a little bit of ground cinnamon powder is best. If you eat sweetened oatmeal, you could undo all your efforts to use oatmeal to help you burn fat.
Cinnamon is a flavoring and herb taken from the bark of the cinnamon tree. This warm spice could help you manage blood sugar levels, which in turn could help you burn fat. Cinnamon is also associated with lower blood pressure and is one of the foods with anti-inflammatory effects.
Another way cinnamon helps to burn fat is it increases metabolism. It also helps prevent fat from being stored, so you don’t have to burn it later.
As with cinnamon and oatmeal, applesauce could help you keep you manage blood sugar levels. It’s also a fiber-rich food, with plenty of soluble fiber to help build gut health. This is important because it’s easier to burn fat when your gut microbiome is healthy.
Eating apples has also been shown to help reduce visceral fat in people who are obese. Applesauce provides plenty of fat-burning apple power, as long as you eat the unsweetened varieties.
The protein in eggs helps keep you full, so you’re less likely to overeat or snack between meals. Eating a high-protein diet has also been shown to be a great way to lose weight, partly because it keeps you full, and partly because it could increase the metabolism.
Eggs also contain no carbohydrates, so you can eat them on a ketogenic diet. This puts you in an almost-constant fat-burning mode.
Quinoa is a seed that’s often used in the place of grains, such as rice. This seed is packed with both protein and fiber, so it prevents overeating by keeping you full. The fiber also contributes to a healthy gut microbiome.
Quinoa contains other nutrients that promote healthy fat burning, too. For example, quinoa is rich in magnesium, which helps increase insulin sensitivity so you can burn fat. A one-cup serving of cooked quinoa provides 30% of the daily recommendation for quinoa.
Ginger is a warm root herb that’s often used as a spice in Asian dishes. Eating ginger could help with burning fat in several ways. It’s known to boost metabolism, including impacting the secretion of bile and enzymes.
Ginger also helps to lower cholesterol, suppress the appetite, and help control cortisol levels, which cause people to store fat. Some studies show that ginger could help people decrease body weight significantly.
Fermented foods have a wonderful effect on belly fat because they help build gut health. Most of these foods contain at least a few different types of probiotic bacteria, such as Lactobacillus Acidophilus or Bifidobacterium.
There are several types of fermented foods to choose from, too. Fermented dairy products include yogurt and kefir. Other fermented foods, like sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso are made from vegetables and beans.
Green Leafy Veggies
Green, leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that support overall body health, including burning excess fat. They’re also low in calories, so they don’t cause you to pack fat on while you’re trying to burn it.
Nutrient profiles vary between types of green vegetables. Look for high levels of vitamins K, A, and C and minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Some delicious leafy green vegetables to try are spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and mustard greens.
Salmon is a fatty fish found in cold waters. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health, cognitive functioning, healthy eyes, and increased insulin sensitivity. As insulin sensitivity increases, insulin levels in the blood drop, and the body can shift into fat-burning mode.
Having high levels of vitamin D in your body could help you shed weight, too. Salmon is one of the few foods that’s rich in vitamin D. A small salmon fillet provides around 115% of the daily recommendation for vitamin D.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that has properties to help break down fat and protein throughout the body. Some sources indicated that while it’s great for overall fat burning, it could also produce some targeted fat burning in the belly. This is particularly true when other dietary changes are made and when exercise is included.
Results from studies are mixed, though, and more research is needed to confirm bromelain’s fat-burning power.
Chicken is rich in protein and minerals. Some parts of the chicken, such as skinless chicken breast, are also low in fat, so the chicken can be a great low-to-moderate calorie food choice.
The protein in chicken could also promote fat burning by keeping you full and boosting your metabolism. Because chicken doesn’t contain carbs, it could also fit well with a candida-free or ketogenic lifestyle.
Like salmon, chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also high in fiber and minerals, so they help build gut health while providing deep nutritional support for fat burning.
An ounce of dried chia seeds provides 9% of the daily recommendation for protein, 35% for fiber, and 24% for magnesium. It’s also a good source of potassium, selenium, zinc, iron, and calcium, as well as some B vitamins. This serving size provides 16% of the daily recommendation for niacin, a B vitamin that helps break down fat, flushes toxins out of the cells, and provides energy for burning fat.
Turmeric is an orange-yellow root herb in the same family as ginger. It’s often used to flavor yellow curry, but turmeric has several medicinal and health benefits, as well.
One of the key compounds found in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin helps turn white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue, which is more readily burned. One study indicates that people who supplement their diets with curcumin could lower their BMI and the levels of fat in their livers.
Like oatmeal and quinoa, brown rice is a high-fiber, low GI food that helps keep blood sugar levels stable. It’s also got a decent protein profile. A cup of cooked brown rice provides 11% of the daily recommendation for both protein and dietary fiber.
Brown rice is also a good source of B vitamins, including niacin, and it contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
The nice thing about protein shakes is that they’re an easy, convenient way to get that metabolism-boosting protein on the go. Many protein powders contain around 20-30 grams of protein per serving. These amounts of protein help to control the appetite so you don’t eat too much when you’re trying to burn fat.
There are many types of protein powders on the market. Some are made from whey, while others come from pea protein, hemp, soy, and other sources. If you’re not sure how many calories you’ll be getting from the protein powder, be sure to check the label so you don’t undermine your fat-burning efforts.
Avocados are loaded with fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals that promote overall body health. One avocado fruit provides 36% of the daily recommendation for fiber, with 16% for niacin and 11% for magnesium.
Avocados are also rich in vitamin K, which plays a role in reducing body weight, abdominal fat, and visceral fat. One avocado fruit provides 26% of the daily recommendation for vitamin K.
When it comes to burning fat, the only tricky thing about eating avocados is not to eat too much. Because avocados are rich in fat, they’re also high in calories, so if you’re trying to burn fat, eat avocados in moderate amounts.
Although nuts contain some carbs, they’re also rich in proteins and fats. Eating nuts as a snack could provide you with a quick protein boost, and if you are counting carbs carefully, you could still fit an ounce of nuts into a ketogenic eating plan.
Each type of nut has a different nutrient profile, and that could impact how easily they help you burn fat. English walnuts, for example, contain omega-3 fatty acids, while almonds are higher in protein.
Cayenne peppers are hot, spicy red peppers that are often used to flavor southwestern and Mexican dishes. Like most hot peppers, cayenne peppers contain a substance called capsaicin. Capsaicin helps to burn fat in two ways: by increasing your body temperature through a process called thermogenesis, and by reducing your appetite so you don’t eat too many calories.
Eating cayenne peppers has other health benefits, too. Cayenne is good for heart health, and it provides antioxidants.
Cucumber is a green vegetable grown in the summer that has very few calories. The low-calorie profile is very helpful for burning fat, but cucumbers are also loaded with water. They could help rehydrate you and provide you with vitamins and minerals that you need to have in order to burn fat.
Cucumber has a gentle, cleansing effect on the body that helps get rid of toxins that would otherwise be stored in fat cells.
Cruciferous vegetables are all the vegetables in the cabbage family, including cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Besides being rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber but low in calories, these veggies contain a substance called sulforaphane.
Sulforaphane has a positive impact on blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation, helps to detoxify the body, and prevents certain types of cancers.
When it comes to burning fat, sulforaphane helps to turn white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue, so it can be burned. Some sources indicate that getting enough sulforaphane has the tendency to promote the loss of visceral fat.
Three Strategies For Burning Fat Daily
Now that you’ve read through the list of the 20 best foods for burning fat, let’s talk about some strategies to help you put these foods to work for you immediately. The great thing about these strategies is they can be used to enhance your fat-burning abilities every day.
Strategy #1: Spice Up Your Food
Some of the most fat-burning substances in foods are found in the spices you use. Flavor your foods with ginger, turmeric, cayenne, and even garlic to boost your metabolism and burn more fat.
Strategy #2: Focus On Veggies
Vegetables are low-calorie food options, so they could help keep your caloric intake low while you’re trying to burn fat. They’re also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support the fat-burning process.
Strategy #3: Fill Up On Fiber
By focusing on seeds, legumes, and whole grains, you’ll be adding a lot of fiber to your diet. Besides helping you stay full longer, these foods help keep your blood sugar levels steady, so you stay sensitive to insulin. This enhances your fat-burning abilities.