If the warm days of spring are motivating you to shed some weight, you’ll want to know about foods like these that can help give your metabolism an extra boost:
Foods like oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes contain vitamin C that helps metabolize fat faster, which make them helpful for weight loss. You only need 60 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C a day to meet your body’s basic needs, but increasing your daily intake to 500 mg can boost your fat-burning potential during exercise by 39 percent. Researchers at Scripps Clinic found that participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal in a 12-week period lost an average of 3.6 pounds. NOTE: If you take medication check with your doctor about possible adverse interactions with grapefruit.
Berries are high in dietary fiber. The body cannot digest fiber, but it tries anyway and burns calories in the process. Just one cup of raspberries contains a whopping 8g of fiber and only 60 calories. Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries are all good sources of fiber, too. Another plus: Fiber makes fat and calories from a meal or snack “disappear” by soaking them up and removing them through the digestive tract before the body can absorb them.
A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that women who ate cereal were 30 percent less likely to be oversight than those who ate other breakfast foods. High-fiber cereals not only rev up the metabolism, they also digest slowly so you feel full and energized for hours. Also, fiber helps keep insulin levels steady, which helps prevent fat storage.
Lean meats like lean beef, chicken and turkey help to speed up the metabolism and burn more fat simply because they require so much energy for complete digestion. Studies have shown that people who follow a high-protein diet burn twice as many calories after a meal as people who follow a high-carbohydrate diet. In addition, eating protein helps to preserve muscle mass during weight loss, keeping metabolism running at full speed. A 3-ounce serving of boneless, skinless lean turkey breast weighs in at 120 calories and provides 26 grams of appetite-curbing protein, 1 gram of fat and 0 grams of saturated fat.
Tip: On the F-Factor Diet, fiber and protein pairings are recommended at every meal and snack time. Studies have shown that eating fiber and protein in combination promotes fullness longer on the fewest calories while boosting metabolism.
This nutritional powerhouse offers a host of health benefits, from boosting immunity to fighting aging and disease, and much more. Adding garlic to your diet, even in amounts you cannot detect, may help you shed weight, too. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that garlic may increase the number of calories burned during daily activities while decreasing the body's production of fat.
For delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes and tips on healthy eating, drinking and losing weight, check out my latest book, The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and the bestselling author of The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber as well as the F-Factor Diet. Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and register for new weekly newsletter by visiting her website Ffactor.com.