One of the most challenging things about trying to lose weight is dealing with the between-meal cravings. You try to snack healthy, but it’s not easy. In fact, according to recent research by the USDA, our current snacking habits are adding too many calories and not enough nutrients to our diets, contributing to our current obesity crisis.
“The snacking analysis indicates that snacks provide about one-third of all daily calories from ‘empty calories,’” the association stated in a press release, “which are calories from solid fats and added sugars.”
We decided to gather a list of snacks that actually help boost your metabolism, which in the long run, can help you shed more pounds. Try some of these the next time your stomach starts complaining and it’s hours before your next meal.
How Can Snacks Help You Lose Weight?
The idea behind “weight-loss snacks” is that smart choices help the body operate at maximum efficiency. Some foods actually spike metabolism, for example, increasing your ability to burn energy and fat. Some trigger hormones that release fat, and others eliminate toxins that can make it hard for the body to shed pounds.
Some studies have also indicated that eating some foods and avoiding others can help you be more successful with your weight loss goals. We talk more about that in this post.
5 Foods That Fire Up Your Metabolism
Here are five items that increase metabolism and get your body burning calories and fat.
- Hot Peppers: Try jalapeno, cayenne, habanero, and other spicy peppers to boost metabolism and increase circulation. These peppers are also known to reduce cravings.
- Broccoli: In addition to being very nutritious and full of satisfying fiber, broccoli is a great detox food, helping flush out waste and keep the body operating efficiently.
- Green tea: Scientific research has discovered that green tea extract can significantly boost metabolism, and it also provides a number of powerful disease-fighting antioxidants.
- Spices: Try garlic, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. They all help keep metabolic rates high. A Canadian study, for example, found that using spices helped people burn up to 1,000 more calories daily.
- Citrus Fruits: These fruits are full of flavor and fiber, which can keep you satisfied, and have also shown to help keep metabolism high and reduce insulin spikes.
5 Foods That Work in Other Ways
Some foods and beverages help you lose weight by reducing stress hormones—which can cause your body to cling to belly fat—or by making you feel more satiated, so you release fewer hunger-promoting hormones.
- Salmon: Healthy omega-3 fatty acids reduce the production of a hormone called “leptin,” which regulates fat storage in the body. Animal studies show that mice with lower leptin levels produced faster metabolic rates than those with high levels. Consuming more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, anchovies, flaxseed, and nuts, may help to boost metabolism.
- Hot chocolate: Cocoa is full of healthy antioxidants (up to five times the amount of black tea), which reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Less stress means your body is more likely to let go of any excess fat.
- Chicken noodle soup: Broth-based soups, on the whole, are satisfying because of their volume, but typically have fewer calories than solid foods. Eating soup also helps you slow down while eating, so your body has time to tell you it’s full.
- Coffee: It is a good source of an antioxidant called “chlorogenic acid (CGA),” which increases the body’s use of fat for energy. Other research has shown that CGA can slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream, lowering insulin resistance to prevent weight gain.
- Apples: They have “pectin,” a polysaccharide that limits how much fat cells take up. Apples are also high in satisfying fiber.
Do you have other suggestions for fat-burning snacks? Please share with us.
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Rosalie Marion Bliss, “Snacking Associated with Increased Calories, Decreased Nutrients,” USDA Press Release, March 12, 2012, http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2012/120312.htm.
Dr. Edward F. Group III, “11 Foods That Speed Up Your Metabolism,” Global Healing Center, December 10, 2010, http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/foods-that-speed-metabolism/.