Before we begin, let's get one thing straight. No matter how much the mainstream media like to focus on the latest superfood as a 'miracle cure' for weight loss, the results very rarely live up to the hype. You cannot sit at home watching Game of Thrones all day sipping on the latest exotic juice from the Amazon rainforest and expect to get lean. Your overall diet, energy expenditure, activity levels, hormonal profile and sleep quality are all far more important factors in fat loss than any 'superfood' will ever be.
That said, there are a number of foods that, in combination with the right diet and lifestyle, can supercharge your weight loss efforts. Get the basics right, then add these 15 superfoods in to kick-start some serious fat burning!
#1 - Coconut Oil
We love coconut oil so much, we created our own premium quality, organic, extra virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil contains a unique structure of fatty acids called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which absorb quickly and are easily used by the body as an energy source. Coconut oil also increases the production of ketones, which have been shown to accelerate fat burning. Cook with it, spread it, or whizz it in your favourite smoothies - just make sure you are getting your daily dose of coconut oil!
#2 - Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains a compound called acetic acid, which has been proven in clinical trials to help with weight loss and body fat reduction. Apple cider vinegar is cheap, versatile and easy to use - toss it over your salads, or use it in homemade sauces and marinades.
Taking a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar before your meals can also improve digestion, particularly if you have low stomach acid, helping to beat the bloat that can sometimes occur after meals. This will keep you looking leaner, and also make sure you are absorbing more nutrients from your food!
#3 - Wild salmon
Packed with protein and omega 3, wild salmon is one of the most nutritious foods you can add to your diet. Omega 3 has been shown to improve fat burning (not to mention it's benefits for your joints, skin, brain and immune system) whilst the protein it contains will help keep your appetite stable. Just be sure to choose wild caught salmon, which has the highest concentration of omega 3s and the lowest levels of toxins. Look out for the fish with the bright orange pigment rather than the milky pink found in most farmed salmon.
#4 - Blueberries
Blueberries are packed with fibre, vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants to help keep your immune system in tip top condition. Although human studies on blueberries for weight loss are yet to be explored, studies on lab rats have shown blueberry consumption linked with a decrease in visceral (belly) fat. Add a handful to greek yoghurt for a power packed mid-morning snack (see number 5!).
#5 - Greek yoghurt
The perfect accompaniment to your blueberries, greek yoghurt packs twice the protein of 'regular' yoghurt to help keep your appetite stable. What's more, it is also an excellent source of live probiotics, which help keep your digestive system healthy and improve your ability to absorb nutrients from food.
#6 - Green tea
The antioxidants found in green tea have been shown to increase thermogenesis in the body, a process in which calories are converted into heat. Drink a cup first thing in the morning to kick-start your metabolism, and add a squeeze of lemon for an added vitamin C bonus.
#7 - Chilli
Much like green tea, members of the chilli family increase thermogenesis in the body to accelerate your fat burning capacity. This is thanks to a unique compound found in chilli peppers called capsaicin, which is also what gives them their unique heat. We concentrate this extract and use it as one of the key components in both Hella and Hades, to help you get the most from your workouts and shred your physique in record time.
#8 - Chia Seeds
One of the most popular 'superfoods' in the world right now, chia seeds were made famous by the Hollywood A-list and quickly adopted by health foodies across the globe. It turns out, these guys may be on to something - this seed is packed with fibre, protein, and omega 3, as well as delivering a hefty dose of zinc and magnesium. Chia seeds bind to water molecules and can expand to up to 8 times their original size, making them the perfect way to feel fuller for longer.
#9 - Eggs
In a study published by the American College of Nutrition, subjects who ate eggs for breakfast in the morning ate fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. Eggs are one of the most satisfying ways to start the day, providing an excellent source of protein and fat to keep you energised and focused for hours. Enjoy them boiled, scrambled, or fried in coconut oil - just be sure to swap the toast for an extra serving of grilled tomatoes and mushrooms if your goal is fat loss!
#10 - Cinnamon
Who doesn't love cinnamon? As it turns out, there is a reason it goes so well with sweetness - it actually helps to blunt the insulin spike after consuming sugar! Less of an insulin spike means less fat storage, making cinnamon the perfect addition to all of your sweet treats.
#11 - Garlic
The health giving properties of garlic lie in it's unique compound called allicin, which is also what gives it it's unique odour. As well as being a proven cancer fighter, allicin also helps to improve carbohydrate metabolism - which means all the rice and sweet potatoes you eat to fuel your training will be converted to energy, rather than being stored as fat cells.
Unlike cinnamon, garlic does not have to be eaten with carbohydrate heavy foods to harness the benefits. Just one clove of garlic each day, at any time, will provide enough allicin to help improve your carbohydrate metabolism.
#12 - Red meat
A favourite amongst carnivores, we are often told to eat less red meat in favour of more chicken and fish - but should we really be listening? Perhaps not, as amongst all the goodness found in red meat (protein, B vitamins, iron and zinc to name just a few of the benefits), there is a unique fatty acid called CLA, which has been proven to accelerate fat loss. What's more, red meat is an excellent source of the amino acid L-Carnitine, another key ingredient in Hades and Hella, which has been shown to improve the rate at which stored fat cells are converted to energy.
#13 - Broccoli
We already know broccoli as a nutritional powerhouse, but did you know it can be highly beneficial in your quest for fat loss? Believe it or not, broccoli contains more protein per calorie than beef, as well as an excellent source of fibre to help keep you full. Researchers have also recently discovered 3 unique glucosinolate compounds in broccoli - glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin - which help to boost the body's natural detoxification process.
#14 - Coffee
Your daily cup of Joe is more than just your morning wake up call. Coffee contains a number of stimulants, including caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, which have been shown to increase the body's metabolic rate. Coffee is notably effective before workouts, where it can enhance the rate at which fat is burned for energy. However, be sure to have at least one day a week off your coffee habit, as your body can quickly build up a caffeine tolerance which can impair the fat busting benefits.
#15 - Grapefruit
It may not be everyone's favourite citrus fruit, but grapefruit may be the best choice when it comes to fat burning. Long touted as a fat burning superfood, grapefruits originally shot to fame back in the 1930s at the advent of 'The Grapefruit Diet' that claimed eating grapefruit with every meal could assist in weight loss. Whilst this may be a little extreme, regular grapefruit consumption has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, and in a study on laboratory mice, daily grapefruit consumption was shown to reduce weight gain by one fifth. Enjoy half a grapefruit with breakfast, or squeeze the juice into warm water to harness the benefits.
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James Haskell Health & Fitness helps you achieve a healthier and fitter lifestyle
We do this delivering professional fitness and nutrition advice in a simple, clear and easy to understand format. In conjunction with the development of our own range of clean and certified sports supplements, this allows the individual to achieve the lifestyle balance, which is right for them.