In the battle against fat, food may not be your greatest enemy. In fact, some foods can actually tune up your metabolism, so you can peel pounds off faster, for longer, and with less misery.

And that’s if you’re doing nothing. Imagine if you were to stop sitting there and listen to your food digest, and actually start exercising? The flab-melting possibilities are simply endless.

So to pare down your pot belly, grab a fork and fuel your fat-burning engine with these:

 

EGGS

Once thought to be cholesterol-laden baddies, eggs have been rehab-ed. Scramble up two eggs for breakfast from tomorrow instead of going for a carb-dominated meal to start your blubber-busting day right, says a multi-centre study. Protein-loaded eggs keep you feeling full for longer. Vitamin B12 in the yolk further kicks up your body’s motor to torch fat and help you speed through the day with your sunny-side up.

 

GRAPEFRUIT

Swapping your soft drinks and chips with some grapefruit not only cuts empty calories, but can improve your metabolic health and keeps the “apple shape” (excess belly fat) away. The Scripps Clinic ‘Grapefruit Diet’ study showed that eating half of the fresh citrus before each meal or drinking a serving of the juice three times a day helped people drop more than three pounds over 12 weeks. Grapefruit possesses unique chemicals that reduce post-meal insulin spikes, enhancing your body’s abilities to convert calories into energy rather than flab.

 

TURKEY

This super lean wonder-bird has the fewest calories per ounce of any animal protein. It’s high protein and leucine contents help to preserve muscle mass during weight loss, hence keeping your metabolism running at full speed. Protein also takes more time to digest than carbohydrates, keeping you feeling satisfied to stave off binges.

 

AVOCADO

Throw this rich, buttery fruit into your salad or sandwich during lunch to satisfy your palate without the guilt. It’s high in craving-quelling good heart-healthy fat and L-carnitine, the amino acid that boosts fat metabolism and energy production.

 

QUINOA

To meet your healthy carb quota, go for this whole grain which has risen to superfood status. Its stellar nutrient combo of complex carb, fiber, protein means your body lose extra calories working hard at digesting it, blood sugar levels rise slowly and hunger pangs are curbed for longer.

 

CHILLI PEPPER

Capsaicin, the chemical compound that gives chilli peppers their fiery kick also tends to fire up your fat-burning furnace – its thermogenic effect causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chillies. Burn, baby, burn…

 

DARK CHOCOLATE

Counter-intuitive as it may sound, but yes…indulge to lose the bulge. Research by the University of California found that adults who ate high quality dark chocolate five times a week had lower body mass index (BMI) than those who ate the sweet stuff less frequently. Epicatechins are thought to help improve lean muscle mass and melt away your waistline.

 

GREEN TEA

Besides providing a little caffeine oomph against the midday slump, green tea is teeming with catechins, powerful antioxidants that are also linked to increased metabolism. Research suggests that consuming two to four cups of fresh brewed green tea daily can help you burn about an extra 50 calories a day.

 

CINNAMON

This little brown marvel doesn’t add to your calorie budget, but has the power to help your body metabolize sugar better. Stealing in as little as 1/4 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon a day was found to reduce blood glucose levels and cut cholesterol from 10 to 25 percent. So sprinkle cinnamon to your coffee, cereal or savory dishes to up the flavor, and cut the table salt, sugar and waistline.

 

NUTS

Feeling snacky? Go nuts to trim inches. Pine nuts boost levels of the so-called “satiety hormone,” ghrelin, which signals your brain that you’re full. Walnuts are good sources of cholesterol-fighting omega-3 fatty acids which improve insulin sensitivity and help manage your belly fat better. Spreading almond butter on your morning toast gives you a nice protein boost while preventing the carbs in the bread from spiking your blood sugar. Hence, while nuts are generally calorie-dense, they are yummy and healthful fat-fighters as long as you stay in control.

 

– By Claudia Lin