It doesn't matter how hard or smart you train in the gym if your actions in the kitchen aren’t the same standard. Including these fat-loss foods in your daily diet will go a long way to stripping away fat and building serious muscle.
Fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines are high in the omega 3 fats that improve insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation. A recent study of healthy adults showed that taking 4g of omega 3s a day for six weeks significantly increased lean muscle mass and decreased body fat. Grass-fed and wild meats are also high in this essential fat, so eat a serving of one of these high-protein sources at every meal.
Nuts are high in antioxidants, protein, fibre and healthy fats, and research shows they significantly improve body composition. They not only increase the metabolic response to eating but also blunt hunger and increase feelings of satiety. Walnuts and almonds are the best choices. Walnuts are typically eaten raw with the skin on, which increases their antioxidant content. Almonds top the list of fat-burning nuts because of their high protein and fibre content, and they contain a lot of vitamin E that supports detoxification. Eat a handful of each every day.
Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries contain fibre and antioxidants and have been shown to mitigate the amount of insulin the body produces in response to eating them with high-carb foods. Raspberries, in particular, contain a unique class of antioxidant called ellagitannins, which improve the brain’s sensitivity to
the hormone leptin, decreasing feelings of hunger. Eat multiple servings of all three each day.
Avocado used to have a bad rap for being high in calories, but while one avocado does contain 250 calories it also has 10g of fibre, 15g of healthy monounsaturated fat, 4g of protein and 20 essential nutrients. It is also packed with antioxidants. Depending on your other fat intake, include avocado in a few meals each week.
Eggs are an excellent protein source and also provide choline, which protects the liver from accumulating fat and promotes a neurotransmitter that can increase growth hormone, a potent fat-burner. In addition you get a nice boost in metabolism thanks to the thermic effect of their high protein content. Eat eggs a few times a week.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower help the body clear excess oestrogen, a hormone that promotes fat storage, thanks to compounds that interact with oestrogen-binding genes so your body excretes them. Research also shows their high fibre content brings about a very moderate insulin response, making them an ideal fat-loss food. Dark green vegetables usually have lots of antioxidants as well, so eat multiple servings daily.
There’s evidence coffee increases your metabolic rate so you burn more calories and it can help the body burn fat rather than glucose for energy. Coffee can also help modulate blood sugar and may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t like coffee? Green coffee extract, which can be added to any beverage, has been shown to produce significant fat loss. Green tea provides similar benefits.
Vinegar aids the storage of carbs as muscle glycogen rather than fat, and studies show eating vinegar as a dressing can improve pancreatic function and lower the insulin response to carbs. Even if you just add vinegar to your salad or cruciferous vegetables, it can lower the insulin response to your entire meal. Balsamic and white wine vinegar are delicious, but you can add any type to get the benefits. Splashing it over your high-calorie fish and chips doesn’t count, though. Sorry.
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One of the world's premier strength coaches, Charles Poliquin has successfully trained professional athletes and Olympians worldwide. Poliquin writes a monthly column for Men's Fitness about how to train as effectively as possible.
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