If you find yourself struggling to maintain a healthy weight or simply looking to lose those last few pounds, it might be time to consider adding some specific functional foods to your diet. Although very different in taste, shape, and texture, these three “fitness foods” can contribute to health by boosting your metabolism and satisfying cravings.
Cayenne pepper is another whole food that can rev up your metabolism without adding calories. This hot pepper received its name from the city of Cayenne in French Guiana and is made from dried pods of strong chili pepper. The spicy flavor of the cayenne pepper is due to the active component “capsaicin,” which then facilitates a heat-producing effect to your system that can lift the metabolism and burn fat. The body actually incinerates calories and fat as your body temperature begins the cooling process to adjust to the initial heat of the pepper. The effect also increases the healthy blood flow of your circulatory system and can clear out your arteries of excess triglycerides, fat, and bad cholesterol. Research done by scientists at Purdue University in Indiana discovered that by adding a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to every meal increased 25 participants’ metabolism and caused the body to burn an extra 10 calories on its own. In addition, participants who normally ate spicy meals slashed an average of sixty calories at each meal if the pepper was added.
This pepper packs a lot of heat, but in powder form, it can create a zesty addition to your soups, salsa, or guacamole. You can also shake up your traditional dressings and BBQ sauces with a hint of cayenne, or simply get your filling by adding a teaspoon of the spice to a glass of water for an extra kick. Try exploring both whole cayenne peppers as well as Fairway Market’s plethora of dried spice versions.
The origins of green tea can be traced back over 4,000 years to China, where the leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant were steeped in hot water as a beverage and used for medicinal purposes. Presently, the light and refreshing flavor of green tea is most widely known as a strong source of antioxidants such as polyphenols. A specific type of polyphenol found in green tea is called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is an active enzyme that has been shown to increase your metabolic rate without adding calories, resulting in accelerated weight loss. The caffeine content that is found in green tea pairs with the EGCG to activate the central nervous system. Working together, they can create a heat-producing effect in your body that can burn fat as fuel. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition exemplified the fat-burning effects of green tea combined with additional caffeine and an exercise plan in obese patients over a twelve week period. Not only does green tea help promote healthy weight loss, but acts as an immune booster since the antioxidants also facilitate the prevention of producing free radicals, which can be the source of many illnesses including cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Fairway Market has a wide selection of teas, including a number of variations of green tea.
Grapefruit can be added to your list of dietary must-haves as it is another delicious source to aid in your weight control endeavors. It has a relatively low amount of calories and is a vitamin C-enriched citrus fruit. The grapefruit was first discovered in the islands of Barbados, and it is thought to be a cross between the pomelo and sweet orange. This tangy bitter fruit received its name due to its ability to grow in clusters, much like grapes.
Nutritionally, the grapefruit is a fat-free food which is high in fiber. It has a unique property of being somewhat filling and can therefore satisfy your appetite and cravings. One study completed at Scripps College demonstrated the weight-loss benefits of grapefruit. Of the 100 participants involved in the study, those who ate a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds on average, and those who drank a serving of juice saw an average decrease of 3.3 pounds. This research speculated that the different properties of grapefruit can decrease insulin levels and support weight loss. The grapefruit is also a great source of iron, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. You can enjoy grapefruit an endless number of ways by tossing it in salad, adding to your favorite smoothie recipe, or simply enjoy the fruit on its own with a dash of sprinkled sugar. That’s one sweet solution to reaching a healthy weight.
TELL US: How do you like to use these weight-loss boosters in your meals?