As we head into the hot summer months and the clothing peels off, we all want to look good for swimsuit season. We want to lose fat, be lean and toned, and show off those hard-earned beach bodies. Of course daily exercise is important, but what you put in your mouth may have the most profound effect on how fit or flabby you’ll be for summer. Of course we’re told that low-fat foods are the key to slimming down, but you may be shocked to know that some “fattening” foods may be the best fat burning tools we can find.
Fresh and wild caught fish like salmon, tuna and shrimp are an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients including selenium, niacin, phosphorous, magnesium and vitamins B6 and B12. Unlike sushi rolls, which are surrounded by rice and seaweed, sashimi is simply slices of fish. These will provide the most protein and least calories while giving you the beneficial fats that will keep your metabolism burning strong. Order a side of seaweed or cucumber salad for a fresh and healthy addition to your super slimming meal. Always look for wild caught fish, as many farmed fish can be full of heavy metals.
Commonly overshadowed by almonds and cashews, these selenium rich nuts help the body produce antioxidant enzymes that protect cells from free radical damage. Packed full of other minerals, like magnesium, manganese, and zinc, and vitamins like thiamine (a B vitamin), and a good protein source, Brazil nuts make a great snack for fueling the brain, muscles and cells. Additionally, selenium is believed to have strong effect on increasing testosterone production in men, and therefore may aid in muscle growth, fat burning and libido. For optimal preparation, soak raw Brazil nuts in water for 8-12 hours to break down the hard to digest phytic acid. Then bake in the oven or food dehydrator and pack them away for the day at the beach or pool.
Avocado, the base of any good guacamole recipe, is a fantastic side to any meal because it is a good source of fat. As an unsaturated fat, it provides plenty of heart-healthy benefits in addition to being rich in fiber, mineral and vitamins. These good fats help control your appetite and trigger fat burning hormones. So ditch the chips and other “low-fat” snacks and mix up a spicy guacamole. Cut up tons of fresh veggies for dipping and you’ll have the ultimate fat burning summer snack.
Eating animal protein has a thermogenic effect on the body. That means the body actually uses more calories to digest these proteins than any other food. Grass-fed meats in particular, like beef and bison, are rich in amino acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is necessary for recovery from exercise and building and maintaining lean body mass. These animals will have more healthy fats, like Omega-3’s than their conventionally raised, grain-fed counter parts and less cholesterol. What better way to enjoy a day by the pool than to grill up some healthy burgers.
Olive Oil and Vinegar
Olive oil, while better known for it’s health promoting benefits, has been found in recent studies to promote better fat metabolism via the mitochondria in cells by helping to release energy as heat. That means burning more calories at rest, rather than being stored as body fat. Also, olive oil is a much better fat source than more processed oils, like canola, vegetable, peanut and soy. Keep your olive oil unheated for maximum benefit.
Vinegar has the ability to blunt blood sugar response and aid in digestion, and therefore has exceptional value when it comes to fat loss. Vinegar is a must for those struggling with their mid-section. A tablespoon of apple-cider vinegar mixed with olive oil makes for a delicious and healthy salad dressing that will be the perfect compliment to your healthy summer menu.
Summer time means good food, friends and fun in the sun. Use these metabolic boosting foods to help keep your waistline in check, and when you think about slimming summer foods, don’t forget the fat.