If you're working to lose a few pounds, swap those rice cakes and celery sticks for some unusual diet foods that up the ante with surprising fat busting benefits.
- Hot Peppers - The "heat" in hot peppers comes from the ingredient capsaicin, a natural appetite suppressant that also reduces the body's ability to store fat as efficiently. Just sprinkle on the heat and make the burn work for you.
- Cinnamon - This tasty pastry spice supercharges your metabolism and hinders your body's ability to turn sugars into fat. Cinnamon also slows down the assembly line process between the stomach and intestines, making you feel satisfied longer after eating.
- Avocados - These berries -- yes, they're berries -- contain monounsaturated fats that help speed up your metabolism. The good for you fats in avocados also reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in the body. Eating a little fat when you're dieting isn't necessarily a bad thing. It will make you feel full longer.
- Chocolate - Chocolate might seem like a no-no when you're on a diet, but a study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine in March established a link between regular (modest) chocolate consumption and a lower Body Mass Index (BMI). Although the research is still ongoing, current thinking is that chocolate is so rich in antioxidants and potential weight loss enhancers that the combined benefits somewhat balance the calorie load of this sweet indulgence.
- Beet Juice - This magenta root vegetable has more to offer than bright coloration and lots of vitamin C. Drinking beetroot juice reduces the amount of oxygen the body needs during physical exertion by up to 16 percent. A beet smoothie before your workout could keep you comfortably active -- and burning calories -- longer.
Archives of Internal Medicine. "Archive - March 26, 2012" (8/8/12). http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/172/6/519
BBC News. "Beetroot juice 'boosts stamina'." 8/6/09. (8/8/12). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8186947.stm
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Cinnamon." 7/2012. (8/8/12). http://www.bidmc.org/YourHealth/HolisticHealth/HerbsandSupplements.aspx?ChunkID=21672
Biscardi, Melissa. "Will Avocados Make You Fat?" Livestrong. (8/8/12). http://www.livestrong.com/article/408643-will-avocados-make-you-fat/
Daily Mail. "How spicy food can benefit metabolism." 8/12/11. (8/8/12). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2025429/Beyonces-cayenne-pepper-diet-Spicy-food-CAN-benefit-metabolism.html
Eat This. "Cinnamon for Weight Loss." 6/16/11. (8/8/12). http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/cinnamon-for-weight-loss.html
Eat This. "Side Effects of Cinnamon." 9/27/11. (8/8/12). http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/side-effects-of-cinnamon.html
Gorman Moeller, Rachael. "Cinnamon's Secret Health Benefit." Eating Well. 12/2007. (8/8/12). http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/diabetes/cinnamons_secret_health_benefit