By Nmami Agarwal
When we say fat burners, do you imagine some magic potion going down your gut and melting the fat, flushing it away from your body like it was never there? Well, just as how fat burning agents are advertised, they do not work in a magical manner. Indeed, they do burn the fat from your body but not by melting it, rather they function by speeding up your metabolism that in turn improves your body’s digestive capacity so that you burn the food faster and more efficiently. These foods are also known as thermogenic foods and the process that they aid in the body is called thermogenesis (boosting of metabolism).
We bring you a list of natural thermogenic “fat burners” to speed up your oh-so-lazy metabolism in the most effective way:
- Caffeine- Caffeine, the magic ingredient found in coffee, is a staple for many people who regularly work out to keep in best shape. Apart from being a powerful CNS stimulant and an effective anti-oxidant, caffeine is also a great fat burning agent, provided it is taken in a corrective manner.
When consumed, caffeine jump starts the process of breaking down fats in your body, a process termed as “lipolysis”. The broken down fat is then effectively consumed as energy. Caffeine from just one cup of coffee can boost the fat and calorie burning process by two to four percent, efficiently for about two and a half hours. Now, that is awesome. But that’s not it; caffeine can also improve exercise performance by eleven to twelve percent. So, you might want to consider a cuppa coffee before your workout for that extra “kick”.
However, every good food ingredient comes with a safety limit and right consumption method. An average cup of coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine and studies suggest up to 400 mg of caffeine is safe to be consumed in a day. That means you can consume up to four cups of coffee in a day, keeping it as the highest limit. On an average day, two to three cups are good enough provided you are working out on a regular basis. Consuming more than the recommended dose can lead to insomnia, nervousness, irritability and mood swings along with upset stomach. You should also refrain from adding sugar to your coffee and try having it coffee all black to ensure better cardiovascular health and mental alertness.
- Cinnamon– Cinnamon gets its flavour and aroma from a compound called “cinnamaldehyde” A research done by the University of Michigan found out that cinnamaldehyde improves metabolism by inducing the process of thermogenesis. Consuming cinnamon tea with about three grams of cinnamon each day can effectively reduce weight and the fat around your belly. This explains why cinnamon is mostly recommended for people with Type II Diabetes, as it keeps visceral obesity (the one centeredaround your belly) in check, apart from regulating your insulin levels. Cinnamon also helps in lowering the blood glucose levels as well as cholesterol. Therefore, it is also considered as an effective functional food. However, do not go overboard with the consumption of this powerful fat burner, as it may lead to mouth sores, and affect the liver enzymes. Stick with the consumption of just less than one teaspoon (two to three grams) each day. You may consume it in the form of cinnamon tea, add it to your breakfast porridge or have it with lukewarm water every morning.
- Cayenne Pepper– Cayenne pepper boasts of many nutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, Vitamin A and Vitamin C, making it a power packed food agent. Including cayenne pepper in your daily diet can encourage weight management and fat burning. It also induces oxygen consumption having a direct effect on your metabolic rate. The key ingredient present in cayenne pepper is “capsaicin” that can also suppress the formation of breast cancer cells. It is also good for the liver as it aids in the destruction of toxins and oxidative damage. Cayenne pepper can also reduce chest and nose congestion by improving the antigen-destroying capacity of your body. It can also help in managing migraine and reduce blood pressure.
You can consume cayenne pepper by adding it to your curries, soups or stews. You can also add it to your infused water, but be sure to adjust the quantities as per your taste. Around two to four grams of cayenne pepper can be consumed safely in a day.
Over to you
There are many more natural fat burning agents that can be easily obtained from your regular diet like- green tea, ginger, lemons, grapefruit and apples. How to consume them to obtain the best results should be taken into consideration by the recommendation of a qualified dietitian only as going overboard with these humble ingredients can also prove hazardous sometimes.