Dinner’s burning – but not a cooker in sight

It sounds like the stuff that dreams are made of… fat-burning foods that actually use up more calories when you consume them than the calorific value of the food itself. But don’t pinch yourself too hard – you’re not dreaming. Such foods really do exist – and not just in health food shops and on the menus at spa hotels.

In this health-conscious age, the heightened interest in wellness has led to a huge upsurge in the number of people opting for healthier lifestyle choices.

Most of us are watching what we eat more carefully, stepping up our exercise levels a gear, trying to cut down on alcohol and smoking, and pampering ourselves with occasional visits to spas – havens of peace and tranquillity, where we can escape the stresses and excesses of modern life.

Nowadays you no longer need to be a health freak or a spa guru to understand that what you feed into your body ultimately affects it. For better or worse, we are all more aware of what we put on our plates.

Hence the current interest in “fat-fighting” foods – “thermogenic” foods, to give them their proper name – which possess the happy quality of taking more energy to process than they provide, with the result that they help raise your metabolism and burn body fat.

So what are these magic morsels?  Are they solely to be found lurking on the lonely shelves of ultra-obscure health food shops?  Or are they readily available down at your local convenience store?

Fortunately, for those of us keeping an eye on our weight, it’s the latter. A quick glance at any list of thermogenic foods reveals many staples which can be purchased easily during the weekly shop.

Fruity fat-burners include those high in vitamin C, such as lemons, oranges, limes, tangerines and grapefruit. Vitamin C apparently dilutes the fat, making it less effective and helping it to be released from the body. Oranges have never sounded more ap-peeling!

Or, if you prefer veggies, you can cast calorie cares aside as you tuck into asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, chillies, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, radishes, spinach, and tomatoes.

Little surprise then that salsa also has excellent thermogenic properties, meaning you can pile it with impunity into your tacos.

And if you’re feeling thirsty rather than peckish, pour yourself a tall glass of ice water which has the dual benefits of being available “on tap” (with the addition of a few ice cubes) as well as thermogenic.

Happily the list of thermogenic foods is surprisingly long. Sadly it’s not quite long enough to include triple chocolate cheesecake. Ah well, a girl can dream…

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