7 Foods That Fight Fat Over 40

PHOTO: Hot sauce increases the fat-burning potential of meals.
Danita Delimont/Getty Images

We've identified our favorite healthy foods that not only help you lose weight—they also contain the nutrients you need to fend off age-related ills. Add these foods to your daily diet and you can shed about 10 pounds over the course of a year!

Foods That Fight Fat Over 40

Water

A California study of 240 women found that dieters who replaced their sweetened drinks with water lost an average of 3 pounds more a year than those who didn't. Subjects who sipped more than 4 cups of water a day lost 2 additional pounds, compared with those who drank less. Plus, the phosphoric acid in soda may contribute to bone loss—and osteoporosis—by changing the acid balance in your blood.

Is your diet soda habit making you fat? Check out these 7 nasty side effects of diet soda.

Foods That Fight Fat Over 40

High-fiber granola bars

A small British study found that women who eat a fiber-rich, high-carb breakfast burn twice as much fat during workouts later in the day as those who eat more refined (lower-fiber) foods. Refined carbs spike your insulin levels, which limits your body's ability to use fat as fuel, explains Lisa Dorfman, RD, adjunct professor at the University of Miami.

Try a granola bar with at least 4 g of fiber instead of the typical bar that contains just a single gram.

Foods That Fight Fat Over 40

Ground flaxseed

Flaxseed is rich in fiber and healthy fats, which help stabilize blood sugar, so you're less likely to binge. Some research suggests flax can also help soothe symptoms of hormone swings because it's high in plant estrogens.

Choose ground flaxseed, as it's easier to digest. Sprinkle it over cereals, soups, or salads, or add it to smoothies.

Try these 20 Super-Healthy Smoothies that are packed full of nutrition—and flavor!

Foods That Fight Fat Over 40

Walnuts

Instead of snacking on some chips, open up a bag of nuts: Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may keep you feeling fuller longer.

In a 1-year study of people with diabetes who were following a low-fat diet, Australian researchers discovered that those who included 8 to 10 walnuts a day lost more weight and body fat.

Foods That Fight Fat Over 40

Hot sauce

Forget bland condiments: if you want to burn fat, spice things up.

In a study of 36 men and women, Australian researchers found that following a spicy meal, levels of insulin—the hormone that triggers body fat storage—were lowered by as much as 32 percent. One theory: capsaicin, the chemical that gives chiles their fire, may improve the body's ability to clear insulin from the bloodstream after you eat, so you're more likely to burn fat following a meal spiked with chile peppers than after one that isn't packing heat.

Foods That Fight Fat Over 40

Cinnamon

Sweeten your oatmeal or frothy coffee drinks with this sweet spice instead of sugar (which has 16 calories per teaspoon) and you can save a couple hundred calories a week, enough to shed 2 to 3 pounds in a year without doing anything else.

You'll also be doing your heart a favor as protective estrogen levels decline: Pakistani researchers found that 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day could lower heart-damaging cholesterol by 18 percent and triglycerides by 30 percent.

Foods That Fight Fat Over 40

Salmon

Just 3 ounces of canned salmon delivers 530 IU (more than the Daily Value) for vitamin D and 181 mg of calcium, a power-packed nutritional combination that may be just what your waistline needs as you get older.

In a 7-year study of more than 36,000 women ages 50 to 79, researchers at Kaiser Permanente found that those who took both calcium and vitamin D supplements gained less weight after menopause than those who took a placebo.

Other research shows that without enough vitamin D, our appetite-regulating hormone leptin can't do its job.

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