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9 Fat-Burning Foods That Taste Good — And Actually Work

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Ah, the early days of summer. With Memorial Day barbecues now behind us, it's a time when many of us feel the pressure to drop a few pounds before we try to squeeze into last-year's swimsuit or shorts. And while we're sure there will be a variety of unrealistic diets making the rounds on the internet, slimming down doesn't have to be that complicated (or unhealthy, for that matter). Instead of cutting foods from your diet, try adding a few healthy foods that are known to help burn fat. After all, losing weight isn't always about eating less — it's about eating right.

Fat-Burning Foods for Women

Did you know that adding just one fat-burning food to your daily diet could be the secret to getting slim forever? Talk about great news for those of us who want to lose weight but are too busy to make major changes to our diet or lifestyle. To get you started, here are nine of the best fat-burning foods for women that experts agree can help you blast away unwanted pounds. Even more good news: They're delicious, versatile, and summer-friendly foods that you'll be happy to work into your regular eating plan.

Pink Grapefruit



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It seems as if people have been talking about grapefruit diets for years — and it turns out for good reason. In fact, Johns Hopkins University research shows that adding 1/2 grapefruit to each meal can help you shed 20 pounds in 13 weeks! Pink grapefruit contains a reddish pigment called lycopene, plus three other powerful compounds that all work together to block fat absorption and boost metabolism.

Spinach



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Whether you serve it raw or cooked, eating three cups of spinach weekly could speed your weight loss 10 percent, according to research published in the journal Hormones. Spinach is rich in lipoic acid, a compound that helps shuttle blood sugar into your cells so it can be burned for energy instead of stored as fat, says study author Petya Kamenova, MD.

Tuna



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Enjoying 12 oz. of canned tuna or fresh tuna weekly could help you trim nine pounds in the next month —no other changes required! Tuna's healthy omega-3 fats improve your body's ability to use leptin, a hormone that curbs between-meal hunger, explains Barry Sears, PhD, author of The Mediterranean Zone ($16, Amazon).

Plain Yogurt



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Adding 1-1/2 cups of plain yogurt to your daily diet can help you shed 25 percent more weight and 60 percent more fat, Australian researchers say. Yogurt's blend of "good" probiotic bacteria and protein stimulates your liver to burn body fat for fuel. Not fond of yogurt? Try taking a mixed probiotic supplement (such as Hyperbiotics PRO-15). Important: Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement--and because concentrations vary, follow the package directions for dosage.

Avocado



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Avocados are rich in omega-9 fats, essential oils that make cells in your muscles melt five percent more fat, according to researchers at the University of California. Omega-9s also calm your brain's hunger center, preventing diet-sabotaging cravings. And you only need to eat 1/2 avocado daily to benefit.

Cinnamon



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The active ingredient in cinnamon makes fat cells significantly more responsive to insulin, upping your metabolism by 20 percent. It can also help stabilize blood-sugar levels. Hint: Add the fat-burning spice to a bowl of oatmeal, a heart-healthy food that helps give you extra energy and keeps hunger in check.

Flaxseed



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Sprinkling at total of 3 Tbsp. of ground flaxseeds on your cereal, salads and other foods each day could help you effortlessly shed one pound each month, Canadian research shows. The credit goes to ALA, a plant fat that steadies blood sugar, enhances fat burning and dampens appetite.

Apple Cider Vinegar



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Apple cider vinegar has been proven to enhance weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, and regulate blood sugar. According to a study published in J-STAGE (the Japan Science and Technology Information Aggregator), consuming just 2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar per day for 12 weeks can result in four pounds of weight loss. Too scared to try apple cider vinegar by itself? Start your weight loss adventure with a yummy apple cider vinaigrette. It's light, tangy, and goes well with almost any salad. Some women even swear by an apple cider vinegar and baking soda drink for weight loss. 

Matcha Green Tea



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Sipping on a matcha green tea latte isn’t just trendy, it’s healthy! In fact, drinking matcha green tea regularly can reduce body fat, boost metabolism, and lower cholesterol levels. According to The Healthy Matcha Cookbook ($13, Amazon), matcha green tea increases thermogenesis (aka the body’s rate of burning calories).

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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