It’s no secret that to achieve a well-defined physique, maintaining a low total body fat (between 6%-13% for men and 12%-17% for women) is a requirement. Your diet will primarily be responsible for this, whereas exercise will act as the catalyst to mold and sculpt the process. The following is a list of foods I’ve labeled as “Fat Flushers.” Rather than tell you it’s because I said so, I’ve provided some references supporting these natural “fat flushing” claims for your review. From my experience, these specific food groups WORK.
1. Citrus Fruits
Ex: Oranges, Pineapple, Grapefruit, Tangerines
Fat Flushing Component: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
A 2005 study published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” found that people with a recommended daily amount of Vitamin C in their system oxidize 30% more fat while exercising than people who have Vitamin C depletion.
During cutting season, tangerines and clementines are my go-to citrus fruits for easy pre-workout sugars. Just two tangerines and you’ve already had 60% of your Daily Recommended Intake of Vitamin C! Easy.
2. Apples and Berries
Ex: Applesauce, Strawberries, Blueberries
Fat Flushing Component: Pectin
Pectin is a well-known compound that limits the quantity of fat absorbed by cells. Healthy Eating, ShapeFit.com and US News Health all report that pectin efficiently binds to cholesterol and other fatty acids to promote their elimination through waste.
I always keep a serving of applesauce handy in case my energy levels get low in the gym; natural sugar and pectin in one shot. Moreover, frozen blueberries and strawberries are a part of my post-workout recovery protein shake recipe. Pectin can be found in the walls of most fruits like grapefruit and bananas so continue to keep fruit in your diet regularly.
Fat Flushing Component: Sulfur
Several studies have highlighted that sulfur rich foods can rid of the body of mucous membranes surrounding the intestines, which is where popular (yet misleading) “Cabbage Soup Diets” come from. While it’s highly unlikely that this leads to specifically targeting and fat flushing in the mid-section, this MIT research published by Stephanie Seniff addresses the potential positive link between sulfur deficiency and obesity.
Leafy greens are a mainstay in my diet, but for good measure, I reserve cabbage for dinner. It’s one of the few leafy greens I can eat that fills me up the way starchy carbs do. It’s versatile, still hearty after cooking, and is more filling than lettuce or spinach. When it’s time to shed winter-weight, it never hurts to up the cabbage dinner intake and let it work its magic overnight.
4. Yellow Vegetables
Ex: Carrots, Sweet Potatoes
Fat Flushing Component: Carotene
It has been argued that beta carotene literally absorbs fat and washes it out of the system. This has more to do with the fact that some carotenoids convert into Vitamin A, thus aiding in increased metabolism, causing you to then rid yourself of excess fat. Currently however, Examine.com has a thorough scientific review of a carotenoid called Fucoxanthan to potentially be used as a non-stimulant, fat burning supplement.
Beta carotene is a known per-cursor to Vitamin A – a nutrient with well-established health benefits and the main reason why consuming yellow vegetables is always highly recommended.
Fat Flushing Components: Calcium, Magnesium
Along with being super high in Vitamin A, Kale is also a great source of Calcium and Magnesium. Natural News reports that if there isn’t enough magnesium in the body to help create a glyocogen effect, insulin and glucose levels become elevated. In turn, your body will store excess glucose as fat, thus contributing to negative weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes. A Web MD Article reviewed by Dr Brunilda Lazario references a study of both mice and men which concluded, “the more calcium there is in a fat cell, the more fat the cell will burn — and the greater the weight loss.”
Fat Flushing Component: Iron
The more commonly stated fat-flushing function of iron is that it cleans off the fat that normally binds to blood cells, thus promoting aerobic health. A better researched aspect regarding iron and its strong correlation to weight loss is due to the way it effects our metabolism. According to groundbreaking research covered by WellnessResources.com, iron deficiency can “shut off the genes ” in your liver and muscles that promote fat storage causing abnormal blood sugar elevation. This also negatively effects thyroid metabolism; an area well-known to be a precursor to fat gain if there are abnormalities present.
Beans are a no-brainer when it comes to iron-rich plant foods. Just one cup of cooked kidney beans yields 22% of the recommended daily value for iron. If you live near a Sprouts, look for their canned kidney beans which contain no-preservatives and no-sodium. One can is just $1.00 USD, and carries 3.5 servings making it a cheap, easy, iron-infused addition to your list of fat-flushing plant foods.