And they happen to share a visual cue: They’re all various shades of red! Research suggests that when it comes to fat burning foods, the fruits richest in flavonoids called anthocyanins—compounds that give fruits their red or purple color—boast special “zero belly” properties, making them one of the few weight loss tricks you’ll be happy to use every single day. Here’s six of them to choose from:
Ruby Red Grapefruit
A study printed in the journal Metabolism found the eating half a grapefruit before meals may help reduce visceral (belly) fat and lower cholesterol levels. Participants of the six-week study who ate grapefruit with every meal saw their waists shrink by up to an inch! Researchers attribute the effects of fat burning foods to a combination of phytochemicals and vitamin C in the grapefruit. Consider having half of a grapefruit before your morning oatmeal, and slicing a few segments to a starter salad.
Tart cherries have been shown to benefit heart health as well as body weight, in a study on obese rats. A 12-week study by the University of Michigan found that rats fed antioxidant-rich tart cherries showed a 9 percent belly fat reduction over rats fed a “Western diet.” Moreover, the researchers noted that the cherry consumption had profound ability to alter the expression of fat genes.
Berries—raspberries, strawberries, blueberries—are packed with polyphenols, powerful natural chemicals that can help you lose weight–and even stop fat from forming! In a recent Texas Woman’s University study, researchers found that feeding mice three daily servings of these fat burning foods, decreased the formation of fat cells by up to 73 percent! A University of Michigan study showed similar results. Rats who had blueberry powder mixed into their meals had less abdominal fat at the end of the 90-day study than rats on a berry-free diet.
Pink Lady Apples
Apples are one of the very best fruit-sources of fiber, which studies have proven to be integral to reducing visceral fat. A recent study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. Additionally, increased moderate activity (30 of sweating, 2-4 times a week) resulted in a 7.4 percent decrease in the rate of visceral fat accumulation over the same time period.
EAT THIS! A study conducted at the University of Western Australia found that the Pink Lady variety had the highest level of antioxidant flavonoids.
Watermelon sometimes gets a bad rap for being high in sugar, but the fruit has some impressive health benefits. Research conducted at the University of Kentucky showed that eating watermelon may improve lipid profiles and lower fat accumulation. Better yet, a study among athletes by the Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena in Spain found watermelon juice to help reduce the level of muscle soreness — that’s great news for any Eat This, Not That! warriors working on that six-pack! (If you think that’s a treat, wait until you check out our list of the fatty foods that will help you lose weight, they’re downright indulgent.)
Nectarines, Peaches & Plums
New studies by Texas AgriLife Research suggest peaches, plums and nectarines may help ward off metabolic syndrome — a name for a group of risk factors, of which belly fat is a predominant determinant, that increase the risk for obesity-related diseases including diabetes. The belly-good properties of stone fruits come from powerful phenolic compounds that can modulate fat-gene expression. Better yet, fruits with pits are among the lowest in fructose or fruit sugar.