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10 Diet Enhancing Foods

Here are the top picks culled from some of the latest research:

1. Water! A new study seems to indicate that drinking water actually speeds up weight loss. Researchers in Germany found that subjects of the study increased their metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) by 30 percent after drinking approximately 17 ounces of water. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant that banishes bloat as it flushes out sodium and toxins. Drinking enough water will also help keep you from mistaking thirst for hunger. So drink up!

2. Green Tea! Studies show that green tea extract boosts metabolism and may aid in weight loss. This mood-enhancing tea has also been reported to contain anti-cancer properties and help prevent heart disease. It's also a trendy drink among weight-conscious celebrities.

3. Soup! Eat less and burn fat faster by having a bowl of soup as an appetizer or a snack. According to a Penn State University study, soup is a super appetite suppressant because it’s made up of a hunger-satisfying combination of liquids and solids. In the study, women chose one of three 270-calorie snacks before lunch. Women who had chicken and rice soup as a snack consumed an average of 100 fewer calories than those in the study who opted for a chicken and rice casserole or the casserole and a glass of water.

4. Grapefruit! The grapefruit diet is not a myth. Researchers at Scripps Clinic found that participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal in a 12-week period lost an average of 3.6 pounds. The study indicates that the unique chemical properties in this vitamin C-packed citrus fruit reduce insulin levels, which promotes weight loss. NOTE: If you are taking medication, check with your doctor about any potentially adverse interactions with grapefruit.

5. Apples & Pears! Overweight women who ate the equivalent of three small apples or pears a day lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who didn’t add fruit to their diet, according to researchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro. Fruit eaters also ate fewer calories overall. So, next time you need to satisfy a sugar craving, reach for this low-calorie, high-fiber snack. You’ll feel full longer and eat less.

6. Broccoli! Study after study links calcium and weight loss. Broccoli is not only high in calcium but it's also loaded with vitamin C which boosts calcium absorption. This member of the nutritious cabbage family also has plenty of vitamin A, folate and fiber. And, at just 20-calories per cup, this weight loss superfood not only fights fat but also contains powerful phytochemicals that boost your immunity and protect against disease.

7. Low-Fat Yogurt! Dairy products can boost weight loss efforts, according to a study in the April issue of Obesity Research. People on a reduced-calorie diet who included 3-4 servings of dairy foods lost significantly more weight than those who ate a low-dairy diet containing the same number of calories. Low-fat yogurt is a rich source of weight-loss-friendly calcium, providing about 450 mg (about half the recommended daily allowance for women ages 19-50) per 8-ounce serving, as well as 12 grams of protein.

8. Lean Turkey! Rev up your fat-burning engine with this bodybuilder favorite. Countless studies have shown that protein can help boost metabolism, lose fat and build lean muscle tissue so you burn more calories. A 3-ounce serving of boneless, skinless lean turkey breast weighs in at 120 calories and provides 26 grams of appetite-curbing protein, 1 gram of fat and 0 grams of saturated fat.

9. Oatmeal! This heart-healthy favorite ranks high on the good carb list, because it’s a good source of cholesterol-fighting, fat-soluble fiber (7 grams per 3/4-cup serving) that keeps you full and provides you with the energy you need to make the most of your workouts. Just be sure to choose steel cut or rolled oats, not instant oatmeal, to get your full dose of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

10. Hot Peppers! Eating hot peppers can speed up your metabolism and cool your cravings, researchers at Laval University in Canada found. Here's why: capsaicin (a chemical found in jalapeņo and cayenne peppers) temporarily stimulates your body to release more stress hormones, which speeds up your metabolism and causes you to burn more calories.

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