1. Oil wealth 

The glistening sheen on fried food is the culprit behind weight gain. But the good guys, omega oils (which have essential fatty acids), can increase the effi ciency of your fat-burning enzymes. “Eat oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines three times a week,” says Susie Rucker, nutritionist at wellness centre Body With Soul. “You can also snack on raw nuts and seeds, or add their oils to salads.” A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who took fish oil supplements daily, on top of exercising three times a week, lost an average of 1.5kg over 12 weeks. Those who only exercised did not see much difference in weight.

2. Eat breakfast 

“Never skip breakfast,” says Susie. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism for the day after your “fast” of several hours while asleep. Include protein to get your thyroid going – this gland releases hormones that stimulate your metabolism. “Go for eggs or raw nuts and seeds, and natural yogurt or wholegrains like oats,” Susie adds. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, participants who ate breakfast put on only half the weight gained over a four-year period by those who didn’t have breakfast.

3. Got milk?

According to a study by the University of Copenhagen, calcium helps your body metabolise and get rid of fat as waste quicker. But it’s got to come from natural sources – for some reason, supplements don’t work. So if you’ve had too much oily food or dessert, you can minimise the damage with about 240ml (a tall glass) of milk or 180ml (a small cup) of low-fat yogurt.

4. Green power

We all know that the catechin in green tea – the compound that gives it its antioxidant, anti-infl ammatory and metabolism-boosting properties – also speed up weight loss. In some studies, participants lost weight by regularly drinking green tea, despite making no changes to their diet or exercise plans. Sip about two to four cups a day to enjoy the benefits.

5. Muscle magic

It’s a physiological fact that the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn – even while sitting down! When you stop exercising for a month or two, you risk losing muscle and your metabolism will start to slow down. So make a commitment to hit the gym at least twice a week. And go for high-intensity interval training – short, full-out sessions of exercises – so your body will continue to burn calories even after your workout.

6. Spice it up 

Spices are great metabolism boosters, says Susie. Capsaicin, the compound in chillies that makes your mouth burn, raises your body temperature and stimulates your fi ghtor- flight reaction. All that sweating while eating spicy food? That’s your metabolism mworking at top gear – at a temporary boost of about 23 per cent, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. To reap the benefits of capsaicin, add a tablespoon of chopped chilli, jalapeno peppers, black pepper or mustard seeds to your meals.

This story was originally published in Her World Fit & Fab Issue #2 in 2013.