One of the hidden properties of healthy eating that rarely gets much discussion in the mainstream press is the “thermic property” of foods. Yet, it is this very property which accounts for why not all foods are created equal.

To sum up briefly, every individual has a resting metabolic rate. This is the rate at which your body burns calories in the absence of all other activities besides merely existing.

The thermic effect of eating refers to the energy you expend (aka the calories you burn) beyond your resting metabolic rate due simply to digesting and storing the food you have eaten.

Certain foods help you shed the pounds by burning calories through this thermic effect more so than others.

Other foods are great for fat loss, but for other reasons. They may be filling without having many calories, or they may pack a big punch nutritionally without packing on the pounds as well.

So without further ado, here are THE TOP 15 FOODS that will burn calories for you!

1. Nuts (esp. almonds and walnuts)

– Nuts make for a great snack, and each type of nut offers its own nutritional benefits. Walnuts, for example, offer beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds, meanwhile, are a great source of Vitamin E, which has been linked to healthy skin.

2. Chili peppers

– Remember the thermic effect? Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which is a powerful metabolite. Capsaicin heats the body, and works effectively to decrease appetite so that you feel full after eating.

3. Eggs

– Eggs are an incredible, low-calorie source of protein. In addition to protein, eggs provide large amounts of several other important nutrients. I recommend organic, cage-free eggs fortified with Omega-3.

4. Whole Grains

– I keep stressing this point, but I’ll hammer it home again one more time: whole foods are better than processed foods. One reason is that your body breaks down twice as many calories processing whole foods as opposed to processed ones.

5. Greek Yogurt

– A lot of dairy products aren’t great for people trying to burn fat. Sugar-filled “fruity” yogurts are a great example. Greek yogurt, however, bucks this trend. Loaded with protein and low in sugar, Greek yogurt is a great option at snack time. (Try mixing in berries and nuts to make it extra tasty and for added nutrition)

6. Grass Fed and Lean Meats

– As a rule of thumb, grass-fed meats are better than farm-raised ones. Lean meats, like turkey, provide an outstanding amount of protein but are not loaded with fat. Protein has a high thermic effect, and you can burn up to 30% of these types of calories through digestion alone.

7. Berries

– You know that berries taste great, but did you also know that they are low in calories, high in fiber, and that each type of berry contains a great mix of vitamins and minerals? Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries all taste great mixed in Greek yogurt or even on a salad.

8. Peanut Butter

– In moderation, peanut butter can be a great snack-time food, packing a lot of protein. The best peanut butters are organic ones without hydrogenated oils. Try Whole Earth all natural peanut butter mixed with flax seeds for that extra Omega-3 boost.

9. Green Tea

– Green tea is one drink that has a very high thermogenic effect. It contains EGCG, an antioxidant which has been shown to boost metabolism in the period after drinking it.

10. Spinach

– Where to begin? Spinach is loaded with fiber, cancer-fighting flavonoids, and a host of antioxidants that help with everything from vision to blood pressure. They also help build strong bones by providing over 100% the daily value of Vitamin K.

11. Grapefruit

– Because of the thermic effect, people have called grapefruit a “negative calorie” food. While not literally true, grapefruit is a wonderful, low-calorie breakfast food that helps burn fat. It is high in enzymes and water content, so it doesn’t have many calories. This is one of the absolute best fat-fighting foods.

12. Beans

– One cup of black beans contains over 110% of the recommended daily value of fiber. Foods high in fiber make you feel fuller, longer, without packing too many calories. Beans also prevent spikes in blood sugar, meaning they help keep you from feeling those daily cravings for junk food.

13. Lentils

-Metabolism slows when the body isn’t getting enough essential vitamins and nutrients. A large portion of the population suffers from iron deficiency, slowing down the body’s overall metabolism. Luckily, lentils – a legume – are a great source of iron.

14. Coffee

– Okay, now don’t use this as an excuse to go wild at Starbucks. I’m not talking about coffee loaded with sugar, whipped cream, and all that other junk. Studies have shown that not only does drinking coffee help you burn more calories at rest, but it helps you burn more calories while working out. Thank everyone’s wonderful metabolism booster: caffeine.

15. Fatty Fish (i.e. tuna, sardines, salmon)

– Leptin, a hormone in your body, regulates your metabolism. Studies have shown that lower levels of leptin make for higher metabolisms. Fatty fish like salmon are great for fat loss because they boost metabolism and help keep leptin levels low.