Avoiding weight gain during the holidays may seem impossible, what with all the parties and family gatherings. These fears are not unwarranted, as most studies also show that we tend to gain weight at this time of the year. Of course, the solution is not to avoid all the celebrations, for what would the holidays be without the festivities? Instead, there are some simple steps that you can take to minimize the weight gain, while continuing to keep those spirits high. So, here are some foods and ingredients that you should make it a point to include in your regular diet to increase calorie burn and lower the risk of overeating.

Fat Busting Foods For The Holiday Season

Cayenne Pepper

For most of us, there’s no appeasing those taste buds without the addition of herbs and spices to meals. This winter, spice it up with cayenne pepper. Capsaicin, the main ingredient in peppers, is regarded as a thermogenic chemical that can help to enhance metabolism and suppress your appetite to some extent. A study published in the journal Appetite, supports these claims, showing that individuals who consumed cayenne peppers with meals had fewer food cravings. This may seem trivial, but with calorie dense desserts and snacks dominating the menu, even a single serving less can make a huge difference to weight gain.Supplements that contain Capsaicin will also improve digestion and help to prevent bloating after a large meal.

Green Coffee

Green coffee extract, which is obtained from unroasted coffee beans, has been shown to aid weight loss. This can only be obtained from green coffee supplements, as the main ingredient that promotes weight loss is lost with roasting. This ingredient is chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to boost metabolism by as much as 11%. Some research also suggests that it can reduce absorption of dietary fat, while enhancing the functioning of adiponectin, a hormone that facilitates fat burning. This makes green coffee bean extract supplements one of the most popular weight loss aids in the market today.

Almonds

Christmas cakes and sweets often include nuts like walnuts and cashews, many of which we tend to regard as fattening. However, nuts are rich in healthy fats that are important to your wellbeing. Almonds are particularly noteworthy if you wish to avoid weight gain, as research shows that weight loss results are greater in individuals consuming almonds regularly, as opposed to those in individuals on low-fat diets! Dieticians and food scientists believe that this effect could be because of increased satiety from the intake of protein and healthy fats in the nuts.

Cocoa Powder

Gorging on that chocolaty Christmas cake is certainly not going to help you shed the pounds or keep them off, but cocoa can certainly help. A study published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reveals that flavanols in cocoa can control blood sugar levels, while also lowering body fat levels. Cocoa polyphenols have also been shown to inhibit digestion, which can help reduce hunger pangs that are otherwise uncontrollable.

Fenugreek

Fenugreek is widely used in Indian cuisine and it’s an ingredient you’d do well to include in your holiday meals. Rich in dietary fiber that promotes greater satiety and helps regulate appetite, fenugreek can help to minimize weight gain from eating. In addition, fenugreek seeds contain an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which is now shown to help regulate glucose metabolism in the body. This means that fenugreek can help to prevent blood sugar spikes following meals, thereby lowering the risk of food cravings and overeating -  the main cause of weight gain. The fat-fighting effect of fenugreek is most pronounced in supplements, so opt for fenugreek extract supplementsif possible.

While all of these ingredients will help you stay in shape, during the holiday season, you may also need to make a conscious effort to avoid overeating. Keeping an eye on portion sizes and eating smaller and more frequent meals through the day will also help. Most importantly, high stress levels can increase fat build-up in the body, so this holiday quit worrying about your weight and make merry and relax!