Did you know body fat is classified into two types? One type is called Brown Adipose Tissue, or BAT and it burns calories even while you are at rest. It is containing many more mitochondrion, these are tiny energy-producing factories inside each fat cell. The number of mitochondria is influenced by a variety of diet and lifestyle factors. Researchers suggest it is this energy dissipating activity that is protective against fat accumulation.
The opposite is White Adipose Tissue or WAT. This type of tissue is filled with fat and not many mitochondria to burn fuel. About 20 different hormones penetrate WAT making this type of body fat a hormone-producing factory that is constantly sending signals to your brain about how hungry you are and if you are full or not while eating.
Recent research shows three things that boost BAT activity by recruiting more BAT meaning more calories burned and therefore reduced body fat. The first is cold temperatures. Yes, being a little cool around the house and the office is a good idea. Overall, your hands should be warm, but it is good to keep the area covering the back of your neck and shoulders area a bit on the cool side to recruit more BAT cells to work. Interestingly, the effects of cold temperature on BAT work through the same mechanism involved in various food ingredients such as catechins in tea. Catechins, the antioxidants in tea, help recruit and activate BAT to burn more calories. While all tea has catechins, by the observance of the chart below, Green tea wins the prize. Try steeping 4 green tea teabags then letting it cool. Pour this over ice and a splash of your favorite sugar-free juice or lemon juice for a great pick-me-up and BAT booster.
Capsaicin and its analog capsinoids in peppers, mimic the effects of cold on BAT also. Adding a little heat to your meals is as easy as adding a pinch of cayenne to sauces, chopping up a quick jalapeno salsa for tortilla chips, or chicken salad topping!