Did you ever wish you could just have a magic potion that would make you lose weight? The truth is that the only reliable weight loss method is to exercise more and eat fewer calories. But not all those calories are created equal. Some foods have a direct impact on how much weight you will lose—and here are four of the most potent:


Depending on where you’re from, hot peppers may be a daily necessity or something that scares you. But love it or hate it, that burn comes with benefits. A little bit of cayenne (red pepper) triggers a rush of endorphins, which give a sense of exhilaration and help your body overcome fatigue from exercise or weight lifting. But even better, capsaicin (the active ingredient in cayenne) helps get rid of weight. It elevates your metabolism, as though the pepper were literally lighting a fire and burning off fat. You will be more active and burn more calories per day if you eat spicy peppers.


Yogurt may not seem like a weight loss friendly food—after all, it’s full of fat, right? True, but yogurt also contains natural probiotics (beneficial bacteria that help you digest food). These bacteria have been shown to be crucial to a lean, low-fat physique. Simply getting the right gut bacteria alone can reduce fat around the abdomen. Just look for plain, traditional yogurt with no sugar added—you don’t want to get more calories than you need.


Salmon is just one of many foods that contain natural antioxidants, but we’re highlighting it for three reasons: it’s packed with more of them than almost any other substance, it’s an entire entrée unto itself, and it tastes great. Antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body, which is connected to lower levels of obesity.


There’s always a new news story about how some type of vegetable has special properties or a rare anti-oxidant. One week it’s spinach, the next it’s cabbage. The reality is that any leafy vegetable is going to be good for you—extremely good. And that means good for the waistline, too. Leafy greens contain virtually zero calories, but can be quite filling; that alone makes them a good addition to any diet plan. But beyond that, leafy greens are pure fiber and slow down digestion. Even if you eat other, higher calorie food after your salad, it will be absorbed more slowly, leading to lower appetite and less fat on the body. Leafy greens also keep your cholesterol levels healthy. Eat as many greens as you can!

What other foods do you use to help keep off the pounds? Combining smart dietary habits with exercise at a the best gym in Philly!