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"Foods stimulate the body to produce hormones," says Jonny Bowden, PhD, the author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. "Some of those hormones coax your metabolism into fat-burning mode, and others make it sluggish and more apt to store fat." These six superfoods will rev up your fat-burning engine.
A particularly sweet study found that daily consumption of roughly one and a half ounces of dark chocolate -- about the amount in a Hershey's bar -- reduced the stress hormone cortisol. (Stress has been linked to a sluggish metabolism.) Researchers suspect that certain compounds in chocolate, like caffeine and theobromine, may be responsible. Another reason to indulge: A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that adults who ate moderate amounts of chocolate regularly were actually thinner than those who didn't, even though they consumed more calories and exercised the same amount.
Look for chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa -- the darker, the better. Pair a square with a cappuccino for a midmorning pick-me-up or stir some chunks into homemade trail mix.