Next time you're at a holiday party, fill up on crudités—they could help your body burn more fat. That's one of the latest findings to show that eating your veggies is even better for you than previously thought.
A chemical called nitrate, found in green vegetables including radishes, lettuce, parsley, and frozen spinach, can spur white fat cells to convert to brown ones—the cells that regulate body temperature by burning fat—finds a study in the journal Diabetes. Plus, nitrates can help thin blood by lowering the amount of red blood cells your body produces, other research finds, which may prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack.
Also good to know: Freezing your butt off getting to and from that holiday party could be beneficial to your waistline, too. One study found that exposure to cold temperatures for 30 minutes can trigger white fat in the belly and thighs to turn into brown fat.
The one thing you don't want to do is douse your veggies with spinach dip—just 2 tablespoons can have 110 calories and 10 grams of fat. If you're hosting, try this yummy Spinach Pesto Dip, a calorie bargain at just 141 calories per 1/2 cup (that's 8 tablespoons).
So, yep, go right ahead: Pig out on produce.