What Foods Contain Brown Fat?

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Although many of the foods that humans eat contain fat, none contains brown fat. Recent research, however, indicates that some food choices can activate brown fat, also known as brown adipose tissue, found primarily in the human neck and upper back. Brown fat plays a role in regulating body temperature, but certain foods also activate it in order to more efficiently burn glucose and yellow fat, and to maintain weight.


One of the two main components of the Brown Fat Diet Revolution is protein. Foods rich in protein include meats such as chicken breast, turkey and lean beef, and fish such as tuna or salmon. Dairy products--non-fat yogurt, skim or low-fat milk and cheese--are also important in activating brown fat.


The second main component of the Brown Fat Diet Revolution is carbohydrates, primarily fruits and vegetables. In order to activate brown fat stores, the diet suggests alternating intake of protein and carbohydrates.

Suggested fruits are apples, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, peaches, bananas, papaya, mango, pineapple and tangerine. Vegetables that help activate brown fat include asparagus, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, onion, tomato, leaf lettuce, green beans, cauliflower, sweet potato and edamame.

Resistant Starches

Whole grains and legumes are foods rich in carbohydrates called resistant starches, which pass through the body because they resist immediate digestion. They also play a role in burning fat. Typical whole foods include crackers, breads, oatmeal, brown rice, barley and corn. Examples of legumes are kidney and navy beans, lentils, split peas and chickpeas.

Omega 6 Foods

This fatty acid--similar to Omega 3 and found in some of the same foods, such as cod, tuna and salmon--raises metabolism and has thermogenic properties that stimulate brown fat. Leafy greens and sprouts are also included. Omega 6 is found in a number of nuts and oils, as well, including olive oil, flax seed, flax oil, walnuts, walnut oil, grape seed oil and safflower oil.

Other Thermogenics

Green tea has long been known to have thermogenic properties and is particularly useful for stimulating brown fat to fight middle-aged fat deposits around the stomach. Other thermogenics that can be useful to stimulate brown fat when consumed in moderate amounts are chocolate and red wine.

How It Works

Babies and children have a much higher percentage of brown fat in order to regulate body temperatures. As they age, human bodies tend to replace brown fat with yellow fat. Consuming brown fat-stimulating foods reduces appetite and blood sugar, and hinders the production of yellow fat. In addition, the consumption of six smaller meals, instead of the traditional three, keeps the metabolism at an even rate, which also assists in the replacement of yellow fat with brown fat.