What Can I Eat To Increase Brown Fat?


Are you struggling to lose weight? Have you searched for every and all way on the internet to lose weight? Then you might have come across brown fat and its role in fat burn. Yes, you heard it right, brown fat can break down glucose and fat deposits and convert them into energy.

But does that mean increasing brown fat can support weight loss? In this article, we will explore what are the different types of fat in your body, does brown fat tissue helps with weight loss, and ways to increase brown fat. 

Types of Body Fats

Body fat or adipose tissue is a type of tissue that stores energy in the body. It is found under the skin, between internal organs, and inner cavities of bone. It’s essential for many bodily functions, such as storing and providing energy when needed, insulating the body, protecting internal organs, and supporting the production of certain hormones. 

Foods to Increase Brown Fat

According to the color of adipose tissues, they are categorized into two:

Can Brown Fat Support Weight Loss? 

Even though the evidence is limited, some studies have found some correlation between the amount of brown adipose tissue and body weight. A study conducted among healthy individuals and people who suffer from being overweight concluded that the presence of brown fat in lean individuals is considerably more than in overweight people.

Another study done on mice found that brown fat can help in weight loss by suppressing appetite and increasing fat burn. Let’s see some of the potential ways that the brown tissue helps weight loss: 

  • Burns Calories: Brown fat cells are packed with mitochondria, which burn calories to generate heat in a process called non-shivering thermogenesis. Activating BAT can increase overall fat burning.
  • Regulating Metabolism: studies suggest that BAT may promote beneficial metabolic changes including improved blood sugar levels
  • Reduce Appetite:  BAT has been shown to regulate appetite-controlling hormones like leptin. Reduced appetite can help in limiting food intake and reduce weight gain. 

How to Increase Brown Fat? Effective Tips!

Here are some evidence-based methods that may help increase brown fat and activate it to burn more calories:

  1. Cold Exposure: Exposing yourself to cold temperatures regularly, with cold showers, ice packs, or cold weather can stimulate brown fat growth and activity over time. But remember to start slow and ease your body into cold conditions, very gradually. 
  2. Exercise: Moderate-intensity aerobics, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and resistance training have all been shown to boost BAT. 
  3. Capsinoids: These non-pungent capsaicin-related compounds in things like chili peppers and cayenne may increase brown fat. Capsinoid dietary supplements also show efficacy.  
  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Early studies suggest that sufficient intake of fish oil, krill oil, and alpha-linolenic acid-containing foods can boost the volume and activity of BAT. 
  5. Vitamin & Minerals: There is some preliminary research linking adequate biotin, chromium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin A content in the body with improved activity of BAT.

While these lifestyle approaches could possibly increase the volume and activity of BAT, more rigorous research and human studies are still needed to find the most effective approach. 

Foods to Increase Brown Fat

Based on current research, some nutrients and foods can increase BAT. Here are the top picks: 

1. Fatty Fish

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and other fatty fish provide omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA. Omega-3s may stimulate brown fat cell production and activity. 

2. Avocados 

Rich in oleic acid, avocados may support brown fat’s thermogenic capacity and fat browning (converting white fats to brown) capabilities. 

3. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, walnuts, flax, and chia seeds provide alpha-lipoic acid and healthy fats that may activate brown fat signals. 

4. Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach and kale supply natural nitrate compounds that may trigger browning and heat generation. 

5. Berries

Berries like grapes and blueberries contain polyphenols like resveratrol that can boost BAT. 

6. Spices 

Spicy ingredients like chilies, ginger, black pepper, and turmeric can stimulate BAT. 

7. Tart Cherries

Provide antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol that are associated with greater brown fat activity. 

8. Cruciferous Veggies

Broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts supply sulforaphane. Animal research shows that sulforaphane can increase BAT and energy expenditure. 

Focus on an overall healthy, minimally processed diet with a diversity of the foods above to support brown fat’s role in metabolism and calorie burning. More human research is emerging on specific bioactive ingredients as well. 


Brown fat or brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a type of fat that is dense in mitochondria. Its primary role is to keep your body warm by generating heat. Brown fat achieves this by converting calories and fat into energy.

While the evidence is limited, early research suggests that increasing brown fat could support healthy weight loss.

BAT can burn calories, regulate blood sugar levels, improve metabolism, and reduce appetite which could collectively result in weight loss.  

You can implement some lifestyle changes to improve the volume and boost BAT. The approaches include cold exposure, exercise, taking dietary supplements, etc. Consistency is key with these approaches, and remember to start slow. 

Some foods have been shown to increase brown fat. Including fatty fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, berries, spices, tart cherries, and cruciferous veggies can also help improve the activity of BAT. 

So, what approach are you trying first to increase brown fat?  

Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

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