Foods to Speed Up Your Metabolism

By Alexandra Lily Swanston

Foods to Speed Up Your Metabolism

If you google “How to lose weight”, the first links that pop up are about powders and drinks on the market today claiming to burn fat and boost your metabolism. But whether these products actually work leaves us all a little skeptical. When it comes to making a lasting impact on your metabolic rate through your diet, nothing works better than eating healthy food. You can try all the trending diets you want, but at the end of the day, eating good real food is the simplest way to maintain a healthy weight. I went ahead and researched foods packed with nutrients that keep your metabolism at its peak while being a simple lifestyle adjustment for your everyday diet.

What is a metabolism and how does it work?

Metabolism consists of our resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the energy our body uses to breathe, circulate blood and perform other basic functions such as
activity thermogenesis, which is any type of activity or exercise and the thermal effect of food. By just eating, we are burning calories to turn that food into energy. Genetics can play a big role in metabolism too. Lean muscle mass, which accounts for about a 5 percent difference between men and women, also affects metabolism because muscle burns more calories than fat. Increasing muscle mass through exercise increase your metabolism even when you’re not actively exercising.

How does eating certain foods help speed up your metabolism?

Certain foods can speed up or slow down metabolism, affecting weight loss. Though its not as simple as “eat this to rev up your metabolism and lose weight”. For example, meals high in protein cause our metabolism to increase, but it’s usually temporary. Metabolism isn’t the only factor, the amount we eat also matters. Eating meals high in protein, fiber and healthy fats promotes satiety, which means we’re less likely to eat as much at the next meal. On the other side, not eating enough calories can cause your body to use muscle for energy, which can lead to a loss of muscle mass. If the body is trying to reserve its energy stores, metabolism will slow.

The top best foods to help boost your metabolism

Although there’s no one food that will have such a significant effect on our metabolism that it would cause us to lose weight, there are foods that may rev up your metabolism and there are others you should eat in moderation or avoid altogether.

  1. Mineral-rich foods- The minerals selenium and iron each play different but equally important roles in the proper functioning of your body. They’re both required for your thyroid gland to work properly, which regulates your metabolism. To help your thyroid function, include iron-rich foods like seafood, meat, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  2. Chili peppers- Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, can boost your metabolism by slightly increasing the rate at which your body burns calories. Research has shown that spicy peppers can help your body burn around 50 calories a day. Capsaicin has appetite-reducing properties as well. Also, adding cayenne pepper to your meal may increase the amount of fat your body burns for energy.
  3. Tea/Coffee- Tea and coffee contain health-boosting compounds called catechins that work with caffeine to boost metabolic rate. In particular, both oolong and matcha green tea may increase fat oxidation and may help burn extra calories. Studies have shown people who consume at least 270 mg of caffeine daily, or the equivalent of about 3 cups of coffee, burn up to an extra 100 calories per day. Also, coffee and tea may help your body use stored fat for energy more effectively, increasing your fat-burning ability by up to 17 percent.
  4. Beans and legumes- Legumes and beans- such as peas, lentils, black beans, chickpeas and peanuts are especially high in protein compared to other plantfoods. Studies show that their high protein content requires your body to burn more calories to digest them, compared to lower-protein foods.
  5. Cacao/cocoa- Studies have noted that cocoas and cocoa extracts may promote the expression of genes that stimulate fat burning. Studies also suggests that cocoa may prevent the action of enzymes necessary to break down fat and carbs during digestion, which could prevent the body from absorbing them and the calories they provide.
  6. Ginger- Ginger and related spices are known to have particularly beneficial metabolism-boosting properties. Research shows that dissolving 2 grams of ginger powder in hot water and drinking it with a meal may help burn up to 43 calories. This hot ginger drink may also decrease levels of hunger and enhance feelings of “fullness”. Grains of paradise, another spice in the ginger family, may have similar effects.
  7. Apple cider vinegar- Studies have shown vinegar to help in increasing the amount of fat burned for energy. It may help you lose weight by slowing stomach emptying and enhancing feelings of “fullness”. If you decide to take it, make sure to limit yourself to 1-2 tablespoons per day and dilute it in at least 1 cup of water per tablespoon of vinegar.
  8. Water- Studies show that drinking water may briefly boost metabolism by 24-30 percent. However, the effects only appear to last for 40-90 minutes after drinking water, so make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Certain foods may help increase your metabolic rate, or how many calories youburn. Consuming these foods regularly may help you lose weight and keep it off in the long term. However, these foods will not help in a high calorie or poor-quality diet. For effective, lasting weight loss and weight loss maintenance, gradually reduce your calories and eat whole foods instead of processed foods.


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