Burn calories and fight fat while still enjoying delicious foods? It sounds too good to be true.
But actually, it works!
In fact, if you eat smart, ‘studies show you can torch up to 300 extra calories a day’, says Dr. Pamela Peeke, author of ‘The Hunger Fix’.
An extra 300 calories a day is nothing to be sneezed at and, when combined with other dietary changes and regular exercise, you’ll drop the excess weight in weeks.
Before we get to these amazing metabolism boosting foods, let’s find out a little more about our metabolism.
What is Metabolism?
Every single nutrition book, website and even food blog talks about metabolism. But what exactly is it?
Even when we’re at rest, we need energy for breathing, repairing cells and pumping blood around our bodies. The number of calories we burn while doing all these things is called our ‘basal metabolic rate’ aka metabolism.
And it’s responsible for a whopping 70% of the calories we burn every day!
While our body size, gender, genetics and age mainly influence our metabolic rate, so too can our level of physical activity. To a lesser extent, certain foods can stoke our metabolic fire.
If you’re eating a balanced diet and working out regularly, but still not losing weight as fast as you like, try revving up your metabolism by incorporating the following foods (and drinks!) into your diet.
The top metabolism booster I’m going to mention is plain old H2O. Seriously, not only does it fill you up but it helps you burn calories.
Studies have shown that drinking just 17 oz of water can boost the metabolism by between 24% and 30% for up to 90 minutes after consuming it!
Try drinking that amount before every meal as other studies show that people who do, can lose 44% more weight over a 12 week period than people who don’t. In addition to revving up your metabolism, the water boosts your feeling of satiety so you don’t overindulge.
Water’s not only good for weight loss – read more about the great health benefits of water here.
One of my favorite beverages, and the key ingredient in my two minute fat melting drink, green tea is an amazing weight loss aid.
In one small study listed on Web MD, green tea appeared to raise metabolic rates and speed up fat oxidation in healthy subjects.
However, the calories you’ll burn will be relatively small. For example, if you’re eating 1,500 calories, you’ll only burn an extra 60 calories. While it’s a small amount, every little helps.
Other studies have been more promising.
One trial has shown that by continually ingesting catechins (compounds in green tea), both men and women can reduce body fat, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This is without making any changes to diet or exercise routine!
That said, the study used green tea extract which is much higher in catechins than a standard cup of tea, so drinking the tea itself may not be as effective.
Green tea can also fight cancer, benefit the heart and so much more.
Coffee lovers will be glad to hear their favorite drink is stimulating their metabolism, thanks to its caffeine content.
A study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that the caffeine in coffee boosts the metabolism of both obese participants and those with a normal weight. However, only those with a healthy weight benefited from higher levels of fat burning.
In another study on caffeine and metabolism, lean women saw as much as a 29% increase in their fat burning abilities, while obese women had an increase of 10%.
Coffee’s effect on metabolism is greater in younger people, according to a 1995 study that looked at the effect of caffeine on men of varying ages.
Naturally, decaf coffee doesn’t have the same effect and the way you take your coffee makes all the difference. Take it black and sugar-free for best effects.
It’s safe to say that the 400 calories per Starbucks Grande Caffè Mocha with whipped cream will most definitely negate any increase in metabolism you’re experiencing from the caffeine hit!
Eat spices like cayenne and chili powder, or chili peppers like jalapenos and habaneros to kick start your metabolism.
A colorless compound called capsaicin is responsible for both the spiciness and metabolic effects of these foods.
Capsaicin is thought to increase metabolic rate by raising body temperature and blood flow. According to the New York Times, studies have shown that a spicy meal can temporarily increase metabolism by about 8%.
While this is quite a small boost, spicy foods may also increase feelings of satiety, stopping you from overeating.
Broccoli is jam-packed with nutrients and boasts countless health benefits. Even if you’re not looking to drop some weight, I’d definitely recommend adding broccoli to your diet on a regular basis.
It contains a component called glucoraphanin that our bodies convert into sulphoraphane, a compound that has anti-cancer and antimicrobial properties.
It also helps to rebalance our metabolic system and remove some of the potentially damaging effects of an imbalanced metabolism.
Certain broccoli has even been bred to contain higher levels of glucoraphanin. Research has found that people who eat this high-glucoraphanin vegetable have improved metabolism and lower levels of fat in the blood.
You can also find glucoraphanin in other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and kale, although broccoli is by far the richest source.
According to Dr. John Dempster, if you’re looking to boost a sluggish metabolism, choose non-hydrogenated coconut oil over other options.
Consuming one to two tablespoons of medium chain fats per day has been shown to increase energy expenditure by 5%, or around 120 calories a day.
Another study of 31 participants over 16 weeks showed that simply swapping olive oil for coconut oil ensured a greater loss of fat around the stomach.
If you’re serious about slimming down around your middle, check out my tips for losing your belly and love handles.
Coconut oil isn’t the only metabolism enhancing ‘healthy fat’ around. Avocado also deserves a place in your weight loss pantry!
This creamy fruit is a rich source of l-carnitine, an amino acid found in the liver, which aids fat metabolism and fat loss.
What’s more, research suggests that exercise burns monounsaturated fat (which avocado is high in) more quickly than saturated fat.
I don’t know about you, but I just feel more full and satisfied after I’ve added a little avocado to my meals. It definitely stops me over-eating. Find out how much avocado to eat daily here.
Brazil nuts contain heart-healthy fats that keep you satisfied and energized. In addition, they are a great source of selenium with one nut providing 137% of your recommended daily intake.
Selenium ensures your thyroid gland, responsible for regulating metabolism, works at its best.
Limit yourself to around two nuts a day though, as too much selenium can cause serious problems.
These nuts contain around 7 g of protein per ounce, making them a great choice for boosting the metabolism according to the Huffington Post.
Walnuts are also high in omega 3 fatty acids, which have proven metabolism boosting effects.
Enjoy walnuts in trail mixes or sprinkled on oatmeal or salads.
Just like walnuts, chia seeds are filled with omega 3 goodness, along with a balance of soluble and insoluble fiber that stabilizes blood sugar levels and keeps your metabolism moving.
Ginger is also a good root to add to meals as it aids digestion and may even increase feelings of fullness after eating it.
A study in ‘Metabolism’ found that those who drank 2 g of ginger powder in hot water were less hungry three hours later than participants who didn’t drink the ginger water.
Read more about what the fascinating ginger root can do for you.
Eating a filling bowl of oatmeal in the morning will help regulate your blood sugar levels and get your metabolism going again.
According to Livestrong, the ideal metabolism-boosting serving size is a half cup of dry oats mixed with one cup of water.
Opt for steel-cut or rolled oats and make sure you skip the instant stuff. It’s highly processed and can contain up to 17 g of sugar per serving.
Other whole grains like buckwheat, millet, amaranth, brown rice, rye and spelt with also boost your metabolism.
Not just a source of lean protein and fiber, lentils are a super source of iron. In addition to making hemoglobin (an oxygen-transporting protein in red blood cells), iron plays a vital role in the body’s metabolism.
One cup of cooked lentils contain 37% of your daily iron needs. They also boast 16 g fiber (63% of your recommended daily value) and 18 g of protein.
You can see why lentils and other pulses like black beans and chickpeas are fat fighting superfoods!
Add some lemon juice to a glass of warm water in the morning, squeeze a little over your salads, use it in marinades or toss lemon juice and zest with brown rice or quinoa for a simple side-dish.
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, turnip greens and collard greens are nutrient-dense superfoods that are low in calories – perfect for those on a weight loss regimen.
The dark leafy greens also contain a lot of iron, which I’ve already mentioned is vital for a well-functioning metabolism.
Try out these 12 Delicious Kale Recipes for mouth-watering ways to add more leafy greens to your diet.
So there you have it – 15 of the best metabolism boosting foods.
Even though I recommend you incorporate some, or all, of these healthy eats into your meals, you can’t rely on these foods alone when it comes to weight loss.
A well-balanced diet, daily exercise, a good night’s sleep and a low-stress lifestyle all help when it comes to looking and feeling your best.
Do you eat many of these metabolism boosting foods? Have they worked for you when it comes to reaching, or maintaining, a healthy weight?
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