Top 7 Metabolism-Boosting Foods

July 05, 2019

Summer’s here, and there’s about to be a lot less cozy couch time. We all want to feel and look great, and have plenty of energy for summer activities, so there’s no time better than now to look at our healthy living and weight loss goals. Besides working out and portion control, there are also certain foods and drinks that can be added to any daily routine to give the metabolism a boost in speed. 

What is metabolism?

It is the amount of energy you need to breathe, circulate blood, and regulate hormones, among other things. Your metabolism can vary based on your size, gender, and age as well as your physical activity level and thermogenesis. Thermogenesis makes up about 10% of the calories your body burns. It comes from the energy burned while your body digests, absorbs, transports, and stores the food you consume.  

Although you can’t really control how aging and gender affect your metabolism, you can control your activity levels, and you can increase calories burned during thermogenesis by consuming certain foods and drinks. Let’s look at seven top foods and drinks that can help speed up your metabolism this summer.

Top 7 Metabolism-Boosting Foods

Chicken and other high protein foods

Protein is one of the three major macronutrients, with the others being carbohydrates and fat. Protein is necessary for maintaining lean muscle mass in the body, which in turn helps maintain a healthy metabolism as you age. But that’s not all — research shows that it takes more energy to break down and digest protein than the other macronutrients, meaning you burn more calories when eating a high protein meal. 

This doesn’t mean that you need to eat piles of protein each day — anything in excess can be harmful to the body. However, the average adult should try and consume 30 grams of protein at every meal to help maintain muscle mass and keep metabolism in top form as you age.

Beans and other high-fiber foods

In the same way that protein revs metabolism because it requires more energy to digest, fiber does the same by slowing down digestion. High fiber foods take longer to digest, which gives the body more time to break down the foods you eat and absorb nutrients from them. This boost increases thermogenesis and as a result, also turns up metabolism. Not only that, but research shows that fibers from beans or whole grains may also enhance the breakdown of fat and can promote white adipose tissue browning, which can boost metabolism.

Broccoli and other fiber-rich produce

You may know that vegetables and other fiber-rich foods are good for gut health, but they can help your metabolism as well. This is because fiber allows for more time for your body to digest and absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat. This means your body uses more energy for thermogenesis, which then boosts the metabolism. 

However, this isn’t the only reason you should be eating your vegetables. The antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables can also help reduce inflammation in the body, which can improve gut health, and further support your health goals. Be sure to add around 1.5 cups of fruit and at least 2 cups of vegetables to your diet each day to help meet your body’s fiber needs and keep your metabolism going strong.

Lemon

Besides being refreshing, citrus fruits can also help with speeding up the metabolism. Research shows that the antioxidant polyphenols in citrus fruits like lemon can suppress weight gain by increasing beta-oxidation. In other words, these polyphenols increase the breakdown of fat in the body to create more energy for the body to use. So, don’t hesitate to infuse your water with lemon slices or squeeze lemon onto your salad or in your tea for a metabolism boost.

Coffee

Your favorite morning pick-me-up can also help pick up the pace of your metabolism. Recent research claims that the caffeine in coffee can promote brown adipose tissue function in turn improving metabolic health. 

So, go ahead and drink your coffee and other caffeinated drinks like tea from time to time this summer, but be sure not to overdo it. Drinking too much caffeine can lead to side effects like nervousness, stomach ache, diarrhea, rapid heart rate, or insomnia, to name just a few. So keep it down to 1 cup of coffee a day, and choose organic coffee whenever possible. This will help cut down on pesticides that lurk in conventional grown coffee. 

Chili pepper

If you like spicy foods, then you may already be boosting your metabolism. The hot compound found in foods like chili peppers, known as capsaicin, holds some  anti-obesity effects. In fact, research shows that this anti-inflammatory compound enhances fat breakdown in the body and increases energy expenditure, which boosts metabolism and can support weight loss efforts. 

So add a small amount of capsaicin extract to stews, curries, chilis, or Mexican-style cuisine to help increase your metabolism. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before starting a capsaicin regimen to ensure it’s safe for you and your current health status.  

Garlic

This potent and flavorful edible bulb is a great metabolism booster too. Research shows that a certain type of garlic, known as black garlic, can down-regulate fat metabolism, which helps lower cholesterol and lipid levels in the blood. Garlic oil has been found to have a similar effect on fat metabolism. Garlic is delicious and incredibly versatile. Try drizzling garlic oil onto salads or on vegetables or meat before you bake them to improve your metabolism.

Bottom line

Staying in shape isn’t easy, and sometimes cutting calories and exercising is not enough. It’s important not to forget that what you eat is just as important as how much you eat. High-fiber and high-protein foods not only keep you fuller for longer, they take more energy for your body to digest, which is great for your metabolism. 

Also, be sure to choose nutrient-dense foods that contain compounds to help reduce inflammation and keep your gut healthy. These foods can help make your digestive system work more efficiently, which means less risk of bloating and fluid retention. 

Finally, adding foods that contain certain compounds can increase energy and make staying active seem easier, which will also speed up the metabolism. Use this list to add one or two new foods to your diet each week so you can start boosting your metabolism and feeling better inside and out this summer.

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