If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your weight, you might be looking for foods to boost your metabolism.
One way to boost your metabolism is by making changes to your diet and consuming foods that are proven to positively affect metabolism. Though eating these foods alone won’t make or break your weight loss journey, they may be able to help you shed pounds.
It’s true that certain foods may help slightly increase your metabolic rate. This is the number of calories that your body burns.
Metabolism plays a colossal role in how our bodily function works, so if you’re looking for metabolism boosting foods or some information on what metabolism is and how it works; then we’ve got all the information you need.
Nutritionists and doctors know that our metabolism—the rate at which we burn calories—is largely out of our hands, being that it’s determined by our age, height, and genes. However, they also know a few sneaky ways to ramp up the body’s energy use and increase metabolism. One is exercise, and the other is eating the right foods. Protein, in particular, is one nutrient that could help boost your metabolism.
There are several ways known to help increase your metabolism. Some of these are natural – for example, by boosting your metabolic rate through exercise and/or eating the whole and nutritious food. If you choose rather to go on a diet to help your metabolism, then you have to know what foods can help you reach your goal. While there are several factors affecting your metabolism you cannot control such as the makeup of your genes, you can certainly control what you eat.
Eating junk or processed foods won’t help to reduce your body fat as well as to increase your metabolism. Your system does not work like that. What you will have to do is research and know which foods affect your metabolism and what you should and should not consume. In this article we will evaluate the top 10 metabolism-boosting foods as of today, that you should try.
Read on to discover the best metabolism boosting foods, along with some other ways to increase metabolic function.
Best Foods to Boost Your Metabolism
After all, you can try all the adventurous diets you want, but at the end of the day, eating good, real food is the simplest way to maintain a healthy weight. Instead of a lengthy diet, we found foods packed with nutrients, promote satiety, and are simple lifestyle adjustments to make room for in your shopping cart. We spoke to nutritionists, Elissa Goodman and Dana James to learn about the foods that keep your metabolism at its peak. Ahead, check out some of the top metabolism-boosting foods to add to your grocery list ASAP.
Protein-rich foods — such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds — could help increase your metabolism for a few hours.
This is because they require your body to use more energy to digest them. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF).
The TEF refers to the number of calories your body needs to digest, absorb, and process the nutrients in your meals (1Trusted Source).
Research shows that protein-rich foods increase TEF the most. For example, they increase your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared with 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats (1Trusted Source).
Protein-rich diets also reduce the drop in metabolism often seen during weight loss by helping your body hold on to its muscle mass (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
What’s more, protein may also help keep you fuller for longer, which can prevent overeating (5Trusted Source).
Protein-rich foods are amongst the best options for boosting metabolism.
Eggs are rich in protein, with each large, hard-boiled egg containing 6.29 grams (g)Trusted Source, making them an ideal choice for people who want to speed up their metabolism.
Protein is one of the most effective nutrients for increasing metabolic rate because the body needs to use more energy to digest it than it does for fats or carbohydrates. Scientists call this energy expenditure the thermic effect of food (TEF), or diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT).
According to some researchTrusted Source, people who consumed 29% of their total daily calories as protein had a higher metabolic rate than those who consumed 11% of total calories from protein.
Your body needs iron to carry out its calorie-burning processes effectively. Iron facilitates the flow of oxygen throughout the body, which helps increase energy and metabolism. “One of the absolute best foods on the planet for you in terms of nutrient quality is lentils. They have the highest protein, by weight, of any plant-based food, they are an easy substitute for animal protein in any recipe, and they are loaded with fiber,” says Goodman. Just one cup of lentils provides 35 percent of your daily iron needs, plus protein and fiber, which aid in digestion.
Whole grains require more energy to break down and process compared to refined grains like white bread, white rice, and pasta. And because the body works harder to break them down, you burn more fat in the process.
Brown rice and oatmeal are just some of the fiber-rich whole grains that you can add to your diet to help boost your metabolism.
The metabolism-boosting properties of chili peppers are due to a compound called capsaicin, says Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and director of the Center for Human Nutrition. This compound is also what’s responsible for giving chili peppers their spicy flavor.
A 2017 review reported that capsaicin activates the TRPV1 receptor, which is involved in metabolism and body weight, by being involved in energy homeostasis and energy expenditure.
As an added bonus, chili peppers may also suppress appetite, which is useful in weight loss. A small 2014 study found that consuming a dose of capsaicin with every meal resulted in greater satiety, or feelings of fullness.
How to add it to your diet: Li suggests adding chili to your vegetable and meat dishes to reap the benefits. If you don’t like spicy food, you can opt for capsaicin supplements.
“Cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, and cabbage are a great example,” Muhlstein says. “They are very high in fiber, which can help absorb excess fat and calories and promote elimination.” She explains that these vegetables also boast minerals like iron and calcium, which are essential for a healthy working metabolism.
The other component you can consider in boosting your metabolism is ginger. It is used globally either as a spice or as a herbal remedy. It can either be used in its dry powder form or raw from a fresh root.
The spicy root has numerous health benefits. All of these stem from its antioxidant, medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties. These benefits include:
Increasing Your Metabolic Rate
Eating ginger can indeed help with increasing your metabolic rate. You can have it as a spice or for example use its dried form in your tea. The method you choose will solely depend on your preferences.
Helping with Your Weight Loss
Ginger is also among the best spices to eat for burning body fat. Experts discovered from a study that the consumption of ginger can help in reducing your body weight and waist-to-hip ratio.
This means that ginger is among the best foods that burn fat fast around your waistline. So, if you are tired of your love handles, adding ginger to your diet plan could potentially help you reach your weight loss goals. Ensure that you first speak to your dietitian to avoid unforeseen health complications.
You may choose to consume ginger either as a spice with your meals or in your tea for weight loss. You can buy the ginger tea bags or use its natural form to prepare the tea. If you do decide to use its raw root form to flavor your tea, then do the following:
Wash a piece of the root, preferably the size of your little finger and then chop it.
Add the chopped pieces in 150 ml of boiling water.
Let the mixture simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Sieve and then drink the residue.
Legumes, such as lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans and peanuts, contain large amounts of protein. Research shows that foods high in protein can positively affect metabolism, which means eating legumes and other high protein foods can help you lose weight. Protein can also spark thermogenesis to burn even more calories.
Another high protein food source on the list; chicken breast is a top choice for foods that increase metabolism and better yet, it can be easily incorporated into your everyday lifestyle.
Chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein, which is protein without an override of accompanying fat. In fact, one 100g serving of chicken breast contains 31g of protein.
Again, the TEF (thermic effect of food) plays the primary role in supporting your metabolism increase . Chicken uses up more energy in order to absorb, digest and process all of the nutrients, consequently burning more calories during this process.
Chicken breast is a great muscle building food and is the healthiest cut of the bird, this is due to the lean nature of the breast in comparison to the other cuts that are lesser in nutritional value. This indicates that if opting for chicken, the breast is best when it comes to a high protein diet and eating foods to increase your metabolism.
Avocado is high in healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which promote satiety. A study published in November 2013 in Nutrition Journal found that adding half an avocado at lunch may help overweight people feel more satisfied and reduce their desire to eat in the hours following a meal.
Since avocado is an anti-inflammatory food, it may have a secondary effect. “Inflammation can definitely interfere with a lot of different things in your body, one of which might be metabolism,” says Lisa Moskovitz, RDN, the CEO of the New York Nutrition Group in New York City.
If you’re trying to lose weight, be mindful of portion sizes. One quarter of an avocado has 80 calories and 8 grams of fat.
According to research, consuming omega-3 fatty acids increases resting and exercise metabolic rate.
“Like most seafood and sea vegetables, salmon provides the mineral iodine that is essential for a healthy thyroid,” Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN CEO of NY Nutrition Group. “Our thyroid gland is the most important organ for our metabolism as it helps our body convert food into energy. Salmon is also a leading source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that fights inflammation which can lead to a sluggish metabolism.”
Flaxseeds are another fiber powerhouse known to boost metabolism and overall health. They’re also rich in protein to keep you full between meals. Ground flaxseed can be added to your morning smoothie or oatmeal as part of a high-fiber meal plan.
The caffeine found in coffee may help increase metabolic rate.
Several studies have noted that 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 (15Trusted Source).
Furthermore, caffeine may help your body burn fat for energy, and it seems especially effective at boosting your workout performance (16Trusted Source).
However, its effects vary from person to person, based on individual characteristics such as body weight and age (17Trusted Source).
Brazil nuts are one of the richest sources of selenium, a mineral that is essential for metabolism, reproduction, and immune function. They also contain protein and healthful fats to make people feel fuller.
Selenium is especially important for the thyroid gland, a gland that regulates metabolic function and produces several vital hormones.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)Trusted Source, each Brazil nut provides 68 to 91 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, which is more than the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of 55 mcg per day.
People should avoid eating too many nuts, however, as this can cause selenium toxicity. The NIH set upper limits of selenium intake at 400 mcg.
Research also suggests that Brazil nuts can improve the cholesterol levels of healthy people. Abnormal cholesterol levels are a marker of metabolic syndrome.
Beans (think red and black, not refried) are a metabolism-boosting food loaded with fiber, which lowers insulin levels after eating and improves insulin sensitivity over time. The result? Your body stores less fat.
An excellent source of proteins and vitamins, beans also help you feel satiated. “The primary way in which most of these foods aid in weight loss is due to the fact that if you consume them, it is less likely that you will consume another food that is ultra-processed, high in calories, or high in unhealthy fats like trans fat and saturated fat,” Goodman shares.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known to increase metabolic rate and suppress appetite. To use it, drink a glass of water with one to two teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar before each meal.
Metabolism Boosting Foods: Broccoli
Broccoli is a great food item for weight loss and boosting metabolism. It is a cruciferous vegetable that contains an antioxidant known as glucoraphanin. Glucoraphanin is the substance that is responsible for boosting your metabolism whenever you eat these vegetables.
Besides that, this substance also helps in reducing the fat levels of your blood and your probability of obtaining age-related conditions. Broccoli also has other antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help in:
Reducing Your Cancer Risk
Most people are familiar that cancer has become quite rampant in our society. You can lower your risk of having it by frequently eating these vegetables. Their antioxidant properties will protect against cell damage that is associated with cancer.
Improving Your Immunity
You should eat foods that help in boosting your immune system to reduce your risk of obtaining various health conditions. Add broccoli to your diet as it boosts your immunity and prevents you from heart diseases, anemia and cancer.
Improving Your Skin Health
If you want flawless and glowing skin, then you need to add these cruciferous vegetables to your diet plan. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, which is responsible for collagen production in your body.
The same vitamin is also responsible for prevention against skin damage. It protects your skin from damage such as wrinkles that may appear down the line as you age. This vegetable is also recommended by dermatologists if you have skin conditions, for example, shingles or skin cancer.
Your body needs fiber to facilitate smooth digestion. Eating this vegetable gives you plenty of fiber which helps in preventing constipation. It also helps in maintaining a healthy gut tract and reducing your risk of attaining colon cancer.
Inflammation is a natural and protective process resulting from an attack (allergy, infection, injury …) and which can sometimes become deleterious when it is the victim of a dysfunction. It might also occur from various chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and arthritis.
You can also expect some inflammation if you are suffering from metabolic syndrome. Eat these vegetables to reduce these inflammation effects. Their antioxidant properties will reduce the inflammation and you will also benefit from the other nutrients you acquire from broccoli.
This may come as a surprise to some, but cottage cheese is another example of healthy foods to boost metabolism.
When seeking out metabolism boosting foods, those with essential vitamins that assist optimal bodily function are a great choice, and cottage cheese is an example of this due to the levels of vitamins B6 and B12 within it, as well as minerals such as zinc, copper, and choline.
Additionally, cottage cheese is also low in both carbs and fat, yet high in protein, making it yet another excellent example of healthy foods that can boost your metabolism. As we already know, the more protein in a food, the more energy the body will need to break it down, equalling more calories which will be burned.
One 226g serving of cottage cheese contains approximately 28g of protein, an easy high protein addition to your meals. Not to forget that cottage cheese can be a part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation, sticking to one serving per day can give you the benefits of metabolism boosting foods without adding too much calorific value.
“We know fiber increases metabolic rate as well as fat burning, and plays an important role in weight loss (among many other health benefits), and artichokes are one of the vegetables with the highest amount of fiber. The extract from the artichoke leaf also have a fat-lowering effect” says Dr. Stephenson.
This fruit is more than a delicious snack and topping, it’s packed with health benefits including keeping blood sugar levels balanced and slowing down digestion (which keeps you full longer!)
“Not only are they a great topping for yogurt or oatmeal, but berries can also help slow down digestion and keep blood sugar stable,” says Moskovitz. “These effects are attributed to their high-fiber and antioxidant effects. Keeping blood sugars stable keeps our insulin hormone stable. High insulin can increase body fat storage and appetite.”
Coconut oil is a favorite of both health and beauty bloggers for its many benefits, and we can now add fat-burning to that list. It’s rich in medium-chain-triglycerides (MCTs), which are known to increase your metabolic rate and promote fat burning for energy.
Seaweed may seem like a unique choice for this list; however, it is a great addition to your diet if you’re looking for metabolism boosting foods for weight loss.
Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, which is a mineral that is required for thyroid hormone production, and overall proper function of the gland. The relevance of this boils down to the thyroid hormones having many different functions and one of which being the regulation of your metabolic rate.
Consuming seaweed regularly can help you meet your iodine needs, and keep your metabolism running at the optimal rate. The reference daily intake of iodine for adults is around 150mcg per day, this can easily be met by eating several servings of seaweed per week.
The importance of keeping thyroid function at its peak is the ability to burn fat in order to provide energy and in turn, bumping up your metabolic rate. Not only this, seaweed also offers a supply of a compound called fucoxanthin, which is regularly featured in a number of high metabolism boosting foods.
Brown seaweed is particularly recommended for its presence of fucoxanthin, which is said to also have anti-obesity effects. It is suggested that the number of calories you burn is increased when you consume the compound, therefore seaweed is a great food to increase metabolism and assist in weight loss.
Citrus fruits, especially lemons and grapefruits, are great for digestion. They’re low in sugar and contain an antioxidant that can help lower your blood sugar response after meals—and the vitamin C helps your body metabolize fat faster.
“Lemons contain a nutrient called ‘limonin.’ It helps support phase one and phase two of liver detoxification. As you support the body’s ability to detoxify chemicals, then you support fat loss,” says James.
Asparagus is another protein-packed vegetable that helps speed up metabolism. One cup of cooked asparagus has about 4 grams of protein.
It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help fight disease. Add it to your salads and omelets for extra protein and nutrients.
Chickpeas are another excellent example of foods that increase metabolism that you can add to your everyday diet. One of the many benefits of chickpeas is their impact in preventing unnecessary snacking outside of meals. This comes as a result of the level of protein and fibre which is said to have properties which help keep your appetite under control.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a member of the legume family and are packed with nutrients. One 28g serving of these little beans contains just 46 calories, 8g of carbs, and 3g of protein.
They’re also a great source of minerals, such as iron, folate, copper, manganese, and phosphorus – and due to the high protein and fibre profile, they’re certainly one of the best metabolism boosting foods.
The protein and fibre work synergistically to slow digestion, which helps promote feelings of fullness, all the while protein may also increase levels of appetite-reducing hormones in the body.
In fact, these effects of the fibre and protein in chickpeas may lower your calorie intake throughout the day due to the fullness that is felt after consumption. One study on females compared eating 200g of chickpeas to two slices of bread; those who ate the chickpeas saw a significant decline in appetite in comparison to the latter.