Metabolism is the energy, measured in calories, your body uses each day. Speeding up your metabolism means you burn more calories throughout the day…and lose weight easier.
Aside from lifestyle changes or enagaging in rigorous workouts, there are certain foods you can eat to give your metabolism a little help. Some might surprise you. Check out this list of 16 foods (and drinks) that can boost your metabolism.
Adding red pepper to your dishes causes your body to experience thermogenesis. This is a process of heat production in living organisms, and it causes metabolic rates to jump about 20% for 30 minutes. Unless you lose a bet, there is no reason to eat red pepper flakes by themselves. Sprinkle them on foods for added flavor and spice. Other spicy foods that produce thermogenesis include chilli peppers, horseradish, mustard, cinnamon, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, ginseng, guarana, and turmeric.
A cup of blueberries has only 80 calories, virtually no fat, and lots of dietary fiber. They’re also packed full of antioxidants which indirectly increase metabolism. When the body undergoes a process called oxidation, free radicals are formed, and these little bandits steal electrons from cells. The electron-deficient cell is opened to a host of potential problems. Antioxidants, like those found in blueberries, neutralize and remove free radicals before they steal, allowing cells to work and grow normally. This allows your metabolism to work much more efficiently.[/nextpage] [nextpage]
In a 2004 study, researchers found that men and women who drank 17 oz of water increased their metabolic rate by 30% for up to 40 minutes. Sounds impressive, but it’s pretty slight. Drinking a glass of ice water burns eight more calories per cup than a cup of water at room temperature. The increase is because your systems have to work harder to keep your body temperature at 98.6 degrees Farenheit. Another study showed women had greater long-term positive results when they increased their water consumption.
Salmon are swimming with protein. (Sorry.) These fish are a lean protein, and protein builds muscle and takes a lot of energy to digest. Because it’s lean, it’s low in fat. But it’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help your metabolism, possibly because they tell your brain that your belly is satisfied. When you feel full, you stop eating. (You stop eating, right?) The highest concentration of Omega-3s are in wild salmon, even canned Alaskan salmon. However, it seems some “wild-caught” salmon started their existence in a hatchery. You might have to do a little research to find out if your “wild-caught” salmon was always wild.[/nextpage]
High in healthy fats and loaded with protein, almonds are a tasty, trusted snack that can do lots of good for your body, including giving your metabolism a boost. The protein in each little nut overpowers the calories, forcing your body to use more of its own calories to digest them. Add to that, protein prevents body fat storage and builds metabolically active muscle. To top it off, when you munch on almonds, you’ll get a good dose of dietary fiber. Eat a handful as a snack to bridge your meals.
In the U.S., Popeye is credited with boosting spinach consumption in the 1930s by 33%. Good thing, because when food was not plentiful, each leaf of spinach provided a virtual vitamin store with vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K. And the minerals read like the Period Table of Elements with manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, copper, phospohorus, calcium and zinc. All of these in one leaf! Not only is spinach good for the majority of your body, the B vitamins and magnesium give your metabolism a boost.[/nextpage] [nextpage]
Garlic may not be wonderful for your sex life, as many people just can’t handle the pungent smell, although others love it and even consider it an aphrodisiac. Garlic has many benefits for health, including lowering blood pressure, thinning the blood and also contains many vital vitamins. But when it comes to metabolism and digestion, garlic is amazing, and considered by many to be a ‘miracle’ cure. It helps to break down food in the stomach and the intestines, and taken right, is a vital supplement for anyone and everyone.
When you eat asparagus, you are getting a good fill of fiber and antioxidants. Both are good for your metabolism. The green spears also load you up with vitamin B6. Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 supports healthy metabolism by helping convert food to energy. It also helps the body make serotonin, a hormone that is linked to weight loss. Drop some asparagus in a smoothie or decorate your plate with a helping of asparagus and give your metabolism a helping hand.[/nextpage] [nextpage]
Studies show that dairy can actually give your metabolism a healthy kick. One study found that women who consumed three cups of low-fat yogurt daily shed 60% more body fat than those who didn’t. Another study that was published in Nutrition and Metabolism stated that people who consumed between three and four servings of dairy a day were more likely to enjoy higher metabolic rates. Want to add more dairy to your diet? Eat a low-fat yogurt with your breakfast or drink a cup of skim milk during the day.
In addition to many other health benefits, green tea extract has proven to increase metabolism by 4% over a 24-hour period. If you drink three to five cups a day, you can burn an extra 70 calories a day. Take that, coffee! If you do the math, that adds up to about seven pounds a year…just by switching what’s in your cup. Of course, green tea also has cancer-prevention properties and improves brain function. Are you considering adding more green tea to your day? That’s smart. See, it’s working already.[/nextpage] [nextpage]
In general, whole grains like oatmeal are full of nutrients and complex carbohydrates that speed up metabolism and provide long-lasting energy. Ideal to start your day, oatmeal is rich in fat-soluble fiber. This requires a lot of energy, or calories, on the part of your body to digest. You can add other metabolism-boosting foods like almonds or blueberries to your bowl to increase the benefit.
One of the leanest meats available, skinless turkey is also a healthy source of B vitamins, potassium and protein, all of which are good for your metabolism. (They’re also good for your cholesterol.) Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan which produces serotonin. Not only does serotonin strengthen your immune system, it aids in weight loss. Selenium, another component of this Thanksgiving mainstay, acts as an antioxidant and also serves an essential role for thryoid hormone metabolism.[/nextpage] [nextpage]
If eaten cooked (never eat them raw), kidney beans can do a lot of good. They provide slow-burning complex carbohydrates and deliver a ton of dietary fiber. They’re very low in fat and calories but high in iron. Iron indirectly helps your metabolism by helping the blood transport oxygen to your body’s cells. Not only that, these legumes keep you moving by providing energy, protein and potassium. To add this super healthy bean to your menu, sprinkle some in your salad, top off your taco with a handful, or enjoy three-bean chile as shown above. Whatever you choose, just remember to cook the beans first.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and these veggies deliver serious nutrition with very few calories. They’re also high in water and fiber content, a combination will make you feel fuller faster and improve your body’s ability to burn fat by up to 30%. Plus, each bite packs a heap of nutrition, including vitamin B6 which is also a metabolism booster. Broccoli is super for snacking or as a side dish. But if you cook your broccoli, microwaving it will preserve more of the nutrients than boiling.[/nextpage] [nextpage]
Known for its high fat content, the avocado is actually full of healthy fats. . .the kinds that lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. It’s also full of protein and packed with potassium, a mineral that doesn’t directly affect metabolism but helps the body process other minerals that do boost metabolism. You’ll also find Omega-3 fatty acids in avocado as well as protein, one of few fruits that can boast a protein content.
Research suggests that coconut oil can help give your meatabolism a boost as well. The tropical fruit from which the oil comes is a healthy source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. But it’s the medium chain triglycerides within the oil that can help your metabolism. Essentially, these fatty acids that are broken down differently in the body than most other fats, leading to helpful effects on metabolism.[Featured image: www.flickr.com] [/nextpage]