Fruits that boost your metabolism. By boosting your metabolism, you will make it easier for your body to burn existing fat and possible help you increase muscle. One sure way of boosting this system is by eating the right kind of food, putting the right kinds of foods into your body. These fruits, while containing calories that can still be considered high, they are filled with vitamins and nutrients that will help you control your cravings and boost your metabolic rate.
The 12 Best Foods to Boost Your Metabolism
If you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your weight, you might be looking for foods that can boost your metabolism.
It’s true that certain foods may help slightly increase your metabolic rate. This is the number of calories that your body burns.
Adding these foods to your diet may make it slightly easier to lose body fat or prevent excess weight gain, if that’s your goal.
However, eating more of these foods doesn’t guarantee you’ll lose weight. Instead, they serve as a complement to a balanced, moderately calorie-restricted diet to promote weight loss.
Here are 12 foods that may rev up your metabolism.
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.
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 .
What’s more, protein may also help keep you fuller for longer, which can prevent overeating ().
The minerals iron and selenium each play different but equally important roles in the proper functioning of your body.
However, they do have one thing in common. They’re both required for the proper functioning of your thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism ().
Research shows that a diet too low in iron or selenium may reduce your thyroid’s ability to produce sufficient amounts of hormones, which could slow down your metabolism.
To help your thyroid function to the best of its ability, include selenium- and iron-rich foods like meat, seafood, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your daily menu.
Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, may boost your metabolism by slightly increasing the rate at which your body burns calories.
In fact, a review of 20 research studies notes that capsaicin — from supplements or the peppers themselves — may help your body burn around 50 extra calories per day
Some studies report similar benefits with doses as low as 9–10 mg per day. This is equivalent to one jalapeño pepper.
Moreover, capsaicin may have appetite-reducing properties.
Similarly, adding cayenne pepper to your meal may increase the amount of fat your body burns for energy, especially following a high fat meal. However, this fat-burning effect may only apply to people unaccustomed to consuming spicy foods ().
That said, findings are mixed on capsaicin’s metabolism-boosting abilities ().
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 ().
Furthermore, caffeine may help your body burn fat for energy, and it seems especially effective at boosting your workout performance ().
However, its effects vary from person to person, based on individual characteristics such as body weight and age
Tea contains health-boosting compounds called catechins that may work in tandem with caffeine to boost metabolic rate.
In particular, both oolong and matcha green tea may increase fat oxidation and may help you burn extra calories when part of an exercise
In addition, oolong and green teas may help your body use stored fat for energy more effectively, increasing your fat-burning ability by up to 17% ().
Nevertheless, as is the case with coffee, effects may vary from person to person.
Legumes and beans — such as lentils, peas, chickpeas, black beans, and peanuts — are particularly high in protein compared to other plant foods.
Studies suggest that their high protein content requires your body to burn more calories to digest them, compared to lower-protein foods. This is due to their TEF ().
Legumes also contain dietary fiber, including resistant starch and soluble fiber, which your body can use as a prebiotic to feed the good bacteria living in your large intestine).
In turn, these friendly bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which may help your body more effectively use stored fat as energy and maintain normal blood sugar levels ().
Ginger and related spices are thought to have particularly beneficial metabolism-boosting properties.
For instance, research shows that dissolving 2 grams of ginger powder in hot water and drinking it with a meal may help you burn up to 43 more calories than drinking hot water alone ().
This hot ginger drink also may decrease levels of hunger and enhance feelings of satiety (fullness) ().
Grains of paradise, another spice in the ginger family, may have similar effects.
A study in 19 healthy males reported that participants given a 40 mg extract of grains of paradise burned 43 more calories in the following 2 hours than those given a placebo ().
That said, researchers also noted that some of the participants were non-responders, so the effects may vary from one person to another.
11 Spring Fruits and Veggies to Boost Your Metabolism
Spring has officially sprung—just glance around the farmer’s market for proof of the season’s bounty—and a parade of fresh produce is soon to hit your plate. From fruit-packed breakfasts to veggie side dishes that outshine your mains, we’re getting geared up to find creative and colorful ways to eat clean. But guess what? Eating your share of certain in-season fruits and vegetables comes with an awesome bonus: the habit can boost your metabolism, too. “Keeping our engine running smoothly and efficiently requires that right balance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients including fiber, protein, fat and healthy types of whole-food carbohydrates,” says Dana Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, a senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. “Every season has foods that are best eaten in that season, and some of those foods help maintain or increase your metabolism.” Here’s your produce cheat sheet for spring. Check out these 11 foods, all of which will help keep your metabolism humming smoothly.
- (c) James Ross1RadishesOne of the most versatile veggies of spring, Moskovitz is a big fan of radishes. Research has shown simply sipping its water can boost your metabolic rate. “High in water, yet low in calories at 19 per raw cup, radishes can add a ton of volume and crunch to any salad,” Moskovitz explains. “They can also be used as low-cal, potato-chip alternative to dip into your favorite guacamole recipe.”
- 2AsparagusThis low-cal, high-nutrient veggie should definitely make its way into your regular routine. “For a whole cup cooked, asparagus is just 30 calories, but has as much as 73 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, 180 percent of your vitamin K and 61 percent of your folate,” says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, founder of New York Nutrition Group. “Among many other things, Vitamin C has been linked to boosting fat-burning especially when combined with regular exercise,” she tells SELF. Bonus? Asparagus is also a natural diuretic, so it’ll flush excess sodium out of your system.ADVERTISEMENT
- 3StrawberriesFor a dessert option you’ll actually feel good about (or simply a sweet snack), strawberries should be your go-to: they’re bursting with nutrients despite their small size. “A whole cup raw strawberries has just under 50 calories and provides 150 percent of daily recommendations for vitamin C—which is a powerful antioxidant that also fights fat,” says Moskovitz.
- 4ArtichokesWhen it comes to maintaining a strong metabolism, it’s all about fiber—which is why artichokes are a smart pick, says Moskovitz. “These versatile spring veggies are one of the best sources of fiber, which helps to regulate digestion, blood sugars, and appetite,” she explains. “For just a half cup of hearts, you get a whopping seven grams of fiber, which will help keep you full for a longer period of time on much fewer calories.”
- 5Fava BeansOpt for this bean when you’re craving a smooth, creamy texture. They’re high in iron, and deficiencies of it has been linked to slower metabolism, so eat. “Fava beans are an excellent source of fiber, with iron,” says Moskovitz. “They also have seven grams of lean, muscle-building protein per serving.” You can reach for fresh or canned fava beans for a vegan-friendly source of protein that will keep metabolism running strong.
11 Best and Worst Foods for Boosting Metabolism
Although genetics has the biggest effect on your ability to burn fat, certain foods can rev up your metabolism or seriously slow it down.
When we can’t lose weight or our weight loss stalls, we blame it on our faulty metabolism. Yet if metabolism really is to blame, can you counteract the effect by eating certain metabolism-boosting foods?
Possibly. What we eat can help influence our metabolic process and make it a little more or a little less efficient. But before you overhaul your diet, it’s necessary to understand how your metabolism functions.
What Is Metabolism and How Does It Work?
“Your metabolism is what’s in control of your body and how it makes and burns energy from food,” says Melissa Majumdar, RD, a senior bariatric dietitian for the Brigham and Women’s Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in Boston and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “We rely on our metabolism to do everyday activities but also to breathe, think, digest, circulate blood, and regulate temperature,” she explains.
Metabolism consists of our resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the energy our body uses to breathe, circulate blood, and perform other basic functions; activity thermogenesis, which is any type of activity or exercise; and the thermal effect of food. “By just eating, we’re burning calories to turn that food into energy,” Majumdar explains.
Each one of these factors makes up a typical percentage of the total energy expenditure, but there is some variability. For most people, thermogenesis makes up about 10 percent of their total energy expenditure, while resting metabolic rate accounts for about 60 to 70 percent. The most variability occurs with activity levels and can vary from 100 calories burned for a sedentary person to up to 3,000 calories or more for a training athlete.
What Affects Our Metabolism, for Better or Worse?
Genetics play the biggest role in metabolism, but some variations are seen among certain ethnic groups.
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, even at rest. Increasing muscle mass through exercise increases your metabolism even when you’re not actively exercising.
The most variability in metabolism among individuals is also seen with activity thermogenesis (the number of calories you burn by being active).
How Does Eating Certain Foods Help Rev Up Your Metabolism?
Certain foods can speed up or slow down metabolism, potentially affecting weight loss. But it’s not a simple, direct relationship — “eat this to boost your metabolism and lose weight.”
For example, meals high in protein cause our metabolism to increase, but it’s usually temporary. “At that meal, your energy expenditure is greater,” says Majumdar. “Whether that actually translates to big changes, weight management, or weight loss is a different story.”
What’s more, with respect to weight loss, metabolism isn’t the only factor; the amount we eat also matters. Eating meals high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats promotes satiety, meaning we’re less likely to eat as much at the next meal.
On the flip 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.
Experts agree that there’s no one food that will have such a significant effect on our metabolism that it would cause us to lose weight. But there are foods that may rev up your metabolism a bit, and there are others you should eat in moderation or avoid altogether.
Six of the Best Foods to Help Boost 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.
High in protein and fat, tempeh promotes satiety — a feeling of fullness. Since the soybeans it’s made with are fermented, tempeh contains probiotics, which can be beneficial for gut health and may improve immunity. “When all that is running well, it can help you have more energy and burn more calories,” Moskovitz says.
A meta-analysis published in May 2017 in the journal Microbial Pathogenesis suggests that adults who take probiotic supplements may lose weight; the review did not attribute this to a direct increase in metabolism. It’s important to note that research on the link between probiotics, gut health, and weight is still preliminary. Many more studies are needed before probiotics in food or supplement form can be recommended for weight loss or healthy weight maintenance.
3. Chili pepper
Studies show that eating spicy foods like chili peppers may help speed up metabolism. A meta-analysis published in June 2017 in the journal Bioscience Reports found that capsaicin, an active compound found in chili peppers, helps to speed up metabolism and may play a role in weight loss as a result. The studies included in the analysis used capsaicin supplements, so it cannot be assumed that capsaicin-containing foods (which have lower amounts of the compound than concentrated supplements do) would have the same affect on metabolism.
Beans are an excellent source of protein to keep you feeling satiated — and amino acids, the building blocks of protein, can help preserve muscle mass and thus burn more calories while your body is at rest. “Foods that promote or preserve lean muscle mass are always good for metabolism,” Moskovitz says.
Additionally, the fiber in beans helps to fill you up with fewer calories so you can go for a longer time between meals or eat less overall.
Eating ¾ of a cup each day of beans or legumes was found to contribute to just over half a pound of weight loss over about six weeks, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published in September 2016 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Although half a pound itself isn’t a huge amount, adding beans and legumes to your diet may help you lose weight and prevent you from gaining it back, the authors noted.
5. Whole grains
Unlike refined grains, whole grains contain fill-you-up fiber, are anti-inflammatory, and may be beneficial for weight management. A study published in March 2017 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that swapping whole grains for refined grains may result in a “modest increase” in resting metabolic rate. Study participants who substituted whole grains for refined also had increased calorie loss during digestion.
Eggs are not only low in calories, but because they’re an excellent source of protein and some healthy fat, they stave off hunger. They’re also a good source of B vitamins, which have been shown to boost metabolism. “B vitamins help convert the foods you eat into energy, so they help with processing those calories better and using them for energy,” Moskovitz says.
Research published in the International Journal of Obesity looked at overweight and obese adults over an eight-week period. Two sets of participants went on a diet that reduced their energy intake by 1,000 calories a day. One of these groups ate two eggs for at least five days a week for breakfast and the other group consumed the same amount of calories but ate bagels. The egg eaters lost 65 percent more body weight, 16 percent more body fat, had a 61 percent greater reduction in body mass index (BMI) and a 34 percent greater reduction in waist circumference. (The study also looked at two other groups of participants, who did not go on a reduced-calorie diet but followed the same egg or bagel plan. No statistical differences in weight or fat loss were shown between these sets.)