Fruits That Speed Up Metabolismare Fruits that are natural source of nutrients and antioxidants that speed up metabolism. Fruits are nature’s gift to us. They are tasty, nutritious, filling and also easy to make. I have compiled a list of 7 fruits with proven record of boosting metabolism.
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.)
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.
- 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.
- 6ApricotsAnother fruit to grab this season? Golden, tart apricots, which are packed with all-important iron. “Apricots are rich in this nutrient, and we know that deficiencies in iron can lead to a slowdown in your metabolism,” Hunnes says. “Eating a quarter cup of dried apricots—or two to three fresh apricots per day—can supply you almost 20 percent of your daily need for iron.”
- (c) Thomas Barwick7Dandelion GreensGuys: These are not just weeds you find in your garden—dandelion greens are actually packed with key nutrients, especially vitamins A and K. “Many herbalists believe certain parts of the plant act as a natural diuretic, alleviating swelling and water retention, as well suppressing appetite and improving digestion,” says Moskovitz. For that reason, she says, adding some of these greens to your salad might be worth a shot.
- Westend61 / Sandra Roesch8Sugar Snap PeasSugar snap peas just sound like spring, don’t they? With a name so-fitting, “these sweet crunchy veggies are a good way to fill up without filling out,” Moskovitz says. “For 35 calories per cup, these fiber-rich peas are a great way to fight bulge.” Recent research has shown dietary fiber is linked with metabolic boosters independent from body weight, like maintaining a balance of gut hormones and regulating inflammatory markers that fight metabolic syndrome.
- 9KaleWe know you’ve been kale-obsessed for years, so just consider this note another reason to keep up the leafy-green habit. “Kale is currently in season, at its most nutritious,” Hunnes says. “It’s full of calcium at 137 milligrams per cup — and not only does the fiber from kale increase metabolism by causing our body to work harder to digest it, but there is evidence suggesting that calcium may help your body metabolize fat more efficiently.”
- The Condé Nast Publications10BroccoliniThis produce pick is similar to broccoli (but with smaller florets) and might even one-up kale (gasp!) in the metabolism-boosting department. “Even more so than kale, broccolini has over 500 milligrams of calcium in a small bunch,” says Hunnes. “Again, calcium has been demonstrated to increase your body’s metabolism of fat. So, eat your greens, especially broccolini, at every meal!”
- (c) Kate Sears11Blood OrangesBlood oranges, well-known for their super-charged amounts of vitamin C, can satisfy cravings for sweet and tangy this season. “According to a 2005 article from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, individuals who eat enough vitamin C also burn more fat during a moderate bout of exercise compared to individuals who do not take enough vitamin C,” Hunnes says. “Since you’re better off eating your fruit than drinking it, because you also get fiber to lower digestion rate, blood oranges are a great way to get some in-season vitamin C.”
6 Healthy Foods That Boost Metabolism
Even if you generally understand that the foods you eat directly affect your well-being, have you ever wondered why that is? It comes down to metabolism, which refers to all of the chemical reactions that occur in your body, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. These reactions, which take place within your cells, are necessary to produce energy. The term “metabolic health” refers to how well your body generates this energy, says Casey Kelley, MD, ABoIM, founder and medical director of Case Integrative Health. Meanwhile, the term “metabolic rate” describes how many calories (i.e., energy) your body needs to perform life-sustaining functions like breathing, she adds.
And while “healthy metabolism” is often discussed in terms of weight, it’s not just about the number on the scale. Having a healthy metabolism is critical for your well-being, and ultimately, longevity. If someone has a healthy metabolism, it means they can digest food and absorb nutrients without experiencing issues like inflammation or high blood pressure, Dr. Kelley explains, which is vital for staving off metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, she says.
The 30 Healthiest Foods to Eat Every Day
There are many factors that affect your metabolic health. This includes family history and genetics, which you can’t do anything about. But other aspects—including lifestyle and environmental factors—can be modified, making it possible to influence your metabolic health and keep long-term health issues at bay. And this absolutely includes your diet. What you eat plays a leading role in your metabolic health. There are tons of healthy, beneficial foods that boost metabolism, as well as options that can be detrimental to metabolism when eaten in excess.
Simply put, food is powerful, with a direct impact on short- and long-term health and overall lifespan, says Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For example, she says, “certain foods have the ability to reduce inflammation because they’re rich in omega-3 fats.” Meanwhile, other foods are rich in antioxidants, which minimize oxidative stress and cell damage.
If you want to eat to optimize metabolism, prioritizing plant foods is one of best things you can do. Below, check out some foods that boost metabolism and delicious recipe ideas for each.
What to Eat for a Longer Life and Lasting Health
Healthy Foods That Boost Metabolism
Dark Leafy Greens
Baby Kale Caesar Salad
If you’re still not sold on kale chips or spinach smoothies, the following fact might change your mind: According to Dr. Kelley, dark, leafy greens are crucial for maintaining a healthy metabolism. This is due to their high content of magnesium and iron, two very important minerals. “Magnesium is essential for [every] energy-producing chemical reaction in the body,” Dr. Kelley says. On the other hand, iron helps carry oxygen to all your cells, she says. Your cells utilize this oxygen to produce energy and support the function of various organs, including your brain and heart. To get the most out of your leafy greens, pair them with foods rich in vitamin C—tomatoes, lemon, or potatoes, for example—which helps optimize iron absorption, Dr. Kelley adds.
Fruit (Especially Those High in Vitamin C)
Tropical Fruit Salad
Fruits are some of the best foods for metabolic health because they’re teeming with antioxidants, the beneficial molecules that neutralize free radicals. An antioxidant-rich diet is key because free radicals are harmful compounds that—when present in high levels—cause oxidative stress, increase the risk of chronic disease, and shorten overall longevity. Most notably, “certain fruits like oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, strawberries, pineapple, mango, guava, and papaya are rich in [the] powerful antioxidant vitamin C,” Ehsani says. And, as mentioned above, vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron that’s important for healthy metabolism.
Ginger and Honey Iced Tea
Here’s the tea: Whether you prefer earthy matcha, earl grey, or spiced chai, drinking tea is an excellent way to aid your metabolism. According to Dr. Kelley, teas contain antioxidants called catechins. In addition to quelling oxidative stress and cellular damage, catechins, she says, help regulate blood pressure, boost your metabolism, and break down fats. “Additionally, the caffeine in many teas will boost your energy, enabling you to burn more calories throughout the day. Green tea, in particular, is a great metabolism-boosting option,” she adds.
Cheesy Chile Dip
If you love spice, your metabolism is in luck. Chili peppers—which are widely used to add heat to recipes—contain a compound called capsaicin that gives them their fiery taste and makes them quite good for you, too, Ehsani says. According to a 2019 study, capsaicin boasts beneficial effects for heart function and overall inflammation. In fact, the same study found that eating chili peppers at least four times a week can help protect against disease and heart-related death.
Nutty Superfood Breakfast Bites
We already mentioned fruits that boost metabolism, but other high-fiber picks in the veggie, bean, and nut families are also beneficial. According to Dr. Kelley, increasing your overall intake of fiber can bolster metabolic health. “High-fiber foods such as broccoli, apples, and nuts take longer to chew and keep you full for longer,” she says. This helps prevent overeating, which can stress out the system, cause inflammation, and make it hard to maintain a healthy weight for your body. Similarly, fiber takes a long time to digest, meaning your body needs to work harder to break it down, says Dr. Kelley. But that’s not all: Fiber is also essential for managing inflammation, cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and gut health—all of which can support your metabolism.
Call it cheating, but yes, water is absolutely on this list. As it turns out, you don’t need pricey specialty drinks or grocery items to jumpstart your metabolism. Simply drinking enough water can do wonders, and for good reason. The body is composed of 60 percent water, Ehsani says, and H2O is essential for myriad functions, including carrying oxygen to cells, removing waste, regulating body temperature, and more. Thus, the body needs proper hydration every day in order to function optimally and aid healthy metabolism. Aim for eight eight-ounce glasses a day or try infused water recipes to keep things interesting.