Your metabolism, also known as the rate at which your body burns calories, even at rest, can be increased in two different ways. You can begin an exercise routine that includes plenty of cardio, which increases your heart rate and helps you burn fat and turn it into muscle.
Once you have more muscles, your metabolism and calorie burn rate will naturally increase because they require more fuel to function. The other method involves food, specifically the thermic effect of food.
Several foods can increase your metabolism, helping you maintain a healthy weight and promoting overall health. Which ones are they? Read on as our experts explain it all.
How Does Food Increase Your Metabolism?
When you eat a meal and drink a beverage, your body digests them. As your digestive system works, it uses energy to process the calories. Your metabolism includes this process and the others, like those used for cell regeneration and breathing, that burn calories.
Some things, like the simple glucose in snack cakes, are easy to digest, so they go through your digestive system quickly. Others, like vegetables and certain types of meat, take longer to digest, so they boost your metabolism and energy expenditure, using up more calories in the process and making you feel fuller longer.
In some cases, certain foods can take up more energy to digest than the calories they contain, leaving you with a negative caloric intake.
When paired with a good workout regimen, eating foods that boost metabolism can help you lose weight and body fat. You just need to eat more of these healthy options than you do items that are easy to digest.
Foods That Increase Your Metabolism
There are several different foods that can help you boost your metabolic rate. Some of the very best (and most effective) ones include:
Yes, water is a beverage, not a food. That doesn’t matter because it still deserves a spot on this list. Water has various health benefits and is quite literally necessary for our survival.
So, how does water affect your metabolism? Not only is it good at filling you up so that you eat less food during a meal, but for your body to properly process water, it needs to heat the liquid up to body temperature.
While the beneficial effects of your water-boosted metabolism only last for around 45 minutes, you’re ensuring that your body remains hydrated simultaneously, which is never bad.
2. Coffee and Tea
Speaking of beverages, coffee and green tea both belong on this list. Although they might be tasty, those sugar-filled coffee drinks and sweet iced teas actually hurt your metabolism more than they help it due to their sugar content.
However, black coffee (or coffee sweetened with a little bit of cream) and simple hot teas can boost your fat metabolism thanks to their caffeine content. Caffeine is a stimulant that speeds up your body a little so that you feel more awake.
This also gets your metabolism up and moving, at least for about an hour or so after you drink the beverage. Additionally, many green teas are excellent antioxidants.
Tempeh, made from soybeans that have been formed into patties and then fermented, like tofu, is filled with two important macronutrients (macros for short): fat and protein. Because they are fat and protein-rich foods, as well as the fact that the fermentation fills tempeh with probiotics, which are good for the health of your digestive system, this food takes some time to digest.
It will make you feel full, as well as give your healthy metabolism a boost in the process.
Although nutritionists, dietitians, and other experts previously believed eggs were bad for your health, the opposite is true. Eggs are high-protein, high-fat foods low in carbohydrates, making them one of the most important foods to eat if you want to stay healthy.
Not only do they make you feel full for some time, but they also have a number of B vitamins and calcium in them, which help your digestive system function better as you digest your breakfast of eggs and vegetables.
5. Spicy Peppers
Spicy peppers, which range from the relatively mild jalapenos to the spicier habaneros and ghost peppers, all contain capsaicin. This compound, which gives them their spice, also can speed up your metabolism.
The spiciness heats up your internal temperature when you eat spicy chili peppers or other spicy food. You’ll feel this as you eat and might begin sweating, especially if you’re eating something spicier than what you’re used to. When your internal temperature heats up, your metabolism moves faster.
6. Beans and Legumes
When it comes to metabolism-boosting foods, nothing works as well as those that contain a ton of fiber. Fiber takes a while to digest because it’s so bulky, meaning that your metabolism continues to speed up during the process.
These fiber-filled foods include beans and legumes, such as black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas. As a bonus, beans, legumes, and lentils also have a lot of protein and amino acids. The protein will make you feel full for a while, and the amino acids help speed up your metabolism along with the fiber.
On top of being incredibly tasty and versatile, avocados contain an anti-inflammatory response. The effects are the same whether you enjoy an avocado plain, on a sandwich, served with crackers, or turned into guacamole and eaten with whole grain chips. The anti-inflammatories that avocados naturally have can speed up your metabolism for a bit.
8. Whole Grains
Although bread and noodles are made out of whole grains, high in carbs, and won’t boost your metabolism as much as beans and legumes, they will have a temporary effect. Thanks to the fiber in those whole grains, they’ll take a bit longer to digest than other options.
While this process goes on, your metabolism will see a slight increase.
9. Fish and Other Lean Meats
Regardless of the kind, meat has a lot of protein. Protein is a macro that’s harder to digest, making your body work overtime and speeding up your metabolism in the process.
With that said, you need to be careful about which types of meat you choose because some have a lot more healthy fat than others. For example, stick to lean cuts of beef roast or steak, along with white or dark meat chicken and turkey. Fish is another great option, as it’s very lean and full of minerals on top of having a lot of protein.
10. Cruciferous Vegetables
On top of being really fun to say, cruciferous veggies are incredibly good for you. They’re denser than other options and have a ton of fiber content, so they promote feelings of satiety longer as your body takes a bit of time to digest them.
And, as you might’ve guessed by now, a longer digestive period is synonymous with a faster metabolism. So, what are cruciferous vegetables? They include plenty of tasty options like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, turnips, watercress, and more.
What You Should Avoid
On top of the many healthy food options that increase your metabolism, there are some that you should avoid, or at the very least, eat very little of to promote your metabolic health. These include white bread, rolls, noodles, pre-made snack cakes, and carbonated beverages, all containing plenty of refined white sugar.
White sugar is not only designed to give you a temporary energy boost fairly quickly because it’s easy to digest, but it also tends to be addictive. If you have one quick snack, it can quickly lead to more, which will torpedo your diet plans.
The Best Foods To Increase Your Metabolism
Now that you know the 10 best foods to increase your metabolism, you can add them to your diet. While eating other foods now and then is okay, treating yourself to things on the “foods to avoid list,” a mostly healthy diet is the best way to promote fat loss and body weight management.
The more you can speed up your metabolism, the better, especially when you add fitness into the mix and start gaining muscle mass and tone along with losing weight, limiting weight gain, and combatting obesity. This combination is ideal for helping you get healthier.
Do you have questions about the foods on this list? Or anything else? If so, contact us!
The 12 Best Foods to Boost Your Metabolism | Healthline
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