Who doesn't want to lose weight faster? Although there are several methods of making your metabolism more effective, such as eating healthy and exercising, often at the same time, in the form of a diet and exercise regimen, there's another option out there – eating foods that boost your metabolism. Incorporating them, as well as following a fitness routine and watching your calorie intake, can help you lose weight more quickly and reach your fitness goals.
So, what are these metabolism-boosting foods we’re speaking of? Let’s find out!
What Is Your Metabolism?
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories while it's at rest, which can affect your appetite and hunger levels throughout the day. Some people have a very fast metabolism, so they need to eat a lot of calories in order to maintain their weight. Professional athletes, as well as amateur marathoners and others who spend a good part of their days working out, fit into this category. However, many "normal" people have a metabolism that burns a few calories while sitting in the office or resting, making it tougher to lose that weight.
Although there are some genetic components to your metabolic rate, meaning that you don't have much control over whether you have a fast or slow metabolism, there are a few ways in which you can change that rate slightly, enough to make a difference. As many dieters already know, even a small change in a person's metabolism can be the difference between losing 2 pounds a week or 1 pound a week.
In order to speed up your metabolism, you need to do a number of things. The first involves developing an exercise routine. Frequent movement, such as walking every day of the week or taking fitness classes, can help. Following a diet, like one that restricts macros or limits calories, can make a difference as well. However, there's another great option out there – eating foods that boost your metabolism.
Foods That Boost Your Metabolism
Certain foods, namely those that contain a lot of protein, can boost your metabolism. How? Protein-rich foods take longer to digest, forcing the body to use more calories to digest the meal than the foods contain.
Although this process is only in place while the foods are being digested, meaning that you get all of the benefits only for a short period of time, this minor metabolism boost can definitely affect your weight loss in a positive manner. On top of that, foods that contain a lot of protein are very good for you, so you'll be eating healthy as well. That's important if you want to avoid weight gain. Of course, you should also talk to a doctor or specialist about nutrition if you’re planning to embark on a weight loss journey.
Are you ready to learn about the metabolism-boosting, nutrient-rich foods that you should add to your diet? Here are some of the most popular ones.
Legumes and Lentils
Legumes and lentils, also known as pulses, are very high in protein and resistant starch. What are these two mystery foods? You've probably heard of them before. They are foods like peanuts (which ironically don't fit into the "nuts" category), chickpeas, lentils, beans, and peas. If you're looking for a few dinner options, consider pork and beans, which requires some pork roast, broth, and several different types of beans (soaked overnight), like navy beans and kidney beans.
Other options include a cup of lentils as a side dish, as well as chickpeas, which can be served plain or added to a sandwich. Foods made from chickpeas, like hummus, count as well.
Peas are another great side dish option, although you can make a main dish out of them, like split pea soup, that is also healthy and full of protein. Finally, there are peanuts. You can enjoy them as simple snacks, put them in your trail mix, or make a tasty Thai dish out of peanut sauce.
There's nothing quite like fish when it comes to eating healthy. Now, you can rest assured that this form of protein takes more calories to digest than it contains, so it's more than just good for you. Plus, certain kinds of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is another added bonus.
If you like your tuna baked on a wooden plank and topped with a blend of soy sauce and brown sugar or prefer a fresh salmon fillet baked with lemon juice and dill until it's flaky, then this is definitely something to add to your many menu options. Of course, these are just a few examples. There are plenty more!
Another of those foods that contain plenty of lean protein (for more, see fish above and lean meats below), shellfish take more calories to digest than they contain, helping your metabolism. Whether you love shrimp and make yourself a nice scampi or steam some lobster tails and crab legs to go with dinner, these shellfish will make themselves right at home in your diet.
Who doesn't love dairy products? Ideally, you want to stick to those that are full fat in order to take advantage of the amounts of protein that they contain. However, you can switch them out for those that are lower in fats if you have a taste preference.
As long as you have a healthy mix of cheeses (like cottage cheese), milk, Greek yogurt, butter, and other things in your diet, then you can take full advantage of these metabolism-boosting foods.
Green vegetables, like broccoli, contain more protein than you think they do, so it really might help you burn fat. They're very good for you, as they have plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber. Leafy greens like spinach and seaweed may have a similar effect.
If you truly want to boost your metabolism, then steam up some broccoli and treat it like a side dish for your lean meats, or place it in your next stir fry.
Do you like spice? Well, you're in luck. Chili peppers, like jalapenos, habaneros, poblanos, cayenne, serranos, and more all contain properties that can help boost your metabolism. Unlike the other foods on this list, however, they aren't full of protein.
Instead, capsaicin, which is the compound that makes them spicy, can help boost your metabolism, which in turn makes it burn fats even more quickly. The effect can be noticeable as long as you can handle eating these spicy foods. Not everyone can tolerate them!
When people hear the word "protein," meats, particularly lean ones, are often the first things that come to mind. An important part of many meals (unless you're vegetarian, vegan, or following another meatless diet), meats are easy to find, simple to incorporate into a meal, and incredibly versatile.
Looking for some menu options? Consider making baked chicken with a side of steamed peas (also on this list, just a bit further down) or beef roast alongside cooked legumes. If neither of those sounds like something you'd enjoy, there are always pork chops, turkey breast, ground bison (or bison steaks), and plenty of other foods on the list to choose from.
With so many other types of lean meats available, it's easy to add them to your diet to ensure that you get every advantage of these metabolism-boosting properties. Even better, meat is often a crucial component of the keto diet, so it can help with weight loss in that way as well.
Almonds and Other Nuts
Nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, almonds, and pistachios, make a healthy snack. These treats take a while to digest, ensuring that they'll keep you full for a while, work against your hunger hormones, and boost your metabolism.
Consider making yourself some homemade trail mix, chock full of nuts and other tasty things, or just carry a container or bag of your favorite option along with you. This way, when you’re hungry, you'll go for some of those roasted pistachios instead of a candy bar.
Most people who follow a certain diet tend to avoid berries, simply because of their sugar and carbohydrate content. If you're on the keto diet, then this is something to keep in mind.
For the rest of you? Feel free to include some berries in your diet in one way or another. For example, slice some strawberries up for lunch or create a berry-laden fruit salad as an afternoon snack. All types of berries, from raspberries and blackberries to blueberries and strawberries, fall into this category.
As you can see, there are many different types of food that can boost your metabolism. All of these items have one additional thing in common besides that, however—they all have plenty of protein.
That said, there are also other metabolism-boosting foods, like green tea, caffeine, oatmeal, and coconut oil, which can also have positive effects without the presence of high amounts of protein. Along the same lines, choosing whole grains and brown rice can be helpful as well.
Remember, your metabolism will only get a boost while you're digesting these protein-rich meals. You'll need to do some additional things to ensure that you're getting the full benefits, like exercising to build muscle mass and following a restricted (but not too restricted) diet. In the end, you'll get to experience just what it's like to have a fast metabolism again, even if it's only for a few hours.