The 12 Essential Foods to Boost Your Metabolism


 

If you're looking for foods that can help you lose or maintain your weight, you might be looking for foods that can boost your metabolism.

Certain foods can help to some extent increase your metabolic rate. This is the number of calories burned by your body.

If losing body fat or preventing excess weight gain is your goal, including these foods in your diet may make it slightly easier.

However, simply eating more of these foods will not result in weight loss. Instead, they supplement a well-balanced, moderately calorie-restricted diet to aid in weight loss.

Here are 12 foods that may boost your metabolism.

1. Foods high in protein

Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds, may temporarily boost your metabolism.

This is due to the fact that they require your body to expend more energy in order to digest them. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF).

The TEF is the number of calories required by your body to digest, absorb, and process the nutrients in your food.

According to research, protein-rich foods boost TEF the most. For example, they increase your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats.

Protein-rich diets also help your body retain muscle mass, which reduces the drop in metabolism that is common during weight loss.

Furthermore, protein may help you feel fuller for longer, which may help you avoid overeating.

2. Mineral-rich foods

The minerals iron and selenium each play distinct but equally important roles in the proper functioning of your body.

They do, however, have one thing in common. They are both required for the proper functioning of your thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism.

According to research, a diet deficient in iron or selenium may impair your thyroid's ability to produce adequate amounts of hormones, potentially slowing down your metabolism.

Include selenium- and iron-rich foods such as meat, seafood, legumes, nuts, and seeds in your daily diet to help your thyroid function optimally.

3. Chili peppers

Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, may increase your metabolism by slightly increasing the rate at which your body burns calories.

According to a review of 20 research studies, capsaicin — whether from supplements or the peppers themselves — may help your body burn up to 50 extra calories per day (7).

Some studies report similar benefits with doses as low as 9–10 mg per day. This is equivalent to one jalapeno pepper.

Furthermore, capsaicin may have appetite-reducing properties.

Consuming at least 2 mg of capsaicin directly before each meal appears to reduce calorie consumption, particularly from carbs, according to a review of nearly 200 studies.

Similarly, incorporating cayenne pepper into your meal may increase the amount of fat your body burns for energy, particularly after a high-fat meal. However, this fat-burning effect may only be observed in people who are not used to eating spicy foods.

However, research on capsaicin's metabolism-boosting abilities is conflicting.

4. Coffee 

Caffeine in coffee may aid in increasing metabolic rate.

Several studies have found that people, who consume at least 270 mg of caffeine per day, or the equivalent of about 3 cups of coffee, burn up to 100 calories more per day.

Caffeine may also help your body burn fat for energy, and it appears to be particularly effective at improving workout performance.

However, its effects vary from person to person, depending on factors such as body weight and age.

5. Tea

Tea contains catechins, which are health-promoting compounds that may work in tandem with caffeine to increase metabolic rate.

Both oolong and matcha green tea, in particular, may increase fat oxidation and help you burn extra calories when combined with an exercise regimen.

Furthermore, oolong and green teas may help your body use stored fat for energy more effectively, potentially increasing your fat-burning ability by up to 17%.

However, as with coffee, the effects may vary from person to person.

6. Lentils and beans

Legumes and beans, such as lentils, peas, chickpeas, black beans, and peanuts, have high protein content when compared to other plant foods.

According to research, their high protein content requires your body to burn more calories to digest them than lower-protein foods. This is because of their TEF.

Legumes also contain dietary fiber, such as resistant starch and soluble fiber, which your body can use as a prebiotic to feed the beneficial bacteria in your large intestine.

In turn, these beneficial bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which may help your body, use stored fat as energy more effectively and maintain normal blood sugar levels.

7. Ginger

Ginger and related spices are assumed to have particularly beneficial metabolism-boosting properties.

According to one study, dissolving 2 grams of ginger powder in hot water and drinking it with a meal can help you burn up to 43 more calories than drinking hot water alone.

This hot ginger beverage may also reduce hunger and increase feelings of satiety (fullness).

Grains of paradise, another spice in the ginger family, may have similar effects.

A study of 19 healthy males found 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.

However, the researchers also noted that some of the participants were non-responders, so the effects may vary from person to person.

8. Cacao

Cacao and cocoa are tasty treats that may also help your metabolism.

For example, studies in mice have found that cocoa and cocoa extracts may promote the expression of genes that promote fat burning. This appears to be especially true in mice fed high fat or high-calorie diets.

Interestingly, one study suggests that cocoa may inhibit the action of enzymes required to break down fat and carbs during digestion, preventing the body from absorbing them and the calories they provide.

Human studies on the effects of cocoa, cacao, or cacao products such as dark chocolate, on the other hand, are uncommon. More research is required before firm conclusions can be drawn.

If you want to try cacao, go for raw varieties. Processing tends to reduce the number of beneficial compounds while increasing the amount of sugar and calories.

 9. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been shown to boost metabolism.

Animal studies have shown that vinegar is especially effective at increasing the amount of fat burned for energy.

Similarly, apple cider vinegar is frequently claimed to increase metabolism in humans, but few studies have looked into this directly.

It may aid in weight loss by slowing stomach emptying and increasing feelings of fullness.

If you do decide to take it, keep it to 1–2 tablespoons per day and dilute it in at least 1 cup of water per tablespoon of vinegar to avoid tooth erosion or damage to the lining of your digestive tract.

10. MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil

MCT oil is a unique type of fat that may have some metabolic benefits. The majority of fats found in foods are long-chain triglycerides, but MCT oil is made up of medium-chain triglycerides.

According to some studies, MCT oil consumption can increase metabolic rate in humans. Furthermore, unlike long-chain fats, MCTs are absorbed directly into the liver and converted into energy.

As a result, they are less likely to be stored as body fat.

MCT oil may also have an effect on ghrelin, the satiety hormone, which could lead to a reduction in calorie intake.

MCT oil is typically consumed as a supplement, but it can also be added to foods such as soups or smoothies. However, it is not suitable for cooking.

11. Water

Drinking plenty of water is a great way to stay hydrated. Furthermore, some studies show that drinking water can temporarily increase metabolism by 24–30%.

The additional calories required to heat the water to body temperature — known as water-induced thermogenesis — account for roughly 40% of the increase, according to the researchers.

However, the effects appear to last only 40–90 minutes after drinking water, and the strength of the effect varies from person to person.

12. Seaweed

Iodine, a mineral required for the production of thyroid hormones and the proper functioning of your thyroid gland, is abundant in seaweed.

Thyroid hormones perform a variety of functions, one of which is to regulate your metabolic rate.

Consuming seaweed on a regular basis can help you meet your iodine requirements while also maintaining your metabolic health.

Furthermore, fucoxanthin, a seaweed-based compound found primarily in brown seaweeds, may increase your metabolic rate.

In conclusion

Certain foods may help increase your metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn. As a result, eating them on a regular basis may help you lose weight and keep it off in the long run.

These foods, however, will not compensate for a high-calorie or low-quality diet. Seek a gradual reduction in calories and eat mostly whole, minimally processed foods for effective, long-term weight loss and maintenance, long-term weight loss and maintenance.

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