10 Great Foods That Speed Up Your Metabolism
Many of us are searching for ways to boost our metabolisms, help maintain healthy weights or increase our energy levels. We might think about exercising more, building more muscle and developing healthier eating habits. However, we might also be too focused on how much we’re eating and forgetting what we’re eating when it comes to boosting metabolism.
In general, protein-rich foods boost your metabolism more than foods that are high in carbohydrates or fats. If you want to increase your metabolism, here are 10 foods or drinks you should try.
Salmon, tuna and cod are all great fish to eat to help boost your metabolism. They’re lean sources of protein, low in fat and calories and contain omega-3 fats, which have many benefits for your body. Your body needs to burn calories to break down foods, and it expends more calories to break down protein than to break down fat. This is why fish is such a powerful food for speeding up your metabolism and providing energy.
2. Black Coffee
Not only is a cup of black coffee a great way to give yourself a jump-start in the morning, but it also increases your metabolic rate. Just 100 milligrams of caffeine (a small cup of brewed coffee) can boost your metabolism by 10% or more. You can even use black coffee as a healthier alternative to energy drinks to help you power through a hard workout — just remember to drink it in moderation. Most people can tolerate up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day (about four cups), but some might get the jitters after a single cup.
Grapefruit is often cautioned when eaten alongside many medications because of its potential interactions. This is because grapefruit contains an enzyme that can impact the breakdown or absorption of many common oral medications. However, adding grapefruit to a balanced diet can also boost important metabolic processes because of the flavonoids that the fruit contains. If your healthcare team determines that it’s safe for you to do so, try sprinkling the fruit with a little cinnamon before eating for an extra metabolism boost.
Like eggs and turkey sausage, yogurt is a common breakfast food that’s packed with protein. Again, the protein is great for your metabolism because it requires your body to expend more energy to break it down. Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as other dairy foods and pairs well with fruit, oats and nuts for a tasty, nutritious breakfast.
Apples are one of those superfoods that are packed with nutrients. These fruits have a low calorie density, meaning they have few calories but lots of healthy fiber, along with flavonoids, which are thought to increase fat burning. Other fruits and veggies fit the bill too, such as pears, celery, carrots, cucumbers and bell peppers. Reach for an apple or pear instead of a candy bar when you hit that mid-afternoon slump — your metabolism will thank you.
6. Spicy Foods
Jalapeños and other chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin that can keep your body burning calories even after you've eaten. The next time you sit down for a meal, give yourself, your heart rate and your metabolism a little kick with a dash of chili pepper. Red chili peppers have also been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
Numerous studies have shown the potential benefits of adding more cinnamon to your diet, one of which is a temporary increase in your metabolic rate. Incorporate cinnamon into your diet by adding it to yogurt or cereal, sprinkling it over fruits or adding it to tea.
8. Green Tea
Like black coffee, green tea is a caffeinated drink that can improve your metabolism. In one study, green tea was shown to speed up metabolic rates and fat oxidation. Green tea contains catechins, which work with caffeine to help your body burn stored fat for energy. It has a host of other health benefits, too.
Broccoli is filled with calcium and vitamin C, which are excellent nutrients for increasing your metabolic rate. Calcium works as a trigger for boosting your metabolism, and the vitamin C helps your body absorb more calcium. This green vegetable is also a great source of fiber, which fills you up and can help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Ever wonder why we’re urged to drink eight glasses of water a day? Water plays a key part in your body’s metabolism because it helps you process calories. If you aren't giving your body a sufficient supply of water, you’re slowing down your metabolism. In fact, drinking cold water is thought to speed up your metabolism even more than room temperature water, as your body expends more energy to get that water up to body temperature.
While these 10 foods are great for boosting your metabolism, many others not on this list can help as well. Lean meats that are high in protein are great for improving your metabolism. Fiber-rich foods, including whole grains, lentils, beans and leafy, green vegetables, fit the bill, too. Foods that are high in calcium, including many low-fat and non-fat dairy products, are also metabolism boosters.
Medical content reviewed by Madeline Hubbard, RN, BSN