Do you know that certain foods are capable of increasing your metabolism?The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to maintain your weight or get rid of unwanted body fat.Here are 12 foods that rev up your metabolism, which may help you lose weight.
1. Protein-Rich Foods
Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds, could help increase your metabolism for a few hours. They do so by requiring your body to use more energy to digest them. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF). The TEF refers to the number of calories needed by your body to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meals.
Research shows that protein-rich foods increase 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 reduce the drop in metabolism often seen during weight loss by helping your body hold on to its muscle mass.What’s more, protein may also help keep you fuller for longer, which can prevent overeating.
2. Iron, Zinc and Selenium-Rich Foods
Iron, zinc, and selenium each play different but equally important roles in the proper function of your body.
However, they do have one thing in common: all three are required for the proper function of your thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism.
Research shows that a diet too low in iron, zinc or selenium may reduce the ability of your thyroid gland to produce sufficient amounts of hormones. This can slow down your metabolism. To help your thyroid function to the best of its ability, including zinc, selenium and iron-rich foods like meat, seafood, legumes, nuts and seeds in your daily menu.
3. Chili Peppers
Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, may boost your metabolism by increasing the number of calories and fat you burn. In fact, a review of 20 research studies reports that capsaicin can help your body burn around 50 extra calories per day . This effect was initially observed after taking 135–150 mg of capsaicin per day, but some studies report similar benefits with doses as low as 9–10 mg per day. Moreover, capsaicin may have appetite-reducing properties.
According to a recent study, consuming 2 mg of capsaicin directly before each meal seems to reduce the number of calories consumed, especially from carbs. That said, not all studies agree on capsaicin’s metabolism-boosting abilities.
Studies report that the caffeine found in coffee can help increase metabolic rate by up to 11 %.
In fact, six different studies found that people who consume at least 270 mg of caffeine daily, or the equivalent of about three cups of coffee, burn an extra 100 calories per day. Furthermore, caffeine may also help your body burn fat for energy and seems especially effective at boosting your workout performance. However, its effects seem to vary from person to person, based on individual characteristics such as body weight and age.
According to research, the combination of caffeine and catechins which is found in tea may work to boost your metabolism. In particular, both oolong and green tea may increase metabolism by 4–10%. This could add up to burning an extra 100 calories per day. In addition, oolong and green teas may help your body use stored fat for energy more effectively, increasing your fat-burning ability by up to 17 %. Nevertheless, as is the case with coffee, effects may vary from person to person.
6. Legumes and Pulses
Legumes and pulses, such as lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, and peanuts, are particularly high in protein compared to other plant foods. Studies suggest that their high protein content requires your body to burn a greater number of calories to digest them, compared to lower-protein foods. Legumes also contain a good amount of dietary fiber, such as resistant starch and soluble fiber, which your body can use to feed the good bacteria living in your intestines.
In turn, these friendly bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which may help your body use stored fat as energy and maintain normal blood sugar levels.
In one study, humans consuming a legume-rich diet for eight weeks experienced beneficial changes in metabolism and lost 1.5 times more weight than the control group.
Legumes are also high in arginine, an amino acid that may increase the number of carbs and fat your body can burn for energy. In addition, peas, fava beans, and lentils also contain substantial amounts of the amino acid glutamine, which may help increase the number of calories burned during digestion.
7. Metabolism-Boosting Spices
Certain spices are thought to have particularly beneficial metabolism-boosting properties.
For instance, research shows that dissolving 2 grams of ginger powder in hot water and drinking it with a meal may help you burn up to 43 more calories than drinking hot water alone. This hot ginger drink also seems to decrease levels of hunger and enhance feelings of satiety. Grains of paradise, another spice in the ginger family, may have similar effects.
A recent study reported that participants given a 40-mg extract of grains of paradise burned 43 more calories in the following two hours than those given a placebo.
That said, researchers also noted that part of the participants were non-responders, so the effects may vary from one person to another. Similarly, adding cayenne pepper to your meal may increase the amount of fat your body burns for energy, especially following a high-fat meal. However, this fat-burning effect may only apply to people unaccustomed to consuming spicy foods.
Cacao and cocoa are tasty treats that may also benefit your metabolism. Interestingly, one study suggests that cocoa may prevent the action of enzymes necessary to break down fat and carbs during digestion.
In doing so, cocoa could theoretically play a role in preventing weight gain by reducing the absorption of some calories.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar may increase your metabolism. Apple cider vinegar is often claimed to boost metabolism in humans, but few studies have investigated the matter directly. Nevertheless, apple cider vinegar may still help you lose weight in other ways, such as slowing stomach emptying and enhancing feelings of fullness.
If you’d like to give apple cider vinegar a try, be careful to limit your daily consumption to two tablespoons (30 ml).
Also, make sure to the risk of negative side effects.
10. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is experiencing a surge in popularity. That may be partly because coconut oil is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). This is contrary to most other types of fats, which usually contain higher amounts of long-chain fatty acids. Unlike long-chain fats, once MCTs are absorbed, they go directly to the liver to be turned into energy. This makes them less likely to be stored as fat. Interestingly, several studies show that MCTs can increase metabolic rate more than longer-chain fats. In addition, researchers report that a daily intake of 30 ml of coconut oil may successfully reduce waist size in obese individuals.
Drinking enough water is a great way to stay hydrated. Additionally, it seems that drinking water may also temporarily boost metabolism by 24–30 %. Researchers note that about 40% of that increase is explained by the additional calories needed to heat the water to body temperature. Yet, the effects only seem to last for 60–90 minutes after drinking it and may vary from one person to another.
Seaweed is a great source of iodine, a mineral required for the production of thyroid hormones and proper function of your thyroid gland. Thyroid hormones have various functions, one of which is to regulate your metabolic rate.
Regularly consuming seaweed can help you meet your iodine needs and keep your metabolism running at a high rate. The reference daily intake of iodine for adults is 150 mcg per day. This can be met by consuming several servings of seaweed per week. Although, some types of seaweed such as kelp are extremely high in iodine and should not be consumed in large amounts. Fucoxanthin is another compound found in some varieties of seaweed that may help with metabolism.