Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just be healthier overall, having an efficient metabolism is essential. However, as you may have realized, there is no on/off switch to control your metabolism. There are, however, foods that that can help or hinder this process. Keep on reading to understand how you’re metabolism affects your health and the 21 foods to add to your diet to keep your metabolism high and happy.
Metabolism is a two-part process consisting of anabolism and catabolism. During anabolism, energy is created and stored, and during catabolism, energy is released. Your metabolism consists of the way your body processes everything you ingest, and works to convert the sugar, protein and fat from your food and drink into energy. The faster your metabolism, the easier your body can digest, while also helping you to burn off fat and pounds—even when you’re horizontal. A slow metabolism, however, can hinder your efforts to get and stay healthy. Everyone’s metabolism is slightly different, and depends on a combination of factors including age, genetics, gender and weight. When it comes to what you put in your body, you can either increase your metabolism or slow it down. Eat these foods to crank it up!
Almonds are a perfect snack that are rich in protein, fiber and monounsaturated fat, which all work to keep you satisfied. In fact, a 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutrition discovered that increasing your protein intake boosts satiety, which works to control your overall calorie intake.
Related: Why Is My Metabolism So Slow?
Asparagus is not only a delicious vegetable, but is also low in calories while being high in nutrients. Asparagus is also rich in vitamin B-2, which research has shown can positively affect metabolic rate, since it aids in the production of energy by working to metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Beans are chock-full of fiber, as well as resistant starch. A study conducted in 2004 found that resistant starch was linked to increased fat metabolism and decreased fat storage. And because fiber is tough to digest, the body boosts metabolism due to the extra work required.
- Cruciferous Vegetables
Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower have high water and fiber content—a combination that promotes satiety while also increasing your body’s ability to burn fat by a whopping 30 percent.
Celery is considered a thermogenic food, also known as a fat burning food. It also has high levels of calcium. Studies show that not getting enough calcium can trigger calcitriol to be released, which is a hormone that causes fat storage.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids that provide powerful effects on metabolism. One study concluded that 15-30 grams of medium chain fats per day boosted energy expenditure by 5 percent, which totals about 120 calories per day.
Coffee is one of the few substances that is known to help mobilize fats from the fat tissues and boost metabolism. Research has found that caffeine can increase the metabolic rate by 3-11 percent.
Packed with water, cucumbers are known as a natural diuretic, and can help hydrate your body while providing you with plenty of vitamins, nutrients and fiber. It’s also rich in vitamin C, which has been found to boost metabolism.
Berries are high in fiber, which acts like a sponge to absorb and move fat through the digestive system at a rapid rate, allowing less of it to be absorbed. Blueberries and raspberries, for instance, contain the flavonoid anthocyanin, which has been found to increase metabolism.
Ginger has long been revered for its medicinal benefits, including its ability to increase metabolism. One study conducted in 2012 in the journal Metabolism found participants who consumed the spice showed greater levels of thermogenesis, and reported lower levels of hunger.
- Green Tea
Green tea is chock-full of health benefits, making it a popular superfood on many health experts’ lists. It’s among the easiest ways to boost your metabolism, too, with one study finding that green tea extract increased the metabolism by 4 percent over a 24-hour period.
Turkey is a lean meat that is high in protein, allowing the body to build muscle while losing fat as it revs up the metabolism. Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center put 16 healthy adults on high-calorie diets with varying amounts of protein and concluded that, while all the participants gained similar amounts of weight, those who ate normal- and high-protein diets, stored 45 percent of the excess calories as muscle.
- Citrus Fruits
Fruits such as lemons and grapefruits have been shown to help burn more and keep the metabolism high. This is likely the result of their high levels of vitamin C, which reduces insulin spikes.
Popular melons like honeydew and cantaloupe both taste great, and are low in calories, making them a perfect addition to anyone’s weight loss program. Melons are also rich in potassium, which is very important for boosting the metabolism.
Oatmeal is well-respected in the health world, as oats are fiber-rich and contain no saturated fat. Oatmeal contains beta glucan—a soluble fiber that keeps hypertension, insulin resistance and abnormal levels of fat in the blood at bay. A paper published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2012 discovered that this form of fiber is beneficial in increasing satiety as well.
The chemical compound capsaicin, found in peppers, has been shown to speed up heart rate and metabolism. Research specifically shows that after eating foods with capsaicin, the body’s metabolic rate can increase by 15 to 20 percent for up to two hours.
Spinach is rich in magnesium, a crucial mineral for the body. Magnesium is particularly important in regulating blood sugar and the metabolism. Research shows that people who consume the most magnesium are the least likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
The reasons water is beneficial for our health seems infinite, and metabolism is one of them. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism even found that drinking lots of water increases metabolic rate by 30 percent in healthy men and women.
Along with being low in saturated fat yet high in protein, salmon is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) that boost levels of fat-burning enzymes while lowering levels of fat-storage enzymes. It’s also been found to increase metabolism by as much as 400 calories a day.
- Apples and Pears
Research has found that apples and pears boost metabolism and speed up weight loss. Performed by the State University of Rio de Janeiro, a study concluded that women eating three small apples or pears daily lost more weight than those who did not.
Whether it’s a warm soup in the winter or a gazpacho in the summer, soup can fill you up while slimming you down. In fact, a study on soup done at Penn State University discovered that its combination of liquids and solids can suppress appetite, leading to a reduction of the intake of excess foods, speeding up the metabolism and burning fat.