Your metabolism plays a major role in weight loss (and weight gain). The slower your metabolism, the less food it’s able to burn for energy and the faster your metabolism, the quicker it can take the food you eat and burn it for fuel. Your metabolism controls how your body converts what you eat and drink into energy, and you want it to be as speedy as possible so it can burn off more calories quickly, instead of storing them as fat., It’s a complex process but a very necessary one for maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight. However, studies found that your metabolism decreases by 10% every decade once you reach the age of 20. This could very well explain why the majority of people seem to effortlessly pack on a couple of extra pounds the older they get. But it’s not your fault – it’s just the natural process of your metabolism slowing down.
The good news is that, with a few simple changes in your diet and lifestyle, you can start ramping up your metabolism again and get your body burning off foods and drinks like it did in your earlier days. One of the best-kept secrets? Increasing your metabolism can be as simple as eating specific foods. No, not eliminating foods but just getting the right ones into your diet and if that sounds like it’s something up your alley, I’ve got you covered.
Metabolism 101: What is it and What Does it Do?
The body’s metabolism is quite simple: it’s the process your body goes through to convert the foods and drinks you have throughout the day into energy. It’s a complex process that takes the calories from your food and beverages and combines them with oxygen to release the energy needed for your body to function. This energy is used to move, think, breathe and basically, do everything. As such, your metabolism controls much more than just your weight.
Foods That Give Your Metabolism a Natural Boost
Despite what the weight loss industry wants you to think, you do not have to invest in a gym membership or an expensive weight loss plan to start boosting your metabolism and losing weight. Instead, all you have to do is eat. Yes, you read that right. There is an abundance of delicious and nutritious foods that can give your body a natural boost in the metabolism department. And there are so many ways to enjoy them! Here are some of the metabolism-boosting foods you’ll want to stock up on the next time you’re at the grocery store:
Foods that are Rich in Protein
Protein is your best friend and it’s all thanks to what is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). TEF refers to the number of calories your body needs to digest, absorb and process the nutrients from the foods you eat. And foods high in protein naturally require your body to work harder to digest them, which automatically speeds up your metabolism. You also burn more fuel (calories) just by eating these tasty ingredients, and they help to keep you feeling fuller longer, which can help prevent overeating.
So, make sure to cook up more meals with these protein-rich foods:
Foods that are High in Minerals
Your body needs an abundance of vitamins and minerals in order to properly function. With regards to boosting your metabolism, iron and selenium are two of the top minerals needed, as they help the functioning of your thyroid gland. And since your thyroid gland regulates your metabolism, you’ll want to ensure that it’s working properly to give you the boost of metabolism you’re looking for.
On the contrary, a diet that doesn’t provide enough iron and selenium will significantly slow down your metabolism. So, make sure to add more of the following ingredients into your diet:
- Meat (Ham, pork, beef, turkey and chicken)
- Whole wheat pasta
- Nuts (brazil nuts)
Hopefully, your palate can handle a little spice because hot peppers, such as jalapenos and cayenne, are great for increasing metabolism. Studies show that adding some spice into your meals increases the rate your body burns calories, and it’s all due to the capsaicin in these spicy ingredients. For example, due to the amount of capsaicin in chilli peppers, studies show that they can burn an extra 50 calories per day. Other studies also show that eating as little as 2 mg of capsaicin before a meal can reduce calorie consumption, especially carbohydrates. Here are some ingredients to add a sprinkle of for your next meal:
- Shishito peppers
- Poblano peppers
- Tabasco peppers
- Thai pepper
- Ghost pepper
Who doesn’t like starting their day off with a cup of java? Well, now you have even more reason to, as coffee can help increase your metabolic rate naturally. Research has found that a cup of coffee allows your body to burn significantly more calories than if you didn’t indulge in the morning jolt of caffeine. For example, studies found that if you have three cups of coffee, you can burn up to 100 more calories per day. Caffeine can also help increase your workout performance, due to the increase in energy. However, too much caffeine can do more harm than good, so you’ll want to enjoy it in moderation.
Maybe you’re more of a tea-drinker. Not a problem! Tea contains all kinds of health-boosting compounds called catechins, which work with caffeine to increase your metabolism. For example, studies found that oolong and matcha green tea can increase fat oxidation, help you burn more calories and they use stored fat for energy more effectively than other tea varieties. Here are some of the different types of metabolism-boosting teas to enjoy:
- Oolong tea
- Matcha green tea
- Black tea
- White tea
- Herbal tea
Beans and legumes
Top up on those beans and legumes because they’re jam-packed with nutrition and fat-burning properties. This magical fruit is high in protein, which forces your body to work harder to digest them, resulting in more calories burned. They’re also filled with friendly bacteria that produce short-chain fatty acids, which can also help with weight loss as these aid the body in using stored fat as an energy source. Not sure what beans to add to your next meal? Try any of these:
- Black beans
- Pinto beans
- Kidney beans
Ginger is one of the most commonly used spices across the world – and for all the right reasons. Not only does it come in various forms, such as fried, pickled, fresh, preserved, candied, crystallized and powdered, but it also has a delicious dose of metabolism-boosting properties. Not sure how to enjoy it?
Studies confirm that adding 2 grams of ginger into hot water and enjoying it before a meal will help you burn significantly more calories than you would otherwise. Enjoying a hot ginger drink can also help combat hunger levels by keeping you feeling satisfied and fuller for longer.
Now, if you aren’t a ginger fan, there are other spices to try that come from the ginger family. While these aren’t as powerful, they do provide similar benefits:
- Grains of paradise
Apple Cider Vinegar
The idea of taking a swig of apple cider vinegar may make your face turn sour, but this one simple trick can be an excellent way to increase your metabolism. It also has a plethora of additional benefits, such as:
- Reducing belly fat
- Lowering cholesterol
- Improves satiety
- Helps with weight loss
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Improves digestion and gut health
… And that’s only to name a few. You can take a shot of pure apple cider vinegar or opt for drink varieties that add a mix of different ingredients, such as honey, to enhance the flavour. Just aim for getting one or two tablespoons in or opt for a supplement version to start harnessing the powerful benefits.
Get more of that H20 into your system. Staying hydrated is absolutely imperative to maintaining your health, increasing metabolism and achieving weight loss. Studies found that drinking sufficient amounts of water throughout the day can boost your metabolism by up to 30%. The effects last for approximately 40 to 90 minutes, so you’ll want to make sure you stay hydrated all day long to receive the benefits from dusk to dawn. If you aren’t someone who loves drinking water, try to add fresh slices of fruits into your cup or squeeze some lemon in to add a splash of flavour. Bringing a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go will also help you stay hydrated, as you can sip all day long.
Achieving weight loss doesn’t have to require intense dieting and endless hours spent at the gym running on a treadmill. Sure, these things are beneficial and can help you burn those calories but they’re far from enjoyable, which quickly makes them unsustainable. Another alternative is to focus on your metabolism. With these tips, you can start increasing your metabolism naturally, forcing your body to burn more calories fast! Food can be a delicious and nutritious way to increase your metabolism, while also aiding with weight loss by improving satiety, curbing cravings, and making you feel good.