If you’re an adult, then you likely have mixed feelings about your metabolism. What happened to that lightning-fast metabolism you had when you were a teenager? It often feels like it is working against you as an adult - making it almost impossible to lose weight and all too easy to put it on.
Whether you are looking to maintain your weight or lose weight, eating foods that increase your metabolism is a great way to achieve your goals. An increase in metabolism helps the body to better manage your energy levels and makes it more likely to use fat stores for energy. Here are my top 6 foods for boosting your metabolism to help you reach your fitness goals.
Top 6 Foods That Will Help Boost Your Metabolism
Protein helps boost your metabolism as spends more time in the digestive system and requires more energy to digest. This means you stay fuller for longer (without feeling heavy or sluggish) than you would if you ate carbohydrates or sugary foods, which we typically reach for when we start feeling low on energy, and so can help us cut down on snacking and overeating.
Here are some of the best animal-based protein sources:
Lean white meat, such as turkey and chicken
Eggs (especially egg whites)
Fish like salmon, herring, and tuna (make sure it’s sustainably sourced and of high quality)
Whey protein powder
Here are some of the best plant-based protein sources:
Nuts and seeds like almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and cashews (make sure they’re not heavily processed with salt and sugar)
Pea protein powder
Additionally, consuming protein-rich foods can increase muscle mass, which in turn helps to boost metabolism as it keeps your metabolic rate high so you can lose weight without losing muscle mass.
2) Chili Peppers
If you are a fan of spicy food, you are in luck! Studies into capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers and is responsible for that heat kick, have been shown to speed up metabolism. Adding chili pepper or powder to your meals could increase the amount of fat your body burns soon after eating due to heat generation within the body. It can also help to reduce calorie consumption as well since capsaicin is believed to act as an appetite suppressant.
If you’re not a fan of hot food but like cayenne pepper, eat that instead as it offers similar effects.
We touched on eggs in our first point but they’re such an incredible source of protein that they deserve their own point. Eggs are packed with protein as well as healthy fat and all the essential amino acids needed by your body. As mentioned above, due to this protein content, eggs fill you up for longer and prevent you from overeating.
Not only that, eggs happen to be low in calories and are a great source of B vitamins, especially the egg yolk, which help to boost metabolism by converting the food you eat into useful energy.
Don’t be afraid of yolks - there’s quality protein, fats, vitamins and minerals in there, such as iron and folate.
Fats are generally seen to be bad for you and so we are told to avoid them, but there are actually healthy fats that our body needs to properly function. Avocado is a superfood that is high in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated healthy fats and is easy to add to the diet, added to salads, or included in meals as guacamole (just make sure if you buy pre prepared guacamole that it doesn’t include any added sugar).
These healthy fats can help us to feel fuller for longer, boosting our metabolism, and therefore reducing the need to snack. Better still, avocado particularly is filled with anti-inflammatory components which can help to balance our metabolism and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Tea is a great drink for boosting your metabolism. Tea is filled with catechins, a type of flavonoid, which works together with caffeine to help increase energy use and therefore speed up metabolism.
In particular, the effects of green tea and oolong tea have been researched and shown to increase our fat-burning ability as well helping our bodies to use stored fat more effectively.
Tea is rich in antioxidants and provided you don’t overload it with milk and/or sugar.
6) Capsicum (Cayenne Pepper)
Two ingredients I especially love for boosting metabolism are Green Tea Extract and Capsicum Annum, which is found in Cayenne Pepper. Both ingredients are included in my supplement, Curb & Burn. Many studies have shown that Capsicum helps to boost your metabolism by increasing thermogenesis and energy expenditure, allowing your body to burn more calories. Similarly, Green Tea Extract has also been shown to increase the thermogenesis within the body, which is the body’s ability to burn calories at rest.
Adding these 6 foods to your diet can help to boost your metabolism increasing the ability to reach your weight loss goals. Make sure you integrate these foods into a balanced diet in a way that works best for you and keep your focus on eating whole foods to get the best results.
Dr. Nancy Rahnama, MD, ABOM, ABIM, is a medical doctor board certified by both the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Her specialty is Clinical Nutrition, that is, the use of nutrition by a medical doctor to diagnose and treat disease. Dr. Rahnama has helped thousands of people achieve their goals of weight loss, gut health, improved mood and sleep, and managing chronic disease.