10 must have Foods that Boost Metabolism

Let’s get down to business, we’ve all heard the rumors, a faster metabolism burns more calories and burning more calories equals weight loss. But are you choosing the right foods that boost metabolism? Here are the top 10 foods that can help you maximize your metabolism and burn that extra fat…

Note:
if you want to know more about how your metabolism works you can read more on this post.

1. Cacao 

That’s right, I’m going to start with the best first! Who doesn’t love Cacao? It’s tasty and a special treat that can actually boost metabolism!

This study on mice, found that cocoa extracts and cocoa in general, promoted gene expression to use fat for energy. Particularly in mice who were fed a high-fat (high calorie) diet.

Another study, found that cocoa may even provide inhibitory effects against breaking down fats and carbohydrates throughout digestion.

These important study indicate the potential for cocoa in the prevention of weight gain due to its ability to take in some calories.

Although studies in mice are encouraging, there is a need for more research on humans and the consumption of cacao products (for example dark chocolate). But early research is still looking promising.

If you’re going to add cacao to your diet, make sure to choose the raw versions to maximize benefits

2. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is becoming popular, because it is rich in MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides). MCT’s metabolize differently than most fat. This therefore makes them less likely to be stored as fat.

Coconut oil was also found to boost metabolism by increase metabolic rate.

A correlational study found, that for women who are considered obese, a daily intake of 30ml of coconut oil over the space of 12 weeks, reduced waist size.

It is important to note however, that coconut oil for all it’s benefits, is in fact a fat and therefore should be consumed in moderation to avoid creating the opposite effect and gaining weight.

3. Water

This goes without saying. Water is the essence of life!

We are 60% water. Through bodily functions (sweating, urine etc.) we are constantly losing water. So, it is crucial to replace that water. This way we stay hydrated and maximize our metabolism.

Studies have found that by drinking 500 ml of water you can temporarily boost your metabolism by up to 30%.

A large part of this increased metabolic activity is considered to be the calories required for keeping the water in our bodies at body temperature. This effect has been observed to last no longer than 90 minutes and therefore, it is important to continue your intake of water.

Tip: If water is just not your thing, you can always ‘spice it up’ with a few slices of cucumbers, a couple of leaves of mint, or fruit such as berries, for a refreshing flavor!

4. Seaweed

Our thyroids require the mineral Iodine to produce thyroid hormones. These thyroid hormones are essential for our health. Seaweed is a fantastic natural source of Iodine.

The hormones produced by our thyroids have an effect on our health, but are also very important for our metabolic rate.

Routine consumption of seaweed ensures you have enough Iodine to maintain health and maximize metabolic productivity.

The daily recommendation of Iodine for adults is 150 mcg. Especially eating a few servings of seaweed weekly, you ensure meeting this recommended allowance.

Bear in mind that some seaweed (for example Kelp), is very high in Iodine and is not recommended to be consumed in large quantities.

Another important compound found in seaweed is Fucoxanthin. This has been found to contribute to improving metabolism.

Fucoxanthin can be found in the brown variety of seaweed and appears to have an anti-obesity effect in increasing the amount of calories you burn. 

5. Proteins

Foods rich in proteins (dairy, eggs, meats, legumes, seeds and nuts), increase metabolism for a number of hours.

Our body requires more energy to burn proteins, known as the TEF (Thermic Effect of Food). TEF refers to the amount of calories your body requires to digest and process nutrients from your meals. 

Studies have shown that foods rich in proteins, increase TEF, consequently increasing metabolic rate by up to 30%. This is compared to less than 10% for carbohydrates and less than 3% for fats.

High protein diets have been found to demonstrate a drop in metabolism. This drop is observed during weight loss, by assisting the body to maintain muscle mass.

6. Coffee

Another favorite that can be added to the list!

Research has found that the caffeine in coffee can increase metabolic rate by up to 24%.

Whats-more, numerous studies have found that individuals who consume 3 cups of coffee daily (270 mg), burn an extra 100 calories. Beyond that, caffeine has been found to help your body burn fat. In particular improving your workout performance.

Results are however subject to the characteristics of each person and elements such as weight and age play a role in this effect.

Tip: You must take into account the addition of milk and sugar. These are not considered in these studies. Therefore, you can always opt for an lower calorie alternative such as sweetener and low fat milk.

7. Tea

Just like coffee, research shows that the combination of catechins and caffeine in tea work together to boosts metabolism.

Green tea in particular has shown to boost metabolism by up to 10% as well as coffee, green tea burns up to an extra 100 calories daily.

Furthermore, green tea consumption has been found to assist your body in burning fat. It increases your ability to burn fat by up to 17%.

Results, just like coffee, are however subject to the characteristics of each person and elements such as weight and age play a role in this effect.

Note: Again, just like coffee, it is important to take into account the addition of sugar and/or milk.

8. Pulses & Legumes 

Pulses and Legumes, (peas, chickpeas, peanuts, and lentils) are plant food that are high in protein. As we understood, high protein foods require a greater number of calories to burn these foods. 

Our bodies use resistant starch and soluble fiber to feed the good bacteria in our gut. Legumes consist of a high amount of this fibre. This good bacteria that is fed, and so it short-chain fatty acids, which has been found to use stored fat to normalize sugar levels in the blood. 

This study found that a legume-rich diet followed for 8 weeks, created metabolic changes. As a consequence, 1.5 times more weight loss was observed compared to the control group.

9. Chili Peppers 

Capsaicin is found in chili peppers. Various studies have found that Capsaicin boosts metabolism boosting by increasing the amount of fat and calories that it burns. Furthermore, Capsaicin reduces appetite. Studies have found that Capsaicin consumption in as low as 10 mg per day, can burn around 50 calories.

It is important to note however, that the research is not yet decisive in one direction or another with regards to metabolism-boosting qualities.

10. Ginger 

Ginger has metabolic boosting qualities. Studies have found that 2 grams of ginger dissolved in hot water, consumed with a meal, burns up to 43 extra calories.

In addition, ginger is great for curbing hunger and enhancing satiety.


In Conclusion…

Our metabolism is a complex and smart process. Because of its complexity, it can be adapted and maximized with smart decisions, conscious diets and consuming certain foods.

Consuming these 10 foods regularly can help with weight loss and maintenance this loss.

If you want to hack your metabolism this is just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much you can do to take control and become healthier and reach your optimum weight. 

Follow our top 6 exercises to ignite your body and kick-start your metabolism today!

About Nathan Dolton

Nathan is a fitness enthusiast and holds a BSc in Sports, Fitness and Coaching. Having participated in 2 IRONMAN competitions and ran 3 marathons, he is at the top of his game. His main interests are in the long term metabolic changes of the body for endurance athletes. He works as a personal trainer and is a keen blogger who is passionate about taking his knowledge and making it accessible to all. He believes in a well rounded approach to a healthy lifestyle of the body and mind.

View all posts by Nathan Dolton →

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