Metabolism refers to those chemical reactions that take place in the human body on a daily basis. It not only plays a vital role in accomplishing the day-to-day chores, but also determines whether we are slim or bulky. Our bodies undergo metabolism to turn the consumed calories into energy required to perform the daily chores.
Properly functioning metabolic mechanisms in the body can prevent unanticipated weight gain. A boost in metabolism can also support other body functions pertaining to general health. If you happen to have the following symptoms, boosting your metabolism is incumbent:
- Dry, cracked skin
- Ongoing fatigue
- Frequent cold body temperature
- Troubled sleep
- Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Dry mouth and excessive thirst
- Low energy levels
12 Foods To Boost Your Metabolism
You can boost your metabolism by taking the right food and opting for the right lifestyle choices. If you want optimum metabolism, here are a few foods to help you with your goals.
Iron, Zinc & Selenium-Rich Foods
Zine, iron, and selenium are vital for growth, well-being, and normal metabolism. Although these nutrients have various functions of their own, there is one function common to all three, i.e., their role in normal thyroid function; thyroid gland is responsible for metabolism in the body.
According to research studies, a diet deficient in zinc, iron, or selenium can disrupt the normal functions of thyroid glands, thereby reducing the release of thyroid hormones that are related to metabolic rate.
This leaves us with no choice, but to incorporate in our diet foods that are a rich source of zine, iron, and selenium. Some of these foods include meat, legumes, fish, and nuts.
Protein helps increase your metabolism. When you consume protein-rich foods, they make your body use more energy for their digestion. This phenomenon is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It refers to the number of calories your body requires to digest, absorb, and process the nutrients present in your diet.
According to research, protein-rich foods most effectively increase the TEF as compared to other nutrients. For instance, they raise the metabolic rate by 15-30%, while carbs increase it by 5-10% and fats by 0-3%.
Not only that protein-rich foods contribute towards increasing the metabolic rate, but they also alleviate the drop in metabolism. Research shows that diets packed with protein reduce the drop in metabolism resulting from the weight loss. These diets enable your body to stick to its muscle mass.
Another research states that protein can keep you satiated, which prevents overeating.
Fiber refers to an indigestible carbohydrate, consuming which can increase the calories you burn while digesting your food. Therefore, consuming fruits and vegetables rich in fiber can give you a metabolic boost.
Furthermore, the fiber you ingest through the food can also lower the calories count. According to a study published in the ‘Journal of Nutrition’ found that eating fiber results in weight loss. The study observed the diet of 252 women for 20 months. It concluded that the intake of every extra gram of fiber resulted in the loss of an additional half pound and 0.25 percent body fat.
You may think that a half pound is not much, but this half pound would add up over time. Furthermore, you would not be gaining any weight while consuming fiber.
You should also know that men and women require 38 and 25 grams of fiber every day. Stock up your fridge with Brussels sprouts, prunes, squash, guava, raspberries, blackberries, and spinach.
You must have felt sweaty after eating chili peppers due to the heat released from your body. It is because you are burning a little more calories at that time. Chili peppers comprise the chemical capsaicin, which holds on to a protein on your muscles, thus causing you to burn more calories. It boosts your metabolism.
According to a review of 20 research studies, capsaicin enables your body to burn 50 extra calories every day. Some initial studies observed this effect after taking 135-150 mg of capsaicin every day. However, other studies found that taking even 9-10 mg of fiber per day can help your body burn extra calories.
Furthermore, evidence shows that capsaicin also reduces the appetite. A recent study has shown that consumption of 2 mg of capsaicin right before each meal reduces the numbers of calories taken, particularly from carbs.
Nevertheless, studies differ on the capsaicin’s ability to boost metabolism.
Legumes and Pulses
Foods like lentils, chickpeas, peas, peanuts, and beans are filled with protein. These foods contain more protein than any other plant food.
Studies show that high-protein content of legumes and pulses requires the human body to burn a greater amount of calories in order to digest them, as compared to foods low in protein.
Furthermore, legumes also have a great amount of dietary fiber like soluble fiber and resistant starch. Your body uses these fibers to feed the good bacteria residing in your intestine.
These good bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids that enable your body to turn the stored fat into energy and regulate the blood sugar levels.
Another study shows that consumption of a legume-rich diet for eight weeks results in positive changes in metabolism. It also observed that the participants lost 1.5 times more weight than the control group (individuals who did not take the legume-rich diet).
This is good news for coffee lovers who also want to boost their metabolism. Studies show that the caffeine present in coffee helps increase the metabolic rate by up to 11%.
As a matter of fact, six different studies have reported that consumption of three cups of coffee every day burns extra 100 calories per day.
Many other studies have shown that coffee can also help your body burn fat and attain energy. It also boosts your workout performance and improves focus.
The US Special Forces use it even to enhance awareness and performance.
The reason caffeine is efficient in boosting work performance is such that it gets rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. After its consumption, blood levels reach their highest after 90-100 minutes. Caffeine levels remain so for 3-4 hours.
Unlike other supplements and substances, caffeine has the ability to impact cells throughout the body. According to one study, caffeine helps the body to burn additional fat via lipolysis.
Another study reports that caffeine can affect the motor cortex, which is a brain’s part that prompts muscle activation. It also increases thermogenesis (heat production) that helps you burn additional calories.
It is worth mentioning here that the effects of coffee vary from person to person as people differ in the individual characteristics such as body weight and age.
Some species have metabolism-boosting properties. For instance, ginger is a renowned remedy to treat metabolism ailments. Research has shown that drinking hot water with ginger powder helps you burn up to more 43 additional calories than consuming hot water alone. According to this research, all you have to do is dissolve 2 grams of gender powder in hot water and drink it with a meal.
Another study has reported that hot ginger drink may decrease the hunger levels and help you feel satiated. However, ginger is not the only spice that helps boost metabolism. Grains of paradise, another spice belonging to the ginger family, also helps burn the additional calories.
According to a recent study, participants who consumed a 40-mg extract of grains of paradise burned more calories in the next two hours than those who were given a placebo.
Moreover, cayenne pepper may also help your body burn more fats and turn into energy, especially when you have taken a high-fat meal.
Apple Cider Vinegar
A number of animal studies find that vinegar effectively increases the amount of fat your body burns for energy. One study in mice reported that vinegar consumption results in an increase in the Adenosine Monophosphate-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) enzyme. AMPK enzyme signals the body to reduce fat storage and enhance fat burning.
Another study reported that obese rates when given vinegar underwent an increase in certain genes’ expression, ultimately resulting in reduced belly fat storage and liver fat.
Although humanity has consumed apple cider vinegar as a metabolism booster for centuries, very few studies have looked into the matter directly.
One study among a very few has shown that people who consumed 20 ml (four teaspoons) of apple cider vinegar ate around 275 fewer calories that day.
However, you must bear in mind that apple cider vinegar is not something you can take in extravagant amounts. Two tablespoons (30 ml) of this vinegar would be sufficient to give you the required results.
The popularity of coconut oil is growing day by day. The main reason attributed to this popularity is the high amounts of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) present in the coconut oil. Unlike most of the fats, MCTs are not high in long-chain fatty acids.
Once your body consumes the MCTs, these fats go directly to the liver, which turns them into energy. This process lessens their chances to be stored as fat.
There are many studies that have vouched for the metabolism-related beneficial properties of the MCTs. According to several studies, MCTs can increase the metabolic rate more than any longer-chain fat.
Moreover, researchers state that daily consumption of 30 ml of coconut oil can reduce the waist size in obese individuals.
Seaweed is high in iodine, which is necessary for the generation of thyroid hormones and the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
You may know that among the many other important functions of thyroid hormones, one is to regulate your metabolic rate. Therefore, if you consume seaweed regularly, you can meet your iodine requirement and also would be able to keep the high rate of metabolism.
Experts recommend the daily intake of 150-mcg iodine for adults. You can easily accomplish that by eating quite a few servings of seaweed per week.
However, some types of seaweed like kelp contain high amounts of iodine; thus, you should not consume it in large amounts.
Some kinds of seaweed contain Fucoxanthin, which also helps increases the metabolism rate. Essentially, you can find this compound in brown seaweed varieties. A study has associated this compound with the anti-obesity effects as it increases the amount of calories your body burns.
Drinking water is critical to the proper functioning of your body. It also entails many other benefits. A number of studies have found that drinking water can boost metabolism by 24-30%; however, this boost is temporary.
Researchers state that around 40% of this increase comes from the additional calories required to balance the temperature of the water with the body temperature.
However, these effects only last for 60-90 minutes, and they may vary from one person to another.
Experts associate weight loss with drinking enough amounts of water because of this phenomenon.
Research states that the combination of caffeine and catechins present in tea can boost your metabolism.
In fact, both green tea and oolong can increase metabolism by 4-10%. Consuming these can result in the burning of an extra 100 calories every day. However, the effects vary from person to person.
Metabolism plays an important role in the proper functioning of your body and keeping it in shape. Although many constant factors like genetics determine your metabolism rate, some factors are controllable. You can boost your metabolism by working on these factors. If you want to shed some pounds, you should consume these foods regularly. You must keep in mind that food alone cannot boost your metabolism rate; you have to increase your activity levels as well to enhance your daily calorie burn.
It is worth mentioning here that dieting can do no good to your metabolism. Your blood sugar drops when you skip a meal. As a result, your body over-releases a hormone, making you burn muscle instead of fat.