Popular Foods That Boost Your Metabolism, Says Expert
Metabolism is a popular topic of conversation in the world of health. We have all likely heard that in order to lose or maintain weight, we need to pay attention to our metabolic rate. But what is metabolism exactly, and how can we make sure we eat foods that boost it?
Metabolism is essentially the process of our bodies converting the food we eat into energy. When we have a slower metabolism, we may experience things like weight gain, fatigue, or dry skin. There are some factors that affect how fast or slow our metabolism functions, such as age and genetic makeup, that we simply can't control. However, there are factors we can control, like the food we eat, that can help us reach a quicker metabolism and better overall health.
To learn more about metabolism-boosting foods, we talked with Laura Burak MS, RD, founder of GetNaked® Nutrition and Author of Slimdown with Smoothies. Here are five popular foods that boost your metabolism, and if you're looking for more health tips, make sure to read about The 7 Healthiest Foods on the Planet.
When it comes to boosting your metabolism, eating plenty of protein is crucial. Eggs are a great way to raise protein levels because they're typically low in fat and calories. According to Burack, this protein-heavy food increases our metabolic rate because of something called a higher thermic effect.
"They require more energy from your body to digest them, which is also referred to as a higher thermic effect (TEF) of food," says Buracl. "So they can increase your metabolic rate."
Your body will use more energy to process the protein from eggs, but you will also feel less hunger afterwards.
"Proteins are a double whammy when it comes to health and weight maintenance because they not only have a higher TEF," says Burack. "But they also keep you the most satiated so you stay fuller longer."
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a trusted way of eating healthy when you're in a rush and need a quick snack, and they come packed with metabolism-boosting benefits.
"Popping a handful of nuts or seeds gives you everything you need to not only stabilize your blood sugar and hold you over between meals," says Burack. "But they're a portable food naturally containing all three macros-carbs, protein and fat."
One of the quickest ways to slow your metabolism is by not eating enough food throughout your day, so having nuts or seeds nearby for a quick snack is a great way to keep your metabolism high.
"You can carry an individual pack of nuts in your bag (I love the Trader Joe's pre-portioned packs) and protect yourself before hangry strikes," says Burack.
If you want a sweet but healthy dessert with nuts, try making these Dark Chocolate Covered Almond Clusters.
Spices are known for being a great way of boosting metabolism. According to a study from the British Journal of Nutrition, spices like ginger, black pepper, mustard, and horseradish have been proven to raise our metabolic resting rate.
"Some research also shows that spicy foods like hot sauce may temporarily increase your metabolic rate due to capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers," says Burack.
Burack recommends using hot sauce whenever you want. "It not only tastes delicious and enhances the flavor of bland food, but it basically has no calories for a giant boost of flavor and palatability in your dishes," she says.
Here are the 18 Best and Worst Hot Sauces-Ranked!
Although water isn't technically a food, it is one of the most important components in boosting and maintaining your metabolic rate.
"Not only does water help keep you full and your hunger in check as it fills up your stomach," says Burack. "But it aids in metabolizing, digesting and absorbing your food, and maintaining regular bowel movements."
This sounds simple enough, but we all know that it can be difficult to get enough water throughout your day, especially with a busy schedule.
"Divide your weight in pounds by half and that is how many ounces you can optimally strive for each day," says Burack. "Buy yourself a big water bottle that is 32 ounces or more so you only have to mindfully fill it up 2 to 3 times a day instead of trying to estimate with little cups or bottles."
Avocados may be one of the most delicious and versatile superfoods on the planet. "Avocados keep you full and satisfied, and they're full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and heart-healthy fats," says Burack.
According to a study published in the Nutrition Journal, Avocados have actually been known to lower metabolic syndrome in adults, which is a group of conditions like high blood sugar, excess body fat, and high blood sugar that increases a person's chance of heart disease.
The beauty of avocados is that there are endless ways to eat them!
"Dice one up and add it to your salad or tacos, or mash an avocado into guacamole and start dipping those veggies," says Burack.
Get even more healthy tips straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter!