Hearing the term “fat-burning” may sound too good to be true but science has shown that some foods can amp up metabolism.
Metabolism is a biochemical process through which your body uses up calories from the food you eat, combines it with oxygen to produce energy. This energy is needed for survival as it supports processes like blood circulation, breathing, digestion, repair of cells and more.
The relationship between food and metabolism is certainly not simple. And when it comes to weight loss, metabolism is just one factor, things like diet, exercise, genetics, and lifestyle can affect your results.
Eating To Lose Weight
Contrary to everything you’ve heard, the process of eating is not the enemy. Eating any food will improve your metabolism as your body will have to chew the food, digest it and then excrete it.
All of these functions require energy and this process is called the ‘thermic effect of food.’ Eating 3 meals a day will burn on average of 10% of your daily calorie intake. So if you consume 2000 calories a day, you will burn 200 calories just by the process of eating!
So do not ever think of starving yourself as this is only counter-intuitive to boost your metabolism. It does no good for your mental health as well.
This does not mean that you can head to your nearest KFC. Processed foods are highly fattening and loaded with carbs. Here are some foods that can help you improve your metabolism and consequently burn fat:
#1 Green Tea
I’m sure we’re all well-aware of green tea and for good reason, as it has amazing health benefits. It is amongst the healthiest beverages in the world today and is loaded with antioxidants and caffeine.
In a study conducted by the University of Geneva, 10 healthy men were randomly split into groups assigned 50 mg of green tea extract, 50 mg of caffeine or a placebo. The results showed that those participants who had consumed green tea extract showed a 4% increase in thermogenesis compared to the other two groups.
Eating Tip: If you like the taste of green tea, you should drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day. If not, you can take green tea supplements.
One egg contains 6.29 g of protein making it great for those looking to amp up their protein intake. Eggs fill you up for long and reduce cravings for snacks or other meals which aid in the weight loss process
After food consumption, some calories are used to help to digest the food. This effect is called the thermic effect of food. Research has shown that protein offers a higher thermic effect (20-30%) compared to carbs (5-10%) and fat (0-3%).
Protein also boosts metabolism and it burns more calories throughout the day. Studies have shown a high protein diet burns about an extra 80 to 100 calories naturally.
Research shows that those who consumed at least 25% of the protein in their diet daily had a higher BMR than those who got less than 11% of total calories from protein.
Eating Tip: There is honestly no wrong way to eat an egg as long as you don’t add a lot of cheese or cream.
If you’re a regular coffee-drinker, you will be glad to know that caffeine has been helping you lose weight all along. Studies have shown that regular coffee consumption can increase BMR by up to 11%.
Research has shown that coffee enhances the utilization of fatty acids during aerobic exercise. This means that more fat will be used for energy by mitochondria thus accelerating fat loss.
This is one of the reasons why some people drink black coffee before their workout as an energizer. Mind you, the effects of caffeine will not be great if you add a lot of milk and sugar with your coffee. Black coffee is the most effective way to improve your metabolic rate.
Eating Tip: Drink one cup of black coffee a day with less sugar.
Beans are metabolism boosters rich in fibre, which keeps you full for longer. Beans are complex carbs and contain a host of vitamins, minerals such as vitamin B, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, magnesium, and potassium and antioxidants.
Some of the healthiest beans and legumes are kidney beans, chickpeas, peas, legumes, soy and pinto.
Eating Tip: Beans are quite delicious and can be added to salads, toast, sandwich, curries, buddha bowls and more. Hummus is a delicious dish made from garbanzo beans that can be eaten as a snack with vegetables.
Garlic is a part of cooking all over the world thanks to its strong flavour and aroma. It is very healthy thanks to its nutritious content as it contains Vitamin C, B6, Manganese, Selenium, fibre, copper, calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus.
Garlic is a thermogenic food, which produces heat in the body causing it to burn off energy during the digestion process. We’re not suggesting that you add garlic in your everyday food, but if you’re a fan of spices consider adding garlic in its raw form in salads, pasta or soups to kick-start your metabolism.
Eating Tip: Add garlic to salad dressing and soups to improve the flavour and aroma.
#6 Oily fish
Fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are great sources for omega-3. This nutrient has a direct role in improving metabolism. Fatty acid decreases resistance to leptin which is our body’s weight watcher.
The more leptin you have in your body, the higher your metabolic rate will be. Leptin also has other benefits such as reducing blood sugar and reducing your appetite.
This study had young adults take 6 grams of fish oil every day for 12 weeks. After the experiment, their metabolic rates had increased by about 3.8%.
Grill salmon on top of lemon slices to avoid dryness.
Eating Tip: Grilled fish with lemon zest and olive oil is a super healthy way to add fish to your diet.
#7 Coconut Oil
From hair masks, cooking oil to moisturizing, coconut oil has become one of the most-popular natural trends today. Coconut oil is almost fully fat- the good kind and also has anti-viral and antibacterial properties.
Unlike most foods which are made of long-chain fatty acids, this miracle oil is rich in Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are sent to the liver to be converted into energy right away. This helps the rate of metabolism.
Another property of coconut oil which affects metabolism is its thermogenic effect. So consuming coconut oil actually burns energy during digestion compared to other fats.
In one study conducted by the University of Geneva, they found that consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons of medium-chain fats such as those found in coconut oil could increase energy spent by 5% bringing about a loss of up to 150 calories per day.
Eating Tip: Replace the vegetable oils you use to cook food with coconut oil. You will notice a slight change in flavour but the health aspects are worth it.
You may think that eating nuts are counter-productive as they are quite high in fat and calories. However, studies have shown that adding nuts into your diet can promote weight loss.
Most nuts are high in zinc, selenium, and iodine amongst others which support the proper functioning of the thyroid.
This organ plays a major role in regulating metabolism, this is why those suffering from hypothyroidism can gain weight rapidly.
In one study published in the NCBI, 29 men were provided with nuts as snacks for a period of time and they showed a 28% increase in calories burned after a meal as compared to other sources of fat.
Eating Tip: Almonds and walnuts are a great pre-workout snack because of the amino acid L-arginine which burns fat and carbs. Otherwise, nut milk is a great alternative to milk, is lactose-free and much easier to digest.
All chilli peppers have a compound called capsaicin, which has shown to improve the ability of the body to convert food to fuel. This chemical gives a jolt to your body forcing it to increase your heart rate, quicken your breath thus inciting your body to burn fat. It also helps that chilli helps increase satiety and reduce appetite.
In fact, a review of 20 research studies reports that capsaicin can help your body burn around 50 extra calories per day (16).
Tip: If you make a lot of curries throughout the week, you can make it spicy. Or you can sprinkle pieces of red pepper in soups and salads.
#10 Bone Broth
Before the keto diet, juice cleanses, paleo and what not was the bone-broth diet. While it certainly was a fad, bone broth is nutritious as it is rich in essential amino acids. L-glutamine, an amino acid, improves the health of the gut and aids digestion.
By preventing muscle breakdown and detoxifying the body, bone broth does a good job increasing your metabolism.
Eating Tip: Bone broth doesn’t sound the most appealing but it is a great soup base.
#11 Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, grapes etc are famed for their immune-boosting. Citrus fruits alkalize the body, which is key to promoting fat loss and boosting overall health. Being high in insoluble fibre, citrus fruits keep the gut healthy, curb appetite and can improve a slowing metabolism.
Grapefruit deserves a special mention as they do a great job improving metabolism. This fruit is rich in enzymes and phytochemicals which breaks down sugar, burns fat in the body and improves your metabolism.
Eating Tip: Citrus fruits make for yummy juices or you can add pieces of fruit to water to make it flavourful.
#12 Apple Cider Vinegar
A lot of people drink apple cider vinegar with warm water the first thing in the morning. It does a great job regulating blood sugar which in turn reduces sugar cravings.
Apple cider vinegar works differently from the other foods on this list to affect metabolism. This ingredient incites your stomach to produce hydrochloric acid (HCA) and this acid helps digest food and absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Eating Tip: Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water and have it every morning.
Everyone knows that drinking water is vital to maintain but good health. But did you consider it’s used in the field of weight loss? In research done by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, water was stated to be the beginning point to increase metabolism.
Drinking adequate water can help your body break down fats and even the slighhertest dehydration can cause this and other functions to halt. Also, consider that water can suppress appetite!
While it is a popular adage that you should drink at least 8 glasses of water to be healthy, this is not entirely true. How much water you should be having depends on your weight and diet. We would suggest that you drink at least ½ your weight in ounces of water.
So a 180-pound person would require 90 ounces of water to regulate metabolism and be in good health.
When it comes to healthy food, it’s almost a crime to leave green vegetables off the list. This green vegetable is full of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Potassium and Folate. They amp up your metabolism because of their high water and fiber content. So you will feel full for longer and burn fat doing so.
Research has shown that eating broccoli or other cruciferous vegetables regularly can decrease blood sugar levels and improve slow metabolism.
Eating Tip: Always boil cruciferous vegetables before eating. We wouldn’t recommend frying them as this will reduce the water content and the concentration of vitamin C. Use them in salads with a delicious dressing or if you’re feeling adventurous, try broccoli soup.
#15 Goji Berries & Strawberries
Not only are they tasty to eat, but Goji berries and strawberries are full of nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber.
They help maintain your body’s pH, power thermogenesis and flush out accumulated toxins. Strawberries contain anthocyanins which improve the production of the hormone Adiponectin which incites your body to burn fat.
Eating Tip: I know strawberry cheesecakes are delicious but something so sugary will negate all their benefits. The best way to add them to your diet would be to rinse them and eat them as snacks, breakfast or smoothies.
These 15 foods are amazing to boost your metabolism and burn fat at the same time. But not just this, we also mentioned how testosterone can be boosted naturally with foods and herbs. With more testosterone levels in your body, your muscle recovery speeds up and your muscle mass increases. More muscles result in more calorie burning process through out the day since in every body part movement more muscles are involved.
The truth of the matter is that there is no magic food that will make you lose weight. Weight loss is a simple equation where you need to burn more calories than you eat.
Wrapping things up, this article suggests certain foods than you can eat more of to boost calorie-burning. Instead of snacking on ice cream, try nuts or a nice omelet! And this goes without saying, eat healthily and exercise regularly to get sustainable results.