When it comes to weight-loss, we all want a quick fix, especially during the summer. While it’s true that different foods provide different nutrients that your body needs to function, anything that you eat essentially increases your metabolism naturally through digestion, which requires energy. But, while you’re on your healthy diet of whole foods (ok, yes, we all have cheat days!) there are, in fact, some foods that will boost your metabolism more than others. Incorporating these foods into your daily life (along with a healthy diet) will help rev up your metabolism, give you more energy and, in turn, expend more calories.
1. Brazil Nuts
If there was one nut that you should add to your diet, it’s the brazil nut. High in healthy fat, protein, and selenium. The amount of selenium you get from eating just two brazil nuts a day (all you need) can help your sluggish thyroid and improve metabolism.
2. Chili Peppers
Cooking foods with a tablespoon of chopped red or green chili pepper can boost your metabolic rate. The effect is probably temporary, but if you eat spicy foods often, the benefits may add up.
3. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Another great food that boosts metabolism and burns fat is dark green, leafy vegetables. They are high in fiber and rich in iron, which helps in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. Spinach, for example, is very low calorie and contains great antioxidants and vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
4. Lean Meat and Protein
The first metabolism-boosting food is lean meat. Your body has to work hard to digest and process protein, which boosts your metabolism. Good protein sources are lean chicken, turkey, fish, and lean cuts of beef and pork. Vegetarian alternatives include beans, lentils, and tofu.
5. Green Tea
Drinking green tea or oolong tea offers the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins, substances shown to rev up the metabolism for a couple of hours. Research suggests that drinking 2 to 4 cups of either tea may push the body to burn 17% more calories during moderately intense exercise for a short time.
To put it simply: get on the fish bandwagon! Not only is fish a great source of lean protein, it’s packed with B vitamins, essential for converting food into energy, and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are known to be good for the heart but recently a study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism shows that a diet high in omega-3 also increases carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
Although high in calories and fat (the good kind), avocados are a great source of L-carnitine, an amino acid that plays a key role in fat metabolism. Shown to promote weight loss, improve cardiovascular health, and regulate blood sugar when eaten in moderation, they’re also packed with omega-3s and other anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Tangy and sweet, the good old grapefruit had been a favourite weight loss for breakfast. It helps control insulin and lower cholesterol levels. Helping to control insulin levels basically helps keep your sugar levels in check keeping your metabolism running at a good speed.
Technically not a food, but water is essential for keeping the machine going. Besides basic survival, our body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism will slow down. In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four. Make sure you get your daily requirements of at least 6 to 8 glasses per day.