If you’re looking to boost your metabolism, the following foods will stoke your internal fires so you’re always on the burn.
It is entirely possible to boost your metabolism to support fat loss, simply by choosing the right foods. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t know the benefits of some of these foods, skipping them in favor of other options instead. Metabolism refers to chemical processes that occur in the body and are responsible for many internal processes, all of which can impact your long-term results. Focusing on promoting internal health, and being aware of foods which can support and improve your metabolism, is the best way to achieve success. This article is not about causing a surge in metabolic activity with cheap stimulants, which have no regard for your long-term health. Instead, the aim is to sustainably elevate your metabolic output through better food selection, which amazingly, also provides you with many other additional health benefits.
These are an easy win. Protein rich foods are often associated with muscle building, and that partially explains why they’re impactful on metabolism. Muscle is metabolically “alive”, so using protein to build more muscle means you’re also burning more energy. Additionally, another benefit of protein and its effect on the metabolism, is that it burns up to 30% more energy than carbohydrates or fat when digested. This is summarized using the principles of the thermic effect of food (TEF), which explains how much energy is required to process a macronutrient group. Foods with a high protein content, such as fish, poultry, beef, game meat, whey protein isolate, eggs, cottage cheese, and plant-based alternatives, should be staple items in your diet. To provide some practical advice, you should eat between 1.25g and 1.5g of protein per pound of lean body weight, which means subtracting your body fat percent from your total weight.
If you have ever eaten hot chilies, you’ve likely experienced the sweating and tingly sensation, which follows, with some peppers producing more effects than others. Capsaicin, the natural chemical found in chili peppers, has been shown to stimulate thermogenesis, which has been found to contribute to the expenditure of around 50 calories per day. The heat, which quickly moves through your body when eating chili peppers appears to have a meaningful impact on the metabolism. If you can tolerate some heat in your meals, it’s a great way to fire up your metabolism.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Avid followers of mine will know how strongly I believe in using apple cider vinegar every morning for its various effects. Apple cider vinegar is also renowned for its ability to boost metabolic activity. Some studies found that apple cider vinegar helps increase the AMPK enzyme, which encourages fat loss and discourages the storage of fat. It is also widely acknowledged as a great ingredient for controlling hunger, due to its impact on blood sugar levels, which certainly makes dieting easier.
Brazil nuts are well-known for their unique taste, which comes from their high selenium content. This antioxidant is known for its ability to combat oxidative stress. Brazil nuts also provide a great natural source of zinc, which has many of the same properties and benefits as selenium. If you’re following a ketogenic diet as part of your fat loss protocol, they’re the perfect food choice given their natural fat content that’s all good for you.
Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, are famous for their wide array of health benefits, one of which is their iron content. It is also worth mentioning that consuming plenty of green leafy vegetables can aid your fat-loss efforts. These vegetables are extremely low in calories, but are very filling, helping you feel satiated throughout the day.
Green Tea and Coffee
While there is a level of subjectivity given the broad range of products under this umbrella, it’s undeniable that green tea and coffee contain metabolic-enhancing characteristics. Green tea is enriched with catechins, which are thought to boost the metabolic rate, while organic green bean caffeine is a metabolic enhancer.
This is one of the best sources of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). These are immediately converted into energy by the liver, ready to be used as energy, unlike long chain triglycerides. This means they are far less likely to be stored as body fat and studies suggest that MCTs are more impactful on the metabolism than the long chain alternatives. Coconut oil is also perfect for ketogenic dieting, especially if it’s enriched with C8 (caprylic acid) because it naturally induces ketosis more than other forms of fat. Given coconut oil’s impact on energy, it makes for a great performance enhancer before training when dieting.
Take Back Your Metabolism
Traditionally, people turn to aggressive, cheap stimulants to boost their metabolism, believing them to be the best (or only) approach. With regular advances in science, we are always learning more about the body and what really works – and it is clear that metabolic activity can be enhanced with healthy diet choices. It’s also clear that the by-product of selecting these foods is that your general health, performance, and well-being will benefit. Moving forward, you should aim to include more of these foods in your diet on a regular basis! There is no doubt that you will feel better and look leaner at the same time.
EXPERT: Kris Gethin is a nutrition consultant, trainer and author of the book Man of Iron