Metabolism is the rate by which your body converts calories into energy. The faster your metabolism, the faster your body burns the calories you consume. So what makes one person’s faster than another? Genes play a huge role in determining your base metabolism, so if your parents have quick metabolisms, there's a high chance you will too. For those who aren't blessed with a naturally fast metabolism, there are certain metabolism-boosting food, or foods that make your metabolism work faster that you can add to your regular diet.
Metabolism-boosting foods are not limited to tropical fruits and exotic spices; there are actually plenty of readily available foods that speed up metabolism and burn fat, which in turn will speed up weight loss.
I am going to give you 7 steps that you can follow to easily add foods that speed up metabolism, and foods that metabolize fat, to your diet.
Step 1: Up your Protein.
Proteins are an essential element of a balanced diet. They are the building blocks of the body, and you use them to grow nearly everything, including your bones, hormones, lean muscle tissue, even your hair. But what has all that got to do with your metabolism? Protein has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) level, which is the number of calories needed to digest and absorb nutrients. Low TEF equals little calories burnt, high TEF equals lots of calories burnt. The more calories your body burns doing involuntary tasks such as digesting foods, the faster your metabolism will be. Protein also aids in building lean muscle mass, another contributing factor of metabolic rate.
High Protein Foods:
- Red Meat
Research shows that regularly consuming high protein foods can increase your metabolism by 15-30%.
Step 2: Spice up your Life.
Adding some extra kick to your food is a sure deal way of speeding up your metabolism. Capsaicin the fiery compound found in chili peppers turns up the heat dial for both your mouth and body. Having only a slight increase in internal temperature can cause your body to start working hard to cool it back down, and this burns extra calories. Metabolic rate is increased by about 8% after eating spicy foods. Black pepper and ginger have a similar effect.
Try adding some hot sauce to your chicken wings, some fresh chilies to your next stir fry, or even give making a hot Indian curry a go.
Step 3: Get Caffeinated.
Caffeine is the most ingested psychoactive substance worldwide, which is great because millions of people are getting up to an 11% increase in metabolism simply by enjoying their morning cup of coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant that boosts dopamine in the brain, making you feel full of energy and wide awake. This, in turn, increases energy expenditure throughout the day, burning more calories and fat. Just 3 cups of coffee a day or equivalent caffeinated drink can burn an extra 100 calories a day.
Sources of Caffeine:
- Energy drinks
- Caffeine supplements
Although caffeine is a great metabolism booster, proceed with caution as a lot of caffeinated food and drinks are accompanied by lots of sugar. Too much caffeine in one go can also make you feel unwell and 'jittery', long term use in excess can have adverse effects on your health.
Step 4: Don't Dodge the Greens.
Leafy vegetables are full of iron and magnesium, both of which are essential for a properly functioning digestive system. Vegetables such as kale, spinach, cabbage and watercress are examples of foods that metabolize fat due to their abundance of B vitamins, which are the group of vitamins responsible for converting carbohydrates, fat and protein into energy. The more B vitamins in your diet the faster your body can break down nutrients and the quicker these nutrients will become readily available.
Some find it difficult to enjoy leafy vegetables in ways other than a salad, but these vegetables are so versatile and can be used in many delicious ways. Don't limit yourself to dressed leaves, or wilted spinach. Try adding a bunch of wheatgrass to a berry smoothie, an easy and tasty way to add some metabolism boosting nutrients to your morning routine. Or at your next BBQ chuck a couple hispi cabbage on the flames and enjoy them charred as a tasty side.
Step 5: Switch up your Cooking Oil.
Coconut oil is often praised for its extensive repertoire of benefits, including doing wonders for your hair, whitening your teeth and even boosting brain function. As for your diet, coconut oil is an excellent alternative to other oils such as sunflower or olive, as well as animal-derived fats like butter or lard. This is because coconut oil is very high in medium-chain fats, as opposed to long-chain fats. These shorter chains increase your metabolism after being absorbed by going straight to the liver, where they are converted into energy instead of being stored as fat.
As body fat decreases, metabolic rate increases.
Rapeseed oil is another fantastic alternative to use in your cooking and baking. Containing the least saturated fat of any cooking oil, half of that of olive oil, it is low in calories, making it high in metabolism boosting benefits. Loaded with omega 3, vitamin E, and boasting a high smoking point, rapeseed oil can be heated to high temperatures without releasing harmful carcinogens.
Both of these cooking oils mentions also benefit from being plant-based, so perfect for those following a vegan diet.
Step 6: Hydration is Key.
Drinking enough water is paramount for overall health. But did you know that water has a significant effect on your metabolism? Keeping hydrated not only suppresses hunger, which reduces the need to snack or overeat, but it also sends your metabolism into overdrive. Drinking a few extra glasses more than the recommended daily amount of 8 glasses has been shown to boost the metabolic rate by 30%. Drinking ice water also has the added bonus of needing to be warmed up by the body before being absorbed. This results in a few extra burnt calories by enjoying a nice cold drink.
Step 7: Exercise.
So we've answered what foods speed up weight loss, is there anything else you can do to help make a difference? When it comes to your metabolism, diet and exercise go hand in hand. As such you would benefit greatly from implementing the diet tips above alongside exercising regularly and keeping active.
Lifting weights is an excellent way to speed up your metabolism. Simple compound exercises are best as they use multiple muscle groups in a single movement, making them the most effective exercises for building muscle.
Your cardiovascular is also worked harder when training this way as opposed to isolating muscles, as extra blood and oxygen is needed across the body instead of just in one place; this furthers the amount of calories burnt.
Some examples of compound exercises:
- Bench press
- Mountain climbers
Weight training is somewhat of a 3 edged sword when it comes to metabolism.
- Calories are burnt during exercising through cardiovascular strain; this reduces body fat percentage, speeding up metabolic rate.
- Energy expended by your body repairing your muscles is taxing on your nervous system and energy stores. This means an increase in calories burnt whilst resting. This effect can be seen for up to 72 hours after training.
- Muscles built over time increases the body lean muscle to fat to bone ratio. The higher this ratio, the faster your metabolism has to be to support your body this the nutrients it needs.
A Note to Leave With.
Whilst eating healthy and keeping active is the daily narrative of most of those following a healthy lifestyle. Focusing specifically on increasing your metabolic rate will help you to reach your goals not only when in the gym and at mealtimes, but also when you're at complete rest.