While there are no short-cuts to losing weight, there are a few things you can do to boost your metabolism. Exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep are two of the best things you can do. However, there are also plenty of foods that speed metabolism, so adding them to your diet may give you the extra edge to lose more weight.
Below is a list of eleven foods that help speed up metabolism. Think of these foods as support mechanisms on your path towards fat loss, as any diet that keeps the pounds off requires sustained effort and exercise.
1. Hot Peppers
Jalapeno, habanero, cayenne and other forms of spicy peppers directly boost metabolism and circulation. In fact, eating hot peppers not only speeds up your metabolism, it also reduces cravings. This is related to its capsaicin content, a compound that stimulates the body’s pain receptors, temporarily increasing blood circulation and metabolic rate. If you have ever experienced a bout of intense sweating after eating a particularly hot tamale, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. In fact, studies have shown that eating hot peppers can boost the metabolism by up to 25%, with the spike lasting for up to 3 hours.
2. Whole Grains: Oatmeal and Brown Rice
Whole grains are full of nutrients and complex carbohydrates that speed up metabolism by stabilizing our insulin levels. Slow-release carbs, such as oatmeal, brown rice and quinoa offer long-lasting energy, without the spikes associated with other sugar-rich foods. We want to keep our insulin levels low, as spikes in this chemical tell the body that it needs to begin storing extra fat.
High in calcium (a known weight-reducer), broccoli is also extraordinarily high in vitamins C, K and A. One serving of broccoli will also provide you with plenty of folate and dietary fiber, plus a variety of antioxidants. Broccoli is also one of the best detox foods you can add to your diet.
One study on soup done at Penn State University found that the liquid goodness offered an appetite reducing combination of liquids and solids that reduced intake of excess foods, speeding up the metabolism and burning fat. In the study, women chose one of three 270-calorie snacks before lunch.
5. Green Tea
It is now a well-known fact, through multiple scientific studies, that green tea extract can significantly boost the metabolism, as well as provide a variety of other health benefits. Green tea is delicious and it’s also rich in antioxidants that actively fight harmful free radicals!
6. Apples and Pears
Studies show that these two fruits help boost metabolism and speed up weight loss. Research performed by the State University of Rio de Janeiro found that women eating three small apples or pears daily lost more weight than women who did not. Organic apples are one of the most widely available organic fruits and pears aren’t too hard to find either, great news!
From cayenne to garlic to cinnamon, spices are one of the best ways you can keep your metabolic rates high. Especially speedy are the more pungent spices such as black pepper, mustard seeds, powdered onion and ginger. A Canadian study found that using spices enabled people to burn up to 1,000 more calories daily than those not incorporating spices into their diet.
8. Citrus Fruits
Fruits like grapefruit have been shown to help us burn fat and keep our metabolism high. This could be related to the fruits’ high amount of vitamin C, a helpful and healthful component that reduces insulin spikes.
9. Foods High in Calcium
A study done at the University of Tennessee found that people who consumed 1,200-1,300 milligrams of calcium a day lost almost double the amount of weight as those who were not getting enough calcium in their diet. To help boost your metabolism, eat plenty of foods high in calcium. If you are unable to get enough of these foods, then you should consider taking a calcium supplement. There are many types of calcium and I recommend calcium orotate for maximum efficacy.
10. Foods High in Omega-3′s
Eating foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to boost your metabolism. These acids reduce the production of a hormone called leptin, a natural chemical that lowers your metabolism. Animal studies done at the University of Wisconsin found that lab mice with low leptin levels produced faster metabolic rates than mice with higher levels of the hormone.
A Mayo Clinic study found that African tribes with a heavy fish-based diet had leptin levels up to five times lower than tribes that did not consume fish. Please keep in mind that there are many other nutritional sources of omega-3 fatty acids, besides fish. These foods include many nuts and seeds. Hemp oil and flax seed oil are both great additions to your diet because they are naturally high in essential fatty acids.
11. Purified Water
While it’s not exactly a food, it is a metabolism booster. A German study found that drinking water speeds up fat burning. It is also a natural appetite suppressant and detoxifier.
Other Ways to Boost Your Metabolism
Aside from the foods listed above, there are many other ways you can boost your metabolism. First, don’t drink sugar filled soda, energy drinks, and other processed foods. While some of these foods may give you a caffeine boost, they will not help you lose weight or enhance your metabolism. Whenever you eat do eat the metabolism boosting foods listed above, be sure to chew them thoroughly, as this will aid in proper digestion.
Get plenty of sleep. Try to reduce your stress levels as much as you can. Follow a regular exercise routine that includes lots of cardio. Performing a colon cleanse and a liver and gallbladder cleanse are two other great ways to increase your metabolism and improve your overall health.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM