A healthy metabolism is crucial if you want to experience weight loss success. In addition to exercise, proper sleep habits and balanced hormones, there are certain foods that have the ability to help your metabolism operate at peak levels.
Unfortunately, after age 40, your metabolism steadily slows down. Although you are unable to control your age, gender, or genetics, fortunately, there are foods that can help to improve your metabolism.
Think of the foods listed below as support mechanisms in helping your body get rid of excess fat. Eating healthy should never be considered a diet, but instead a way of life. In the long run healthy foods will help your metabolism to work properly and more importantly, keep the weight off.
8 Healthy Foods that Boost Your Metabolism
Unrefined Coconut Oil
Recent research suggests that coconut oil can help to boost metabolism rates. This is because coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides which are burned by the body more quickly. Coconut is also a healthy source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Warming foods include peppers, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, cloves, mustard, vinegar, cloves, bay leaves and garlic. Try to add some heat to every meal. Spicy foods have natural chemicals that can help kick your metabolism into a higher gear. People taking capsaicin, the chemical that gives peppers their burn, doubled their energy expenditure for several hours after eating, according to a study from UCLA. Even mild peppers contain compounds that help erase up to 100 calories a day by binding to nerve receptors and sending fat-burning signals to your brain. Some studies have shown hot pepper and very spicy foods can increase metabolism by about 20% for about 30 minutes. A study in 2003 evaluated 10 Thai women and their glucose response after a glucose drink and their metabolic rate with and without 5 g of fresh chili pepper. The chili pepper increased the metabolic rate above resting metabolic rate. There was also an immediate increase of 20 percent in the metabolic rate within a few minutes of taking the chili pepper.
Green Tea or Oolong Tea
Green tea or oolong tea is shown to rev up the metabolism for at least a couple of hours. One Japanese study found that participants using green tea extracts were able to lose weight, lower blood pressure levels and reduce LDL cholesterol. In a small study, green tea appeared to raise metabolic rates and speed up fat oxidation. “Green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se,” says Abdul G. Dulloo, a researcher at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and lead author of the study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Antioxidant rich green tea can also fight harmful free radicals. EGCG in green tea speeds up your brain and nervous system, thus burning more calories.
Foods Rich in Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids and are necessary for good health; however, since the body can’t make them, you must get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids discourage your body from storing triglycerides in your fatty tissues and inappropriately holding triglycerides in tissues such as your muscles and liver. The omega-3 family of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids stimulates the process of fatty acid beta-oxidation, and at the same time, omega-3 fats inhibit fatty acid and triglyceride production from excess dietary carbohydrates. Omega-3 fatty acids also stimulate thermogenesis by increasing production of uncoupling proteins. In effect, triglycerides are channeled toward utilization for fuel and heat production. Rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, avocado, salmon, herring, sardines, oysters and eggs from hens fed flaxseed.
Even being mildly dehydrated may slow down your metabolism. Drink two glasses of water before breakfast or any meal. In a study at Virginia Tech, people who did this consumed an average of 75 fewer calories at their a.m. meal than those who didn’t. “The water acted as a calorie-free appetizer,” says study author Brenda M. Davy, PhD, RD. “It filled participants’ stomachs, so they reported less hunger just prior to eating.” Thermogenesis is the process of heat production in humans. In a study published in 2007, scientists showed that drinking water increased thermogenesis. The researchers found that drinking 500 ml water increased energy expenditure by 24% over the course of 60 min after ingestion.
Apples & Pears
Apples are high in fiber and eating at least one apple daily as part of 5-6 small healthy meals can increase metabolism. Brazilian researchers, studying the impact of fruit intake on weight loss, found that overweight women who added just three apples or three pears a day to their diet lost more weight on a low-calorie diet than women who added oat cookies. All groups consumed exactly the same calories, with a diet consisting of 55% carbohydrates, 15% protein and 30% fat.
Pastured eggs are one of the best protein sources you can eat. There is some suggestion that consuming boiled eggs is the best for boosting metabolism. Eggs are a very good source of both selenium and iodine. Eggs contain all nine essential amino acids, which helps your body to build muscle tissue. Eggs ensure your body is getting the right amount of protein, omega 3 fats, healthy B vitamins, and essential amino acids. Eggs also have iron, which the metabolism needs to function at its best. Multiple studies have shown the chromium found in eggs, which is an important mineral your body needs for blood sugar regulation.
Few foods can make as outstanding a contribution to your daily fiber intake as foods like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale. Fiber is an important nutrient for weight loss and weight management because it keeps you feeling full and helps control hunger. Fiber has the ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help to temper blood sugars by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. Your body works hard to digest all vegetables, which can increase your metabolic rate. Also, cruciferous vegetables encourage active and healthy estrogen metabolism which supports a healthy weight.
Other Foods to Include:
Avocados, Asparagus, Spinach, Nuts & Seeds, Broccoli, Garlic and Berries.
Resources & References
Omega-3 fatty acids | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids#ixzz3I7GECmGP
University of Maryland Medical Center
Abdul G Dulloo, Claudette Duret, Dorothée Rohrer, Lucien Girardier, Nouri Mensi, Marc Fathi, Philippe Chantre, and Jacques Vandermander. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.” Am J Clin Nutr December 1999 vol. 70 no. 6 1040-1045.
Chaiyata P, Puttadechakum S, Komindr S. “Effect of chili pepper (Capsicum frutescens) ingestion on plasma glucose response and metabolic rate in Thai women.” J Med Assoc Thai 2003;86(9):854-60. PubMed
Weight loss associated with a daily intake of three apples or three pears among overweight women. Conceição de Oliveira M, Sichieri R, Sanchez Moura A. Nutrition. 2003 Mar;19(3):253-6.
Boschmann M, Steiniger J, Franke G, Birkenfeld AL, Luft FC, Jordan J: Water drinking induces thermogenesis through osmosensitive mechanisms. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 92: 3334–3337, 2007
Fife B. (2004). The Coconut Oil Miracle. New York: Avery. Papamandjaris A, MacDougall D, Jones P. Medium chain fatty acid metabolism and energy expenditure: obesity treatment implications. Life Sciences 1998;62: 1203-121.
Michael Boschmann, Jochen Steiniger, Gabriele Franke, Andreas L. Birkenfeld, Friedrich C. Luft, and Jens Jordan. Water Drinking Induces Thermogenesis through Osmosensitive Mechanisms. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2007. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jc.2006-1438
Zeligs MA. Diet and estrogen status: the cruciferous connection. J Med Food, 1998; 1:67-82.