23 foods to help lose weight
Eating a healthy diet is necessary to kick-start an increased metabolism. Consuming certain foods and drinks to increase your metabolism can go a long way. Metabolism is the binding effect of all the different biochemical processes that continue to take place in your body on a cellular level. As humans our metabolism is what makes us function, making it possible to think, digest food, and be active.
Anyone can benefit from an increased metabolism because your metabolism is the powerhouse to the energy provided to keep you going. An increase in metabolism helps ensure your body is functioning properly and makes individuals less susceptible to other diseases like diabetes, which is a sign of a metabolic disorder, or your metabolism not functioning properly. With a low metabolism, you can experience cold, flu, depression, headaches, belly problems, constipation, and weight gain to name a few, besides acne and skin problems.
Increase Metabolism through Diet
It is a fact that a healthy diet is one of the natural ways to increase metabolism. Certain foods that have been proven to change the rate of how much energy our bodies can produce, thus fat it can burn. Drop the idea that eating slows your metabolism. Eating any food causes a rise in metabolic rate. You are wrong to think that starving yourself or eating less is going to increase your metabolism.
With that being stated, you can’t just eat anything. For most people, processed foods, slices of bread, portions of pasta and grains are foods that deter a properly functioning metabolism.”
Switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet is the first step; the second is including some of the best foods to lose weight that increase your metabolism and make a part of your daily diet.
Not just rich in protein, fish is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, allowing it to do double duty on your metabolism.
According to Dr. Prudence Hall, a Santa Monica, California gynecologist and founder of The Hall Center, “Omega-3 oils lower inflammation and blood sugar which helps raise the body’s metabolism.”Aim for three servings per week. “Omega-3 fatty acids help to fight against inflammation in the body as well as decrease circulating stress hormones,” she says. “When stress hormones are elevated in your body over a period of time, they begin to store fat and elevated blood sugar and insulin levels. However, foods rich in omega-3s can lower these circulating stress hormones and turn up your body’s ability to burn fat.”
Eat fat to burn fat? We can get on board with that.
The good news for a lot of you out there is that dark chocolate (70% or higher cacao) can help increase your metabolism.
Raw cacao is one of the best food sources of magnesium which helps to support healthy glucose levels. “Magnesium also stimulates the fat-burning hormone adiponectin.”
As with all sweets, less is better, but a bit of dark chocolate won’t hurt your efforts towards a better metabolism and might even give you the boost — emotional and physical — that you need.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Cider vinegar is great for an increase in metabolism; Mix it with some lemon juice, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of cayenne, and a drop of raw honey before drinking.
Apple Cider Vinegar helps to increase your stomach’s ability to produce hydrochloric acid (HCA).
“What does that mean? Once you are making more HCS, you can easily digest your food and better absorb nutrients.”
Although high in calories (don’t overdo it), almonds contain fatty acids that raise your metabolism.
Protein and fiber are two of the building blocks of boosting your metabolism, so beans, rich in both, are a good choice.
“Dietary proteins take more calories to digest than any other macronutrient,” says the author of “Belly Fat for Dummies,” Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE. “When you boost your intake of protein, you naturally begin to burn more calories each day.”
Trukova agrees. “Consuming 400 calories of protein will require about 80 calories to digest it, compared with only around 40 calories for carbohydrates and 12 calories required for fat digestion of the same amount of food,” she says.
But that’s not the only reason that beans are good for your metabolism. Farley highlights the importance of all foods rich in iron when it comes to boosting your metabolism. “Iron is an important mineral that helps transport oxygen to muscles, needed to burn fat. Iron helps our bodies make energy,” she says.
All fruits are a good idea due to their carbohydrate and fiber content, both of which are important tools for boosting metabolism. But Earthbound Farm’s Registered Dietitian, Ashley Koff, highlights the powers of berries in particular, which she says are rich in “antioxidants, like vitamin C, which helps combat damaging free radicals generated during exercise.” Berries help you heal more quickly.
7. Bone Broth
Sara Vance, C.N., nutritionist and author of “The Perfect Metabolism Plan,” loves bone broth as a metabolism booster, due to its protein, mineral and collagen content. “Collagen supports the mucosal barrier in the gut, which means it is useful for supporting healthy/strong digestion and assimilation of nutrients – which is critical for a strong metabolism,” she says.
You might have heard the urban legend that celery is a “negative-calorie” food, and while we’re not sure we’re on board with that per se, Koff explains that this very low-calorie food can increase metabolism big-time.
“When you chew on celery, you’re stimulating digestion, adding water to hydrate (a key to better metabolism),” she says, suggesting that you use celery as dippers for guacamole, salsa, or peanut butter. You can spice up your dip cinnamon, ginger, or cayenne for an extra kick, both of flavor a for an increase in metabolism.
9. Chia Seeds
Vance also loves chia seeds, calling them “the reason I became a nutritionist.”
“I decided if one food could do this much, I had to study more about the power of foods as medicine and fuel,” she says.
While chia seeds have lots of different characteristics, metabolism-wise, chia seeds offer a few specific benefits.
“Chia seeds are high in fiber, protein and healthy omega 3 fats,” says Vance. “When you have all three together, it is very powerful.”
Cinnamon is fairly unanimous for an increase in metabolism. “Cinnamon contains thermogenic properties, which means when you consume it, your body automatically starts to burn more calories throughout the day.” .
Cinnamon helps the body to effectively metabolize carbohydrates, and also manage cravings for sweets.
11. Coconut Oil
Yes, as counter-intuitive as it might seem, there are some fats that help boost your metabolism. Vance loves coconut oil, calling it her “favorite fat.”
“It is high in medium chain fatty acids – which a more easily converted into energy than other kinds, so they help to boost the metabolism and are less likely to get stored as fat,” she says. “It is supportive of the thyroid gland too – which is essential to a healthy metabolism.”
Vance eats coconut oil plain, but you can also use it as a cooking fat. It doesn’t add a coconut flavor to dishes, so there’s no need to worry about your chicken tasting too tropical if cooked in coconut oil.
Caffeine gives your mind, body, and metabolism a boost, and a much healthier boost than sugar according to Sports Dietitian Lindsay Langford, RD, MS, CSSD of St.Vincent Sports Performance. “The caffeine in (coffee, tea, and espresso) gives a short-term jump to your metabolism, so if you need a pick-me-up, drink one of these instead of an energy drink loaded with sugar.”
Energy-boosting effects of caffeine have been proven to consistently increase the metabolic rate. “Most studies with caffeine in doses of about 100mg per day (1 cup of coffee) showed an increased calorie burn of between 75 to 110 calories for the entire day. This admittedly is not a ton – and it’s comparable with the other foods on this list – but in conjunction with exercise and other metabolism-boosting foods, it can make a big difference over a long period of time.
Many experts tout the short-term effects of caffeine on metabolism and energy-boosting as well. Drinking green tea or caffeine before workouts can promote better fat loss results. When your metabolism is charged by these substances your Central Nervous is more active and you can train harder.”
That being said, don’t overdo it on caffeine – try to limit yourself to 2-3 cups per day.
Curry has a few benefits for your metabolism wrapped up in a flavorful package. Curry combines so many different spices, from hot peppers to cinnamon to turmeric and ginger, which are essential to increase metabolism.
Grapefruit has long been linked to weight loss because it has been proven to lower insulin levels. Its fiber contents are also helpful in boosting metabolism, and its vitamin C content helps your body stay healthy and your immune system work the way it should, both of which are essential to increasing your metabolism.
15. Green Tea
Epigallocatechin gallate is a form of catechin found in green tea and a substance that has been proven to enhance the fat-burning process.
A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea extract boosted the metabolism by 4 percent over a 24 hour period. To put that into perspective, “It has been stated that three to five cups a day can help you burn an extra 70 calories a day, which would add up to seven pounds a year, 35 pounds in a 5-year period and 70 pounds in 10 years. Implementing green tea into your diet is one of the best ways to increase metabolism
16. Hot Peppers and Jalapeños
Any chili pepper you like may help boost your metabolism due to its spiciness. “Chili peppers contain chemicals called capsinoids that have been shown to increase energy expenditure.
It’s not the pepper itself, but the chemical that makes them hot – capsaicin – that does the work here. They alert your hormones and increase your heart rate, make you breathe faster, and force your body to burn more calories and fat.”
In addition, peppers have been shown to help increase satiety and decrease appetite, another potential mechanism for weight loss. After such a hot sensation all you would want is water which coincides with the subject here.
According to studies, one pepper a day is the right amount to make sure you’re getting the full effects. “You can sprinkle sliced jalapeno on sandwiches or salads, sprinkle crushed red pepper onto soups, or use ground hot pepper in your favorite taco recipes. It is actually easier to eat when it is not cooked. Cooked or sauteed jalapenos will really bring out the spiciness of the pepper.
17. Lean Turkey
Turkey and chicken are a particularly good source, since they are high in protein and low in fat, giving you the best bang for your buck.
Protein builds muscle and helps to burn calories since your body is working harder to process it. This makes it one of the best foods to lose weight.” Since chicken and turkey are both low in calories already, the calorie-burning properties here are magnified.
Seaweed’s iodine content makes it a great source of food for increasing metabolism. “If you eat seafood and seaweed, which is rich in iodine, your body will produce thyroid hormone more effectively”. The thyroid hormone is a huge factor in increasing metabolism.
Just be careful not to over-consume seaweed and risk iodine poisoning. Three times a week is plenty.
Spinach, but also any leafy green, is great for increasing metabolism. This is in part due to the high fiber content of leafy greens, according to Farley. “High fiber foods like leafy greens can increase your fat burn by 30%,” she says, recommending a minimum of 3 servings per day for maximum results.
But according to Koff, that’s not the only reason you should be considering including more leafy greens in your diet. “Organic dark leafy greens like spinach and kale provide iron to support healthy blood, which is key to optimal cellular metabolism energy, and calcium to support muscle performance,” she says. All the more reason to stock up on leafy greens.
While many warn against eating too much watermelon due to its high sugar content, Palinski-Wade says that adding a slice of watermelon to your meal might actually be a good idea. “Thanks to watermelon’s high concentration of the amino acid arginine, this delicious fruit just may help you shed more pounds,” she says.
“A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that when arginine was supplemented into the diet of animals over a twelve-week period, a sixty percent reduction in fat occurred,” she explains. “This is mostly due to arginine’s ability to speed fat loss while increasing muscle mass, a known metabolism booster.”
Although it’s true that egg whites are low in calories, fat-free, and contain most of the protein found in an egg, eating the entire egg is beneficial to your metabolism. The yolk contains many metabolism-stoking nutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids, and — most significantly — choline, a powerful compound that attacks the gene mechanism that triggers your body to store fat around your liver. Worried about cholesterol? New studies have found that moderate consumption of two whole eggs per day has no negative effect on a person’s lipid (fat) profile and may actually improve it.
It’s like butter that grows on trees. But instead of the cholesterol, trans and saturated fats in butter, avocado contains metabolism-enhancing monounsaturated fat. But that’s not all. Each one is also packed with fiber and free-radical-killing antioxidants. Free radicals are destructive rogue oxygen molecules—natural byproducts of metabolism—that trigger various chain reactions in the body that destroy cells and DNA, causing all kinds of health problems. Antioxidants in fresh fruits and vegetables can help neutralize some free radicals, but they can’t reach the mitochondria—base camp for the free radical army. And that’s a problem; when your mitochondria aren’t working properly, your metabolism runs less efficiently. Enter: Avocado. New research conducted in Mexico found that monounsaturated-rich oil pressed from the fruit can help mitochondria survive an attack. Researchers say the results jive with low-disease rates in Mediterranean countries where olive oil—nutritionally similar to the avocado—is a diet staple.
Last but really not least is water. Consuming water is one of the best ways to increase metabolism starting point for a boosted metabolism. A study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism that found that drinking water increases metabolic rate by 30 percent.
Increasing your fluid intake may help your body to more effectively break down fat. In addition, even slight dehydration can slow metabolism. The real fact is that when you drink water you are usually supplementing that for sugary drinks that carry a lot of bad calories. Sodas and juices should be replaced with fruits when you have a sugar craving.
Add to that its natural appetite suppression and water maybe your metabolism’s new best friend.
But how much water should you be drinking?
You’ve likely heard 8 glasses a day, but it’s never a good idea to trust a catch-all solution when it comes to your health, as the amount you should be consuming of anything depends largely on your weight and calorie expenditure. Any amount is a good idea and studies show that even 2 extra glasses was helpful. But what should you be aiming for?
I have found through extensive research that in drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of water is the ideal amount of water intake. In other words, for a 180-pound person, 90 ounces of water is a good base amount. Water, a universal commodity needed and necessary for all species. Incorporating water more into your diet is one of the best and natural ways to increase metabolism.
Of course, we don’t want to gorge ourselves on any of these items. Just as important as what you’re eating is how you eat it, and indeed, how you manage the rest of your lifestyle.
These are some of the best foods to lose weight listed above. It should be a nutritional source for people wanting to know the natural ways to increase metabolism. Lifestyle changes await us and its time to eat healthily.