We all know that eating too much of the wrong type of food can cause us to gain weight. We also know that some foods can be eaten in large quantities without causing weight gain. But did you know that there are foods that boost the metabolism and help to burn fat?
Some foods that help to burn fat do so by stimulating hormones that increase our metabolic rate. This, in turn, increases our body’s fat burning capability. Some foods cause changes to body temperature, and we must use energy to keep our temperature at the right level. Other foods that boost the metabolism do so because they require more energy to digest.
Including the following foods that boost the metabolism in your diet on a regular basis will help speed up the weight loss process. They’re also good for you, and they taste great, too!
Foods that Boost the Metabolism – 10 of the Best
Apples contain pectin, a component which binds with water, limiting how much fat our cells absorb. They also have a high fiber content, and high fiber foods create a feeling of fullness. When we consume these, we are less likely to overeat. Over time, eating less results in weight loss.
Studies over the years have concluded beyond a doubt that people who eat an apple, thirty to sixty minutes before mealtime, take in fewer calories because they feel satisfied eating a smaller serving of food.
Avocados contain a high level of B6, a vitamin which directly counteracts the belly-fat-building stress hormone, cortisol. Avocados are also full of monounsaturated fat, and fat is infinitely more satisfying than carbs.
According to scientific research, including a study published in Diabetics Care, consuming foods containing healthy fat can help to prevent the accumulation of belly fat. This is due to it regulating the expression of certain fat genes.
Another study showed that people who ate a half a fresh avocado with their lunch had a 40% reduction in their appetite for three hours afterward and a 28% reduction for five hours.
Cinnamon is not food per se, but a calorie-free spice that enhances the flavor of some foods. When added to healthy, low-fat foods, it has been proven to increase fat burning.
Research has also revealed that cinnamon can help us metabolize sugar. High insulin levels result in an increase in body fat. Cinnamon increases our body’s sensitivity to insulin, so including it in our diet regularly will result in us producing less of it. As a result of this, weight gain will be less likely.
As little as 1 gram or 1/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower blood sugar and reduce cholesterol by between 10 and 25%. Cinnamon tastes great in coffee, protein shakes, and smoothies. It can also be added to cereal, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
4. Pine Nuts
Nutrient rich, pine nuts are an excellent source of an Omega-6 fatty acid called pinolenic acid. Pinolenic acid is a natural appetite suppressant as, when consumed, it activates a hormone called cholecystokinin, or CCK.
When our CCK level is high, we are less hungry. Studies have shown that when eaten in moderation on a regular basis, pine nuts can go a long way towards helping to prevent belly fat.
5. Dairy Products
Dairy products are rich in calcium and Vitamin D, both of which are known to build muscle and assist with fat burning. Regularly including foods such as milk, yogurt, and cheese in your diet will boost your metabolism. And, according to recent research, doing so can result in you losing twice as much weight as people who omit them from their diets.
And don’t think you have to go low-fat, either! The latest research has shown that because full-fat dairy foods are more filling we eat less of it and feel satisfied for longer afterward. It is also believed that the calcium in dairy products assists weight loss due to it breaking down body fat.
Other ingredients contained in dairy products, including whey proteins, conjugated linoleic acid, and amino acids may also play a part in the fat burning process.
6. Chilli Peppers
Chilli peppers contain a compound called capsaicin. Found in hot peppers, capsaicin can help with calorie and fat burning by heating up the body. Not everyone likes hot peppers, though.
The good news for those who don’t is that a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, in Los Angeles, has shown that a dihydrocapsiate (DCT), a compound that is related to capsaicin which carries far less heat, has the same effect. The number of calories burned is very modest, but this is still pleasing news for chilli-lovers.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many benefits, one of which is thought to be that it can help to burn fat. While few scientific studies have been undertaken to prove this, many people claim to have lost weight by including it in their diet.
One 12-week Japanese study followed 175 obese adults who consumed either water or apple cider vinegar daily. The participants ate the same food and kept a food diary. Those who consumed the vinegar lost 1 to 2 pounds during the study. Those who drank water did not lose weight. This study suggests that vinegar may turn on certain genes involved in breaking down fats.
Enzymes in apple cider vinegar also help to stimulate the digestive system, enabling it to function optimally. It may also suppress appetite.
Look for unfiltered apple cider vinegar which contains “the mother.” Apple cider vinegar is acidic and drinking it straight could burn your esophagus and damage your tooth enamel. Dilute one or two tablespoons in a large glass of water and either down it or sip it throughout the day. You can also add it to the oil in your salad dressing.
According to scientists at Oxford Brooke University in the UK, just half a teaspoon of mustard will almost instantaneously increase the number of calories you burn by 20 to 25% for thirty minutes after consumption.
Along with adding flavor to food, mustard seeds are very nutritious, containing protein, fiber, iron, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, manganese and magnesium. They contain around 30 calories for every two teaspoons, and they are low in carbs.
For the best result, choose a whole grain or spicy Asian or Mexican mustard that contains cayenne or chili peppers.
Mustard can be added to many foods, not just sandwiches. Try using it in curry and bean dishes and mix some into salad dressing. It can also be used as a glaze for meats, fish, and chicken.
An ingredient found in many weight loss supplements, ginger contains acids that stimulate gastric enzymes and boost the metabolism.
A 2012 study in the journal “Metabolism” researched claims that along with increasing calorie burn, ginger consumption can help to control appetite. It was found that study participants who regularly included ginger in their diets had greater levels of thermogenesis – the warming effect of energy produced when we metabolize food – and were less hungry.
Add ginger to your stir fries and curries and add a couple of slices to a cup of green tea. This will help to boost your metabolism and enable your system to better process carbs.
10. Dark Chocolate
You may be surprised to find chocolate on a list of foods that boost the metabolism.
Eating 1 ounce of dark chocolate three times a week has been proven to help with food digestion. It also inhibits insulin resistance and reduces stress and cortisol levels. Combined, these benefits can help to prevent overeating. Consumed in moderation, dark chocolate’s properties can lower blood pressure, increase circulation, stimulate energy and elevate endorphins, making us feel good.
Dark chocolate contains the monounsaturated fat oleic acid and two saturated fats called palmitic and steric acids. None of these fats increase cholesterol. Dark chocolate also contains essential minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
People who consume a lot of sugary foods can become insulin-resistant. When we are insulin resistant we produce more ghrelin, a hormone that increases the appetite. This does not appear to be an issue for those who eat dark chocolate.
A 2010 Netherlands study published in “Regulatory Peptides” showed that the 12 female participants who smelled and consumed dark chocolate as outlined, consumed less food during meals and felt more satiated after eating.
For the most benefit, the chocolate should contain between 70% and 85% cacao and no more than the recommended serving should be eaten. This is because each ounce of chocolate contains 170 calories and 12.09 grams of fat.
Foods That Boost the Metabolism Summary
By regularly including foods that boost the metabolism in your diet, you will be able to burn additional calories without putting in any extra effort. This won’t enable you to lose a lot of weight on its own, but when combined with a low-calorie diet and regular exercise, it will make a difference.
For more information on foods that boost the metabolism, read 10 Fat Burning Foods that Promote Effortless Fat Loss.