Foods that Boost Metabolism and Fat Burning
While there are no magic foods that can burn fat, there are certain foods that can help to increase your metabolism.
The higher your metabolism, the more calories you can burn at rest and the easier it will be to maintain your weight and get rid of unwanted fat.
Here are 10 foods that will fire up your metabolism, which will assist in you losing fat.
1. Protein rich foods
Protein rich foods such as lean cuts of meat, fresh fish, eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds could help to elevate your metabolism for a few hours.
When you eat healthy protein sources, your body must work harder to break down the protein into amino acids, the building blocks of protein, that it can digest.
This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF).
The TEF is the number of calories that are needed by the body to digest and process the nutrients in your food.
The research is clear that protein rich foods increase TEF the most, increasing the metabolic rate as much as 15-30%, compared to only 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats.
Protein rich foods also keep you feeling fuller for longer, which can prevent overeating.
I recommend including a healthy source of protein with every meal you eat to burn more calories, immobilise fat and balance blood sugar.
2. Iron, zinc and selenium rich foods
Iron, zinc and selenium all contribute to the proper functioning of the thyroid gland which in turn helps to regulate the metabolism.
The research is clear that if the diet is too low in iron, zinc or selenium then it might reduce the ability of your thyroid gland to produce significant hormones.
This can, in turn, slow down metabolism.
To help your thyroid function to the best of its ability, include zinc, selenium and iron rich foods such as lean meat, fresh fish, legumes, nuts and seeds in your daily menu.
There is a chemical found in peppers called capsaicin that might help to boost your metabolism by increasing the number of calories you burn.
Research has shown that capsaicin can help your body burn an extra 50 calories per day. Another benefit of capsaicin is it might have appetite reducing properties.
The bottom line is that a compound found in peppers could potentially help increase metabolism and fat oxidation.
Peppers can be easily incorporated into some meals, I have personally include them in some pasta and tuna lunch meals.
I am a huge coffee fan and I couldn’t imagine not starting my day without a caffeinated beverage.
I’m not about to give up coffee anytime soon!
The research is clear that the caffeine found in coffee can help to increase metabolic rate by up to 11%.
Some studies have shown that people who consume at least 270mg of caffeine daily, or the equivalent of about three cups of coffee can burn an extra 100 calories per day.
Further to this caffeine might also help your body burn fat for energy and is very effective at boosting your workout performance.
I can vouch for this as I notice improved concentration before a workout and it helps me stay leaner year-round.
Its not just the caffeine in coffee that helps to boost metabolism, the combination of catechins and caffeine found in tea may help to boost metabolism.
Green tea and oolong for example can both boost the metabolism by 4-10%. This could quickly equate to an extra 100 calories per day.
In addition, those teas can help towards immobilising stored fat for energy more effectively, increasing your fat-burning ability by up to 17%.
6. Pulses and Legumes
Pulses and Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, peas, beans and peanuts are particularly high in protein compared to other plant foods.
As they’re higher in protein, your body will work harder to digest them, burning more calories. Legumes also contain fibre which the body can use to feed the good bacteria in the gut.
In turn these friendly bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which can help your body use stored fat for energy and maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Legumes also contain arginine which is an amino acid that helps to increase the number of carbs and fat your body can burn for energy.
Some spices have metabolism boosting properties for example dissolving a few grams of ginger power in hot water and drinking it with a meal may help you burn up to 43 more calories per day than drinking water alone.
Similarly, adding cayenne pepper to your meal might help to burn extra calories, especially following a high fat meal.
Cacao and cocoa are tasty treats that also help to benefit your metabolism. For example, one study shows that cocoa might help prevent the action of enzymes needed to break down fat and carbs during digestion.
Therefore, cocoa could play a role in preventing weight gain by reducing the absorption of some calories.
If you’d like to give cacao a go, make sure you opt for raw versions as processing will reduce benefits.
9. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Once MCT’s are absorbed, they go straight to the liver to be used as energy.
This makes them a lot less likely to be stored as fat.
Studies have shown that MCT’s can increase metabolic rate more than longer chain fats. The bottom line is you should be including more healthy fats with your nutrition plan such as coconut oil that aids metabolism and helps you burn more fat.
Water is crucial for hydration, but additionally it will temporarily boost metabolism. The research is clear that drinking water will help to boost metabolism by 24-30%.
When your drink cold water your body uses energy just to bring the water to body temperature.
As mentioned I’d rather you focus long term on an effective nutrition and training strategy for losing fat and getting lean than thinking any one food is going to magically burn away fat if you start to include it in your nutrition plan.
With that said though by incorporating certain foods into your nutrition plan you can gain the extra edge, help your body expend more calories and thus burn more fat in the process.
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