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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

What to Eat to Speed Up Metabolism and Burn Fat

What to Eat to Speed Up Metabolism and Burn Fat

The internet is rife with advice about how you can speed up metabolism. As you get older, though, it’s quite natural for various body systems to begin slowing down, including your metabolism. Unfortunately, this can result in weight gain and excess fat, which none of us want!

There are also thousands of weight-loss supplements and formulas that claim to get your body burning fat faster. The truth is, there is no “magic pill” that can change your body’s ability to burn fat. Much of it comes down to your own efforts in terms of diet, exercise, and self-care.

What Is Metabolism?

Your metabolism is simply the process by which your body converts food into energy. This is a complex biochemical process in which the calories in food and beverages combine with oxygen to release the energy that you need to carry out various activities.

Your body requires energy all the time, even when you’re resting. Dozens of different functions are going on within you that you don’t even think about, such as breathing, circulating blood, modulating hormones, restoring, and repairing cells.

Similarly, your body requires a certain number of calories to carry out these basic functions. This is known as your basal metabolic rate or metabolism.

Several factors determine the speed of your metabolic rate, including:

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  • Your body size and composition – People with more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.
  • Your gender – Men generally have less body fat and more muscles than women, so they burn more calories.
  • Your age – As you get older, your body’s muscle content tends to decrease and fat begins to increase, which can slow down your metabolism.

Can you change your metabolic speed? Well, your metabolism is generally fairly stable, but there are ways to ramp it up a little. Read more about it here: 4 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

What Happens If You Speed Up Metabolism?

When your metabolism is functioning at its best, you’ll experience lots of health benefits. It’s important to remember that many factors are involved in your metabolic rate, and weight is only one of them!

Having a fast metabolism will mean that your energy levels are much more stable, and you hardly feel tired. This is because your body will be efficiently converting the food you eat into fuel, providing you with a steady source of energy.

People with great metabolisms can also stay mentally focused. You are less likely to gain weight and can shed pounds quickly when you need to.

6 Foods That Can Speed Up Metabolism

It might seem counter-intuitive to think that certain foods could speed up metabolism, but it’s true. Your body needs some nutrients to kick-start your fat-burning processes; that’s why skipping meals may not actually help you lose weight in the long run.

The following foods have been shown to help boost your metabolism and get your weight-loss journey on track:

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1. Lean Meats

It takes a lot more work to digest protein than it does to digest carbohydrates or fat. Because of that, experts recommend eating fresh, lean meats such as poultry and fish.[1] The digestion process requires a lot of energy, so you’re burning calories in order to break them down. Studies have shown that protein can increase your post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35%.[2]

What’s more, protein is required for building muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism. Hence, aim to include some protein in every meal and snack throughout the day.

2. Legumes

Beans and pulses are an excellent source of plant-based protein. They’re also rich in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Your body uses up a lot of energy when it breaks down the fiber and protein, and that keeps your metabolism in good working order.

The high fiber content of beans also helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady and prevent those mid-afternoon sugar cravings.[3]

Furthermore, legumes provide iron, zinc, and selenium. These are minerals that your thyroid needs to produce sufficient amounts of hormones. Without them, your metabolism can slow down or become impaired.

3. Nuts

Nuts are another great source of protein and fiber. Research has shown that people who eat nuts regularly tend to have a lower risk of insulin resistance and smaller waist sizes than those who don’t eat them.[4] When you have lower insulin resistance, your body is less likely to store fat or develop type 2 diabetes. Again, nuts take longer to break down, which makes them more satisfying and better for your metabolism.

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Most importantly, research has even found that nuts can ramp up your metabolism. Several trials have noted that nuts provide increased energy expenditure that may help you burn an extra 10% of your overall energy yield.[5]

4. Whole Grains

Whole grains are a complex carbohydrate that consists of a longer series of sugars. It entails that your body takes longer to break them down, so your metabolism is burning steadily for a longer period. Researchers have found that consuming whole grains increases your post-meal energy expenditure by up to 50% more than eating processed foods.[6]

Foods with complex carbohydrates typically have more nutrients, particularly B vitamins. They play a major part in converting the food you eat into energy, which is the essence of your metabolic function. Specifically, vitamin B12 is often associated with weight loss because it boosts metabolism and provides long-lasting energy.

Be sure to choose whole grains over processed grains. Look for whole-wheat flour, quinoa, brown rice, barley, corn, and oats.

5. Probiotic Foods

Fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut help to increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. These bacteria are largely responsible for digesting food in your intestines and facilitating the uptake of nutrients.[7]

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Functional Foods reported that when adults ate about 1/2 cup of probiotic yogurt at dinner every night for six weeks, they lost 3-4% body fat. This compared with adults who ate plain yogurt and only lost 1% body fat.[8]

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It’s been suggested that probiotics change the way the body metabolizes bile acids. These acids are made by the liver and their primary function is to break down fats in the upper gut. If probiotics can influence how bile acids are metabolized, they may change how much fat your body can absorb from food.

6. Caffeine

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant known for helping you to “wake up” and boosting your metabolism. It works by blocking a neurotransmitter called adenosine, which causes other neurotransmitters to release more dopamine and norepinephrine.

This helps you feel more alert and energized, which in turn can allow you to exercise longer. Remember, however, that drinking too much caffeine can also trigger a chronic stress response and leave you feeling burnt out, so you should take it in small doses.[9]

Studies have shown that caffeine can increase your resting metabolic rate by around 3–11%, depending on the size of your dose.[10] It’s also shown that this can help burn fat faster. One study even showed that people who took caffeine-based supplements experienced increased fat burning by as much as 29%. Thus, it has led researchers to suggest that caffeine can significantly influence energy balance and speed up metabolism.

Bottom Line

Remember, whilte this article focuses on what to eat, to really speed up your metabolism and burn fat, you need to make efforts in terms of exercise and self-care too. Start eating healthy with the above foods that I suggested, and exercise regularly to keep yourself moving.

More On Metabolism

Featured photo credit: Jo. via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Lisa Richards

Nutritionist, Creator of The Candida Diet, Owner of TheCandidaDiet.com

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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

15 Most Effective and Nutritious Healthy Foods to Lose Weight

15 Most Effective and Nutritious Healthy Foods to Lose Weight

The food we eat has a clear influence on our health and, of course, on our weight. If we feed our bodies with junk, we can only expect weight gain as a result. On the other hand, by eating healthy foods to lose weight, we can keep our metabolism active and get rid of excess pounds.

In this article, you will discover some of the most effective and nutritious healthy foods. By integrating these into your daily diet, you will be able to lose weight and return to a healthy figure.

1. Eggs

For a long time, we were told that eggs can endanger our cholesterol levels and that we should consume them in moderation. Today, Today, modern research has found that eggs contain healthy fats and are recommended for those who want to lose weight[1].

The big benefit that eggs have to offer is that they guarantee a prolonged satiety sensation, without containing too many calories. When planning the best diet plan, be sure to add them to the list. They can be prepared in a wide range of ways, being dense in nutrients and rich in taste.

2. Avocados

Avocados are not only delicious, but they contain a lot of beneficial substances, especially healthy fats. For someone who is interested in losing weight, avocados should be part of your diet. Did you know that these fruits are rich in oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil?

Avocados also contain grams of fiber and water, which make them ideal for those looking to cut back a few pounds. They can be easily integrated into a variety of meals, including salads and spreads.

Moreover, they facilitate the absorption of antioxidants derived from veggies, and they are rich in potassium[2].

3. Fatty Fish

If you are looking to lose weight, fatty fish can be quite helpful. As an excellent source of healthy fats, it can satisfy your appetite and prevent you from overeating.

It doesn’t contain too many calories, so you can consume it without worrying about gaining weight.

One of the most recommended choices is salmon, but you can also consume tuna, mackerel, herring, or sardines. All of these options are rich in nutrients, including iodine, which is essential for the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland (thyroid dysfunctions are almost always associated with weight gain).

You can see some of the types of fish with high omega-3 content below[3]:

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9 Fatty Fish High In Omega-3 (and Low In Mercury) | Fatty fish, Nutrition infographic, Healthy fish

    4. Leafy Greens

    When it comes to healthy foods for weight loss, leafy greens stand at the top of the list[4]. This is because they are low in calories and high in fiber, allowing one to feel fuller for a longer period of time.

    Leafy greens do not contain too many carbs, which is another reason why they should be considered.

    It is a known fact that leafy greens are rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

    They contain calcium, which is essential for the fat-burning process. Moreover, they can be easily integrated into various meals in generous portions.

    5. Lean Meat

    Just because you are trying to lose weight does not mean you should give up meat altogether.

    Lean meat is an excellent source of healthy proteins and that it does not necessarily increase the risk of heart disease or diabetes, especially if you buy it from local farms where animals are raised humanely and grass-fed.

    One recent study pointed out: “Health is enhanced when livestock forage on phytochemically rich landscapes, is reduced when livestock forage on simple mixture or monoculture pastures or consume high-grain rations in feedlots, and is greatly reduced for people who eat highly processed diets”[5].

    Basically, the idea is to choose meat of high quality, paying attention to the way you prepare it. Also buy local any chance you get.

    Lean meat is high in grams of protein, which contribute to the fat-burning process. It is also worth mentioning that the consumption of meat reduces the risk of late-night cravings.

    6. Nut Butters

    Speaking about sources of proteins, nut butters are definitely on the “yes” list. They contain high-quality protein and fiber, representing the perfect choice for a satisfying snack.

    From another perspective, it has been established that nut butters contain specific amino acids, such as L-arginine. This can improve the blood and lymph circulation, reducing the risk of water retention[6]. Thus, you can finally get rid of that water weight and look fantastic again.

    Not to mention, nut butters are quite delicious, especially when paired with fruits.

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    7. Pumpkin

    When the fall season comes around, pumpkins are everywhere

    But did you know that pumpkins contain a lot of fiber? They are also rich in potassium, defeating the banana in this competition.

    The regular consumption of pumpkin has been associated with a reduced risk of obesity. Pumpkin contains antioxidants as well, which can provide protection against cell damage.

    Imagine a healthy dessert prepared with pumpkin puree, cinnamon, yoghurt, and chopped nuts. Or a delicious slice of baked pumpkin. There is truly nothing better to be enjoyed without feeling guilty about the intake of calories.

    8. Potatoes

    Baked potatoes can help those who are interested in quick weight loss. They contain plenty of potassium, preventing bloating and water retention (sodium-related).

    When you cook potatoes in this manner, you are also getting a lot of fiber, which means that you will feel fuller for longer.

    Always remember that potatoes are dense in nutrients, but their caloric intake changes when cooked differently. French fries are the worst, rich in calories and high in unhealthy fats (increased risk of weight gain and heart disease).

    9. Seeds

    No one would think about seeds as being worth introducing in a diet plan. However, these are definitely on the list of healthy foods to lose weight. They are rich in healthy fats and minerals, including zinc.

    You can consume sunflower, pumpkin, flax, quinoa, chia, and sesame seeds. Take into account that some of these seeds, such as quinoa and chia, require hydration.

    Another piece of good news is that you can integrate these seeds into different dishes, like salads or mixed into rice dishes.

    10. Fermented Foods

    Fermented foods are part of various cultures; for example, Koreans eat kimchi and other fermented foods as part of their daily diet.

    If you are looking to get back to a healthy figure, you might benefit tremendously from such foods. Not to mention, they have the most amazing flavors to offer.

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    You can consume yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, or sauerkraut, as each of these fermented foods is rich in probiotics. These regulate the gut flora, which in turn works to keep you healthy and lean[7].

    When your gut flora is healthy, your metabolism is active, and bloating is not a problem.

    11. Nuts

    We have mentioned that nut butters are healthy, so it makes sense that nuts are just as healthy.

    Among the most satisfying snacks in the world, nuts can definitely be consumed by those looking to lose a few pounds. One can eat almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios, but only in moderate quantities (as these are rich in calories).

    It is important to know that regular consumption of nuts has been associated with a reduced abdominal circumference (as opposed to the consumption of carbs, which does exactly the opposite)[8].

    Nuts are rich in healthy, monounsaturated fats, keeping the heart healthy as well. Just make sure you avoid nut snack packs with added sugar or salt.

    12. Berries

    While most fruits are rich in sugar and not recommended to those interested in losing weight, berries represent the exception.

    The fruits of the forest are rich in fiber, allowing one to experience prolonged satiety. You can see some of the most common healthy berries below[9]:

    Fresh berries: healthy foods for weight loss

      Whether you prefer blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries, it’s worth knowing that all of these small fruits are rich in antioxidants. They provide protection against the damage done by free radicals and, as a bonus, they do not contain a lot of sugar.

      13. Legumes

      Legumes, including beans and lentils, can be turned into the most satisfying meals.

      For someone looking for healthy foods for weight loss, they are excellent. On the one hand, they are rich in fiber and, thus, help you feel fuller for longer. On the other hand, they represent a good source of healthy proteins, which are necessary for an active metabolism.

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      Beans of various sorts, as well as lentils, are rich in minerals and vitamins (especially the ones from the B group). They can prevent you from becoming bloated, plus they contribute to the development of lean muscle mass[10].

      How about a delicious lentil soup for lunch today?

      14. Whole Grains

      Many problems are caused by eating refined grains–these are often found in processed foods, increasing the risk of abdominal weight.

      Whole grains, on the contrary, can contribute to your weight loss efforts. You can integrate quinoa, amaranth, barley, millet and brown rice into your diet, mixing them with Greek yogurt for a delicious treat[11].

      Whole Grains | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

        Rich in minerals and satisfying, they will keep you full for a long time.

        15. Bananas

        Perhaps one of the most popular fruits in the world, the common banana is actually a superstar. Rich in potassium and magnesium, it represents the ideal choice for those who are overweight and plan on going on a diet.

        Bananas counteract the effect of processed foods, helping with the elimination of water weight (salt-associated retention water weight).

        It has also been proven that bananas contribute to the health of the gut flora, replenishing the good bacteria.

        You can eat bananas as such, enjoying their delicious taste, or you can eat them with nut butters, cereals, or fresh berries. Frozen bananas can be turned into mouth-watering ice cream, a healthy version of the store-bought alternative[12].

        Conclusion

        These are some of the most effective and nutritious healthy foods for weight loss. As you have seen, these are easy to integrate into the daily diet and offer prolonged satiety.

        Do not hesitate to have fun while preparing your meals, and remember to drink plenty of water, as this can help with the weight loss process as well.

        It’s never too late to start a new diet and change your lifestyle, so don’t wait to get started.

        More Healthy Foods to Lose Weight

        Featured photo credit: Jamie Street via unsplash.com

        Reference

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