2321 foods to boost your metabolism
Best Foods to Boost Your Metabolism - Photo: Renew Me Today

What is metabolism?

“Your metabolism is what’s in control of your body and how it makes and burns energy from food,” says Melissa Majumdar, RD, a senior bariatric dietitian for the Brigham and Women's Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in Boston and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “We rely on our metabolism to do everyday activities but also to breathe, think, digest, circulate blood, and regulate temperature,” she explains.

2446 foods to boost your metabolism
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Metabolism consists of our resting metabolic rate (RMR), which is the energy our body uses to breathe, circulate blood, and perform other basic functions; activity thermogenesis, which is any type of activity or exercise; and the thermal effect of food. “By just eating, we’re burning calories to turn that food into energy,” Majumdar explains.

Best food sources for better metabolism

When it comes to making a lasting impact on your metabolic rate through your diet, nothing leaves as permanent of a mark as eating fresh. This likely comes as no surprise, but many of the best metabolism-boosting foods come from simple produce.

Ahead, check out some metabolism-boosting foods to add to your grocery list ASAP:

Lentils

2754 foods to boost your metabolism
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Your body needs iron to carry out its calorie-burning processes effectively. Iron facilitates the flow of oxygen throughout the body, which helps increase energy and metabolism. "One of the absolute best foods on the planet for you in terms of nutrient quality is lentils!

They have the highest protein, by weight, of any plant-based food, they are an easy substitute for animal protein in any recipe, and they are loaded with fibre," says Goodman. Just one cup of lentils provides 35% of your daily iron needs, plus protein and fibre, which aid in digestion.

Beans

2848 foods to boost your metabolism
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Beans are an excellent source of protein to keep you feeling satiated — and amino acids, the building blocks of protein, can help preserve muscle mass and thus burn more calories while your body is at rest, as cited by Every Health.

Additionally, the fibre in beans helps to fill you up with fewer calories so you can go for a longer time between meals or eat less overall.

Eating ¾ of a cup each day of beans or legumes was found to contribute to just over half a pound of weight loss over about six weeks

Lean Meats

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Your body works harder when digesting protein than when it’s digesting fat or carbohydrates. Eating good lean meats like white meat chicken and turkey requires more energy to fully digest. Plus, all that protein helps preserve your muscle mass to keep your metabolism at its peak.

Berries

3009 foods to boost your metabolism
Photo: Healthline

"Berries are powerful nutrient-dense food. They reduce lung cancer risk, slow cancer progression, increase stem cell levels, protect stem cells against stress, boost angiogenesis defences, protect DNA, enhance immune response, and more, Goodman says." Eating berries have also shown to have beneficial effects on metabolism, stabilizing glucose levels, and decreasing body fat content, Burdye cites.

Oats

3207 foods to boost your metabolism
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"Gluten-free oats are an incredibly healthy whole grain, providing several vitamins and minerals along with fibre – making them a great breakfast food," Goodman explains. Oats not only keep your insulin levels low after you eat them, preventing blood sugar spikes that signal your body to store fat, but they also have plenty of fibre. As your body breaks down that fibre, it burns calories.

Citrus Fruits

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Citrus fruits, especially lemons and grapefruits, are great for digestion. They’re low in sugar and contain an antioxidant that can help lower your blood sugar response after meals—and the vitamin C helps your body metabolize fat faster.

Hot Peppers

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Spicy foods have natural chemicals in them that fire up your metabolism. "Chili peppers are particularly impressive. They contain the bioactive ‘capsaicin’, which has the power to activate the immune system against cancer cells," says Goodman. Capsaicin, also helps your body burn more energy. Can’t handle red peppers? Even just a pinch of cayenne may boost metabolism and curb hunger.

Oily Fish

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"Two specific forms of omega-3: EPA and DHA found almost exclusively in fish, are likely responsible for its superior health benefits. They have been found to drastically decrease inflammation, increase HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind that scavenges excess cholesterol in the blood), and help maintain brain function. In fact, up to fifty percent of fatty acids in the brain are made up of DHA. Just be sure not to eat fish too often because of the high levels of toxins," Goodman says. Oily fish like salmon, herring, and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Whole Grains

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Unlike refined grains, whole grains contain fill-you-up fibre, are anti-inflammatory, and may be beneficial for weight management. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that swapping whole grains for refined grains may result in a “modest increase” in resting metabolic rate. Study participants who substituted whole grains for refined also had increased calorie loss during digestion.

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