Despite what you may have heard, the speed of your metabolism isn’t a direct product of your genes. Lifestyle and habits actually play a huge role in whether your metabolism is working for you — or against you. Habits like exercise, eating more protein, and incorporating more warming spices and herbs into your diet have all been shown to give your metabolism a boost. But if you really want to supercharge your metabolism, there’s nothing that will produce better results than eating a nutritious diet full of unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Here are 17 foods you’ll want to eat regularly to keep your metabolism revved up and ready to burn.
an apple every day may do more than keep the doctor away. In fact, a
study from Rio de Janeiro State University found that eating three small
apples a day greatly increases metabolism and speeds up weight loss.
The researchers thought the key to this discovery might be fiber, which
can slow the intake of dietary sugar and make you feel fuller longer.
Apple peels also contain pectin, a specific type of fiber that not only
helps to flush out toxins, but also limits the amount of fat your cells
Asparagus is particularly high in B
vitamins, which play a key role in metabolizing sugar and starches. This
spring veggie is also a rich source of the antioxidant glutathione, a
compound that helps your body to break down and eliminate harmful
carcinogens like free radicals.
This heart-healthy fruit,
considered by some nutritionists to be the perfect food, is packed with
oleic acid, which reduces inflammation. And everything in your body
works better when there is less inflammation — including your
metabolism. Research on avocados also suggests that this “alligator
pear” — as the Spanish originally called them — can make you feel fuller
for much longer than other foods.
Fresh berries contain chemicals
called anthocyanins, which according to studies, may help with fat
metabolism and reduce weight gain. Berries
also help with the release of hormones that reduce inflammation and
lower blood sugar levels, both of which are crucial for keeping your
metabolism working efficiently.
This all-around super veggie is not only high in B vitamins to keep your metabolism roaring, broccoli is also
packed with fiber and water — an important combination for your body’s
ability to burn fat quickly and digest food efficiently. Cruciferous
veggies like broccoli are also high in vitamin C, which helps keep
things moving steadily through the digestive tract.
This leafy green sister of broccoli
and cauliflower boasts the same healthy, metabolism-boosting B vitamins
that these other cruciferous superfoods contain. Ferment cabbage into
sauerkraut to up your intake of probiotics, which also provide a
powerful digestive and metabolic punch.
Not only are carrots high in fiber,
but certain compounds in carrots also help the liver to flush out
environmental toxins and chemicals from the body. This is important
because certain toxins can build up in the body, which can slow down your metabolism and prevent weight loss.
Packed with nutrients and very
versatile, cauliflower makes a great substitution in meals that are
typically high in unhealthy, processed carbs that leave you — and your
metabolism — feeling tired and sluggish. Rice, couscous, macaroni and
cheese, pizza crust and even bagels can all be made with cauliflower
instead of grains. Your waistline and energy levels will thank you.
There is a reason celery is known as
one of the “quintessential” diet foods: it’s great for boosting the
metabolism and weight loss. Celery is a thermogenic food, which
means our bodies burn more calories to chew up and digest a piece of
celery than the stick of celery actually contains. Pair celery sticks
with a healthy nut butter to stay fuller longer.
Hydrating and fibrous, cucumbers are
another thermogenic food with a “negative calorie” effect. However, this
isn’t the only way they boost your metabolism. Cucumber seeds actually
have a stimulant effect on your body, which can speed up metabolic
rates. Cucumber’s high levels of sulfur and silicon may also support the
body’s ability to burn fat efficiently.
Not only is garlic the ultimate immune-supporting herb (it zaps unwanted bacteria, fungi and viruses),
it’s also great for your metabolism. Garlic lowers cholesterol, reduces
fat cells in the body, and is linked to lower blood sugar levels and weight loss. This amazing herb also has a thermogenic — or heating effect — which tells your body to burn more calories.
Grapefruit is well known as one of
the top “weight loss” foods we can turn to when our clothes begin to
feel a little too tight, but not many people know the explanation behind
the reputation. Grapefruit
contains a unique antioxidant called naringenin, which researchers at
the Scripps Clinic in California found to help the body use insulin more
efficiently, keep blood sugar levels balanced, and improve the body’s
ability to burn fat.
You’ve probably heard that starting
your day with a glass of lemon water is a great way to kick-start your
metabolism, but do you know why? Drinking lemon water before meals
lowers blood sugar peaks by about 10 percent, which reduces the
likelihood that your body will store carbohydrates and sugars as fat.
Plus, lemon water helps to detoxify your liver, and a healthy liver
keeps your metabolism running optimally. You can drink lemon water
plain, or you can give your metabolism an extra boost by adding cayenne pepper.
Including raw nuts in your diet,
especially almonds, is wonderful for your metabolism and waistline.
Studies show that when your body digests protein, it burns more energy
than when it digests carbohydrates or fat. In other words, protein gives
your metabolism the biggest boost out of all three macronutrients. Raw
nuts are a healthy, vegetarian-friendly way to include more protein in
Papaya contains an enzyme called
papain, which helps the body to break down and absorb proteins, supports
speedy digestion, and stimulates the metabolism. According to Barbara
Simonsohn’s book Healing Power of Papaya, the indigenous people of Central America traditionally ate papaya after heavy meals for this reason.
This spiky tropical fruit isn’t only delicious; it’s also great for weight loss, blood pressure, arthritis relief and many other things
— including your metabolism. Its metabolic benefits stem from the
unique enzyme bromelain, which helps the body to break down food more
quickly and efficiently. Here’s a hint about bromelain: the core of the
pineapple actually contains more of this enzyme than the rest of the
fruit. So don’t throw it out!
According to a Swedish study, spinach
is a great food for building lean muscle. This is great news for your
metabolism, as the more muscle you have, the more calories your body
There’s no magic pill when it comes
to losing weight and getting fit, but keeping your metabolism working
efficiently by eating clean, nutrient-rich foods like these will go a
long way in keeping your energy up and your body fat down. Other ways to keep your metabolism revved into high gear include exercising, drinking caffeine (including coffee), getting enough sleep, and eating foods rich in omega-3s.