When it comes to losing weight and being healthier overall, increasing your metabolism plays a big part. A faster metabolism helps you with digestion and helps burn off fat and pounds, even while you’re sleeping. Conversely, a slow metabolism can thwart your dieting and weight loss efforts and leave you in a state of frustration, feeling like you’re genetically programmed to be heavy. Here are foods that have been shown to help give your metabolism a boost and get you on your way to a fitter you.
Some claim that asparagus is a negative calorie food, requiring more calories to chew and digest it than it contains. While this may or may not be the case, it’s clear that its caloric load is low, while it nutrient load is high. It makes a great food for dieting because of its unique and delicious taste. It’s a great side sitting next to a lean meat. Get the organic kind if available, as this will help keep it a very healthy vegetable to assist you in your efforts.
Beans are often suggested for those wanting to lose weight because their nutrient makeup is such that they have a very positive effect on your metabolism. While they may be colloquially known as the musical fruit, they are definitely worth exploring if you don’t currently include them in your regular diet. They make a great side dish for most lunches and dinners, and they can easily be added to soups and chili to make them more robust and flavorful. In the Slow Carb Diet featured in The Four Hour Body, beans are front and center for their slow-burning properties.
- Cruciferous Vegetables
The B Vitamins that are contained in foods like Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, and others has a healthy effect on your metabolism and can really start to turn things around if you previously didn’t give much care or attention to the matter. These aren’t the easiest veggies to increase your intake of, but if you look for recipes that contain them they’ll usually include them with other ingredients that make them taste better than eating them straight.
Celery is one of those quintessential diet foods that you see people unhappily gnawing on in lieu of ice cream and hamburgers. But aside from the stereotype, there is something to be said for eating celery if you want to turn over a new leaf and get your metabolism going. It’s thought of as a thermogenic food, and also has high levels of calcium to boot. Try dipping them in organic peanut butter so that you can get some good fats along with this time-tested metabolism booster.
- Coconut Oil
For a long time, coconut oil was not suggested as a good oil to use because of its high-fat content. Now we know more about good fats vs. bad fats and it’s become clear that there are plenty of benefits to consuming coconut oil, including the positive results on the metabolism. The only thing is that you can’t rely on just this for your efforts, as it only provides a minimal boost, and it doesn’t last indefinitely.
Whether or not you want to start drinking coffee to speed up your metabolism is up to you. It’s often mentioned as a food that can help you burn calories, but at the same time it takes its toll on the liver, and you should drink 3 extra cups of water for every cup of coffee you have in order to help your liver flush out the caffeine and stay hydrated. You’ll also have to take care not to add a bunch of sugar and cream, or go with a specialty coffee that will have way too many calories and carbs.
You might not look at cucumbers the same way the next time you see them in your salad. There are plenty of reasons why they play nicely into your metabolism-boosting strategy. They’re packed with water, so they help to hydrate your body, plus they have plenty of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber, all with very low caloric levels. You can try adding them to more than just salads. Cucumber slices or sticks can make a nice side dish to a sandwich or wrap and can be combined with other vegetables in a healthy mix.
- Easy-to-Find Fruits
Maybe you heard the debates going on about exotic fruits like the acai berry, or noni fruit. But you don’t have to get exotic in order to find fruits that will serve as a boost to your metabolism. You can find items like Strawberries, Raspberries, Pears, Peaches, Apples, Oranges, and Grapefruit at your local supermarket. Opt for organic whenever possible, and realize that it’s a matter of tipping the balance so you’re eating more of these foods than you are foods that can slow your metabolism down.
The best way to start getting more ginger is to use it when cooking other foods. It’s not like you can sit around eating a bunch of ginger root. But it does add a good amount of flavor and has been shown to have metabolism-increasing properties. Dr. Oz recommends tossing into your next stir-fry, and if you use skinless boneless chicken breast, spices, and veggies like celery and carrots you’ll soon have a calorie burning meal that will hold you over for hours.
You don’t want to go too big on the almonds because their fat content can undo any boost they have to your metabolism, but research suggests that almonds and other tree nuts can help you out due to the essential fatty acids they contain. The good thing is they taste great, so you can use them as a snack to hold you over until your next meal, or you can chop them up and use them to top a main or side dish. Green beans are one vegetable that lends itself well to slivered almonds. And if you want to liven things up you can get similar benefits from other nuts like walnuts or cashews.