11 metabolism boosting foods for weight loss

No doubt a lot of people are today concerned about their fitness and obviously realize that a sure way to achieve this is through eating a healthy diet and regularly exercising. Today we understand that one very important factor that can really help us lose weight and thereby keep fit quicker over the long haul is by increasing our metabolism.

Metabolism in simple terms is the process by which your body breaks down proteins, fats and carbohydrates to give the energy that your body needs to maintain itself. Effectively, the rate of your metabolism is a function of the relationship between how much calories (units of energy) you consume, the amount of calories you burn through eating and exercising, and the amount of it you burn due to your individual genetic makeup.

The best way to increase your metabolism is therefore to increase your body’s need for energy. Changing your metabolism rate is better achieved over time because it is pretty hard to gauge it in the short term.

Interestingly, it has been scientifically proven that there is positive correlation between certain types of food you eat and the effect they have on your metabolic rate. This is generally referred to as the thermic effect of food. As a result there are certain types of food and drinks which can increase your metabolic rate such as spicy foods and coffee.

Below is a list of 11 of these great foods that have been proven to increase your metabolism that you can incorporate into your daily diet as a lifestyle change.

1. Water

Yes, water and you need to drink at least 8 glasses a day and a lot more during hot weathers. Water keeps your body hydrated and is a natural appetite suppressant that also reduces fat deposits and rids your body of toxins. Cold water is also known to increase your metabolism since your body will have to do some work to heat the water to your body temperature.

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2. Apple

The old saying holds true: β€œAn apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are one of the richest sources of soluble dietary fiber with an average of 81 calories with no sodium, cholesterol or saturated fat. The high fiber content helps to slow the absorption of glucose thus elevating your blood glucose (sugar) level in a gentle and safe manner which will help you stay fuller for longer and eating less.

3. Grapefruit

Grapefruit is rich in flavonoids, packed rich in vitamin C and also contains about 15 grams of pectin (the special fiber associated with lowering fat and cholesterol) in an average size grapefruit – with just about 74 calories.

Like most other fruits, the more brightly colored – the more antioxidants and other life-saving compounds they possess. However, if you are taking medication, it is advisable to check with your doctor about any potential adverse interactions with grapefruit.

4. Green Tea

Green teas are light in color because of the incomplete fermentation of their leaves and due to their gentle processing retain higher amounts of their beneficial antioxidants. They are high in antioxidants and contain only moderate levels of caffeine which has thermogenic effects – calorie burning ability.

Green tea equally contains a polyphenol (epigallocatechin gallate – better known as EGCG) which speeds up your brain and nervous system thus not only keeping you sharp but also helping you burn more calories.

5. Blueberries

Berries – including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries and others are packed with vitamins and are rich in polyphenols, including flavonols and anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants.

Berries also contain a healthy dose of fiber, which slows your carbohydrate absorption and digestion. They also improve blood pressure and regulate your blood sugar levels thereby preventing insulin spikes which often stimulate fat gain.

Blueberries are the highest in antioxidant value of the berry family and this has made them one of the hottest topics in anti-aging research. They are a powerful mix of tannins, flavonoids, and anthocyanins making it rank first among 40 antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.

Blueberries have been shown to improve age-related memory loss, cognitive function in the elderly and in general slows down and even reverses age-related neurological degeneration.

6. Broccoli

According to a recent poll by Epcot Center, broccoli and cauliflower are America’s favorite vegetables. Broccoli is an excellent source of the Vitamins A, C, K, and folic acid and fiber. Broccoli is one very filling food item you can eat to your heart’s content without worry about adding an ounce of body fat.

It has loads of fiber, no fat and is chalk-full of carotenoids for antioxidant health and also has several other types of micronutrients which make it the number one cancer-fighting vegetable. Indoles, carotenoids, and sulfurophanes are some of the cancer-fighting micronutrients present in broccoli.

7. Spinach

Spinach is a rich antioxidant that has the ability to lower cholesterol, increase your metabolism and burn away fat. It also provides vitamins A, C, and K, B vitamins including folate and riboflavin. It provides some omega-3 fatty acids and also has minerals such as iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

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8. Hot Pepper

Hot peppers are hot mainly because they contain a group of six acids called capsaicinoids, primarily capsaicin. Studies suggests that capsaicin may actually help in curbing obesity and treating type 1 diabetes as it appears to reduce the amount of insulin needed to lower blood sugar after a meal.

The capsaicin found in hot peppers such as jalapeno and cayenne temporarily induces the release of more stress hormones into the body thus speeding up your metabolism and causing you to burn more calories. Chili peppers on the other hand can raise the heart rate and increase your metabolism by up to 50%.

Hot peppers are astonishingly rich in vitamins A and C, the B vitamins (especially B6), and the minerals potassium, magnesium, iron and have just 24 calories per cup. For a milder taste, trim away the central ribs and the pith surrounding the seeds as these are the hottest parts of hot peppers.

9. Coffee

The caffeine content in coffee can speed up your metabolism. Coffee is a well known metabolic enhancer because the caffeine it contains is a stimulant by itself which studies have shown can help you burn as much as 10 percent more calories.

However, a note of warning is that consuming too much of anything with caffeine in it can lead to jittery feelings, insomnia, anxiety and even panic attack. Therefore, limit your daily intake to a cup in the morning and one in the afternoon.

10. Plain Low-Fat Yogurt

A recent study found that calcium from dairy foods (1000 to 1400 milligrams per day) alters the way our body burns fat, thus boosting the metabolism of fat. This perhaps explains why plain low-fat yogurt is a very satisfying food that not only provides you with a lot of protein, calcium, zinc and riboflavin but also assist you lose weight.

Breaking down the high protein levels of plain low-fat yogurt burns calories and the pro-biotic enzymes also help maintain and regulate the digestive system. However, avoid yogurts with flavorings, thickeners, artificial colors, or sweeteners.

11. Oatmeal

Oats are heart-healthy meals that provide soluble fiber which are well-known for lowering cholesterol levels thus lowering the risk of heart disease. They are a great, long chain molecule food that takes a long time to breakdown in the body and helps you feel fuller, longer. This combination increases your metabolism and gives you more energy.

When buying oats be sure to choose steel cut or rolled oats as oat bran is more susceptible to rancidity. Also make sure to take a careful look at the ingredients when purchasing instant oatmeal as many are packed with salt and sugar.