6 Metabolism Boosting Foods (plus 3 recipes!)

When it comes to weight loss and speeding up our metabolism, we can use all the help we can get.

Cutting calories and exercising are important, but don’t forget that you can choose foods that will help you lose weight quicker because they boost your metabolism.

“Speeding up” your metabolism means that you burn the calories you eat more efficiently instead of storing them.

You can also burn more calories as you digest food to boost your metabolism, simply by choosing foods that require a lot of calories to digest—and I’ll share 6 foods that do just that.

There are other ways to speed up your metabolism.

A healthy, balanced diet will keep your gut bacteria healthy so you can burn calories better. That’s because an imbalance in your gut bacteria or a thyroid problem can cause a slower metabolism.

Drinking plenty of water actually helps your metabolism too—it keeps you hydrated and helps with digestion.

Even chewing your food longer and better helps!

On top of those tips, here’s 6 healthy foods and 3 recipes that will boost your metabolism to speed up your weight loss and give you more energy.


 

1. Protein-Rich Foods

Protein-rich foods do more than help you feel full and have lasting energy.

Proteins such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds also increase your metabolism for a few hours.

That’s due to the thermic effect of food, or TEF, which means it takes your body more energy to digest them than the foods provide.

Proteins increase your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to only 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats.

So lean proteins are the way to go to boost your metabolism.

Women need around 46 grams a day while men need 56 grams.

However, if you’re trying to supercharge your metabolism, you should up that to 25 – 45% of your daily calories from protein.

You might be surprised to learn that mushrooms are high in protein with 3-4 grams of protein per serving.

Falafel is a huge protein source with 4 grams of protein per cup.

*You’ll find a recipe for it at the end of the article.

Chickpeas, the main component of falafel, have fiber and protein so it stabilizes blood sugar and boosts metabolism.

Recent research has shown that chickpeas can control appetite and can lower your cravings for processed foods.

 

2. Seaweed

One problem with metabolism can be the thyroid, which needs iodine to function properly.

It turns out, seaweed is a great source of iodine, a mineral required for the production of thyroid hormones and proper function of your thyroid gland.

Regularly consuming seaweed can help you meet your iodine needs and keep your metabolism running at a high rate.

 

3. Cherries

Tart cherries could help reduce fat around the middle.

A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food followed a group of rats on a high-fat diet that were then fed tart cherries.

The researchers looked for changes in weight, inflammation, and blood fats.

There was an association between tart cherry consumption and reduced body fat, especially belly fat.


 

4. Spices

Certain spices have particularly beneficial metabolism-boosting properties.

Ginger powder dissolved in hot water and drank with a meal may help you burn up to 43 more calories.

This hot dink also decreases hunger and even enhances satiety.

Just be careful when drinking ginger—too much can give you heartburn.

Cinnamon also speeds up your metabolism and controls your blood sugar control.

Eating cinnamon with a very high carbohydrate food will reduce its impact on your blood sugar.

You can add cinnamon to many superfoods and metabolism boosting foods too.

Turmeric gives a small boost to your metabolism along with many other health benefits, such as fighting inflammation.

Spices add flavor to food, making healthy food even more delicious.

 

5. White kidney beans

Taking white bean extract supplements 15 minutes before each meal led to a reduction in both weight and waist circumference, according to a study published in The Journal of Applied Research in 2010.

Beans are full of protein, fiber, and other good nutrients, so consider having them in your meals as well.

 

6. Chili Peppers

Capsaicin, a chemical found in chili peppers, boosts the metabolism by increasing the number of calories and fat you burn.

This compound can help your body burn around 50 extra calories per day.

Normally you need to take 135–150 mg of capsaicin per day, but some studies have benefits with doses as low as 9–10 mg.

Capsaicin may also have appetite-reducing properties.

According to a recent study, consuming 2 mg of capsaicin directly before each meal reduced the number of calories consumed, especially from carbs.

It’s not always easy to figure out ways to include metabolism boosting foods in your diet. The following 3 recipes will give you a head start.

 

Falafel Bowl With Lemon Tahini Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups dried chickpeas
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ large or 1 small red onion
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon za’atar spice (optional, you could just use ¼ tsp each dried thyme and oregano)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ head large red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves
  • 6 cups romaine lettuce or salad greens

Soak chickpeas at least 6 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place garlic in food processor and mince.

Cut onion into chunks; add to food processor processing until chopped.

Add soaked chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and olive oil.

Process until smooth and it resembles dough.

Take 2 tablespoons of dough, roll it into a ball and flatten.

Place on prepared baking sheet and bake the patties for 24 minutes, flipping halfway through.

To serve, place greens in a large bowl. Top with falafel patties, cabbage, cucumber, and tomatoes. Drizzle with Tahini dressing (recipe below) and enjoy.

 

For Lemon Tahini Dressing:

  • ½ cup tahini
  • 2 large lemons (about ½ cup juice)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, water, olive oil, and sea salt. Whisk vigorously to combine.

Southwestern Breakfast Burrito 

Ingredients:

  • 4 high-fiber whole grain sandwich wraps (10" diameter)
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c no-salt-added canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp pickled jalapeño chili pepper rings, chopped
  • 1 c shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 3 Tbsp jarred spicy salsa

Heat the wraps in an oven in aluminum foil at 350 degrees for 5 to 7.

Whisk egg whites, eggs, and beans in a medium bowl until just combined.

Cook the mixture for 1 minute in a heated skillet over medium heat, making sure the edges are no longer translucent, then stir with a spatula.

Sprinkle the green and red bell peppers, onion, chili pepper rings, and cheese unto the egg mixture.

Reduce heat to low and cover.

Cook until the eggs are cooked through and the cheese is melted.

Lay out the wraps. Place a quarter of the mixture on each wrap, and divide the salsa among the wraps evenly. Fold wraps and serve, or wrap in foil.

Each serving provides 383 calories, 23 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 13 g fat (3 g saturated), and 717 mg sodium.

 

Creamy Ham and Cheese Bake

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup fat-free milk
  • ½ cup 0% fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 oz whole wheat bread, cubed
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
  • 2 scallions or 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 slices Canadian bacon or ham, chopped (about 1½ ounces)
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ cup (about 4 oz) crumbled feta cheese
  • 8 oz orange or grapefruit juice (to drink with meal)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the milk, yogurt, eggs, egg whites, flaxseed, and oregano in a large bowl; whisk until well combined.

Add the bread, broccoli, scallions or shallot, and bacon or ham and stir until the mixture is well coated.

Transfer to an 8"x 8" baking dish.

Top with the tomatoes and sprinkle with the feta cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is slightly browned and the top of the casserole puffs.

Cut into 4 equal portions and serve immediately with 1 glass of orange or grapefruit juice.

Each serving provides 373 calories, 23 g protein, 48 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 10 g fat (4 g saturated), and 652 mg sodium.

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