You’ve decided to eat better by focusing on foods that are good for you, so why not take it a step further and incorporate some metabolism-boosting ingredients into your meals? While we can’t dramatically change the body we were born with, there are a few things we can do (and eat) to make a difference.
Nutritionist Kelly Aronica shares some advice for giving your metabolism a kick, while we provide some easy meal ideas.
Turmeric: Full of antioxidants, this colorful spice is also a great way to speed up your metabolism. It’s often found in Indian dishes or curries.
Adding turmeric to this quick Indian stir-fry adds a boost of color and health benefits.
Try using tumeric in stews like this one for a deeper flavor.
Cayenne and Other Chile Peppers: The capsaicin in chiles is what makes food spicy; so it's safe to say that if it makes you sweat, it's increasing your metabolism. These foods also provide carotenoids and twice the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits. They can easily be incorporated into a variety of dishes like salads, soups, curries, and more.
Indian food incorporates many of the metabolism-boosting ingredients like chiles, ginger, and turmeric.
Easy dips like guacamole also capitalize on spicy ingredients like jalapeños and cayenne.
Ginger: Is a great ingredient to use because it has gingerols, capsaicin, and piperine — compounds that boost metabolism (they also supposedly have an aphrodisiac effect). Try ginger tea or cooking with real ginger. The spicier you make it, the better.
In addition to ginger, this dish includes salmon, which, along with tuna and other fish, is a great source of omega-3 fats that is something everyone should be eating at least a couple of times a week for their structural impact on cells. They go into pathways that reduce inflammation in the body, help clear out the bad cholesterol, and help boost the immune system.
A refreshing mocktail that uses fresh ginger for that added zing. Also try drinking a glass of hot water with lemon juice and ginger in the morning — a fantastic way to start your day.
Caffeine: In the form of coffee or green tea, caffeine is an effective way to boost your metabolism. “Researchers credit the boost in metabolism to tea’s catechins, but you probably need about 2 cups a day to have any effect," says Kelly Aronica. "However, you will also the get the other possible benefits of green tea that include reduction of risk of cancer and heart disease.” Coffee, in turn, has been shown to increase productivity and concentration, but be warned that because caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, excessive amounts (more than 3-4 cups of coffee per day) have been linked to nervousness and sleeplessness. One to two cups a day, however, has been shown to be safe.
Perhaps not the healthiest option, but everyone deserves an indulgence once in a while, so why not opt for this creamy, decadent dessert cocktail?
Cinnamon: Raises metabolism and aids in digestion so try adding a healthy dose to your high-fiber oatmeal in the morning! Or, try using it in savory dishes like the ones below.
A quick and satisfying weeknight meal.
Wise words and helpful lifestyle advice from Kelly Aronica:
Another way to boost metabolism is to eat regularly: Meal skipping leads to low blood sugar, fatigue, inability to concentrate, and rebound overeating. Most people need to eat every 3-4 hours. This provides a constant flow of energy to your brain and muscles. Also, don't overeat if you want to stay alert. When the body is flooded with a large meal, the result is a sluggish body and brain. So to keep up energy throughout the day, eat more small meals that each includes some whole grain carbohydrate, fruit/vegetable, and a little protein.
Other than the exercise, no one of these foods is going to be a miracle weight loss aid. But added to an overall healthy diet and active lifestyle, they can help burn just a few extra calories every day.