Metabolism refers to how quickly or slowly a person’s body processes food into energy. While it’s not strictly a black-and-white matter, a faster metabolism is usually better. People with faster metabolisms can lose weight (or maintain a healthy weight) much more easily, since their bodies naturally burn more calories. Such folks also have more energy and may find it easier to add muscle.
To a significant extent, metabolism cannot be consciously controlled. Genetics, age, and sex are all important factors in determining metabolism. However, diet also plays a major role. A person can improve their metabolism by eating more of the following eight metabolism-boosting foods.
- Chicken. Lean meats like chicken have high iron content, which is important since iron deficiency can drastically slow down a person’s metabolism. Chicken is also simply good for overall health, being one of the most nutritious meats there is.
- Caffeinated drinks. The stimulant caffeine has been found to raise the rate at which the body processes calories. However, relatively large amounts of caffeine are required for this effect to kick in, such as those found in coffee. More water should also be consumed, so as to counteract the dehydrating effects of caffeine. Also, watch the calorie count as some of these drinks have so many calories it would offset any boost in metabolism.
- Spicy peppers. Hot peppers get their fiery kick from a chemical compound called capsaicin. Happily, capsaicin helps to increase the body’s metabolic rate. Peppers are also a versatile food that can be added to many different sorts of recipes.
- Whole grains. Foods with high fiber content (such as whole-grain products) take longer for the digestive system to process. This means that the body must use up more energy to complete the transformation from food into energy, which in turn increases metabolic rate.
- Green tea. Besides containing minor caffeine totals, research has found that drinking green tea is associated with an increased rate of calorie burning. It is theorized that the presence of an antioxidant plant compound called epigallocatechin gallate is responsible for this valuable effect.
- Spinach. This healthy leafy green is rich in iron. People who don’t get enough iron suffer from anemia, a condition characterized by pervasive exhaustion, weakness, and an extremely slow metabolism. Consuming spinach will help keep the metabolism up to speed.
- Broccoli. Broccoli is a great source for the fiber that is critical to both healthy digestion and quick metabolic functioning. The large amounts of water found in broccoli boost the metabolism as well.
- Water. Consuming liquids is vital to maintaining a fast metabolism, since lots of water is required to transform food into energy. Even minor dehydration will slow down the metabolism, so those who want quicker metabolisms should drink more as soon as they feel thirsty.
Many people — especially those trying to lose weight — wish their metabolisms were faster. While metabolic rate is not completely controllable, consuming more of the eight aforementioned foods will help anyone boost their metabolism and burn more calories.