Take charge of your health. Sign up for HealthyWomen newsletters:
Healthy Living > weight loss
Find out more about:
Foods That Speed Up Metabolism

Foods That Speed Up Metabolism

By Stacey Feintuch

Share on:

Buy one get one free. Spend $200 and get $20 off. Get free shipping by spending just $5. We all want to get the most bang for our buck when it comes to shopping.

The same mantra can apply to what we eat. Did you know that there are foods that speed up metabolism? In other words, what you eat can help you maintain your weight or get rid of some unwanted pounds. Intrigued?

Nutrition affects your metabolism, which is the process in your cells convert what you eat and drink into energy. Your age, sex, body size and composition and your activity level also influence your metabolism.

Here are few foods that speed up metabolism and turn up your body's fat burn.

Spinach
This green powerhouse is loaded with iron. Since iron helps carry the oxygen that muscles need to burn fat, the muscles can burn fat faster. Not a spinach fan? You can also rev up your metabolism with soybeans, Swiss chard and lentils. Our Spinach-Stuffed Chicken recipe can be doubled to serve at a dinner party. Add a side salad for a complete meal.

Chili peppers

Fans of Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisines are in luck. The chili peppers (and spicy ingredients) often found in these dishes boast capsaicin, which provides chili peppers' fiery flavor. Capsaicin raises your body temperature enough to push it to burn extra calories and break down fat. Chili peppers refers to the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, and includes cayenne, green chile, jalapeno, Thai, tobasco, habanero and Scotch bonnet. Hot sauces, such as sriracha, also contain capsaicin. The hotter the ingredient, the greater the effect (though the heat's benefits can vary from person to person). Enjoy this Black Bean and Corn Salad, which boasts ground cayenne pepper, at your next meal.

Fish
Fish is a good source of iodine and selenium, minerals that promote thyroid gland function, which regulates metabolism. Fish is also packed with good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids. They stimulate the production of leptin, a hormone that makes you feel full, so you stop eating sooner. Go for salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring or trout. Get some fish and spinach into your meal courtesy of this Baked Salmon With Sautéed Spinach.

Green tea
Green tea boasts catechins, substances that some believe help burn belly fat. Plus, the beverage contains caffeine, which can give your metabolism a slight boost by raising your heart rate and encouraging your system to burn calories faster. Find out how to drink green tea for weight loss.

Yogurt
Both low-fat and regular-fat yogurts contain probiotics. That's the friendly bacteria that may help reduce how much fat your body absorbs. Cells containing calcium also burn off more fat than those that don't have it. This yogurt-containing orange creamsicle smoothie is the perfect choice for breakfast, dessert or snack time.

Water
Water is the drink that helps you shrink. In fact, even mild hydration may slow your metabolism. Aim to drink cold water, which forces your body to use more calories to warm it up. Plus, drinking water will help ensure that you don't mistake hunger for thirst.

Grapefruit
Grapefruit boasts naringenin. This antioxidant has been found to help your body use insulin more effectively. That helps keep your blood sugar in check and boosts calorie burn. In fact, eating half of a grapefruit before each meal can lower levels of insulin, which can lead to weight loss. Because grapefruits are loaded with water, they keep you hydrated and satisfied, helping you eat less. Plus, the fruit contains fat-burning enzymes, categorizing it as a weight-loss superfood. And because it takes more energy to digest this fruit, it helps you burn more calories. This powerhouse also is a good source of protein, vitamin C, folic acid and potassium. Cook the cod here in the microwave and mix in the grapefruit and vegetables for a quick and healthy one-dish meal.

Learn more about 10 Foods That Promote Weight Loss.

Avocados
Go ahead and enjoy that avocado toast for breakfast. Breaking your fast with foods that contain healthy fats like the ones in avocados gets your metabolism going while maintaining stable blood sugar levels. That helps prevent energy crashes, which is important for weight loss. This green smoothie will replenish needed nutrients for breakfast, lunch or post-workout snack—and the healthy fats and protein in the avocado and yogurt will keep you feeling full for hours.