We all know people who can eat everything and still stay thin. You might wonder what their secret is. Maybe there are foods or beverages that can speed up our metabolism?
The answer is that, while there are no “magic bullets”—foods or drinks that will make us burn lots of calories and lose weight—there are foods that help this process.
Much of our metabolism is dictated by our genes, gender, and age, and these we can’t change. But we can change how we exercise and what we eat and drink. Certain foods require more energy expenditure to digest and process, which helps speed our metabolism. And some foods contain chemical components that stimulate our system.
Foods and drink that boost metabolism
This heats up our metabolism for two reasons. First, green tea contains a high concentration of anti-oxidant polyphenols and especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), shown to intensify fat-burning. Second, the modest amount of caffeine in green tea stimulates as well. Black tea will work somewhat, but not as well as green tea, since green tea has a much higher EGCG content.
The main benefit of coffee for metabolism is the caffeine which speeds many our body processes. While coffee is full of anti-oxidants, it lacks EGCG, so green tea is probably a better fat burner. Consider combining the two; drinking the higher caffeine containing coffee in the morning, and green tea later in the day and perhaps at night.
Cayenne pepper has been touted as the best, but any chili pepper containing capsaicin will work. Capsaicin may help curb appetite as an added benefit. Ginger may boost metabolism too, but not as strongly as capsaicin.
High-protein foods such as lean beef, salmon, tuna, lean chicken, eggs, nuts, whey, and lentils are good because protein takes the most work for your body to process. Twenty to thirty percent of protein calories are used to digest and metabolize the food (thermogenesis), compared to only 3 to 10 percent of calories devoted to thermogenesis from carbohydrates and fat.
Proteins contain amino acids— the building blocks of our muscles, and the more muscle you have, the faster will be your metabolism. Muscle takes more energy to function, so it burns more calories than fat cells. Also the iron in many proteins gives an additional metabolism stimulus.
Calcium is involved in most all metabolic pathways. High-calcium foods, like dairy, stimulates these processes. When combined with Vitamin D (such as in eggs), we absorb calcium better.
If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism slows. Drinking lots of water throughout the day boosts your metabolic rate significantly.
White bread and white pasta are made from grains that are already processed—we might say they are “pre-digested” for you. So your body doesn’t have to do much work to incorporate them into your system. They are absorbed quickly and easily converted to sugar in your blood. So besides being healthier for you for other reasons, whole, non-processed grains make your body work harder when they are digested, so you burn more calories in the process.
In conclusion, while eating these foods will not work miracles to help you keep your weight under control, emphasizing them will help. Don’t forget though the importance of simply moving, rather than sitting. Every extra movement burns calories.
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