Everyone wishes that they could eat all that their heart desires and still accomplish the goal of having a sculpted body. Life would certainly be a lot more enjoyable eating all the pizzas, burgers, nachos and chocolate chip cookies, and still have a body that turns heads. Unfortunately, no matter how much you dream about there being a zero-calorie, fat-burning, extremely satiating burger, it sadly doesn’t exist.
You can find many of articles on the Internet about metabolism-boosting foods, but the fact is that the majority of these are simply myths made up from random people without any real research to back up their claims. Without any studies with firm results, they are pretty much as worthless as the imaginary burger we mentioned. There is some good news, however. Scientists have found foods that actually have a direct impact on your metabolism and your weight.
So, in this article, we will go through all the garbage spewed on the net by all kinds of “experts” and show you the foods which have scientific proof behind them. If you choose to incorporate these metabolism-boosting foods in your diet you will see start seeing rapid results and you will get more athletic, leaner and faster.
1. Spicy food
If you aren’t particularly fond of spicy food or your stomach is too sensitive and gets too irritated, you may want to think about giving it a go one more time. Provided that you have the will to go through the pain you have to endure in order to see vastly improved results in your fat-loss pursuit. You can read about a lot of exaggerated claims or myths about this kind of food. For instance, there are some who believe it can prematurely induce labor in pregnant women. There are even some who claim that the spicier the food a man tolerates, the more testosterone in him. Does that sound logical to you?!
Despite the multitude of false claims and myths perpetuated on the Internet, there is one undeniable fact about spicy food that might surprise you. It will literally jumpstart your “metabolic furnace” and turns the fat-burning to the max. This happens because spicy food actually has thermogenic properties, which means it increases the temperature in your body. This increase in temperature will also cause more calories to be burned. The substance that makes all this possible is called capsaicin. It’s the ingredient that makes hot peppers hot. The more capsaicin a food has, the hotter it is. There is a scale that measures the concentration of capsaicin in a pepper called Scoville heat units.
The more Scoville heat units a pepper has, the more capsaicin it has. To give you some perspective about this, the average jalapeño has 3000-10000 Scoville units. In comparison, the hottest pepper known to man, the Carolina Reaper has 850000-2200000 Scoville units. The reference point which is pure capsaicin is staggering 16 million Scoville heat units. A study that lasted for 12 weeks found that the subjects experienced decreased fat deposits when capsaicin was included in their diet. The study described the results as unremarkable, but any decrease is worth, no matter how average it is. In any case, try it out for yourself and see if the scale starts showing fewer pounds.
Celery is one of those foods one would typically think of when talking about trying to lose weight or what foods comprise a healthy diet. It is cheap, crunchy and fresh, making it an excellent snack when you feel like munching on something and don’t want to eat some junk food like potato chips or candy. However, celery’s benefits go far beyond the fact that it is a low-calorie food. Celery virtually has no flavor, and there are only around 10 calories in one large stalk. This is not very surprising since it is mostly made up of water. It is actually 95% water, to get more specific. This is why you could eat a whole pound of celery without any effort and still not gain a single pound. It’s as if you are eating water.
Keeping yourself hydrated all the time is extremely important for the metabolism. There was one study which found that dehydration may even impair your insulin sensitivity. This means that instead of using carbs as an energy source, your body will more likely store the consumed carbs as fat deposits. So, besides being good for hydration, celery has another compound in it which makes it excellent for fat burning: fiber. It’s important to note that the body burns energy/calories when it digests your food. This is known as dietary induced thermogenesis. Certain foods require more energy to be digested than others. Studies have shown that fiber is one of those nutrients which the body needs to work really hard to digest.
Despite celery triggering increased caloric burning, it is not exactly what someone would call it a so-called “calorie negative” food. These are foods which require more energy to be digested than what they actually provide. The body burns approximately 2 calories per every 10 calories of celery you consume. It’s not exactly negative, however, it is pretty close to zero. Considering the increased caloric burn and the metabolism boost that comes from increased hydration, you could say that celery is an excellent choice when you are on a weight-loss diet.
Who doesn’t love a well-prepared chicken meal? It might be everyone’s favorite dish. It’s easy to prepare, versatile, cheap, delicious and can be eaten “on the go”. It’s also low in fat and high in protein. Bodybuilders especially like boneless and skinless chicken breast which they prepare in advance, put it Tupperware and combine it with all kinds of carbs and veggies. The benefits of consuming protein have been repeated endlessly on millions of fitness and nutrition articles on the Internet. However, they bear repeating every time. Here’s a quick recap:
- Protein consumption supports building lean muscle tissue.
- It helps sore muscle recuperate faster.
- It is very satiating and will make you feel full longer (and prevent overeating).
- It’s good for your hair, nails and skin.
- It boosts your metabolism.
This begs the question: if protein boosts your metabolism why do we only mention chicken? That’s because, instead of eating a juicy burger which is filled with unhealthy fat, chicken is both high-protein and low-fat which will allow you to experience the full effect of its metabolism-boosting properties. If you remember we already mentioned that fiber digestion requires a lot more calories than other foods. Well, when it comes to protein, the thermogenic effect is even greater. Protein requires more calories when it is digested than carbs and fats.
A study found that eating a high-protein diet will aid you in cutting your daily caloric needs. The same study also reported that it had found evidence which suggests that diets that are high in protein increase overall weight and fat loss compared to diets that were lower in protein. This just one more reason why you should always strive to add as much protein in your diet as possible.
4. Green tea
When talking about foods or drinks that are beneficial for your health and boost your metabolism, green tea is always in the top 5. Every healthy food list would be incomplete without mentioning this potent tea. It’s not without a reason that virtually every fat-burning supplement sold on the market contains green tea. It’s that good. The same as spicy foods, green tea is classified as a thermogenic. It will increase your caloric burn and help you burn more fat a lot faster. Nutrition scientists consider green tea to be one of the main weapons in battling the wide-spread obesity plaguing lots of people in the US and help them achieve a healthy weight.
Lots of studies have shown that green tea’s effects are not just a phenomenon occurring in lab rats, its effects are quite visible in humans too. And when you mix green tea’s properties with a proper nutrition plan you can achieve your fitness/weight-loss goals a lot faster than usual. You might wonder what makes it so special. Green tea contains compounds called catechins. Catechins are potent antioxidants found in abundance in green tea. They have been proven to improve lots of areas of your overall health, like hair, nail and skin health, not to mention that they could also aid in the fight against cancer development.
There is one specific catechin which is especially effective, called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Nutritionists have singled out EGCG as the single most potent compound in green tea which packs the greatest punch. That’s also one of the reasons why EGCG is used in the majority of fat-burning supplements which help boost the metabolism and give a little extra edge when it comes to losing the extra fat faster. So, you could either make yourself a cup of hot green tea, or buy yourself a green tea supplement. Avoid putting too many sugar in it too, as you would want to avoid any excess calories, which may hinder your progress.
Even though none of the foods mentioned on this list will make you burn a significant number of extra calories, in the fat loss game every calorie counts. A bit by bit, all the extra calories here and there will add up. As evident from all the research made, boosting the metabolism is about consuming foods that increase thermogenesis. Whether you chose to feel the burn by literally eating spicy food or forcing the body to spend more calories by digesting protein, all of these methods are excellent ways to jump-start your metabolic furnace.