Eating right and getting some regular exercise, but still fighting the battle of the bulge? A sluggish metabolism could be sabotaging your best efforts.
But you don’t just have to live with it. Because adding a few metabolism boosting foods to your already healthy routine could be the key to getting your metabolism back on track.
Following are our four picks for the best foods to get your stalled metabolism running like a well-oiled machine once again.
Unfortunately a basic misunderstanding of “good” versus “bad” fats has frightened far too many folks into avoiding avocados. And that’s a shame, because not only is the funny looking little green fruit delicious, it’s also a miracle worker when it comes to kicking your metabolism into fat burning mode.
Avocados are brimming with monounsaturated fats. And according to experts the fruit could literally increase your body’s ability to burn calories and fat.
In fact, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that a diet high in monounsaturated fats, like you find in avocados, leads to an increase in physical activity and post meal metabolism.1
In other words, avocados are a true fat burner.
But the benefits don’t end there. Avocados can play a key role in your well-balanced diet by helping slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream, slowing the production of fat guarding insulin.
And as an added bonus the monounsaturated fats in the avocado fill you up, and keep you feeling satisfied longer so you eat less.
Like the avocado misunderstood coffee has spent far too much time on people’s no-no lists. The truth is this antioxidant-packed elixir has a bunch of health benefits from slashing cancer risk to fighting diabetes.
But one often overlooked java benefit is its ability to give our metabolism a little jolt. Coffee’s energy boosting effects can translate into extra calories burned.
According to a study published in the journal Sports Medicine caffeine, like you’ll find in your morning cup of coffee, helps people exercise harder and longer.2 And no matter if it’s slipping an extra two blocks into your morning powerwalk or swimming a few extra laps at the pool, it translates into real world results.
Plus an earlier study found that when folks drink caffeinated coffee they have a significant bump in their metabolic rate. And according to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that boost lasted for three hours.3
So regardless of whether you’re tossing back a cup before you head to the gym or simply fighting off the 3 o’clock slump, coffee can help keep you in motion, and your metabolism humming along.
3. Chili peppers:
Researchers say capsaicin, the active ingredient in spicy chili peppers, can help give our metabolisms a bit of a boost by triggering the burning of energy-expending brown fat.4,
The multitasking compound, which makes peppers hot, has a number of potential health benefits from reducing your risk for cancer to fighting diabetes and pain.
But it’s the chemical’s so-called thermogenic effect that triggers your body to use more energy, and burn through more calories.
Scientists estimate that capsaicin could encourage your body to plow through 90 extra calories per meal. That’s a healthy eight percent jump in your metabolic rate. And eating capsaicin rich foods is linked to lower rates of obesity.6
4. Coconut oil:
Coconut oil has been available for many years now, but because of its high saturated fat content many folks steered clear of it. It turns out they were missing out on a potential metabolism booster all along.
It’s true that coconut oil is high in saturated fat, but 45 percent of that is lauric acid a medium chain fatty acid. Medium chain fatty acids are unique because instead of being stored as fat in your cells they head to your liver where your body burns them for energy.
In other words, much of the fat found in coconut oil speeds up your metabolism so your body uses it more quickly instead of it hanging around building up your belly.
In a study published in the journal Lipids a group of women with big bellies, were given coconut oil as part of a diet and exercise program. They lost significantly more belly fat by the end of the 12 week study than the unlucky ladies who got soybean oil.7 Plus the ladies enjoyed higher HDL or “good” cholesterol numbers, and lower LDL.
If your weight is slowly creeping up despite your best efforts to trim down it’s time to do something about it. Give your metabolism a swift kick in the pants with these four metabolism boosting foods.
1. “Substituting dietary monounsaturated fat for saturated fat is associated with increased daily physical activity and resting energy expenditure and with changes in mood,” Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr; 97(4): 689–697
2. “Caffeine and exercise: metabolism, endurance and performance,” Sports Med. 2001;31(11):785-807
3. “Caffeine and coffee: their influence on metabolic rate and substrate utilization in normal weight and obese individuals,” Am J Clin Nutr. 1980 May;33(5):989-97
4. “Acute Effects of Capsaicin on Energy Expenditure and Fat Oxidation in Negative Energy Balance,” PLoS One. 2013; 8(7): e67786
5. “The Effects of Capsaicin and Capsiate on Energy Balance: Critical Review and Meta-analyses of Studies in Humans,” Chem Senses. 2012 Feb; 37(2): 103–12
6. “Capsaicin as an anti-obesity drug,” Prog Drug Res. 2014;68:171-9
7. “Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and antrhopometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.” Lipids. 2009 Jul. 44(7):593-60
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter and Facebook.