It’s nearly time to strip off those layers of clothing and get ready for shorts and tank tops. If you’re not quite feeling ready to bare it all, help is here in the form of ingredients that you can use to kick up your metabolism. Of course none of these will magically transform you into Candice Swanepoel, but we’ll take any little boost we can get!
Read on for eight metabolism-enhancing foods and how to incorporate them into your daily diet. We’re feeling slimmer already!
It adds a kick of flavor to food and it also helps boost your metabolism a bit. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers and it makes your body produce more heat and therefore burn more calories. The effect is small, but if you add cayenne throughout the day in smoothies, apple cider, on top of chili, etc.—it can be helpful. Bonus: cayenne pepper can also help improve digestion.
A study last year found that snacking on 1.5 ounces of almonds instead of a high carbohydrate snack reduced LDL (“bad”) and total cholesterol, as well as belly fat and waist circumference. With its combination of protein, fiber and good fats, almond butter makes a power-packed addition to a post workout smoothie. Try adding 2.5 (the equivalent of 1.5 ounces of nuts) tablespoons to your next one. Almond butter is also excellent on whole grain toast. Top it with fresh seasonal fruit instead of jam.
In addition to being a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, chia seeds are also high in fiber and protein. It’s this combination that can help you feel fuller longer, which may help you eat less over the course of the day. Chia seeds also thicken liquids, including smoothies and green juices, making them feel more satisfying.
Green tea can kick up your metabolism to the tune of 4% for the day. Pump it up even more with matcha, which is made by grinding up the whole dried green tea leaves and is easier to add to smoothies, juices, and even salad dressing. It’s pretty intense, so 1 teaspoon per serving will do the trick.
With a smooth, creamy texture, it may be surprising to learn that avocados are loaded with fiber. Half an avocado has 114 calories, nearly 5g of fiber and 345 mg of potassium. In addition to all that filling fiber, these dreamy green fruits are also a rich source of monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to lower bad cholesterol and improve heart health. And studies show that when you eat half an avocado for lunch, you feel satisfied for longer, and eat fewer calories later on. We’ll (avocado) toast to that!
Foods rich in probiotics, like yogurt, can have a slimming effect. Some studies show that yogurt with added probiotics helped subjects lose 3 to 4 percent of their body fat. The calcium and protein in yogurt may also contribute to this effect.
Pulses (aka beans, chickpeas, split peas and lentils)
A study found that eating 5 cups of cooked pulses per week for 8 weeks was as effective as cutting 500 calories per day for reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome. Pulses are also linked with increased satiety, lower body weight and weight loss thanks to their mix of protein, fiber, resistant starch and other nutrients.
Omega-3 rich fish
Salmon, albacore tuna, halibut, sardines and other types of seafood are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to being great for your heart and brain, they also fight inflammation and help give your metabolism a kick. For people who are not obese, omega-3s may help reduce levels of the hormone leptin, which regulates fat storage. These fatty fish are also an excellent source of protein, which may help you feel full longer.