We all know that in order to maintain our weight we need to eat the recommended amount of calories for our height and get regular exercise. But researchers are discovering that there are certain foods that store more easily as fat, and other foods that can raise a person’s metabolism, making our meal choices as important as caloric intake and numbers.
Here are some smart and healthy foods that have been found to raise the metabolism, offering weight-maintenance and weight-loss benefits:
In a recent study, peanuts raised metabolism by an average of 11% when participants made peanuts 500 calories of their daily caloric intake. (Source: Purdue University.) Peanuts are thought to create a fat-burning response in the body because they contain protein, which takes more calories to break down than carbohydrates. Rather than eating a carbohydrate-laden or sugary food with a high-glycemic index, choosing something high in protein such as peanuts can promote lower insulin response and less fat storage.
Known for being on nearly every list of superfoods available because of its high vitamin C content and major dose of antioxidants, broccoli is also extremely high in calcium, which has been shown in many studies to assist in weight loss. Calcium helps the body lose weight by speeding up the metabolism, while the vitamin C makes the calcium easier for the body to absorb. Broccoli is also surprisingly high in protein for a vegetable, and in fiber, which makes it harder to digest, burning more calories.
Speaking of high fiber, apples are a great source of it, boosting metabolism by getting the digestive tract moving and working at full speed. When your body has to work hard to digest fibrous foods, it helps burn extra calories, plus fiber-rich foods make you feel fuller longer, helping to prevent overeating.
The carbohydrates in oatmeal help us feel satisfied and full, but the high fiber content once again boosts metabolism by reducing insulin levels and preventing fat storage. High fiber foods such as oatmeal also help with weight loss by flushing out the digestive system and removing toxins. Oatmeal is also widely known for its cholesterol-lowering benefits, which makes it a wise addition to any diet.
5. Hot Peppers—
Capsaicin is a chemical found in hot peppers (and curry) that has been shown in many studies to raise the body’s core heat and speed up metabolism. The hot peppers work by mildly stressing out your system, causing the body to raise metabolism in response. When your body works to disperse the stress hormones, you automatically burn extra calories. Cayenne pepper is an easy-to-use source of capsaicin, and is also known for aiding in digestion and detoxification via kidney stimulation. This purifying property has made cayenne popular for use in juice cleanses and detoxification diet programs.
More commonly known as beans, legumes such as split peas and lentils will increase your metabolism, but black beans have recently become a favorite choice of nutritionists because of their large amounts of protein and fiber. But don’t write off chickpeas, pinto and navy beans because no matter what your favorite type of legume may be, they all contain metabolism-boosting properties.
All of these metabolism-boosting foods are great for improving digestion, which can speed up weight loss and hasten the removal of toxins in the body. When combined with plenty of water and regular exercise, adding these foods to your diet can rev up your metabolism and keep you going strong as you work toward your weight loss goals.
Jennifer Fox is a chef focused on creating healthy dishes. She loves to write for blogs that share her passion for healthy food. Learn more about the 3 day juice cleanse.