Five foods that speed up your metabolism
Metabolism is much more than just calories burnt. It is the sum of all the chemical reactions going on in your body.
Most of us have tried at least some form of diet or calorie counting as a quick fix to boost our metabolism and lose some weight. Most of these diets don’t seem to work because we wrongly assume that pacing up one's metabolism is the same as burning more calories. Metabolism is much more than just calories burnt. It is the sum of all the chemical reactions going on in your body.
Metabolic processes include anything and everything from digestion, break down of fuel/food for energy and building new tissues. You need a good metabolism to regulate your blood circulation and even maintain your body temperature.
So boosting your metabolism doesn’t really mean that you're programming your body to burn more calories, instead, it just paces up every process in your body. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use the metabolism way to manage weight.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
The term basal metabolic rate (BMR) is often used interchangeably with metabolism. However, the metabolic rate is a bit different from the basal metabolic rate.
BMR is your metabolic rate when you are at rest. Metabolic rate, on the other hand, is the speed at which your body is taking up energy at a given time.
Your metabolism is determined by your genetics, age and other factors, so you can’t really pace it up much. On the other hand, your metabolic rate changes depending on your level of physical activity - metabolic rate increases 10% while your body is digesting food; this is why you feel warm after a meal.
Foods that boost metabolism
Though almost all foods will increase your metabolism a bit, some foods can give a good kick to your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories, provided that you add sufficient amount of physical activity (exercise) with it.
Here are some of those foods that you can add to your diet if you are looking to boosting your metabolism:
1. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is undoubtedly the yummiest option for good metabolism. Researchers say that if you eat 40g of dark chocolate a day it would not only boost your metabolism but also improve your gut flora, thus improving digestion. However, milk chocolate and white chocolate don’t share the same benefits.
2. Spicy foods
Studies suggest that piperine and capsaicin — biological compounds that make peppers spicy — hasten body’s metabolism.
However, when it comes to weight management, spicy foods are a bit tricky. They boost your metabolism but they also make you want to eat more. So if you can manage your food cravings, spicy foods may be a good addition to your weight loss plan.
Proper hydration is one of the basic necessities of good health. Experts suggest that drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day would increase your daily energy demand by at least 400 Joules.
However, if you are looking to speed up your metabolism, drink cold water instead. Some researchers say that when you drink cold water, your body uses energy to warm up the water to normal temperature before it can use it. Though the concept is not completely proven yet, it is worth a try.
Coffee increases carbohydrate and fat metabolism in your body for a short while. Scientists have found that a cup of coffee shoots up the metabolic rate for up to 3 hours. Note the part about one cup - too much coffee consumptions comes with its own set of consequences.
5. Protein-rich foods
It takes more energy to burn proteins than to burn carbs or fats. So, if you include more protein-rich foods in your diet, your metabolic rate would naturally go up. If you are a vegetarian, eat more peanuts, soybean, cottage cheese and legumes. If you are non-vegetarian, you can also add more lean meat in your diet.
For more information, please read our article on Metabolism and BMR.
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