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Diet that helps speed metabolism

Metabolism can be an important factor in determining your body weight. So, if you have a fast metabolism, this can help in preventing weight gain. While there are a number of factors that influence the rate of metabolism, there are certain foods that are known to provide a boost to your metabolism. At the same time, there are also some well known foods that slow down the metabolism. So, when you are designing your diet, you will have to be careful to include foods that speed up the metabolism and avoid those that slow down the metabolism as much as possible.
Obesity and overweight problem has become widespread in the world. The following table can help you realize how widespread this problem has become:

Country Percentage of population which are obese
United Kingdom 26.9%
Germany 25.1%
USA 33%
Egypt 33.1%
Netherlands 18.8%
France 18.2%
Japan 4.9%
India 1.9%
Italy 19.8%
Finland 23.0%

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, The World Fact book, 2008

A number of factors contribute towards obesity. Recent research suggests that metabolism can have a key role to play in determining your weight.

Metabolism and weight

Metabolism is the process that converts the food and drinks that you ingest into energy that your body can use for various purposes. Even when you are at complete rest or sleeping, your body continues to perform a number of functions like respiration, cardiac activity, cell restoration, digestion etc. The energy used to perform these activities to keep your body going is known as the basal metabolic rate or BMR.
This BMR varies from person to person depending on a number of factors. Persons with a high BMR do not gain weight pound for pound at the same rate as does a person with slow BMR. This does not mean that if you have a fast BMR, you will not gain weight. Rather, you will gain weight at a much slower rate. If you have a low BMR but manage to boost it through proper diet and exercise, you are likely to see a very marked loss of weight. There are certain foods which are thought to speed up metabolism. Incorporating these metabolism boosters in a sensible diet pattern can help to speed up your metabolism. This can help you to lose weight and to maintain your desired weight.

List of food that helps speed up your metabolism

Here is a list of foods that help to speed up your metabolism:
1. Almonds have several health benefits in spite of being high in calories. Not only do they contain omega 3 fatty acids, but also they help to speed up your metabolism. Because they are high in calories, almonds are best eaten as snacks in between meals. You can also eat cashews and walnuts which give you the same benefits.
2. Asparagus, especially if it is organic, is a great food for dieting. In fact, according to many nutritionists, it is a negative calorie food. This means you spend more calories in chewing and digesting it than what you get from it. The low calorie coupled with boost to the metabolism makes it an ideal accompaniment in all major meals.
3. Beans are one of the main foods that help to speed up metabolism.
4. If you want to kick start your metabolism early in the day, go for a breakfast of oatmeal. It is truly a superfood that is rich in fat soluble fiber. A lot of calories are necessary to break it down. This not only boosts your metabolism but also help to decrease cholesterol level in your blood and protect against cardiac diseases.
5. Grapefruit is one of the most useful foods to help speed up your metabolism. It has very little calories. It also reduces the level of insulin in the body. Lower insulin levels, especially after meals help your body to process the foods more quickly and efficiently leading to a faster rate of metabolism and weight loss.
6. Incorporate wild salmon and tuna at least thrice or four times in your weekly menu. Both these fish contain a number of useful nutrients. One of their major functions is to reduce the production of leptin in the body by almost half. High levels of the hormone leptin have been conclusively linked with a slower rate of metabolism and weight gain. So, foods that reduce the production of leptin can speed up your metabolism.
7. Green tea is truly the superfood that it is touted to be. It is rich in anti oxidants and flavonoids. It also contains a nutrient called EGCG which boosts your nervous system which helps to burn up the calories. It has thermogenic properties which can speed up your metabolism to an extent where you will be digesting the fat even while you are actually eating it.
8. Celery is another thermogenic food that is high in calcium. It is a time tested metabolism booster that can be an important addition to your diet.
9. Broccoli is another great food to boost your metabolism. It is a rich source of calcium and vitamin C. Calcium is well known nutrient to speed up the rate of metabolism. Vitamin C helps your body to absorb calcium more effectively. So, broccoli can have a beneficial impact on your metabolism rate.
10. Garlic has a number of beneficial properties. Garlic helps in blood sugar metabolism. It also helps to control lipid levels. While this does not mean that you can eat lots of fatty foods as long as it contains liberal amount of garlic, it does imply that adding crushed fresh garlic can help to improve the quality of your meal.
11. Hot peppers are one of the best foods to speed up metabolism. Add even a pinch of cayenne pepper to your meal and it can speed up your metabolism by as much as 25%. Hot peppers like Cayenne, chili, jalapeno and habanera not only add zest to your meal but can also have a beneficial impact on your metabolism. They also keep your calorie burn going for hours after you have finished your meal.
12. Protein found in lean poultry takes a lot of energy on the part of your body to break down. Hence, less energy is spared for conversion and storage of fat.
13. Low fat yoghurt is regarded as one of the best foods for dieting for a number of reasons. They are full of protein and calcium as well as beneficial bacteria which help to keep your digestive tracts healthy. They also boost your metabolism. In a recent study at the University of Georgia, it was seen that obese adults who ate yoghurt in addition to cutting calories lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fats than those who cut calories but did not include any calcium rich foods like yoghurt in their diet. It was also seen that those who ate yoghurt lost 81% more fat from the belly area from those who did not eat yoghurt.
14. Brown rice is one of the most beneficial metabolism boosting foods. This is because of the plenty of fiber present in the grain.
15. Ginger is another important food that affects the metabolic rate positively, even after you have finished your meal. The heat of the root can speed up your metabolism and aid in digestion.
16. Acetic acid vinegar can become the next great boon for those who are trying to lose weight. In a study involving 175 subjects, it was found that taking 1 or 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar daily for 12 weeks helped the subjects to considerably lose weight and reduce the waist circumference.
17. Spices like curry, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, black pepper and mustard not only add flavor to foods, they can be a wonder to jump start a sluggish metabolism.
18. A number of fruits like avocado, cantaloupe, melon, cucumber, strawberries, oranges or peaches also have beneficial impact on your metabolism. The effect is better if you go for organic fruits.

Food that slows down metabolism

While the list given above talk about the foods that can boost your metabolism, there are some foods which slow down your metabolism and lead to increase in eight. These are:

  • Refined sugar, especially chemically refined sugar and also those produced from cane and beet sugar can slow down your metabolism. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the natural sugar found in fruits.
  • Fried foods are high in harmful fatty acids and depress your metabolism. If you have to have them, try to grill or bake them and use healthy alternative oil like olive oil or coconut oil.
  • Alcohol, including beer produces a lot of sugar in the blood and also affects metabolism.
  • White bread and refined flour also slows down metabolism. They are full of sugar.
  • Finally, processed and packaged foods generally contain ingredients that depress your metabolism.