We all need energy for performing our daily activities. Energy is required by our body not only for external functions like walking, talking, eating, moving; but also for internal functions like breathing, blood circulation and digestion. But do you know how energy is produced? Well, metabolism is the answer. In simple words, metabolism is a process of energy production in our body from the food we intake. It is indeed obvious that without metabolism, we won’t be able to survive at all.
We need energy and for energy, metabolic activities are necessary. Several metabolic activities take place in our body simultaneously. There are certain foods that have the quality of boosting metabolism. But before proceeding to discuss those food items, let us first understand the process of metabolism.
How does Metabolism Take Place?
The two processes that are involved in metabolism are catabolism and anabolism.
Catabolism involves breaking down of food substances like carbohydrates, fats and proteins into simpler forms which are later used for energy production.
Anabolism is concerned with the use of energy produced by catabolic process. It also involves storing energy for future use.
Catabolism involves breaking down of molecules while anabolism involves building of molecules. Metabolic rate can be measured by calories burned per day. If you burn lesser calories, your metabolism rate is slow and if your calories burn faster, your metabolic rate is fast. Metabolic rate differs from person to person.
What Happens When Metabolism Doesn’t Take Place?
When metabolism doesn’t occur or slows down, many metabolic disorders occur. Metabolic disorders can be a result of any hormone or enzyme deficiency, diseases of liver, pancreas, endocrine system, or other organs responsible for metabolism, deficiency of nutrients needed for metabolism or hereditary problems.
An example of metabolic disorder is diabetes mellitus 2. Symptoms of slow metabolism include fatigue, poor skin and hair, obesity, digestive problems like constipation, bloating, muscle pain, cold temperature etc.
Factors That Affect Metabolism:
Few factors which affect metabolism are:
- Age: Metabolism decreases with increasing age due to the loss of lean muscles.
- Gender: Women have a lower metabolism than men due to body composition and weight
- Hormones: Alteration in hormones causes the increase and decrease of metabolic activities.
- Nutrition: Several nutrients are responsible for increasing or decreasing the rate of metabolism.
- Stress / Emotions: Stress and other emotions can also affect your metabolism.
20 Best Foods That Boost Your Metabolism:
Given below are twenty foods which boost up the metabolic rate. But, it is advisable to avoid over- consumption. They might interact with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and other medications, leading to health issues. It is better to consult your healthcare provider before their intake to boost metabolism.
1. Green Tea:
We all know that green tea is a healthy drink and it plays a key role in boosting the metabolism. You should add it in your drinks more often. Its metabolism boosting quality can be attributed to the presence of catechin polyphenols. It has zero calories, contains vitamin A, vitamin E, Vitamin C and Vitamin B and is a good source of manganese. Being a powerful antioxidant, it eliminates free radicals from the body. It decreases appetite. It prevents heart diseases by preventing blood clotting, decreasing bad cholesterol levels and increasing good cholesterol level. It also controls blood pressure. It slows down the ageing process, fights cancer and its anti-bacterial property prevents bacterial infections and diseases.
2. Egg Whites:
The amino acids in egg white help in boosting the metabolism. If you are watching your weight, you can use only egg white to make omelette. Egg white has no fat, calories or cholesterol. It is an excellent source of protein which builds and repairs tissues. Protein is considered as building blocks of bones, muscles and cells. Egg white is also a good source of vitamin B2, which helps in metabolic activities and energy formation. Protein in egg whites boosts immune system.
Avocado is undoubtedly a highly nutritious fruit. It is a good source of l-carnitite which helps in boosting metabolism. It contains vital vitamins like Vitamin K, Vitamins B9, B6 and B5 and vitamin C. It also contains important minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. The high amount of fiber in the fruit aids digestion. Its antioxidant property helps remove free radicals from the body. Other health benefits of avocado include lowering blood cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, prevention of heart diseases, reducing inflammation, prevention of ageing etc.
Besides being a healthy fruit, lemon is a natural detoxifier. It detoxifies liver, which helps in enhancing metabolic activities. Like most citrus fruits, lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C which offers several health benefits. It increases immunity, prevents ageing, reduces stress, fights heart diseases and prevents asthma and diabetes. It is good for hair and skin too. Lemon’s anti-oxidant property fights cancer and atherosclerosis. Its anti-bacterial property kills infectious bacteria. Hence, lemon intake can help you in combating several health problems besides improving metabolism. This is the reason why lemon juice is often used as part of a weight loss regime.
A bowl of oatmeal is probably the healthiest breakfast you can have. It helps in raising the metabolic rate. Oatmeal has a high content of fiber, which aids digestion. The high amount of protein in it helps in muscle and bone formation. It is low in calories and fat. Vitamins present in oatmeal include Vitamins B1, B5 and B6, and vitamin E. It is also rich in minerals like phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.
Its antioxidant property facilitates the removal of free radicals from the body thus preventing diseases like heart failure, premature ageing etc. Regular consumption of oatmeal decreases bad cholesterol levels, controls blood pressure and prevents asthma in kids. Beta -glucan in oatmeal controls blood sugar levels, prevents diabetes and increases immunity.
Incorporating ginger in your diet is another best way of boosting your metabolism. It can boost metabolic rate by up to 20% in three hours. Ginger has anti- inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It reduces stress and improves immunity, thanks to its antioxidant property. It prevents heart diseases, reduces menstrual cramps and treats cold and flu, morning sickness and travel sickness. Its anti-inflammatory property relieves arthritis pain and migraine by reducing inflammation. However, over-consumption of ginger should be avoided as it causes heartburns and indigestion. It can also interact with diabetes, blood thinning and high blood pressure medications.
Like most leafy veggies, lettuce has a good nutrient content. It is low in calories but high in vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin B and Vitamin K. Minerals present in lettuce include manganese, iron, potassium and calcium. Lettuce has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and antioxidant properties. It has high water content which rehydrates our body. The antioxidant property helps fight diseases like cancer. It is a good source of fiber which promotes digestion. It helps in treating insomnia also. Folic acid in lettuce prevents birth defects as well.
Almond is one of the most nutritious nuts. It contains fatty acids which help in increasing metabolism. It is high in fat and calories content. It has a good amount of dietary fiber. It is a rich source of vitamin E which strengthens the immune system. The antioxidant properties aid in the removal of free radicals and toxins from the body. It is good for skin and hair. Minerals present in almonds are potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and iron. Almonds reduce risk of heart attack and lower bad cholesterol. The phosphorus content in them makes bones and teeth strong and speeds up energy production by increasing metabolic rate.And the high fibre content treats constipation and indigestion.
The amazing combination of calcium and vitamin C is what makes broccoli a great metabolism booster. Broccoli is low in calories and saturated fat but high in fiber. It is an excellent source of vitamin C which is a powerful natural antioxidant. It also contains vitamin K and Vitamin A in good amount. Minerals present in broccoli are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Broccoli consumption reduces the risk of cancer, prevents heart problems, strengthens bones and reduces cholesterol. Broccoli possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancerous and antioxidant properties.
Spinach is a super-food with endless health benefits. It is low in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol. It is an excellent source of vitamin K which is important for bone health. It also has a good amount of vitamin A which is beneficial for eye sight. It is a good source of minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc. Consumption of spinach prevents cancer, strengthens bones, lowers blood pressure and combats cardiovascular disease and stroke. It has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancerous properties.
Watermelon has a low calorie and fat content, but a high content of water and electrolyte. It is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and manganese. Its antioxidant property fights premature ageing, thus making this dark green leafy veggie beneficial for your skin. Its anti-cancerous property can be attributed to the presence of Lycopene in it. It lowers blood pressure, prevents heart strokes, improves eyesight and prevents kidney disorder by cleansing the toxic substances.
12. Chili Peppers:
Chili peppers contain lots of nutrients. They can really speed up your metabolism. They are a good source of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Chili peppers are also rich in vitamin C which has many health benefits. Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is beneficial for skin and hair and strengthens immunity. Chili peppers help in burning calories. Their anti-infectious property fights infections.
Cucumber has a high content of water. It comprises of about 96% water. It is low in calories, but contains alkaline minerals, which help in maintaining pH balance. Even the skin of cucumber contains good amount of dietary fibre and vitamins A, K and C. Vitamin A and C are antioxidants. which eliminate toxic substances from the body and hence, prevent several health issues. The high water content of cucumber rehydrates your body.
Strawberries are delicious and beneficial to health. They are low in calories but high in fibre. They have a high content of vitamin C and manganese. Flavonoids in strawberries reduce the risk of heart diseases and improve memory. Strawberries have antioxidant property which helps in preventing cancer and other diseases. The high content of vitamin C boosts immunity and is good for skin and hair. Strawberries also contain fibre, which helps in digestion and stimulates bowel movement.
Coffee is generally not considered a healthy drink because of its high content of caffeine. But it is a great metabolism booster. Coffee is a good source of antioxidants, which eliminate toxic substances from the body. Regular consumption increases energy level, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and helps in reducing depression.
Tomatoes have zero cholesterol and are low in calories and fat. Tomatoes have powerful antioxidant properties as they contain Lycopene and vitamin C. Tomatoes contain a good amount of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Antioxidants in tomatoes prevent cancer , decrease the risk of heart diseases, reduce cholesterol, strengthen the immune system, prevent ageing, combat osteoporosis (weak bones) and protect your skin from sun damage.
We often use garlic in cooking because of its characteristic flavor. Garlic is rich vitamin B6 and vitamin C content. It also contains minerals like copper, iron, calcium, manganese and phosphorus. Garlic helps in breaking down fat and increasing metabolism. Consumption of garlic prevents skin problems like acne, blemishes and blackheads, increases immunity and prevents cancer. It also helps in weight gain when the child is in womb. It possesses anti-biotic property which combats infections caused by fungi, bacteria, virus and parasites.
Asparagus is low in calories, but has a good amount of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C and Vitamin E. It is also a good source of minerals like potassium, phosphorus and calcium. It has some flavonoid compounds which make it a good antioxidant. It is a natural diuretic (promotes urination). It prevents colon, breast and lung cancers, ageing, kidney and bladder stones. It is also good for treating indigestion.
It is a common saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This quality can be primarily attributed to its health benefits. Apple contains low cholesterol, calories and fat. Apples have powerful antioxidant properties due to the presence of flavonoids like quercetin, epicatechin, procyanidin B2 and vitamin C. Consumption of apple prevents Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduces the risk of all types of cancers and diabetes, prevents heart diseases, detoxifes liver, increases immunity and prevents cataracts. Pectin found in apple helps in increasing metabolism.
Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A. No doubt they are really good for eyesight. Carrot also contains Vitamin K and Vitamin C. It is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. The antioxidants present in carrot help in fighting cancer cells and prevent their growth. Carrot helps in cleansing the body by removing toxic substances. Consumption of carrots during pregnancy reduces the risk of miscarriage and prevents fetal infections. It helps in digestion, and stimulates bowel movements. It increases metabolism by detoxifying liver.
Along with the above foods, you need to include exercise in your daily life to stabilize the metabolism. Did you like the article? So, from now on, will they be included in your regular food list? Share your comments with us.