Cutting calories—that’s the first thing most weight-loss hopefuls put on top of their list when trying to reach their ideal goal. While it’s completely understandable—for years dietitians and nutritionists have said cutting 500 calories a day would result in losing at least one pound by the week’s end—a new study (1) suggests that this pioneering guideline is completely false. How so? Mostly because health professionals never factored-in the body’s metabolic response once switching over to a reduced calorie diet: it’s significantly slowed down, which makes it twice as hard to shed the unwanted pounds. Those with quick metabolisms can burn calories simply when sitting down, that’s how important it is to have yours up to speed.
This means that after you’ve successfully completed popular cleanses like the Master Cleanse and start re-introducing yourself to solid foods, if weight loss is your ultimate goal you don’t want to really focus so much on knocking out calories. Instead, you want to take this opportunity to really recharge your body and attitude about making lifestyle changes—and one of those should be including healthy, low-fat metabolism boosting foods into your diet. For a list of some of the best metabolism boosting foods available in your local grocery store, continue reading below.
They don’t get their nickname “the belly fat burning berries” for nothing. Blueberries, which are already high in cancer and disease-fighting antioxidants, are also filled with anthocyanin. This antioxidant is what gives blueberries its rich dark color, but it’s also what helps boost your metabolism. In fact, many studies (2) suggest that having a diet rich in anthocyanin may just solve the nation’s obesity problem since it also reduces food cravings. Another fruit that contains anthocyanin include grapes.
Watermelon is a seasonal fruit so it may be hard to come by in some particular months, but if you do manage to get your hands on some, watermelon is great at increasing your metabolism and blasting the fat. This is because it contains arginine, an amino acid that works to oxidize body fat and glucose; it also encourages the production of lean muscle mass.
Green tea, which is already a calorie-free beverage, is rich with polyphenols—an antioxidant that encourages the production of the calorie burning neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. Get some organic tea that is caffeinated and get an even bigger metabolism boost. The small traces of caffeine typically increase the body’s temperature and whenever there is a temperamental change in the body, the metabolism gets to work.
Peppers pack the heat because they are loaded with capsaicin, the ingredient that can literally make some sweat. The hotter the pepper, the more metabolism-boosting power it will have. So shoot for the jalepeños and habaneros. But other heat-packing spices like black pepper, chili powder, ginger, and cinnamon can have the same increasing-body temperature effects. So consider adding them to your meals when cooking.
The grapefruit diet fad may have died down years ago but grapefruits are still famously known for helping the body burn fat. While nutritionists aren’t really sure why grapefruit is such a fat blaster, they suspect it has something to do with the fact that it contains high concentrations of vitamin C. This nutrient has the power to lower insulin levels that are produced in the body, which send signals saying to store body fat. Grapefruit is also rich in fiber, which means that it’ll take a lot more calorie-burning energy to break down the fruit in your system.
Lastly is kelp, edible seaweed that is commonly served at Japanese Sushi restaurants or put in oriental stir-frys and soups; it can also be typically found in the international aisle of your local supermarket or in the sushi-making station if your grocer has one. Its metabolism boosting power emerges through its potent source of Iodine. Iodine is needed to help regulate your thyroid, a small butterfly shaped gland in your throat that controls just about everything in your body, including how fast (or slow) your body burns fat. And unlike iodized salt, it doesn’t have the dangers of high concentrations of sodium.
There are tons of other metabolism-boosting foods that can help you reach your ideal weight. The real challenge is finding ways to incorporate them into daily meals. Be creative.