Eat For Heat: Foods That Rev Up Your Metabolism
Stoke Your Furnace
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Metabolism makes up all the processes that fuel our bodies. The constant need for energy for all the things that make us alive is demanding, and the more active we are, or the more mass we have, the more energy is necessary to keep us running. Eating in general creates a thermic effect, that is, since it requires energy to breakdown and extract nutrition from food, food itself increases our metabolism. That's great, but there are certain foods that speed up metabolism even more than others. Focusing on including these in your diet can really boost your metabolism over the long term, increasing fat loss and improving health in general.
1 – Spice Up Your Life!
Spicy foods like jalapeno and habanero peppers and spices like cayenne can get the heart rate up and the body heat activated, requiring sweat to cool us down. This small spike in metabolic rate is actually used by hot countries to help keep them cool. As counter-intuitive as this might sound, by causing a little bit of sweat from food, you're constantly in a state of cooling as it evaporates from your skin, keeping your metabolic furnace stoked and your body cool.
2 – Protein Punch!
As stated above, all food requires energy to break down, but protein in particular requires a bit above and beyond. About 25% of the total energy provided by protein is required to break the food down and absorb the nutrients. That means a 100 calorie portion of meat will require about 25 calories to process it, leading to a net intake of 75 calories. Not only does this off-set some of the ingested calories, but it also increases your metabolic rate for a while after eating as it takes your body longer to break down protein than it does for carbs or fat. As far as foods that speed up metabolism are concerned, protein is king!
3 – Ice, Ice Baby
Cold drinks in general that have no calories, but particularly water, have a great effect at slightly boosting metabolism. The energy your body needs to return your temperature to normal after ingesting cold drinks makes your metabolism spike, even if only for a short while. Starting your day with a big glass of ice water is a great way to wake up and get your metabolic furnace firing on all cylinders.
4 – Coco-nuts About Coconut Oil!
Coconut oil is almost entirely made of medium-chain triglycerides. This type of fat is immediately useful to the body and a perfect addition to foods that speed up metabolism, providing a quick boost of energy that is harder for your body to store than other types of calories. Pure MCT oil is another source of these medium-chain triglycerides, and an even more potent one than coconut oil. Saute food in it, use it instead of butter, or if you're brave, try blending 1 or 2 tbsp in your coffee with heavy cream for a fatty, frothy coffee that boosts your metabolism to new heights!
5 – Coffee and Green Tea
For most people, a quick pick-me-up is a nice cup of coffee in the morning or afternoon. Tea is a staple the world over, and both are great sources of caffeine, which greatly boosts mood, metabolism, and fat-burning rate, as well as concentration and focus. There's also evidence that daily coffee intake protects the liver and helps prevent diabetes, so grab yourself another cup (just maybe skip the sugar and flavored creamer!)