18 Metabolism Boosting Foods

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The best foods to boost your metabolism.
When it comes to losing weight and being healthier overall, increasing your metabolism plays a big part. A faster metabolism helps you with digestion, and helps burn off fat and pounds, even while you’re sleeping. Conversely, a slow metabolism can thwart your dieting and weight loss efforts and leave you in a state of frustration, feeling like you’re genetically programmed to be heavy. Here are foods that have been shown to help give your metabolism a boost and get you on your way to a fitter you.


You don’t want to go too big on the almonds because their calorie content can undo any boost they have to your metabolism. However, research suggests that almonds and other tree nuts can help you out due to the essential fatty acids they contain.  One study found that women who ate almonds lost more weight than women who did not. They also had better improvements in their waist circumference.

The good thing is they taste great, so you can use them as a snack to hold you over until your next meal, or you can chop them up and use them to top a main or side dish. Green beans are one vegetable that lends itself well to slivered almonds. And if you want to liven things up you can get similar benefits from other nuts like walnuts or cashews.


Asparagus is a great food for dieting because of its unique features. According to one study, asparaguscan effectively improve body metabolism. It can also be used to help you lose weight. Not to mention, it’s full of vitamins and minerals. It’s a great side sitting next to a lean meat because of its delicious taste. As a prebiotic food, asparagus enhances gut health by reducing inflammation and feeding the “good” bacteria in your gut. This allows you to absorb nutrients better and stay regular.



Beans are often suggested for those wanting to lose weight because their nutrient makeup is such that they have a very positive effect on your metabolism. One study found that beans possess an anti-obesogenic activity to help you keep weight off. While they may be colloquially known as the musical fruit, they are definitely worth exploring if you don’t currently include them in your regular diet. They make a great side dish for most lunches and dinners, and they can easily be added to soups and chili to make them more robust and flavorful. In the Slow Carb Diet featured in The Four Hour Body, beans are front and center for their slow-burning properties.

Cruciferous Vegetables

The B vitamins that are found in foods like cabbage, brussels Sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and others has a healthy effect on your metabolism and can really start to turn things around if you previously didn’t give much care or attention to the matter. One study found that cruciferous vegetables induces both phase I and phase II of metabolism in humans. These aren’t the easiest veggies to increase your intake of as they can make you gassy, but if you look for recipes that contain them they’ll usually include them with other ingredients that make them taste better than eating them straight.


Celery is one of those quintessential diet foods that you see people unhappily gnawing on in lieu of ice cream and hamburgers. But aside from the stereotype, there is something to be said for eating celery if you want to turn over a new leaf and get your metabolism going. Celery is made of mostly water, which helps flush the body of toxins and reduce bloating. Some research shows that celery may even be a negative-calorie food, which means that it burns more calories then it contains, but there are currently no credible studies to support this. Try dipping celery sticks in organic peanut butter so that you can get some good fats along with this digestive-friendly food.

Coconut Oil

For a long time coconut oil was not suggested as a good oil to use because of its high fat content. Now we know more about good fats vs. bad fats and it’s become clear that there are plenty of benefits to consuming coconut oil, including the positive results on the metabolism. One study found that the medium chain fatty acounds found in coconut oil increases increase daily energy expenditure. It works by activating the sympathetic nervous system Add some to smoothies or swap out your current cooking oil for coconut oil.


One study found that coffee speeds up the metabolic rate in both control and obese subjects, which is good news for anyone who wants to boost their metabolism no matter what their body type is. Whether or not you want to start drinking coffee to speed up your metabolism is up to you. Some people don’t particularly enjoy the taste, but you can add some heavy cream as a no-sugar added treat to make it creamier. Or try drinking green tea. We’ll talk about the benefits of green tea soon!


You might not look at cucumbers the same way the next time you see them in a your salad. There are plenty of reasons why they play nicely into your metabolism-boosting strategy. They’re packed with water (about 95 percent), so they help to hydrate your body and flush toxins. Plus, they have plenty of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber, all with very low caloric levels. You can try adding them to more than just salads. Cucumber slices or sticks can make a nice side dish to a sandwich or wrap, and can be combined with other vegetables in a healthy mix.


Research shows that fruit has an anti-obesity effect on the body. Maybe you heard the debates going on about exotic fruits like the acai berry, or noni fruit. But you don’t have to get exotic in order to find fruits that will serve as a boost to your metabolism. You can find items like strawberries, raspberries, pears, peaches, apples, oranges, and grapefruit at your local supermarket. Opt for organic whenever possible, and realize that it’s a matter of tipping the balance so you’re eating more of these foods than you are foods that can slow your metabolism down.


The best way to start getting more ginger in your diet is to use it when cooking other foods. It’s not like you can sit around eating a bunch of ginger root. But it does add a good amount of flavor, and has been shown to have metabolism-increasing properties, especially when added to food. We recommend tossing into your next stir-fry, and if you use skinless boneless chicken breast, spices, and veggies like celery and carrots, you’ll soon have a calorie burning meal that will hold you over for hours.

Green Tea

Green tea has plenty of health benefits, and shows up as a superfood on many lists of the healthiest things you can put in your body. Research shows that green tea helps stimulate the fat-burning process both during exercise and at rest. If you’re looking for increased metabolism production you might be surprised to learn that the EGCG in green tea is often used by diet pill manufacturers for this very reason. Rather than mess around with the risk and expense of weight loss pills, it’s better to go with the natural source and increase your intake of green tea. If hot tea isn’t your thing, brew a pot and let it cool or pour it over ice.

Lean Meats

Lean meats should be combined with exercise to help you develop leaner muscles which in turn leads to an increase in your metabolism. They should have a good amount of protein to them, with fewer calories and fat than their non-lean counterparts. One study found that a high-protein diet has beneficial effects on total body metabolism. Examples of quality protein you can add to your diet in order to help strengthen your muscles are chicken breast, turkey breast, When making a meal that’s great for your body take some vegetables found on this page, as well as the spices listed below, use the on these lean meats and you’ll be on your way.


One study found that lemon polyphenols suppress obesity by up-regulating enzymes located in fatty tissue. Adding a lemon wedge or slice to your water does more than just make it taste better, it also helps to cleanse the digestive tract. You don’t have to go on any zany lemonade diet or take extreme measures, and it’s best not to rely on lemons or any other of these foods to have a huge effect on your metabolism. But they can all work in tandem with each other, and with an increase in the amount of exercise you get each day, and you’ll see the positive effects soon enough.


Popular melons like honeydew and cantaloupe not only taste great, but are also low in calories and have been featured in countless diet books and programs. Aside from being high in vitamin A, which acts as an antioxidant in the body to reduce toxins, melons are also a good source of fiber to help you feel full.  One study found that melon extract contains antioxidant and hypoglycemic activities. They also induce lipid and fat metabolizing gene expressions to help keep your weight down. Try slicing some up and eating them along side any meal or as a snack in place of something that contains refined sugar.


Oatmeal is a good start to the day for most people. Compared to other breakfast options, it has plenty more fiber, and as your body works to break it down and pass it through, it revs itself up and burns off more calories. One study found that oats reduced the acute postprandial glucose and insulin responses, which can help stabolize your blood sugar levels and help you lose weight.  It has also been shown to lower your cholesterol, so there’s plenty of reason to eat it. Just be sure you don’t have a gluten allergy or gluten sensitivity, or you won’t be able to get the same sort of benefits that others get from consuming it.


There are plenty of spices out there that have been shown to rev up your metabolism, thanks to their thermogenic effect on the body. Up for your consideration are curry, black pepper, mustard, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. You don’t have to eat spoonfuls of these spices directly, but don’t be shy with them, as they can help to add flavor to otherwise bland foods. If you spot other foods on this list that you don’t fancy eating, try spicing them up with the above spices and you’ll be serving up a one-two punch to a sluggish metabolism.


Spinach puts up some respectable numbers in the B vitamin department, which leads to a more productive metabolism. And aside from the direct relation, it’s also good for muscle function. If you’re strength training, spinach will help your muscles recover, and this will lead to a faster metabolism because you’ll end up with better muscle mass which directly leads to burning up more calories, even when you’re asleep. Here are eight creative ways to get more spinach into your diet.


Keep all of your organs happy and functioning the way they should be making sure you get enough water each day. Your metabolism won’t be at its best when your body is yearning for hydration. One study found that drinking 500 ml of water can increase your metabolic rate by 30 percent! We recommend drinking water before and after meals to help assist with the digestive process and flush out toxins. You can take it up a notch by drinking mineral water.

Keep in mind that it’s not necessary to switch your diet to only these foods or do anything extreme. Just try to get more of them into your daily menu than you currently do and you should start to see the results of your efforts. Revving up your metabolism is not something that happens overnight, so don’t look for a quantum leap. Your body needs time to adjust to your new way of eating. But if you’re consistent it will get the hint and start paying dividends.

You may also like our list of 20 Foods to Detox your Body & Mind.

Users Comments:

  • TYR

    My best friend since high school has never ever been fat in his life, even though his daily diet consists of coke, chocolate, and lots of red meat. If I ate like him I’d be 500 pounds by now or dead. I was never born with such metabolism, but if I could actually boost my metabolism by changing my diet, then I’m more than willing to make the necessary adjustments. Does this mean that I can eat like my best friend once I boost my metabolism? 😛

  • Andrea

    Are there cooking oil made from coconuts? I would gladly replace my current cooking oil to coconut oil if they make one. If there isn’t should I try to eat them with salads? What’s the best way to consume coconut oil?

    • Stacey

      Andrea, yes. You can buy coconut oil. I cook with it every day. Make sure it’s not hydrogenated, and buy organic. I get a jar at Trader Joes for $5.99. You can use it just like you would Olive Oil, and you can also eat a spoonful here n there. It does get hard or soft according to the weather… I scoop it out when it’s solid and toss it in the pan.

      You can also use it as a facial moisturizer and as a hair mask. It’s a really great, versatile oil.

    • Robin

      Actually hydrogenated coconut oil, while it doesn’t contain all the health benefits as the extra virgin coconut oil, is what you should use for cooking if you don’t want your food to taste like coconut. Trader Joe’s is the place to get either though unless you want to order it in larger quantities on line.

    • Dakota

      You can actually just use coconut oil as a cooking oil. As well as many other things 🙂

    • Jennifer

      Yea just buy coconut oil I buy the one I use from aldi

    • monica

      Yes they do make coconut oil u can get it at most markets also organic food markets but all cosco’s carry it…. it is also a good hair treatment

  • Blake

    I already drink a ton of coffee, but apparently you have to drink 3 extra cups of water per one cup of coffee, so I’ve probably been doing more damage than doing good all along by drinking 4 cups a day. I should probably switch to black coffee too, instead of drinking the fattening starbucks coffee. Losing weight sucks, but at least boosting metabolism you can do it by eating.

  • Kk

    I just had a baby almost three months ago. Unlike some other women I know I’m having a difficult time losing all the baby weight (given I gained more than average). I’m hoping boost to my metabolism mixed with new workout might help. Of course with a new baby the boost to metabolism is easier to keep to!

    • Rochelle

      Not sure if your aware but it is not until you return to pre baby hormones around third month does the body allow a faster shift to pre baby weight. With 30minite minimal exercise. High vege diet. You will be likely back to pre baby at the five month mark.

  • Leandro Russo

    Great article! Actually, proper food together with hard exercise have a vital role in triggering and increasing our metabolism and facilitating our metabolic functions as well. To this amazing list of metabolism-boosting foods, I would also like add any foods that are rich in Vitamin D. Absence or insufficient amount of Vitamin D in our daily meals plan can seriously hinder our proper and effective metabolic rate. For this reason, we should make sure that eat foods that are good sources of Vitamin D such as any kind of Fish, Mushrooms, Soy Milk, Eggs (the whole egg not just the whites) and Cheese. http://www.lifetoliveit.com

  • Rosr

    I know what you are going through…. I have studied a lot on foods it will burn calories and best exercise routine it helps burns fat quickly. The food on this website will help and best exercise is cardio workouts , boot camp, kickboxing, running, jogging, power walking and weight lifting. Also playing sports like basketball and racquetball is good cardio too. Trick is wrap a trash bag around your stomach when exercise or even around the house and you will sweat fat away. Best fat burner pills Jillian Michaels fat burners and I burn. Also there doctors that only help with weight loss and they can help you too. If you don’t have time to go to the gym but Jillian Michaels workout videos. I love her kickboxing video. Also T25 is awesome and insanity is awesome afteryou reached your goal with those two videos you are rewarded with a tshirt saying you workout with those videos. If you want a little fun zumba video and pussycat dolls videos. It’s awesome cardio and you learn how to dance like on music videos. 🙂 Oh and eat peppers every meal keeps the fat away. 🙂 Good luck!

  • Marland

    I was browsing to find out what foods i could use to help me loose some weight, Im so glad i came across this site. Its so helpful in putting a diet plan together. Im currently about To join A Gym Sept 3 Because Im Obese And I Have To Get This Weight Off For Good. Thanks For Posting this

    • Gareth

      Hi Marland,
      I completely understand how you feel, I am in the same boat. I have also tried many things but my lifestyle is very short of time as is during the week as I am constantly in a plane or sitting in an office (snacking snacking snacking). I am thinking my weight will never change as I am also in need of losing a few kg’s or 35+… its never easy but just remember you’re not alone and there are people out there like me who understand what you are going through. Try to stick with a positive state of mind and I am finding by changing my lifestyle slowly & completely is slowly working (Very Slowly). But at least it is working!
      I have done diets and all the rest of it, but I do know i snack and eat more than I should and I have noticed by slowly cutting back you become less hungry. Cannot blame anyone but myself and I hope to slowly get back to a healthy weight and become more proactive to support others who are in situations like mine.
      CHIN UP MATE! you can do it!
      All the best from Down Under in Australia!

  • April

    hello after having 2 kids I am overweight I had to get C-sections. My husband has to lose weight fast he has surgery coming up. I know I need to lose weight fast its hard on my heart. I know I need to do something to get control of my weight instead of it controlling me. thanks for the article we been doing the vegetables with olive oil he seen results I haven’t so I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I know I need to exercise too but how much to get the metabolism to start burning fat?

  • Angela

    I was exercising and eating less but still not losing. I started using seaweed powder (I put the link in the website section) in my food and lost 20 lbs! I wasn’t sure that was the reason, but I had to stop it before surgery (seaweed is a natural blood thinner) and stopped losing weight. After surgery I started it again, and I’m losing again!

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