Those who suffer from the problem of overweight, obesity and other situations related to body fat know that losing weight and, especially, re-educating themselves is a great challenge. But the good news is that there are some foods that speed up the metabolism and that can help in the weight loss process, making it easier to burn fat and calories.
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List of 5 Foods That Speed Up Metabolism
According to nutritionist specialized in sports nutrition, Laila Figueira, all foods use energy to be digested. However, some spend more than others, increasing body temperature and speeding up metabolism, ie, burning more calories. Check below some of these foods, called thermogenic, selected by the nutritionist that can help in this process:
1- Green tea
It is used due to the presence of catechins and caffeine, substances known to help reduce fat.
Green tea consumption recommendations :
- Infusion of leaves for 5 minutes: Boil 300 ml of water and turn off the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the green tea leaf and leave covered for 5 minutes. Strain and serve.
- The extraction of catechins from industrialized tea sachets is much lower than from leaves. So, if you are going to use that tea bag that comes in the box, you will need about 2 to 3 sachets per dose.
- Canned ready tea, no way! It comes full of chemicals and has no thermogenic effect.
- It is not recommended to add sugar, sweetener, honey or any other type of sweetener to teas. Thus, we were able to keep the compounds active.
- Caution: green tea is not recommended for pregnant women, individuals with hypothyroidism, kidney problems, heart problems and caffeine intolerant people.
In ginger there is a substance called gingerol, which is an excellent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Therefore, in addition to being thermogenic, it is also responsible for several health benefits.
- As ginger is a root, it is not enough just to infuse the tea. A decoction should be made: add 1 tablespoon of grated or finely cut ginger in 300 ml of water. Boil for 5 minutes (more than that it loses its properties) and leave covered for 5 minutes. Strain and serve.
- It can also be used as a seasoning for salads, sautéed vegetables and added to juices to give a special flavor.
3- Red pepper
The thermogenic effect is mainly attributed to capsaicin, a bioactive compound present in red pepper, which helps to speed up metabolism.
- It can be used in the preparation of meat and fish, added to scrambled eggs , soups, salads or boiled vegetables.
- Pay attention to industrialized pepper sauces, as they have a large amount of sodium and preservatives. An alternative is homemade or homemade sauces.
- Those who have ulcers, gastritis or hemorrhoids cannot abuse pepper.
Popularly known as turmeric or turmeric, it has a yellowish color due to a natural pigment, curcumin, which is responsible for the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action of turmeric . It also increases thermogenesis, helping to burn fat.
Saffron consumption recommendations :
- You can use fresh or powdered root. Combines with red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, rice, sauces, soups, salads and cooked vegetables.
- As turmeric is a fat-soluble substance, that is, it is fat-soluble, it needs to be ingested within a meal that has fat in order to be absorbed.
- Another important tip is that pepper helps improve turmeric absorption. So, combining these two thermogenics in the same meal will only bring benefits.
One of the properties of cinnamon is to help improve insulin resistance. This is a problem that occurs when this hormone is circulating in excess in the body and fails to act correctly, causing blood glucose levels to increase, as well as fat stores. Therefore, cinnamon can also help with weight loss.
- Cinnamon powder can be used to sprinkle fruit, yogurt and preparations such as pancakes. It can also be added to hot beverages such as coffee, enhancing thermogenesis.
- For tea , cinnamon sticks are used through decoction (extraction of the active ingredient from cinnamon through boiling).
- Cinnamon sticks can also be used to make flavored water, helping those who have difficulty drinking plain water.
- It is important to remember that cinnamon is contraindicated in pregnancy.
But what exactly is metabolism?
According to Laila Figueira, metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) that the body consumes to stay alive. “Even when a person is at rest, considerable energy is needed to carry out all the chemical reactions in the body. This minimum level of energy needed for existence is known as the ‘basal metabolic rate’, she explains.
Also according to the specialist, each person’s metabolic rate is largely determined by genetic characteristics, which can vary according to sex, age, weight and height. “Some people have a slower metabolism, which makes weight loss difficult, however, it is possible to increase the metabolic rate through diet and physical activity. The faster the metabolism, the greater the chances of losing weight”, says Laila.
Care and contraindications
Even knowing that thermogenic foods provide many benefits, they must be consumed within a balanced diet and with the supervision of a nutritionist. This is the professional who will determine the correct amount and the best times to consume them, according to each individual’s individuality.
Consuming food, or even thermogenic supplements, in order to lose weight without knowing its effects on the body is a big problem. “People with heart problems, such as high blood pressure, for example, should be careful, as these foods influence the heart rate. It is also not recommended for those suffering from certain thyroid diseases. In other words, a food that is good for one person will not necessarily be good for another. So, before starting to consume them, seek professional guidance”, recommends Laila.
Physical activities are fundamental
Another fundamental recommendation to speed up the metabolism is to practice physical activities. “For the elimination of fat from the body, several mechanisms and very complex chemical reactions are needed, and thermogenics only participate in the first part of this process: they will help to “mobilize” the stored fat, that is, remove the fat cells and play into the bloodstream. From there, we need physical exercise to ‘burn’ this fat and eliminate it”, guides the professional.
Therefore, Laila emphasizes that it is not enough to just consume thermogenic foods and not practice physical activity, otherwise you will mobilize the fat and store it again, which can generate an even greater problem.
Generally speaking, thermogenics are consumed before exercise. But, the ideal is to give at least 1 hour of break, otherwise there is no time to provide fuel for the body, which can interfere with digestion. “That’s why it’s better for the ‘pre-workout’ to be a liquid meal, like fruit and ginger juice, shaken with boiled yam, for example. The yam does not interfere with the taste and helps to reduce the glycemic load. Ginger will help in thermogenesis”, teaches Laila.
In addition, the nutritionist does not recommend drinking tea right after exercising. “The ideal is to drink the teas throughout the day (up to 1 hour and a half after training) so that the anti-inflammatory action does not interfere with the result of physical activity”. It also does not indicate consuming thermogenic foods before bed, as they can interfere with sleep, causing insomnia in more sensitive individuals.
Other Tips to Help Speed Up Metabolism
The truth is that ingesting thermogenics alone will not lead to weight loss. To speed up the metabolism, it is essential to include these foods within a balanced eating plan and to practice regular physical activity. Here are some tips from the expert to help:
- Eat every 3 or 4 hours at most. This leaves the metabolism always active
- Ingest the correct amount of calories, instead of dieting too restrictive
- Give preference to carbohydrates rich in fiber (whole) instead of refined ones (based on white flour)
- Drink about 2 liters of water a day
- Sleep at least 8 hours a night
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.