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Good news: revving up your metabolism doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. Here are nine common foods which can easily help naturally boost metabolism!
Keep in mind (of course) that following a healthy exercise plan and overall diet is also vital to boosting your metabolism – especially in the long term.
Interestingly, if you were to refer to most guides which recommend metabolism-boosting foods, they will recommend you consume foods which are high in anti-nutrients, and low in bioavailable protein.
Whether this is due to a vegan bias, or lack of scientific rigor, the real truth is that foods high in anti-nutrients will wreak havoc on your digestive system, and may even cause a host of other issues, if consumed on a regular basis.
With that in mind, it is best to stick to a Paleo template when consuming metabolism-boosting foods. That way you are more likely to absorb the nutrients found within them, as well as help to keep digestion running smoothly, and avoid the (many) other downsides of grains.
Your metabolism is much like a car – you need to keep it running well in order to maximize performance
A Paleo template will be like giving your metabolism premium gasoline. So, without further ado, here are nine foods which help to boost metabolism!
1. Grass-Fed Beef
Yes, this Paleo staple is loaded with tons of things which will help you lose weight, build muscle and rev up your metabolic engine! And by only buying the grass-fed version of beef, you will be avoiding a whole host of bad stuff which is found in grain-fed beef and fast food hamburgers.
To start with, grass fed beef will provide you with a large amount of complete protein. In fact, you will get around 50 percent of the daily value of protein from just 175 calories worth of grass-fed beef!
Protein is important because it will keep you satiated, help to build muscle (since it is loaded with the building blocks of muscle — amino acids) and will also help you to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. In addition to protein, grass-fed beef contains vitamin B12, which is a very important topic I’ve covered previously.
On top of that, grass-fed beef contains large amounts of vitamin B3, vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium and phosphorus. All of these are vital to the metabolic process.
The real star here is the protein content, though, since the more muscle you have, the more your metabolism will be stoked.
And what causes muscle growth? It all starts with protein sources, the best of which have a complete array of essential amino acids, like grass-fed beef. Try to eat grass-fed beef a few times per week in order to see the maximum benefits it has to offer.
Try this Paleo Crockpot Beef Stew or make this simple Grass-Fed Ground Beef For Grazing.
If you like things spicy, turmeric is the right choice for you. Since turmeric is actually a small part of mustard and curry, you have likely already tasted it – even if you didn’t realize it. With a nice yellow and orange tint, turmeric provides a whole host of benefits, including a small boost in your metabolism.
Bisdemethoxycurcumin is the main active constituent found in this spice, and it also helps to boost the activity of your immune system – among many other health bonuses.
Need some cooking inspiration? Try implementing some of these How to Use Turmeric – 3 Easy Recipes
3. MCT Oil
Coconut oil is far from a new recommendation for those who are familiar with a Paleo approach. However, when it comes to ramping up your weight loss and burning a fast metabolic fire, you may actually want to look to MCT oil, specifically. The reason? MCT oil is what almost all of the scientific studies involving weight loss and metabolism have been conducted with. This study even concluded that MCT oil led to better weight loss than olive oil did. Impressive, indeed.
Another Paleo staple, eggs provide a variety of nutrient-boosting elements. Like grass-fed beef, eggs contain complete protein, meaning they help you build muscle and chip away at those fat stores.
Eggs also contain a healthy amount of choline, selenium, biotin, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, iodine, and much, much more.
Remember – if you’re going to eat eggs, go for organic and pasture-raised! Food quality should always be at the top of your list when it comes to building a proper diet.
Luckily, there are countless ways to enjoy eggs, start with our 36 CRAZY WAYS TO COOK EGGS for inspiration.
Asparagus is nutrient-packed and very low in calories. With a large amount of vitamin K, folate, copper, vitamin B1, selenium, vitamin B2, vitamin C and many other beneficial elements, asparagus should be included in your weekly rotation of metabolism-boosting foods. You can simply steam it for dinner or dress it up in a quick Asparagus Avocado Salad.
Another Paleo staple, wild-caught seafood helps to build muscle, as well as keep you away from the junk food, by offering a nice dose of satiety. Salmon and tuna are two of your best choices which you will want to include in your diet on a regular basis. Again, food quality is paramount here, as poorly-raised fish are a bad, bad choice.
Some grass-fed butter or coconut oil on some well-cooked salmon is delicious – and will also have you burning off those love handles by the second! Once the body is taking in essential fats (which provide satiety) it is much easier to avoid craving those low-quality foods we tend to go overboard with (i.e. pizza).
Many studies have looked at including fish in a weight loss program — with near-universal success! Dig into this Easy Honey Garlic Salmon or try this delicious Salmon Burgers Recipe with Jicama Coleslaw and Dill Dressing.
Mustard – not something you think could boost metabolism. But, interestingly, some scientific studies have shown that it helps rev up your fat-burning engine. Scientists at Oxford Polytechnic Institute showed that 1 teaspoon of mustard may boost metabolism by 20 percent. And this metabolic boost continues for several hours after eating!
What causes this? The benefits likely come from capsaicin and allyl isothiocyanates. These are phytochemicals which make mustard taste so unique. This is also a key example that a little bit of something can go a long way! Put this Chicken Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing on your to-make list.
If you’ve never tried a sweet potato with cinnamon, you need to get on that. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Okay, are you done now? Cinnamon tastes delicious on a wide variety of foods.
One of the best additional benefits (besides a nice boost to your metabolism) of cinnamon is its help with blood sugar control. For example, putting some cinnamon on a very high carbohydrate food will help to reduce its impact on your blood sugar after you consume it. This is a big win-win, and will help you stay the course of a low-carb lifestyle.
Try this EASY Fruit Salad with Cinnamon Honey Dressing or add cinnamon to your coffee.
Almonds are a wonderful source of so many nutrients. In barely over 100 calories, we get a healthy dose of biotin, vitamin E, manganese, copper, vitamin B2, phosphorus, and much, much more. Almonds also offer some heart-protective benefits as well as cholesterol-lowering benefits. They’re also a great tool to keep you away from sugar.
They are portable, easy to find almost anywhere, and are packed with antioxidants like vitamin E. Almonds are hands down one of the best ways to boost metabolism.
Watch this video – FOODS THAT BOOST METABOLISM – 10 Best Foods to Improve your Metabolism
The Bottom Line
Okay, let me end this with the disclaimer that it does not take one food to help boost metabolism. And no, it may not be possible to ever get your 18-year-old metabolism back. But you can certainly improve on your current situation, and start to turn things around, if you are in a bad place with your weight.
The best way to boost metabolism is to consume an overall healthy Paleo diet, and then add in little measures, like those listed in this article.
On top of that, you will want to incorporate smart exercise, as exercise benefits your brain as well as your body. Then, start getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night, and you will start to notice a serious difference in your metabolism!
Also of note: do not go too low-carb – this can actually screw up your metabolism – exactly the opposite of what we want!
Written by Casey Thaler
Casey Thaler, B.A., NASM-CPT, FNS is an NASM® certified personal trainer and NASM® certified fitness nutrition specialist. He writes for Paleo Magazine®, The Paleo Diet® and Greatist®. He is also an advisor for Kettle and Fire and runs his own nutrition and fitness consulting company, Eat Clean, Train Clean®.
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