When you’re trying to lose weight, the time it takes to notice a physical difference can feel never-ending. Whether you’re hitting the gym a few times a week or squeezing in the occasional HIIT workout, your diet plays a huge role in your weight loss journey.
Thankfully, thermic foods do exist. We’re talking about foods that boost metabolism, so you can eat well and watch those pounds drop off.
But first, let’s take a closer look at what metabolism really means, before diving into thermogenic foods to add to your shopping list.
How does metabolism work?
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. Annoyingly, this is predominantly out of your control, however, there are foods with high thermic effect that can boost your metabolism.
There are a variety of factors that come into play to determine how your metabolism works. This can include: genes, height and your age.
We all know that our bodies can start to slow down as we get older, and this includes your metabolism. In our teens, we’re more energetic and active, burning calories far easier than someone in say, their 50s.
Nevertheless, all is not lost! There are a few sneaky ways to boost your metabolism, increasing energy use. One of which, is exercise. The other? You guessed it – thermogenic foods.
Many of us are unaware of how our metabolism really works, yet we actually rely upon it for more than just weight loss. We also need our metabolism for everyday activities, as well as to breathe, think, circulate blood, digest and regulate our temperature.
Our metabolism consists predominantly of our resting metabolic rate (RMR). This is the amount of energy the body uses to perform basic functions, such as breathing.
What affects metabolism?
Genetics play a huge role in our metabolism. As well as lean muscle mass, which also affects metabolism, since muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest.
While you may not want to get hench enough to compete in bodybuilding competitions, increasing muscle mass boosts your metabolism, even when not actively exercising.
Can certain ‘thermic foods’ boost your metabolism?
As well as gaining muscle mass and exercising regularly, there are a number of foods with high thermic effect that can ramp up your metabolism.
However, while there are foods that boost metabolism, there are also some that can slow down your progress.
Since protein is harder for the body to break down and digest, post-meal calorie burn can be increased by around 35%. Sure, protein could be considered one of many thermic foods, but getting the right foods with high thermic effect is key.
So what are the foods that boost your metabolism? Let’s take a closer look.
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Foods that increase metabolism
As we already touched upon, thermic foods rich in protein can result in a metabolism boost. But it isn’t just about the type of foods that boost metabolism, but also keeping track of portion control.
Of course, eating foods with high thermic effect can boost your metabolism, but if you’re eating too much of them, it could sabotage your goals.
So, what should you be eating? Here are some high thermic effect foods to get into your healthy diet.
With a protein count of 2g per half avocado, avocados are high on the thermic foods list!
Rich in both healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, avocados can keep you feeling fuller for longer, promoting weight loss.
Plus, as an anti-inflammatory food, avocados are amongst popular thermogenic foods that boost your metabolism by limiting inflammation that can interfere.
However, be aware of portion sizes if your aim is weight loss. One-quarter of an avocado has around 80 calories and 8 grams of fat.
Made with fermented soybeans, tempeh is a great source of protein and fat – keeping you feeling full. Plus, with a high probiotic content, this thermic food can benefit your gut health and may improve immunity.
According to research, adults taking probiotic supplements may lose weight more easily. When your overall health is in good working order, it can improve your energy levels, therefore calorie burn.
Looking for the best way to enjoy foods that boost your metabolism? Try crumbling tempeh into salads and pasta dishes, or even marinade it!
With 9 to 10g of protein per cup, as well as calcium and vitamin D – milk is essential on our list of foods with high thermic effect.
Crucial for building dense muscle mass and maintaining a vigorous metabolism, it comes as no surprise that milk is high on nearly every list of foods that increase metabolism.
Tip: Opt for low-fat options and add to oatmeal, hot cereals, tea and coffee.
As well as being packed with flavor, chili peppers are high on our list of foods that boost metabolism. According to studies, capsaicin, a compound found in chili peppers, helps to ramp up your metabolism – encouraging weight loss.
While some opt for capsaicin supplements, we much prefer cooking up some spicy dishes, packing in as many thermogenic foods as possible!
As a great source of protein and amino acids, beans help preserve muscle mass and burn more calories – even while at rest.
Thermogenic foods that promote or preserve lean muscle mass are popular go-to foods that increase metabolism.
Plus, with a high amount of protein and fiber, beans fill you up with fewer calories. According to research, eating ¾ cup of beans or legumes daily was found to contribute towards weight loss.
Also Read: The best workout for women short on time
While there have been no real significant findings in regard to beans as a thermic food and guaranteed weight loss, they will keep you feeling full – so you’re less likely to snack!
Top tip: Try to add beans or legumes to dishes such as curries, salads and chili.
As well as filling you up with plenty of fiber, thermic foods such as whole grains are also anti-inflammatory. So, much like avocados, they can help keep your metabolism working at its best!
According to studies, switching refined grains out for whole ones may result in an increase in RMR.
As one of the top foods that boost metabolism, whole grains are also beneficial in many other ways. Packed with nutrients including fiber, protein, B vitamins and antioxidants, you’ll also be lowering your risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Low in calories and an excellent source of both protein and (some!) healthy fat, eggs are considered high thermic effect foods.
Not only will eggs help you fight off those stomach grumbles, but they’re also a great source of B vitamins. Foods that boost your metabolism frequently contain B vitamins, as they help convert foods into energy, improving the processing of calories.
If you’re looking for high thermic effect foods, definitely up your egg intake! Studies have shown that participants eating eggs at least 5 days a week for breakfast lost 65% more bodyweight.
Foods to avoid that may sabotage your metabolism
Since we’ve covered high thermic effect foods that’ll boost your metabolism, what about those you should cut back on?
Of course, the foods with high thermic effect should be eaten in somewhat moderation, but the following could play havoc with your metabolism, instead.
As we touched upon earlier, whole grains are the way forward if you’re looking for thermogenic foods to boost your calorie burn!
However, refined grains – usually found in processed, packaged foods – may wreck your weight loss efforts. Try to steer clear of things like pasta, rice and white bread, as well as processed, sugary foods.
Research has shown links between weight gain and the daily consumption of refined grains. So if you’re trying to lose weight and keep your metabolism running well, opt for whole grains instead!
Whether it’s orange juice or soda, sugary drinks can slow down your metabolism. Research has revealed that eating a high-protein meal alongside a sugar-sweetened drink may reduce fat metabolism, encouraging the body to store more fat.
We all know that alcohol can quickly sabotage our weight loss efforts. Plus, many of us are unaware of how many calories are loaded into alcohol – often drinking our daily intake!
When we drink alcohol, it can negatively impact our blood sugar, making those pesky cravings for sugary foods creep in.
Research has shown that binge drinking and heavy drinking are associated with an increased risk of obesity – the complete opposite of what we’re trying to achieve, ladies!
Cooking with soybean oil has increased dramatically over recent years. Both high in calories and omega-6 fatty acids, when used frequently it could lead to weight gain.
As well as the potential to gain weight, foods high in omega-6 may also promote insulin and leptin resistance – leaving your body unaware when it’s full!
Ready to boost your metabolism with these thermic foods?
In order to smash those body goals, you’ll need a balance of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Of course, these thermogenic foods can give your metabolism the boost it needs to burn even more!
Don’t forget to pay attention to your portions, as too much of a good thing does exist, ladies. Keep on top of your calories and opt for foods that’ll keep you feeling full for the biggest success.
But if you do need a little help, why not try Trimtone? Our 100% natural fat burner for women boosts your metabolism and reduces your appetite, for maximum fat burn.