Bariatrics and Weight Loss

Discover foods that boost metabolism and promote weight loss

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Smiling young woman eating chia pudding for breakfast at cafe and she is happy because she knows which foods can boost her metabolism.


Discover the top foods that boost metabolism and help you burn more calories. Get expert advice and tips on improving your metabolic rate so you can feel your best.


By Craig L. Floch, MD, Associate Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery


Your weight-loss journey does not have to be a chore! Eating some foods can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight. In fact, some spices and herbs, drinks and superfoods can rev up your metabolism. Learn about the different types of metabolism-boosting foods you can incorporate into your daily routine to support your weight-loss goals. 


Demystifying metabolism


Understanding metabolism is the first step towards making informed dietary and lifestyle choices to support your health. Understanding metabolism and its role in weight management can also empower you to make informed decisions about your diet and lifestyle.


Metabolism is a complex process involving a series of chemical reactions in your body that transform the food you eat into energy that is utilized by your body to perform various essential functions. Several factors can influence your metabolism, including age, gender, body composition and genetics. As you age, your metabolic rate tends to slow down due to a decrease in muscle mass and hormonal shifts.


Genetically, men typically have a higher metabolic rate than women due to their larger muscle mass. The ratio of muscle to fat in your body also plays a crucial role in determining your metabolic rate, as muscle tissues burn more calories even at rest.


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While there are no magic foods that instantly boost metabolism, making certain dietary choices can support a healthy metabolic rate in the long term. Foods rich in protein, like lean meats, eggs and legumes, as well as fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can help boost your metabolism.


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Boost metabolism with protein-rich foods


Protein is a key nutrient that can significantly boost metabolism. When you consume protein, your body works harder to break it down and digest it, compared to fats and carbohydrates. This process, known as the thermic effect of food, can boost your metabolic rate and help burn more calories. Learn more about nutrition counseling at Nuvance Health.


Choosing the best sources of protein is crucial. Lean meats such as chicken, turkey and fish are excellent options as they are low in fat and high in protein. Other animal-based sources like eggs and dairy products also provide a good amount of protein.


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For those who follow a plant-based diet or prefer vegetarian options, there are a variety of plant-based protein sources you can enjoy such as lentils, chickpeas and black beans. These are not only rich in protein but also high in fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and promote satiety.


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Incorporating protein into your diet is easier than you might think. Try including a serving of protein with each meal. For breakfast, consider Greek yogurt or scrambled eggs. At lunch and dinner, opt for lean meats, fish or plant-based protein sources like tofu or tempeh. Snacking on protein-rich foods like nuts and seeds can also help keep your metabolism active throughout the day.


Boost metabolism with spices and herbs

Spices and herbs can be powerful allies for boosting your metabolism. Many of them add flavor to your meals and have properties that can enhance your metabolic rate. Incorporating these metabolism-boosting spices and herbs into your diet can support a healthy metabolism and help you achieve your wellness goals.


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Cayenne pepper is known for its heat! However, it also has metabolism-boosting properties to help you lose weight. The compound capsaicin found in cayenne pepper can increase thermogenesis, the process of heat production in the body, leading to a temporary increase in metabolic rate and calorie burning.


Ginger is another herb that can enhance metabolic rate. It has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years for its many health benefits, including its ability to increase metabolism. Ginger can also aid digestion, which indirectly supports a healthy metabolism.


Turmeric, with its active compound curcumin, is another spice that can support a healthy metabolism. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help support a healthy metabolism and overall well-being.


Adding these metabolism-boosting spices and herbs to your meals not only benefits your metabolism but also adds delicious flavors to your dishes. Try adding cayenne pepper to your stir-fries or soups, using ginger in smoothies or marinades and adding turmeric to curries or roasted vegetables. Learn more about Nuvance Health’s bariatric and comprehensive weight loss program.


Hydrating beverages to boost metabolism


Staying hydrated is key to boosting your metabolism. Proper hydration is vital for maintaining a healthy metabolism and promoting efficient calorie burning. Even mild dehydration can significantly slow down your metabolic rate.


Here are some top beverage choices for boosting your metabolism:

  • Water. Drinking enough water throughout the day can help increase your metabolic rate and support optimal digestion.
  • Green tea. Rich with antioxidants and metabolism-boosting compounds like catechins, green tea is a great choice to rev up your metabolism.


  • Coffee. The caffeine in coffee can stimulate your metabolism, but moderation is key.


  • Herbal tea. Herbal teas like peppermint, ginger and chamomile can also aid in boosting metabolism. They are hydrating and offer various health benefits.


  • Infused water. To increase your water intake creatively, try infusing your water with fresh fruits, herbs or cucumber slices. Use water tracking apps or set reminders to ensure you are drinking enough throughout the day. Always keep a reusable water bottle with you for easy hydration on the go. Staying well hydrated is important not only for your metabolism but for overall health too.


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5 superfoods to boost metabolism


Incorporating nutrient-dense foods or 'superfoods' into your diet can significantly boost your metabolism. Foods like spinach, kale, broccoli, lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, blueberries, almonds and avocados are packed with essential nutrients that play a crucial role in supporting your metabolism. They help stabilize blood sugar levels and provide a steady source of energy, improving focus, productivity and overall energy levels.


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Try starting your day with a spinach and berry smoothie, full of antioxidants and vitamins. For lunch, a grilled chicken and vegetable salad with kale and quinoa makes a nutrient-rich meal. For dinner, a salmon and avocado salsa, loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and metabolism-boosting properties, is a great choice.


The bottom line: Your weight-loss journey can be more enjoyable and effective by incorporating metabolism-boosting foods into your diet. Understanding how metabolism works and the factors that influence it can help you make informed decisions about your health.


By including protein-rich foods, spices and herbs, hydrating beverages and nutrient-dense superfoods in your meals, you can support a healthy metabolism and achieve your weight loss goals. Start making these small changes today to see big results in your overall health and well-being!


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