Eat These Foods — Your Metabolism Will Thank You

Keep your body's fires burning and stay fit


Have you ever thrown your hands in the air when you can’t fit into your old jeans and said, “I can’t help it — it’s my metabolism”?

Metabolism, the physical and chemical processes your body uses to provide energy, plays a big role in weight gain and weight loss. The good news: You can help control it. In fact, the fate of your metabolism lies largely in making smart choices, from doing strength training to eating the right foods at the right times.

Eat breakfast to start your metabolism soaring, then keep it going all day with these four foods. They’ll reignite your metabolism flame and keep the fire burning!

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  • Beans

    1. Bean booster

    In addition to being highly versatile in the kitchen (think hummus, bean burgers and even healthy brownies), beans are full of fiber and a little secret something called resistant starch. A 2004 study found that resistant starch was associated with increased fat metabolism and decreased fat storage. Also, the fiber in beans is tough to digest, so the body boosts metabolism for the extra work.

  • Water

    2. Water’s wonders

    Water is the true wonder drink we’ve been looking for, yet many of us waste our money (and calories) on specialty drinks that promise to help us slim down. In this case, the best option is the most basic option. Research suggests that adequate hydration increases cell metabolism, allows the muscles to work harder by providing oxygen and promotes waste removal — so drink up. Best of all, it’s free.

  • Jalapeno peppers

    3. Pepper power

    Have you ever eaten something really spicy and found yourself exhibiting the same sweating reaction that you have when exercising? If so, you’ve just experienced the temporary metabolism boost produced by capsaicin, a chemical found in foods such as peppers. Capsaicin has been shown to increase thermogenesis (heat production), which boosts metabolism immediately after you eat.

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  • Shellfish

    4. Shellfish’s strength

    Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat (which is also why strength training is a wonderful way to boost metabolism). For muscles to work their best, they need oxygen. That’s where iron comes in. Iron carries oxygen to your cells, and shellfish is a fabulous source of iron! Bottom line: Pump iron in the gym and get iron through your food to make the most of your metabolism-boosting muscle capacity.

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Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD

Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian and wellness manager for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.
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  • LisaC

    Everything besides the shellfish sounds good. I have never tried shellfish, but it doesn’t appeal to me.

    • Aaron

      Then you’re clearly a stupid bitch! 😀

    • moonkat51

      I don’t like fish, but I love shellfish. I could eat shrimp every single day of my life and never get tired of it. Great, now I want garlic shrimp.

  • Carolyn Cutler

    Great info

  • C. Hill

    ok c’mon, shellfish? Seafood in general is one of the most toxic and chemically-laden things you can ingest. Not to mention, full of artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat. If you really are after Iron, and not trying to kill yourself, dried HERBS have FIVE TIMES the IRON than the highest animal product (Clams-yuck) and Cereals, Cocoa Powder, Spirulina, and Bran ALL BEAT ANY ANIMAL PRODUCT for concentrations of IRON…. AND these foods do NOT contain saturated fat or cholesterol.

    Eat seafood if you want to end up on the floor with a heart attack. It’s really simple.

    • Dillonvale1964

      Man, C. Hill, you are bursting with strong opinions, aren’t you? Whenever anybody says “it’s really simple,” it’s an excellent sign the exact opposite is true. Nothing is ever that simple, especially when it comes to nutrition and the complexity of the human body. Please share with us your credentials so that we can evaluate the expertise on which your strong opinions are based?

      • C. Hill

        Man, Dillonvale, why didn’t you take issue with the actual factual things i said in my post? instead you focused on the one hyperbolic thing i said– which wasn’t actually much of a stretch.

        the article mentioned says that you should “eat seafood” to “speed up your metabolism” because seafood has “iron”. can we agree that this is the crux of this article?

        i don’t even know where to start dissecting the logic in this one.

        but, can we agree, DillonVale 1964 that:

        1. it is important to have iron in your diet.
        2. there are many foods higher in iron than shellfish that do not also contain the high concentrations of saturated fat and cholesterol as are found in seafood.
        3. there are many foods with slightly less concentration of iron than shellfish have that also do not contain saturated fat and cholesterol
        4. saturated fat and cholesterol are known to cause heart disease and stroke, our leading killers.
        5. the FDA, by LAW, prohibits marketing seafood as “healthy” or “nutritious” because the products do not meet the minimum legal standards — because of the saturated fat and cholesterol. (same with eggs, by the way)

        So my issue is with telling people to eat shellfish to “boost their metabolism” because it contains “iron”. That’s like telling people to “drink Coke” because it contains “water” and “water is good for you”.

        This is my opinion DillonVale. You do not need my credentials– I am not charging you.

        • sks

          One man’s food is another’s poison. To each his own. You don’t have to force your opinions upon others. If it doesn’t suit you, don’t eat it. It does not mean if you don’t like something, nobody should eat it.

        • BeHereNow8484

          I have a feeling C. Hill would have berated ANY non-vegan suggestion to make this list. I am a lover of shell fish and seafood in general and enjoy a healthy active metabolism, thank you.

    • Andrea French

      Shellfish in and of itself is not high in cholesteral. It’s how you prepare it that will determine how bad it is for you.

    • KG

      I agree with C HILL and reasoning in all regards. Seafood has become very toxic and even radioactive in parts of our oceans. Radiation was found in tuna just off the coast of California. This is due to the leakage that is occurring on the coast of Japan.

    • HollyWK

      C Hill are you a nutritionist? I agree that seafood will kill me, but largely because I am allergic to it.

      • C. Hill

        I am. I have two masters degrees, both from top-tier schools, and my cholesterol is 117 (hdl 50s, ldl 40s). I am 5’10”, 170lbs and bench press 235, deadlift 315, and squat 265. In my spare time I am a volunteer ski instructor for kids with life threatening illnesses and disabilities. This summer I rode my bicycle 155 miles in 10 hours and 10 minutes to raise money for charity. I don’t smoke or drink or do drugs.

        But none of that matters at all and doesn’t change whether or not fish is healthy– which it most certainly is not. These are facts: fish is loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol and contains absolutely no fiber or complex carbohydrate. By comparison, 100 calories of broccoli has 11 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber and complex carbs and tons of vitamins and minerals and no saturated fat and more iron than steak. The reason you don’t know this is there’s no money in broccoli. You’ve been brainwashed by a $144 billion dollar per year industry that only cares about money and not about your health.

        You’re lucky you’re allergic.

  • E Harris

    I like shellfish so glad to see it on the list!

  • JoAnn

    I am sure some of you have eaten shellfish such as shrimp and lobster. Nothing wrong with that.

  • M N

    Bla bla bla…. If you like it eat it….. In my 47 years I’ve seen many different ppl, that eat different, from each other. At the end everybody get sick and die…. Many ppl never had a life seeking a life.

  • snootyelites

    I do not like seafood but its misnomer that seafood is toxic. It depends on the size of the critter you are eating. If you are eating large sword fish or salmon they tend to have more heavy metals than small organisms like Shell Fish, Shrimp, small/medium fish. For toxicity size and duration of life matter.

    • Gustus

      i like this, it makes sense. well what grandma said holds true for everything! she said: everything in moderation. ps. if you breathe you will die lol

  • Jane
  • Lisa Muzic

    Beans- HIGH carb. For those who are insulin resistant, limit to 1/4 cup.

    • ron

      Ever hear about bad carbs, good carbs? Put beans at top of list of good carbs.

  • Skye Temple

    High cholesterol as a cause of heart disease is now being questioned. Inflammation of the blood vessels leads to the build up of plaque. There’s no scientific evidence that proves eating cholesterol leads to high cholesterol.

  • Nancy Chesney Crowley

    Thanks for sending me Health hub I love it