The Top Foods to Boost Your Metabolism

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”?

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Metabolism, the physical and chemical processes your body uses to provide energy, plays a big role in weight gain and weight loss, says registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. 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! 

  • 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.


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  • 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. And best of all, water is 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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