How do we define ‘metabolism’? Your metabolism is the amount of energy or calories your body burns to maintain its vital functions. We know that most over-processed foods actually interfere with, and slow down metabolism, owing to their refined sugars and grains and additives which all interfere with your body’s natural insulin-regulation.
Put simply – you eat a packet of crisps, and your slow down your metabolism (although you’ve satisfied that momentary hunger pang). What we should be focusing on is food in its most natural state, packed with vitamins and minerals, fibre and anti-oxidants, that feed the thyroid (the gland that regulates our metabolism, and subsequently the rate at which we gain or lose weight!) Are there any foods to increase your metabolism? Here are our favourite metabolic-boosting foods – include at least three of them every day to ensure you are giving your body what it needs – metabolically-speaking, of course!
Remember your mum doing the ‘Grapefruit Diet’ when you were young? That dictated that you ate half a grapefruit before every main meal, or at least two haves per day. There was good reason for that, which is why we advocate it now – there is a naturally occurring chemical in grapefruits that lowers insulin levels, reducing cravings and increasing your body’ s ability to burn fat.
Green Tea this is mainly due to the high concentration of natural antioxidants known as polyphenols. Aim to drink three to five cups a day, or take in supplement form, for maximum benefit.
Asparagus is particularly high in vitamin B, which supports a healthy metabolism. It is also high in fibre and other antioxidants, which help to maintain your insulin levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer. As well as maintaining a healthy metabolic rate, eat asparagus every day as part of a green smoothie, or as dippers for boiled organic eggs.
Chilli and Cayenne pepper Not only delicious but also one of the best stimulants to raise the metabolism. Cayenne pepper and chilli contain a chemical called capsaicin, which boosts the metabolism by increasing the body’s temperature.
Kelpor Nori Seaweed This seaweed is packed with high levels of iodine. This helps to stimulate the thyroid hormones in your body (thyroxine), which regulate your metabolism. It also contains abundant amounts of potassium which helps with fluid retention (swollen ankles and fat fingers). Sprinkling toasted nori on your soups and salads is a great way to enjoy seaweed.
Oats are one of our alkaline superfoods, especially if they are soaked overnight in something like a Bircher Muesli. Oats are packed with soluble fibre, and provide masses of B vitamins which are required for boosting metabolism This help to lower your cholesterol and keep you fuller for longer.
Often mistakenly thought of as fattening, each individual almond is packed with fibre, complete protein and essential fatty acids. This combination of nutrients is great for speeding up the metabolism. Soaking them for a couple of hours before eating allows you to remove the skins, which are high in nutrient-inhibiting phytates. It also makes them far more digestible.
Great overall health is essential to maintaining a high metabolic rate, which is why we thoroughly recommend getting your fill of berries. Whilst not the most alkaline of all fruits, they are full of beauty-boosting antioxidants, but they’re packed with fibre too – essential for feeling satisfied over a longer period of time, and regulating insulin production. Buying frozen is allowed, as they are usually picked and frozen at their perfect ripeness, and have not damaged in transit.
Fresh cucumbers on a wooden table. Selective focusCucumbers are my favourite, as they are packed with potassium-laden water, making them a must in green smoothies. They are also fabulous fat burners. Not only do their seeds contain stimulant properties, which can boost metabolic rates, but they are also high in sulphur and silicone – both of which can help the body’s natural fat-burning process. I recommend at least one per day as part of smoothies, salads and soups. Great cellulite-busters too!
I suggest that you eat spinach 3-4 times a week, but not necessarily every day, as there are a whole host of other green leaves that you should also be enjoying (watercress, chard and kale). Spinach is a fantastic source of antioxidants, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B (vital for boosting your metabolism) and C. It’s also low in calories and high in fibre, which curbs cravings and keeps sugar levels well-balanced. So, once you’ve got this handful of goodies in your fridge, you really can’t go wrong. Oats and berries with almonds, for breakfast, Nori seaweed wrapped around quinoa, cucumber, spinach and asparagus, for lunch, and green tea with a pinch of cayenne during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon, and you are well on your way!
Your guide to living whole and well. Emma Olliff is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, wellness expert, food lover, and advocate for healthy living!