5 foods that boost metabolism

Low-fat dairy

Don’t swear off dairy because you think it’s bad for your waistline. Low-fat dairy such as milk, yogurt and cottage cheese, is a great source of calcium, which is a metabolic trigger. In a study published in Obesity Research, people who ate a reduced-calorie diet that included three to four servings of dairy lost more weight than those who ate the same calories eating a low-dairy diet.

Tanya’s tip: An 8-ounce serving of low-fat yogurt provides about 450 mg of calcium, which is nearly half the recommended daily allowance for women ages 19-50. Save calories by opting for plain low-fat yogurt and flavor it yourself with some fresh berries.  

Cold water fish

The omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) found only in fish oils effect leptin, a hormone that regulates metabolism rate. Eating certain types of cold-water fish has been shown to boost metabolism by as much as 400 calories per day.

Tanya’s tip: Fresh or frozen fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout, are excellent sources for omega-3. If you aren’t much of a fish eater, you can still get the fish oil in capsules - take at least 300mg daily.

Spicy peppers

Studies have shown that the chemical compound capsacin, found in hot peppers like jalapenos, habaneros and chili peppers, speeds up heart rate and metabolism.  Eating a very spicy meal can actually boost your metabolism by about 25 percent for up to 3 hours.

Tanya’s tip: Keep Tabasco/Sriracha sauce on the table to spice up everything from scrambled eggs to soup to pasta.  

Lean protein

Lean cuts of beef, chicken and turkey help rev up metabolism several ways: First, the body burns extra energy digesting lean protein. Secondly, eating protein helps preserve muscle mass, our body’s calorie and fat-burning machine.

Did you know? Studies have shown that people who follow a high-protein diet burn twice as many calories after a meal as people who follow a high-carbohydrate diet.  

Green tea

Caffeine not only speeds up our heart rate, it also frees fatty acids stores so they can be burned for energy.  Green tea contains ECGC, a compound that prompts the brain and nervous system to run faster, and it spikes metabolism, too.

Tanya’s tip: Green tea has both caffeine and antioxidants. A soothing, flavorful cup is a healthy alternative to sugary soft drinks and fatty coffee concoctions such as cappuccino and lattes.

For more tips, delicious high fiber meal plans, recipes, and proven ways to lose weight and look great, check out my new book The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!  

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and author of the Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber as well as the bestselling F-Factor Diet. Follow Tanya on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.