Having a faster metabolism is a goal some have because of a belief that it could help them lose or keep off weight. One possible way to boost your metabolism is to eat certain foods. It may not be a guarantee that you’ll slim down but you can always give it a try.
There are easy ways you can do to tweak your diet so you can achieve a faster metabolism than the one you currently have. However, before we get into these, it’s important to have a better understanding of what metabolism actually is, what determines it and its relationship with weight loss.
Metabolism vs. metabolic rate
If you’ve tried to watch your weight at any point in your life, it’s likely that you’ve come across the term “metabolism” and how it’s good to have a fast one. However, contrary to popular belief, the word itself doesn’t actually refer to having a fast bowel movement. Instead, “metabolism” is a term used to describe a chemical process that turns the food we eat — a.k.a calorie intake — into energy to sustain us and keep everything in our body working properly. How fast our body does that is called the “metabolic rate”.
Metabolism and weight
Those with a high metabolic rate need to consume more calories in order to sustain the body and maintain their weight, while those with a slower metabolic rate may need to do more physical activities to keep it off. This is why some people may eat a lot but don’t necessarily gain more than a few pounds.
There are many factors that affect our metabolic rate. Genetics play a role, but our age does as well. The older you are, the more likely it is for you to have a slower metabolism. C'est la vie! Good for us, there’s also some evidence showing that the way we eat can influence our metabolism. Want to give it a try? Here’s how to boost your metabolism — backed by science.
Option 1: Up your protein intake
Eating protein can boost your metabolism for a few hours and can keep you from overeating because it makes your stomach feel fuller. Increased protein intake may also prevent lean muscle loss which is one of the factors that can contribute to having a slower metabolism. Here are some ways you can increase your protein intake.
Eat eggs for breakfast
Eggs are one of the most protein-dense foods. In addition, a single egg is also packed with vitamins and minerals that keep the body healthy including calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and more.
Snack on almonds
Another easy way to add protein to your diet is to snack on almonds. These nuts are rich in plant-based protein. You can also add them to your smoothie bowls or yoghurt as delicious and nutritious toppings.
Eat chicken breast, fish or lean beef
For heavy meals such as lunch and dinner, you can eat protein-rich meat as your main dish. Season chicken breasts according to your preference and enjoy on their own or add them to your salads. Fish is also a great protein source. Salmon and sardines are also rich in omega-3 fats, which are good for heart health. Last but not the least, you can also add lean beef to your dining options in moderation.
Option 2: Add chilli peppers to your diet
This may surprise you but the tiny but mighty chilli peppers can actually help boost metabolism and help you burn a little more calories than usual. It’s because of something called capsaicin, which is what gives off the spicy taste to chillis. Chilli peppers may also suppress your appetite so it’s great for those looking to manage their calorie intake. Here are some fun dishes with chilli peppers that you can try in Singapore.
Singapore Chili Crab
A staple and a hearty local dish that’s relatively straightforward to prepare. You’ll just need to be extra generous with putting more peppers for the chilli paste — but not so much that your tastebuds can’t take it anymore, of course.
A Penang export, the Assam Laksa features a variety of flavours — it’s salty, sweet, and yes, extremely spicy. You can add in more vegetables to make it even healthier.
Spotted this tasty and spicy dish while watching your favourite K-drama? Good news, you can easily make it yourself. The ingredients include kimchi, tofu, gochuchang (hot pepper paste) and chilli flakes.
Option 3: Add mineral-rich foods to your diet
Foods rich in iron and other minerals like selenium can help regulate the body’s metabolism because these minerals are essential for the thyroid gland to keep functioning well. Here are mineral-rich foods you can easily add to your diet.
This humble plant is chockfull of iron and is also rich in vitamin C which aids the body’s absorption of iron. You can add it to soups or even your morning shakes and you may not even taste it.
Quinoa is known as a healthier cereal alternative that’s perfect for those with gluten intolerance. It’s rich in essential minerals such as iron and magnesium and also packed with protein. You may swap quinoa with your regular rice or blend it into your smoothie.
Here’s some fun trivia! Did you know that dark chocolate can help supplement your iron intake? As a cacao-based food, dark chocolate contains iron, magnesium and potassium so it can be a healthy dessert option for you.
At the end of it all, it’s important to note that metabolic rate can be affected by many factors. And although there is some evidence that diet can help with having a faster metabolism, it’s not the only way. Exercise, most especially strength training which builds muscles, can also help with boosting one’s metabolism. It’s all about living a healthy, balanced life!
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