9 min read

The 7 Best Foods to Jumpstart Your Metabolism

There’s no shortage of fad diets promising quick results and a trim waistline. But trying to keep up with all the latest trends, not to mention conflicting information, is enough to give anyone whiplash. The truth is you can still fire up your metabolism without having to make any drastic changes to your diet.

Our metabolisms are complex and constantly shifting. While there are certain factors about metabolism that we can’t change, like genetics or age, what we eat and our lifestyle choices can significantly affect how our bodies burn calories.

Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts to a “better” metabolism. However, you can keep it in tip-top shape by making a few simple adjustments to your daily routine. And there’s no better place to start than with diet and exercise. 

How Does Food Affect Metabolism?

Different foods can have short-lived effects or long-term benefits for our metabolism, and some foods can even have both. Certain ingredients will ignite our metabolic rate temporarily, leading to a quick burst of heightened metabolic activity. Once that food is digested and absorbed, those effects diminish, but there are other foods that will promote a healthy metabolism in ways that have longer-lasting benefits.

Our metabolisms are sensitive to what we eat and drink. In order to build a strong metabolic foundation, it’s important to avoid things that can make your metabolism erratic or sluggish.

Person standing on scale holding apple and donutFor a healthy metabolism, reduce or eliminate:

♦ processed foods
♦ excess sugar
♦ excess alcohol
♦ refined grains

Our bodies require energy to digest everything we consume, which means we’re burning calories whenever we break down food or drink. This process is called dietary thermogenesis, or the thermal effect of food (TEF), and it increases your metabolic rate after you eat.

Some foods require more energy to digest. Foods high in protein use up the most energy and can burn up to 20-30% of the total calories from digestion alone

Other ways food impacts metabolism:

♦ Blood sugar balance. The way your body absorbs sugar and other carbohydrates has a big impact on your metabolism. In order to keep your blood sugar levels in balance, it’s important to avoid excess sugar and, instead, opt for foods with a low glycemic index. Also, be sure to eat plenty of lean protein and fiber, and try not to skip meals.

♦ Providing nutrients. Our bodies need the right amount and the right kind of nutrients for metabolism to occur. For instance, B vitamins are essential for converting the calories we consume into energy. A well-rounded diet with a diverse range of nutrients is essential for healthy metabolism. Additionally, supplements can help fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet.

♦ Microbiome support. Supporting the microbiome is crucial for healthy metabolism. The microbes in our gut influence the way fats, proteins, and carbs are digested and absorbed and help to manage metabolic activities. Healthy microbes can also produce short-chained fatty acids (SCFA), which help to regulate metabolism and contribute to blood sugar balance, liver health, and healthy immune responses. 

♦ Supplying fiber. Foods high in fiber help to increase thermogenesis, keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range, support the gut microbiome, and help you to feel full longer.

Man with kholrabi and pears on cutting board surrounded by fruit
Top 7 Foods for Supporting Metabolism

1. Coffee and Green Tea

If coffee or tea is already part of your daily routine, give yourself a pat on the back. The caffeine from coffee and tea helps kickstart your metabolism and support energy production in a powerful way. Catechins, found in green tea, are also beneficial for supporting dietary and stored fat metabolism

While these energizing drinks can support your metabolism, it’s important to consider the amount of sugar you might be getting in your favorite iced macchiato or matcha latte. Excess sugar can tank your metabolism and may even counteract the positive effects of these beverages.

2. Fatty Fish

High in protein and rich in healthy fats, fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and anchovies are a great staple food to keep your metabolism in good health. The omega-3 fatty acids found in these fish may assist in keeping the resting metabolic rate up, especially in older individuals. This action may be due to the way omega-3s support mitochondrial function, which regulates energy metabolism on a cellular level.

While there are plenty of fish in the sea (for now), make sure you are getting yours from a healthy and sustainable source. If you find it hard to get enough fish or omega-3s in your diet, you can supplement with a high-quality, sustainable fish oil.

3. Ginger

This spicy root activates thermogenesis and has a wide range of benefits for metabolic health. Ginger can enhance the way your body burns calories and can reduce food cravings. It also helps your body metabolize fats and keep blood sugar in healthy ranges. Adding ginger to your meals or throwing it in a smoothie can help keep your digestion smooth and support gut microbes that help regulate metabolism.

Ginger root sliced and chopped with wooden spoon4. Avocados

The plentiful fiber and healthy fats in avocados make it a great choice for supporting metabolism. They are nutrient-dense, providing vitamins and minerals that help to support metabolic processes in the body, including B6 and potassium. Avocados are very filling and are digested slowly, which helps with appetite regulation and benefits blood sugar balance. The fiber in avocados acts as a prebiotic for the microbiome, nourishing beneficial microbes that are involved in metabolic processes and promote overall health. 

5. Cinnamon

This delicious spice is a common addition to healthy weight management protocols and has special compounds that have a tremendous effect on your metabolic rate. Cinnamaldehyde is a potent activator of thermogenesis and may reduce ghrelin production, resulting in a more balanced appetite. Cinnamon is especially effective for providing support for insulin and blood sugar balance, which is a key factor in determining metabolism

It’s easy to get cinnamon in your diet by sprinkling some in your coffee, on toast, or adding to a smoothie, but if you want to make sure you are getting an effective dose or need comprehensive blood sugar support, you can turn to Ee’s GluControl to make it easy for yourself.

6. Sacha Inchi

Sacha inchi seeds are a potent superfood that offers remarkable benefits for metabolism. Packed with protein, they can contribute to a higher TEF rate, promoting an uptick in your metabolism. Beyond that, they’ve got plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which can promote a healthy resting metabolic rate and, as an added bonus, can help reduce exercise-induced inflammation.

The tasty seeds are a great high-fiber snack, helping to support the microbiome and manage food cravings. They provide such powerful nourishment that we have included them in our plant-based protein mix, so it’s easy to get all of these health benefits in one scoop.

Sacha inchi seeds with hulls
7. Broccoli

This one might seem a bit underwhelming, but there is a reason your mom always told you to eat your broccoli. This everyday vegetable is chock full of nutrients that support metabolism, including vitamin C and calcium. Broccoli has a generous amount of protein for a vegetable, is low in calories, and also provides tons of fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer and provides prebiotics for your gut

A substance found in broccoli, glucoraphanin, has been shown to rebalance metabolism and has many positive health effects. After glucoraphanin is converted into sulforaphane during digestion, it supports the body’s detoxification systems and helps to remove metabolic wastes from the body.

The Essential Element

If you are putting in the work to reach your health and fitness goals, you might as well do all that you can to make the most of your efforts. With a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition, you will be on the right track to keep your metabolism supercharged. At Essential elements®, we know it can be hard sometimes to make sure you are getting the right nutrients, so we provide options to fill the gaps. Food is always the best source of vitamins and minerals, but when you have ambitious athletic goals or are short on time, supplements are there for you to lean on. 

The 7 Best Foods to Jumpstart Your Metabolism