15 Best Foods to Boost Your Metabolism

Give your metabolism a tiny nudge with these foods.

Photo: SkinnyMs.

Want to nudge your metabolism without resorting to questionable supplements? Get ready to learn the 15 best foods to boost your metabolism.

Metabolism is the body’s internal process of energy production. While it’s necessary for survival, it doesn’t always work the way nature intended. If the metabolism is slow, the body tends to gain weight and become more vulnerable to serious chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes.

Many factors impact metabolism, including:

  • Hormones
  • Stress
  • Gender
  • Age

However, it’s also affected by the foods we eat. Some foods, like refined sugar or unhealthy carbs (think white bread) slow the metabolism. Others, though, give it a natural boost, so the body is able to burn calories more efficiently.

1. Almonds

Healthy fatty acids and protein in almonds give the body a temporary metabolism kick. Enjoy 12-14 unsalted, whole almonds as a nutritious snack or spread Clean Eating Almond Butter on some raw fruit, veggies, or whole wheat toast.

2. Apples

Make your doc—and your waistline—happy by adding apples to the menu. They contain pectin, a type of fiber that aids digestion and, as a bonus, helps detoxify the body naturally. Add Apple Butternut Squash Soup to your menu plan, or grab a whole, fresh apple as a go-to snack.

3. Avocados

High in fiber and vitamins, such as C, B3, B6, and K, this fruit also offers carnitine, an amino acid that supports efficient metabolism. Barbeque Chicken and Avocado Quesadillas are a tasty way to try this superfood.

4. Broccoli

Get your green on with a versatile, delicious veggie. Enjoy this green goodness in low-cal Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheddar Soup or try Quinoa & Broccoli Salad.

5. Carrots

These orange veggies are high in fiber, and fiber forces the body to work harder during digestion, burning more calories in the process. Herb-Roasted Zucchini and Carrots and Balsamic Roasted Carrots are tasty additions to any weight loss menu.

6. Chili Peppers

Spice up your healthy menu with chili peppers, a thermogenic food. Thermogenics cause the body to naturally produce heat, which is a process that requires the body to burn more calories. Enjoy them in Spicy Chili with Fire-Roasted Tomatoes or Chicken and Black Bean Chili.

7. Coffee

If you consider coffee the nectar of the gods, you’re in luck. Coffee delivers a temporary metabolism lift that’s perfect to get you started in the morning. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about high-calorie café drinks. If you want to lose weight for good, stick to black coffee or a naturally sweetened recipe like Morning Joe in the Raw.

8. Cucumbers

High in water and low in calories, cucumbers also offer fiber, a must-have weight loss component. Sink your fork into Avocado, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad.

9. Eggs

These contain amino acids that help boost metabolism for more efficient fat burn. Plus, they contain vitamin B2, which supports metabolic activity. Avocado & Egg Quesadilla and Sun-Dried Tomato & Egg Muffins are delish ways to benefit from eggs’ metabolism lift.

10. Garlic

Like chili peppers, garlic is a thermogenic that raises the metabolism by causing the body to produce heat and thereby burn more calories. Savor the flavor of Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken or Garlic Sautéed Brussels Sprouts.

11. Green Tea

This metabolism-friendly beverage contains a substance called EGCG, which helps burn fat. What’s more, it has zero calories, making it a tasty alternative to plain water. You can also sip on a Green Tea Kiwi-Berry Smoothie for breakfast or a snack.

12. Lemons

This sunshiny fruit is a natural detoxifier, helping the liver support the metabolism properly. Lemon Ginger Detox Drink is a zingy way to start the day.

13. Oatmeal

Oats are an easy way to consume more metabolism-boosting fiber. They also fight against constipation and bloating. Stay away from the pre-packaged oatmeal envelopes that contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Instead, try delicious homemade options like Clean Eating Refrigerator Oatmeal or Slow Cooker Nutty Blueberry Banana Oatmeal.

14. Spinach

Many metabolism-friendly veggies are low in calories and high in fiber. However, spinach offers plenty of additional nutrient superpower in the form of iron, zinc, and vitamins K and A. Skinny Zucchini Pasta & Baby Spinach is a delicious dish for your weight loss plan.

15. Tuna

Tuna (and other fish, like salmon) help reduce levels of a hormone called leptin, which may be linked to a slower metabolism. When you need foods to boost your metabolism, try a Lite Tuna Melt Wrap or Tangerine Grilled Tuna.

Nicole Doster
With nearly a decade of experience creating content for various lifestyle publishers and eCommerce brands, Nicole combines her love of at-home cooking with her expertise in product reviews and digital content creation to lead the award-winning shopping editorial team across Taste of Home, Family Handyman and Reader's Digest. As TMB's content director, affiliate, she oversees strategy, operations and planning for all product testing and shopping content, to bring readers recommendations and inspiration you can trust. Before joining the affiliate team, Nicole edited hundreds of recipe and food lifestyle articles for Taste of Home working closely with our Test Kitchen team and network of contributors. With a passion for baking, comfort food and hosting get-togethers you'll often see Nicole testing new products that make life easier. As a former barista in Chicago and Baltimore, she's slung hundreds of cappuccinos and doppio espressos in her lifetime and she will talk your ear off about the best gadgets to make cafe-quality coffee at home. When she's not hunched over her laptop, she's either fixating on her latest DIY home renovation or on a walk with her rescue pup, Huey.