But beyond the calorie, which is a measure of energy, actually, the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree (Celsius), is the metabolic value. Metabolism establishes the rate at which we burn calories. Most people "burn" calories at a different rate. There are a few different theories when it comes to foods that can actually support optimal metabolism versus those foods that can sabotage metabolism. The take home is that some foods stoke the metabolic furnace and some douse the flame. Most people want to stoke the fires and become metabolically efficient. The following foods (including spices and drinks) will help achieve that goal.
Top 7 Foods that Support Awesome Metabolism:
- Green Tea - Often ranks at the top of the list for its thermogenic properties. Thermogenesis simply means producing heat. Animal studies have shown that green tea extract increases thermogenesis. In humans, drinking green tea has been shown to improve metabolic rates and help burn fat. Aim for 2-3 cups daily.
- Cinnamon - Besides tasting awesome, cinnamon supports healthy blood sugar levels by allowing sugar to get into cells to be used for energy, so less is stored as fat.
- Almonds - Almonds contain heart-healthy fats and fiber. Initial studies show that eating almonds support healthy metabolism as well as healthy blood pressure.
- Berries - Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and cherries all support healthy metabolism and fat burning.
- Turkey and lean protein - Lean protein helps the body build lean muscle tissue, which in turn helps burn more fat.
- Whey protein - Similar to turkey and lean protein, whey protein may affect glucose metabolism and help the body burn sugar more efficiently.
- Jalapeno (and Cayenne) peppers - A little goes a long way here. One of the powerful chemicals in these spicy peppers, capsaicin, is said to speed up your metabolism and your heart rate.
- Honorable mentions: apples, grapefruit, coffee, dark chocolate
Worst Foods for Metabolism:
- Potato Chips - A Harvard University Study found that potato-based foods, such as potato chips and french fries, have a disproportionately large effect on how much weight we gain over time. Potato chips were the worst offenders.
- Donuts - Donuts are full of trans fats, sugar, and white flour - all of which increase inflammation in the body and slow down metabolism.
- Cereal - When cereal becomes our go-to breakfast, we subject ourselves to an overabundance of carbohydrate, not enough protein and insulin rises, making us even more hungry than we were before. Eating cereal at night as desert just puts us in sort of carbohydrate-induced coma, slowing everything down, including metabolism.
- Corn Chips - Do you ever feel good and energized after eating a basket or bag of chips - salsa included or not. Probably the answer to that question is no. Most tortilla chips (aside from being made of GMO corn, which may in and of itself mess with metabolism) are fried and salted. This causes us to feel bloated and it transfers to systemic inflammation in the body. Corn chips should never be a part of the day to day regimen.
- Ice Cream - Sugar plus dairy equals snooze fest. The fastest way to douse the metabolic flames.
- Sugar - Real or fake - Sugar doesn't do a body good. Whether its fructose, sucrose, sucralose, aspartame - sugar never satisfies. It keeps the body begging for more and eventually leads to metabolic syndrome where the body just gives up and stores fat.
- Fried Foods - High fat foods, especially the trans fast and saturated fats, are not as easily digested - in fact much of the time the body will not recognize it as food and it will simply store it in the form of toxins in your own body fat. This ultimately slows down metabolism and fat burning.