Struggling with a slow metabolism? If so, you’re likely carrying extra weight. Chances are good that your energy levels are also flagging. There’s good news, though! You don’t have to struggle with your weight or low energy any longer. The answer to shedding those unwanted pounds and getting all the energy you need to tackle your day lies in key plant foods. In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the best fruits and vegetables known for boosting metabolism and helping you lose weight.
Legumes – like peanuts and lentils – are powerhouses of nutrition. They’re packed with iron, zinc, and selenium, which help to speed up your metabolism by boosting thyroid gland operation. If your thyroid does not produce enough hormones, the result is an expanding waistline, low energy levels, and other chronic problems. Adding legumes to your daily meal can help ensure that you’ve not only got the energy necessary to take on your day, but that your metabolism accelerates to shed those unwanted pounds. Here are a few great examples of legumes you can easily add to your diet:
- Lentils (any color)
If you’re not a heat-lover, you might be tempted to skip this section, but you should give peppers another glance. Jalapeños, habaneros, and other chilli peppers contain capsaicin, the chemical that causes the sensation of heat in your mouth. Emerging evidence shows that capsaicin might be instrumental in helping you burn more calories by boosting your metabolism. That helps you lose weight, and as the weight comes off, you generally find extra energy in your day.
In addition to helping you burn more calories per day, capsaicin seems to have an appetite suppressant quality, so you’ll be hungry less and not as tempted to snack during the day. Some of the best peppers to add to your diet are as follows, ranked from mildest to hottest:
- Carolina cayenne
- Bird’s eye
- Scotch bonnet
- Ghost peppers
Love it or hate it, asparagus is a must-have in your daily diet. Better known for the effect it has on your urine, asparagus is also a powerful fat-fighter and metabolism boosting food.
It’s low in calories (30 calories per cooked cup) and contains a ton of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs each day, including vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, and more. It’s also a natural diuretic and will help you shed excess water weight and sodium, while also boosting your body’s ability to burn fat (thanks to the vitamin C included in each spear).
Don’t relish the idea of boiled asparagus? Get creative – toss the spears with a little olive oil, some salt and pepper, and then bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Add a little bit of Italian cheese if you like, but be warned that this adds quite a few calories that you could avoid.
Love a glass or orange juice with your breakfast in the morning? Swap that glass and your breakfast for an orange or a grapefruit. Evidence shows that citrus fruits offer metabolism boosting capabilities thanks to their high concentrations of vitamin C. Just 500 mg per day of vitamin C can increase your body’s ability to burn fat by almost 40%. With that comes a caveat, though. People taking certain medications should consult with their doctors before consuming some citrus fruits, particularly grapefruit. Some options to add to your diet include the following:
If you aren’t in love with apricots just for their flavor alone, their health benefits might convince you to give these fruits another shot. They rank high in plant foods with metabolism boosting abilities and can help you shed weight thanks to their high concentration of iron.
It has been shown that people with low iron levels also suffer from slow metabolisms, and two apricots per day give you 20% of your RDA of iron. Want a little bit of variety? Consider dried apricots – they’re just as delicious, but offer a different texture and are easier to carry with you for on-the-go snacking.
Ok, so kale has become synonymous with good health and chances are good that you’ve at least heard of it because of that. However, unlike fad foods and so-called superfoods, kale really is a nutritional powerhouse that can offer outstanding support.
Boosting your metabolism with kale is simple thanks to its high levels of calcium and fiber. That fiber is actually responsible for the vegetable’s fat-burning capabilities. It forces the body to work harder in order to digest it, which burns more calories per day. The fiber also keeps you feeling fuller for longer periods, reducing your desire to snack.
Did you know that dreaded weed you’ve spent your life bemoaning is actually one of the most nutrient-packed plant foods on the planet? Dandelion greens have been used as food for thousands of years and offer a tart, crisp difference to lettuce and other greens.
They’re also very high in vitamins A and K. There is also evidence that dandelion greens can act as an appetite suppressant and that they have diuretic properties, helping you to eliminate excess water and salt from your body.
In the end, these are just some of the plant foods out there that can help you boost your metabolism, lose weight, and increase your energy levels. Ideally, you’ll increase the plant foods in your diet, decrease red meat, attempt to avoid unhealthy fats, and make smart choices with your snacking. With the right modifications, you can create a regular diet that allows you to enjoy delicious foods, is low in calories, and boosts your metabolism to new heights.