It’s official. As of March 20, it is now spring in the U.S.! For many of us, that means it’s time to hit the farmer’s markets to load up our baskets with in-season, locally-grown, fresh vegetables. (It’s enough to make your mouth water!) Yet with so many choices, what should you choose? Well, if you are also working to remove some extra winter weight, there are 5 veggies that boost metabolism to consider adding to your list.
Before you hit the market with your list of metabolism-boosters, remember that simply eating in-season vegetables and fruits is a metabolism-boosting habit to embrace. Ensuring you consume a wide range of colorful plant foods provides vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and fat—all nutrients to spark your metabolism.
Now, let’s get to the top 5 veggies to boost metabolism this spring…
Which Vegetables Increase Metabolism?
- 1) Radishes: Perfect for adding some fire to your salad or perhaps as a crunchy low-cal, highly flavorful potato chip alternative to serve with homemade guac or hummus. Radishes are versatile, high in water, and low in calories—with only 19 calories per cup.
- 2) Asparagus: This early-spring vegetable is at its tenderest and most flavorful at this time of the year. Feel free to fill up your entire plate with this nutrient-rich spring star. A cup contains just 30 calories along with up to 73% of the daily recommended vitamin C, 180% vitamin K, and 61% of folate. As a bonus, if you’re holding onto some excess water, asparagus could be beneficial as it may help flush out extra sodium.
- 3) Artichokes: One of the best sources of fiber (with seven grams per half cup of hearts), artichokes may support healthy digestion, blood sugar, appetite, and of course, metabolism. They’re also an excellent source of potassium and antioxidants, including vitamin C. To make the best pick, look for a nice green (with little brown) artichoke with firm, tight leaves. Then give it a squeeze. If it squeaks, you’ve found a good one.
- 4) Fava Beans (aka broad beans): No, these aren’t just for Hannibal Lecter. These green legumes have a surprisingly smooth and creamy texture and are a great source of plant-based protein with 13 grams per cup. They are also loaded with nutrients, including plenty of fiber (9 grams) as well as folate, manganese, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron. All of these are nutrients that support a strong metabolism. They’re also fairly low in calories with just 187 per very filling cup.
- 5) Broccolini: These tender shoots look a lot like broccoli only with smaller florets. Yet one of their biggest benefits is as one of the top 5 veggies that boost metabolism as they contain over 500 mg of calcium per (small) bunch. Calcium has been shown to boost fat metabolism in the body. So, add this little healthy veggie to your menu regularly!
Of course, you can find many other metabolism-boosting veggies and fruits at your local farmer’s market or grocery store. If it’s difficult to find the top 5 veggies that boost metabolism, other great options include:
- Apricots, which are high in metabolism-boosting iron.
- Avocados, which provide essential amino acids as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
- Berries are also powerful metabolism-boosting fruits as they help stabilize blood sugar levels and decrease body fat levels.
- Blood oranges are a fabulous source of in-season vitamin C. Other good choices include lemons and grapefruits.
- Broccoli may help rev up the metabolism and lower blood fat levels, due in part to the phytonutrient glucoraphanin. Other cruciferous vegetables rich in metabolism-boosting nutrients include cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
- Strawberries, which provide a mere 50 calories per cup along with 15% of your daily vitamin C.
- Chili peppers, such as jalapenos, are high in capsaicin, which can increase the number of calories and fat your burn. Bell peppers also contain metabolism-boosting capsaicin, just in smaller amounts. So, if you don’t like it hot, then go with a sweet pepper instead and you’ll still enjoy some of the metabolism-boosting benefits.
- Dandelion greens, which may decrease appetite, improve digestion, as well as alleviate swelling and water retention.
- Celery is low cal, provides lots of water and fiber, and stimulates the digestion—all of which can help amp up metabolism.
- Hemp seeds and flaxseeds provide protein, essential fatty acids, and a delicious crunch. They may also help increase blood flow to the muscles to kick metabolism into high gear.
- Lentils (and other legumes) are high in protein and fiber, which are key to a healthy metabolism.
- Spinach, which provides a high protein content for a leafy green and is also packed with a number of other metabolism-boosting nutrients.
- Sweet potatoes, due to their high glutathione and vitamin B content, which are both vital to a smooth-running metabolism.
While protein-rich foods (e.g., meat, fish, eggs, and legumes) get the most press for boosting metabolism, don’t forget about vegetables and fruits, as they provide important nutrients needed for a healthy metabolism. This includes nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium, calcium, and vitamin C.
Some spices have also been shown to help boost metabolism. For example, ginger may help decrease appetite, increase satiety, and help you burn excess calories. Cayenne pepper may also help your body burn fat for energy, especially after eating a high-fat meal.
Cinnamon may indirectly support metabolism by limiting the insulin response after eating sugar-containing foods, which can then support greater fat loss. As a bonus, cinnamon may also curb a sweet tooth, help balance blood sugar, and increase insulin sensitivity.
Anther potent herb is garlic, which helps balance blood sugar and boost the metabolism. Studies indicate that garlic may boost the number of calories burned and reduce bodyfat accumulation.
And we can’t forget cacao (yes, as in chocolate). Animal studies have found that cocoa extracts may help increase fat burning for energy, especially after high-calorie diets. (More studies with humans, however, are needed to fully confirm this benefit.)
Other Tips to Increase Metabolic Rate
What you eat can have a significant effect on metabolism. Yet there are other lifestyle choices that can also help. These include…
- Drinking water — an extra 1,500 ml of water per day may help decrease body weight and BMI, especially when 500 ml are consumed before eating.
- Sleeping — is essential not only for a healthy metabolism but for overall health. Aim for between seven and nine hours per night.
- Lifting weights — resistance training helps people gain and retain calorie-burning muscle mass. It’s also an efficient way to burn fat. A single session has been shown to increase metabolic rate for up to 48 hours, which can help you burn extra calories even while resting. Perform some form of strength training at least twice a week.
5 Veggies that Boost Metabolism
Celebrate the new season with the top 5 veggies that boost metabolism, but don’t stop there! Continue filling your plate with healthy proteins and fiber-rich vegetables. Plus, drink plenty of water, ensure you get a good night’s sleep, and get in the habit of exercising regularly.
Mike Dorfman is BS in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado. Mike’s has worked as a personal trainer for Gold’s Gym and helped many clients achieve their weight-loss and fitness goals.
To health first, weight-loss second. Mike and Tetrogen are here to help you make the transition to the healthier, happier, and thinner you!
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