Natural Metabolism Boosters: Foods, Fruits and Herbs

Metabolism is one of the most important functions in the body. Your metabolism allows you to function, grow and maintain the daily activities that keep you alive. Your metabolism also influences how many calories you burn as energy each day. Many products have come on the market in recent years offering quick and easy ways to increase your metabolism; however, many of these products have eventually been shown to do more harm than good. Luckily, there are also natural ways in which you can boost your metabolism.

Natural Metabolism Boosters


Your metabolism works whenever you body is digesting and processing the food that you eat. Eating only a few large meals per day, or skipping meals like breakfast is a quick way to lower the amount of time that your metabolism is running, and slow it down. Eating multiple smaller meals throughout the day helps spread out the digestive process, helping your metabolism run more frequently. Starting your first meal right when you wake up gets your metabolism running from the time you get out of bed, also helping you naturally boost your metabolism.


Adding more fiber to your diet is another way to naturally boost your metabolism. Fiber takes more work on the part of your metabolism to be broken down into the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to survive. The longer your body needs to digest your food, the higher your metabolism will be. Increasing your intake of raw fruits and vegetables is a great way to add fiber to your diet. High-fiber foods move quickly through the digestive track and help it to function effectively. According to the Mayo Clinic, it may also decrease the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Examples of high-fiber foods include: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.


Protein is another food that helps increase your metabolism by taking longer for your body to digest. Make the majority of your protein intake lean proteins such as fish and chicken. This will ensure that you are not taking in additional fatty calories that cancel out the benefits of an increased metabolism. Foods high in protein not only take longer to digest, but they tend to be more filling. Examples of such foods include meats, like poultry, beef, seafood and pork. According to the American Heart Association, beef and pork should be eaten sparingly due to negative effects on cholesterol and heart health.


Exercise is one of the best ways to naturally give your metabolism a boost. As you exercise, your metabolic rate increases to keep up with the energy needs of your body. This increase in metabolism can last hours after you exercise. Exercising in the morning can be a great benefit to your health regimen because it gives your metabolism the boost it needs to stay elevated throughout the day.


Drinking enough water is also an important way to naturally increase your metabolism. Water is a crucial component in metabolic processes. Dehydration causes your metabolism to slow down in order to conserve the little amount of water that it has. According to the Institute of Medicine, it is recommended that men drink at least 3 liters of water each day, and that women drink at least 2.2 liters each day to replace the water that is lost through urination, sweating and breathing.


Another way to increase your metabolism naturally is to eat sensibly and avoid crash diets. Your body needs a specific amount of calories to survive. This rate varies depending on your height, age, weight, sex and activity level. Going too far below your body's natural calorie needs too quickly can cause your body to go into survival mode. This means that your body will slow down your metabolism to ensure that it has enough calories to keep going. Not only does this decrease your metabolism, but it also works against any weight loss goals that you may have set.

Metabolism Booster Foods

By a simple definition, metabolism is how your body converts food into energy. The study of this process has brought about countless books, articles, medical studies and theories. Some people have fast metabolisms, and some people have slow metabolisms. While some components of your metabolism are genetic, things like exercise and diet can affect others. There are quite a few foods that have been shown to increase your metabolism--generally foods with a lot of fiber and protein. If you combine proper diet and exercise, it is possible to increase your metabolism, thereby allowing your body to burn calories much more efficiently.

Spicy Foods

Bring on the hot sauce! According to the "New York Times," studies have shown that spicy foods can temporarily increase metabolism. Eating something spicy with a meal can raise your metabolism by as much as 8 percent. Plus, it helps to fill you up and keep you full longer. If you have heartburn or ulcers, though, steer clear--the metabolic benefits are negligible in the long run.


Berries are a great way of boosting your metabolism, thanks to their high fiber content. They keep your body running smoothly and efficiently. Most varieties of berries have very high levels of antioxidants. Cranberries have been shown to prevent urinary tract infections, and while they're still new on the market, early studies show that acai berries in their pure form are full of fiber and nutrients.


Coffee has been shown to increase metabolism with its high caffeine content. Drinking green tea has also been shown as an effective way of increasing metabolism. However, another liquid staple that has been found to increase metabolism by up to 24 percent is plain old water. It's important to drink enough water to keep you hydrated, and the exact amount you need is based on your height and weight.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acid content can help bump your metabolism. A great way to get it in is to increase your consumption of fish, especially salmon. It can also be found in foods like avocados, walnuts and flaxseed. In addition to the help with metabolism, omega-3s keep your skin clear, your nails strong, and your hair shiny.

Red Meat

Red meat can help you increase your metabolism, but doctors recommend that it be eaten only about once a week. All red meat contains creatine monohydrate, which is something your body can use to build more muscle. Increased muscle mass leads to increased metabolism. If you have heart problems, it's best to avoid red meat, regardless of its metabolism-boosting properties.

Breakfasts to Boost Metabolism

Depending on what time you eat dinner and what time you get up in morning, you may go as long as 12 hours -- half a day -- without eating. People who skip breakfast may think they're aiding weight loss by eating fewer calories, but going for long periods of time without eating can actually slow your metabolism. Skipping breakfast may also cause you to eat more calories later in the day. The trick is to choose nutritious, low-calorie breakfast meals with metabolism-boosting ingredients to provide energy first thing in the morning -- without exceeding your calorie budget for the day.

Feeding Your Metabolism

Starvation diets and fasts rely on the principle that taking in as few calories as possible will lead to quick, significant weight loss. While this may be true, it's not a healthy way to lose weight and keep it off. When you go long periods without eating, your body has a built-in self-protective mechanism that slows your metabolism to preserve energy and hold on to its fat stores. Eating a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning breaks the mini-fast you experienced while sleeping and lets your body know that it doesn't need to slow metabolism. Eating regularly, yet maintaining a calorie deficit for the day, keeps your metabolism functioning and helps you lose weight more effectively than skipping meals.

Your body expends energy during the process of digesting and metabolizing food, which is known as thermogenesis. Although the effect is slight, it can comprise up to 15 percent of your daily energy expenditure, according to a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism. Protein -- one of the three macronutrients, in addition to carbohydrates and fat -- raises diet-induced thermogenesis the most. A review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reported on convincing evidence that eating more protein can boost your metabolism. The review also noted that protein can boost satiety, which means you may feel fuller after a low-calorie meal high in protein than after a low-calorie meal higher in carbs or fat.

Hot peppers and green tea are other foods that have been shown to boost metabolism. Depending on your palate, you can include these in your breakfast meal as well.

Boosted Breakfast Ideas

Plan to make lean protein the main attraction of your breakfast. Eggs are an obvious choice, with their high protein and low calorie content, especially when you use mainly egg whites. Mix up an omelet with one whole egg and two egg whites for 106 calories and 14 grams of protein. Add a cup of steamed spinach and 1/2 ounce of Swiss cheese for another 60 calories and 5 grams of protein. If you like spicy foods, chop up some jalapenos or serrano peppers, and throw those into your omelet as well. A tofu scramble with spinach, peppers and Swiss cheese also makes for a metabolism-boosting breakfast. A serving of 3.5 ounces of tofu has 60 calories and 7 grams of protein.

Get a Boost on the Go

Many people skip breakfast because they simply don't have time in the morning. Whip up a metabolism-boosting smoothie in under five minutes and take it with you as you scurry out the door. Start with a base of skim milk, which has 83 calories and 8 grams of protein per cup. Throw in some soft tofu or whey protein powder, which has 100 calories and 17 grams of protein per scoop. Add essential vitamins and nutrients and filling fiber with a handful of berries and spinach or kale leaves. Finish off your smoothie with a scoop of matcha green tea powder, which has a pleasing flavor and turns frothy in the blender. You'll get a small metabolic boost from the caffeine and the phytochemicals called catechins found in green tea leaves.

Fruits That Boost Metabolism

What you eat can help boost your metabolism rate, or the rate at which your body processes and burns off fuel. While eating properly will help you boost your metabolism, your metabolism rate depends on many things combined such as exercise, your diet, how often you eat, when you eat, how much water you drink and some things that you might not be able to control like your age, genetics and your sex.


Leptin is a hormone that naturally occurs in our body. Leptin is responsible for energy both put in and taken out of our body in the form of energy. In other words, leptin helps regulate our appetite and our metabolism. By eating fruit, you can help the natural occurring leptin to help increase your body’s metabolism function.

Fruit Salad

Many experts recommend including fruit into your metabolism-boosting diet. Fruits that are rich in phytonutrients and vitamin C help boost your body’s metabolism rate by helping the natural-occurring leptin in your body work faster and more efficient. Other fruits to look for are fruits that have high water content. Water is essential to helping your body’s processes work, especially metabolism. While it is recommended to drink a lot of water while boosting your metabolism, you can help with this by eating fruits with high water content.


Fruits such as lemons, grapefruit, oranges, limes, tomatoes, mango and kiwi are all very high in vitamin C and can add a boost to your metabolism. Most especially kiwi and grapefruit are essential to include. A kiwi has almost the full amount of vitamin C you need in a whole day, while grapefruit has been proven to have a very unique metabolism boosting quality.


Other fruits to include are melons such as honey dew melons and watermelon. Because of their high water content, they can help speed up your metabolism by making sure your metabolic process has plenty of the water that it needs to function.

If you are unsure of what other fruits are good to help you boost your metabolism, pick out fruit that is very colorful. The flavonoids and carotenoids that produce the strong color also indicate a high level of phytonutrients and work with your body’s natural leptin to boost your metabolism. Good examples of these fruits are cherries and blueberries.

Herbs That Boost Metabolism

Herbs, which are plants often used in cooking, as medicines, to drink as infusions and for a variety of other purposes, can be added to your diet to boost your metabolism. By acting in different ways such as aiding in digestion, fat metabolism or appetite suppression, adding herbs to your diet program to boost metabolism can help you to lose weight and feel more healthy and energetic in a natural way.

Herbal Teas

Green Tea, which contains EGCG and high levels of polyphenols, acts to boost metabolism and increase your body's calorie burning efficiency. When taken as a beverage, do not add sugar, as this will negate the green tea's metabolism-boosting effects.

Guarana, which contains caffeine, boosts metabolism and suppresses appetite. It can be either taken as a supplement or in a hot or cold beverage.

Yerba mate tea contains an even higher concentration of metabolism-boosting properties than green tea. Mate tea also possesses thermogenic properties, which aids the body in burning stored fat while suppressing appetite.

Green Tea Benefits on Metabolism

Green tea has been largely accepted as a healthy drink. Not only is it low in calories, fat free and versatile, but it contains antioxidants and many other disease-fighting elements. Recent studies have shown it also helps to oxidize fat in the body and increase metabolism.

Green tea originated in China, but is associated with many eastern countries. It has only recently become popular in Western cultures where black tea has historically been the most popular. Green tea, black tea and oolong tea all come from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, and all have similar health benefits.

Metabolic Benefits

Green tea has been shown to increase the rate of fat oxidation by as much as 17%. The combination of caffeine and polyphenols, catechins, and antioxidants promotes a process called thermogenesis that increases the amount of calories your body will burn. Results were similar with different types of green tea, even green tea extract taken in tablet form.

Recommended Consumption

Three to four cups a day of freshly brewed green tea are typically recommended for optimal effects on metabolism. Freshly brewed teas have more potent amounts of beneficial nutrients that encourage metabolic rates to speed up. Bottled teas, green tea extracts and decaffeinated versions still have metabolic benefits, but optimal results are achieved by drinking freshly brewed green tea.

Creating a Balance

Consuming green tea alone will not result in dramatic weight loss, but it is one practice that can be incorporated into a health plan. Consistently exercising and relying on a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins will magnify the health benefits of green tea.


Prior to starting a nutrition program, talk to your physician about your specific needs and goals and how best to achieve them. Green tea does contain caffeine, so if you choose to drink it late in the evening, you may have a hard time getting to sleep.

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