10 Best Foods to Eat in the Morning for a Faster Metabolism, Nutritionists Say
Here's what to eat to get your body burning more fat.
Your metabolism, the process by which your body converts food and drink into energy, is affected by a wide range of factors—a few of which are under your control. In particular, your muscle mass and physical activity level can both sway your metabolic rate. To a slightly lesser extent, so can the macronutrient contents of your diet.
That's because every time you eat, your body breaks down and stores the nutrients from your food, expending energy in the process. This is known as the thermic effect of food (TEF), and it usually uses up about 10 percent of the calories you consume. However, some foods require even more energy to break down, essentially boosting your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) in the process. By beginning the morning with high-TEF foods, you can potentially burn more fat than you would when making other dietary decisions.
Wondering which foods are best for burning fat faster? According to nutritionists, these are the top 10 foods that boost your metabolism.
10 Breakfast Foods That Boost Metabolism
There are plenty of health benefits associated with eating oatmeal for breakfast regularly. For instance, according to a study published in the medical journal Nutrients, eating oats has been linked to a modestly reduced risk of certain chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity in adults. It can also improve blood lipid levels, post-meal insulin levels, and subjective measures of satiety, the study says.
But the benefits don't stop there—some experts say that it can also help boost metabolism and curb hunger throughout the day.
"This whole-grain cereal is rich in soluble fiber, slowing down digestion and stabilizing blood sugar, which prevents dips and spikes that can trigger hunger cravings and potential overeating," explains Krutika Nanavati, MSc, RDN, a registered dietitian and nutritionist practicing in New Zealand and a medical advisor for Clinicspots. "Oatmeal also keeps you feeling full, potentially reducing overall calorie intake throughout the day."
According to Harvard Health Publishing, berries are "among the healthiest foods you can eat." Besides lowering inflammation and promoting heart health, they're also believed to boost metabolism.
"Packed with antioxidants and fiber, berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries help regulate blood sugar, potentially reducing cravings and providing a sustained energy source," says Eric Sornoso, CEO of the meal delivery site Mealfan.
Protein-rich foods such as eggs take longer for the body to digest, meaning you tend to expend more energy shortly after eating them.
As Nanavati explains, this "enhances the thermic effect of food, which temporarily increases your metabolic rate." She also points out that eggs "keep you feeling full for longer, reducing cravings and potential overeating."
Sornoso adds that because eggs contain protein and so many essential nutrients, they "support muscle repair and help control appetite—their choline content aids in metabolism regulation by breaking down fat for energy."
4. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt fills you up and keeps you satiated throughout the day, so you'll be less likely to make impulsive eating decisions later. It can also help boost metabolism, experts say.
"A fantastic source of protein and gut-friendly probiotics, Greek yogurt promotes calorie burning through TEF and supports healthy digestion, which plays a vital role in overall metabolism," says Nanavati. "Choose low-sugar varieties and pair them with berries for added fiber and antioxidants."
5. Chia seeds
Next, Nanavati recommends including chia in your breakfast, noting that these can be easily added to yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies.
"Tiny but mighty, chia seeds are loaded with fiber and omega-3 fatty acids," says the dietitian. "They absorb liquid, expanding in your stomach to keep you feeling full and potentially boosting calorie burning through thermogenesis."
Eating a small handful of nuts every day can help you protect against heart disease and diabetes. They can also help you stay fuller for longer and increase your metabolism.
"Rich in healthy fats and protein, nuts are satiating, preventing overeating later in the day. Additionally, they contain minerals like magnesium, crucial for enzyme function involved in metabolism," says Sornoso.
7. Herbs and spices
Adding some herbs and spices to whatever breakfast you've prepared can help give it a metabolic boost.
"Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that may slightly increase calorie burning and metabolic rate. Adding them to your meals in moderation could offer a subtle metabolic boost," Nanavati says.
8. Green tea
Green tea comes with a range of major health benefits: Research suggests that it can promote heart health, help prevent cancer, fight inflammation, and more. It could also help you turn up your metabolism for the day.
"This beverage contains a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which might stimulate thermogenesis and fat burning," Nanavati explains. "While the effects are modest, green tea can be a nice addition to your morning routine for its potential metabolic benefits and overall health properties."
9. Beans and legumes
Research increasingly suggests that regularly eating beans and legumes is associated with better health outcomes and greater longevity. The experts also say that it's one of the most effective foods for boosting metabolism and losing weight.
Benedict Ang, a fitness, nutrition, and mindset coach, and a senior coach for the fitness site Total Shape, says he often recommends them to clients since they're an excellent source of fiber and plant-based protein.
"A high-fiber diet can certainly be a valuable tool in your arsenal," Ang tells Best Life. "One of the main ways it aids in weight loss is by promoting a feeling of fullness and satisfaction… This makes you less likely to overeat or snack between meals. Additionally, high-fiber foods often have fewer calories relative to their volume, making them ideal for reducing your overall calorie intake without leaving you hungry."
10. Protein-rich smoothies
No single food will rev up your metabolism more than eating a diverse range of nutrient-dense, whole foods. That's why drinking a protein-rich smoothie full of these types of ingredients can pack such a powerful punch.
"A well-composed smoothie can be a great breakfast option to boost your metabolism. Including ingredients like spinach, kale, and other greens, along with fruits and seeds, can provide a nutrient-dense meal," says Deniz Efe, a fitness expert and founder of Fitness Equipped. "The blend of fiber, protein, and healthy fats can contribute to increased metabolism and energy levels throughout the day."
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Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.