Eating These 4 Foods Helps You Burn More Calories, Experts Say
Adding these calorie-torching foods to your diet can help boost your metabolism.
America is consuming too many calories. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one-third of U.S. adults are overweight and 42 percent are obese. While several factors can contribute to weight gain, an imbalanced diet is one of the most significant. However, making small changes in your diet can make a big difference—and certain foods can help speed up your metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day.
Read on if you're looking for a simple and natural way to boost your metabolism and shed those extra pounds.
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Salmon is a fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats have been linked to several health benefits, including weight loss. In addition, a 2021 meta-review found that omega-3 fatty acids can increase resting metabolic rate due to their role in fat metabolism in the body. Salmon is also a good source of protein, which can help you feel full and satisfied, potentially leading to reduced calorie intake overall.
"Fatty fish like salmon can support metabolism with their high amounts of protein and omega-3 fatty acids," says Kelsey Kunik, RDN, registered dietitian and nutrition advisor for Zenmaster Wellness.
Adding some heat to your meals with hot sauce may help you burn more calories. "The main ingredient in hot sauce and chili peppers is capsaicin, a compound that gives your metabolism a slight boost to burn more calories," explains Kunik.
Capsaicin has been shown to increase metabolism and stimulate the body to burn more fat. A 2022 study published in Pharmaceuticals concluded that capsaicin could not only boost your metabolism but also help suppress appetite in the short term and restore healthy gut bacteria, promoting healthy weight management.
It's no secret that many of us rely on coffee for a daily energy boost. But did you know that it can also help you burn more calories? That's because caffeine is a natural stimulant that can increase metabolism and help burn energy more efficiently. "Drinking at least one cup of strong coffee per day, or having an equivalent amount of caffeine, could increase the amount of fat you burn while exercising," says Kunik.
A 2021 study had a group of individuals who weren't accustomed to more than 50 milligrams of caffeine daily (roughly half a cup of coffee) consume the equivalent of one cup of strong coffee before endurance exercise. Comparing the results with exercise and a placebo, researchers found that caffeine increased the amount of fat burned during exercise.
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Ginger is a root that's been widely used for its medicinal properties for centuries. In addition, it's been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may also help you burn more calories. According to a study published in the journal Metabolism, participants who consumed ginger burned more calories and had greater fat oxidation compared to those who didn't consume ginger.
"Eating ginger or drinking ginger tea with a meal could increase the amount of energy it takes to digest your food and help increase feelings of fullness. The warming effect of ginger is similar to that of hot sauce, although less spicy and better tolerated by some people," says Kunik.
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. If you have specific health questions or concerns, always consult your healthcare provider directly.