Which Foods Increase Metabolism?

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    Metabolism is the process by which our body converts food into energy. The foods we eat can greatly enhance the efficiency of our metabolic rate.

    The word metabolism refers, broadly speaking, to all the chemical reactions that occur in your body to maintain life. Some of these reactions involve converting food into energy, building and repairing tissues, and eliminating waste products.

    Metabolic rate, on the other hand, is a measure of how quickly your body uses energy. It’s the rate at which your body burns calories to perform all the functions necessary to keep you alive. Several factors can affect metabolic rate, including age, sex, exercise, and diet.

    Eating the right foods can have a major impact on our health, including boosting our metabolism. When our metabolism is functioning optimally, we are able to better absorb and digest nutrients from food. Eating certain types of foods can help to increase the rate at which we turn the food we eat into energy, allowing us to feel more energized throughout the day. In this article, we will explore some of the most effective foods for supporting your metabolism and how they can benefit you.

    Green Tea

    Green tea’s ability to kickstart metabolism lies in its unique combination of caffeine and catechins. Caffeine is a well-known stimulant that can increase energy levels and alertness. The particular combination of caffeine with catechins also stimulates the central nervous system, which can lead to an increase in metabolic rate.

    Furthermore, catechins are antioxidants found in green tea that have been shown to promote fat oxidation and thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is the process by which the body produces heat, and it plays a role in burning calories.

    In addition to caffeine and catechins, green tea also contains compounds that can promote satiety, or feelings of fullness.


    Like green tea, coffee’s high caffeine content has a twofold effect, promoting alertness while at the same time boosting our metabolism. Caffeine works in coffee much as it does in green tea, by stimulating the central nervous system, which in turn can increase heart rate and blood circulation, and, ultimately, increasing the body’s metabolic rate.

    Additionally, caffeine can help to promote satiety and decrease feelings of hunger, reducing the amount of cravings throughout the day.

    MCT Oil

    MCT oil has gained popularity due to its ability to boost metabolism. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which are a type of fat that is easily absorbed and metabolized by the body. Unlike other types of fats, MCT’s go straight to the liver where they are converted into ketones, which can be used as a source of energy.

    One way that MCT oil boosts metabolism is by increasing thermogenesis, the body’s natural process of distributing energy via heat production. Studies have shown that consuming MCT oil can increase thermogenesis compared to other types of fats or carbohydrates. This means that your body burns more calories when you consume MCT oil than it would with other foods.


    Studies have found that ginger can enhance the thermic effect of food and boost satiety. A stem with a sharp, spicy flavor, ginger also helps regulate blood sugar levels already in normal range, reducing cravings for foods that can result in sugar spikes.

    Ginger has also been used for centuries as a natural plant that can soothe the stomach. Its antioxidant properties are able to help manage digestive discomfort, such as occasional bloating, gas, and nausea.


    One of the key factors behind tempeh's metabolism-boosting powers is its high protein content. Tempeh contains all nine essential amino acids needed for muscle growth and repair. Building muscle mass is crucial for increasing metabolic rate, as muscles require more energy to maintain than fat tissue.

    This means that consuming adequate amounts of protein - such as that found in tempeh - can help increase our metabolic rate and burn more calories throughout the day.


    Water is the essence of life, and research shows that it plays a critical role in our metabolism. One reason for this is due to the thermogenic effect of water. Drinking water has been shown to increase metabolic rate as your body expends energy to heat up the liquid.

    Additionally, being dehydrated can cause a decrease in metabolic rate as your body tries to conserve energy. This study tells us that by staying hydrated, you can help keep your metabolic rate function at its optimal level.

    Apples & Apple Cider Vinegar

    It seems like apple cider vinegar has become all the craze lately. This is largely due to its effect on boosting digestion and enhancing satiety.

    However, caution should be exercised when consuming apple cider vinegar on a regular basis. Apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic and can be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, the acidic nature of the liquid can wear away at tooth enamel over time, leading to dental issues such as sensitivity and decay. To mitigate this risk, apple cider vinegar should be diluted before consumption or consumed through a straw to minimize contact with teeth.

    On the other hand, apples in their whole-food form are a wonderful way to rev up metabolism. Apples contain pectin - a type of soluble fiber that is known to improve digestion. When your digestive system is functioning properly, it allows your body to break down food more efficiently, which means that you will burn more calories. Furthermore, apples also have a high water content which makes them low in calories but still filling.

    With all the potential benefits of apples, you can easily make them part of your regular routine by trying an apple extract supplement. Care/of’s Chromium + Apple Extract can help your body better unlock energy from food, maintain blood sugar levels already in the normal range, support healthy blood flow, and maintain muscle mass.

    Chia Seeds

    Chia seeds are one of the most popular superfoods in the world today, and for good reason. These tiny seeds have been found to be rich in fiber and other essential nutrients that can help boost your metabolism.

    High-fiber foods can serve as prebiotics, which support the organisms in the microbiome that help with the digestion and metabolism of foods. Sufficient prebiotics help these microbiotic organisms turn food into fuel more efficiently.

    Chili Peppers

    These fiery little fruits contain an active compound called capsaicin, which is responsible for many of their health benefits. Depending on dosage, capsaicin has been shown to increase thermogenesis, as well as acting as a diaphoretic, increasing sweating and aiding in detoxification.

    This study suggests a 2mg dose would be an effective dose to increase thermogenesis, however another study mentions the effects may decrease over time with repeat consumption.

    Dark Chocolate

    Dark chocolate is a delicious treat, but it also has been shown to positively impact our metabolism. The main reason behind this is the presence of polyphenols and flavonoids in dark chocolate. These compounds work together to increase blood flow, break down fat cells, and regulate blood sugar levels already in normal range.

    This study found that the intake of 40 grams of dark chocolate for 2 weeks can impact metabolism. Additionally, in a study divided between a dark chocolate group and a control group, the dark chocolate group had lower levels of urinary cortisol, which suggests among other things a boost to the metabolism. The polyphenols and flavonoids found in dark chocolate interact with cortisol receptors, preventing them from binding with cortisol. This can lead to a decrease in fat storage and an increase in metabolic rate.

    Fish & Shellfish

    Fish is rich in omega-3, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that has been linked with numerous health benefits, including improved metabolic function. Studies have shown that regular consumption of fish is associated with healthy body weight, and improved glucose already in normal range and blood pressure levels already in normal range.

    Not only does fish contain omega-3, it also contains high-quality protein that can help support your metabolism. Research has shown that consuming high-protein meals can also help r promote feelings of fullness and satiety.

    Additionally, fish is an excellent source of vitamin D and minerals, such as iron and zinc, that play a critical role in maintaining optimal metabolic function.

    Milk & Yogurt

    Milk and yogurt are two dairy products that can boost your metabolism. Satiety, the feeling of fullness after a meal or snack, is one of the main benefits offered by milk and yogurt.

    One reason for this satiety effect is the high protein content found in both milk and yogurt. When you consume foods that contain protein, they stay in the stomach longer, keeping you feeling fuller for an extended period of time.

    Moreover, research has shown that consuming calcium-rich foods like milk and yogurt can help speed up metabolic rates. Calcium is essential for muscle function, including those involved in fat-burning processes within the body.


    Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas, are excellent sources of plant-based protein that can help boost metabolism. When you consume protein-rich foods, your body uses more energy to digest them than it does for other nutrients, otherwise known as the thermic effect of food. These legumes also contain a high percentage of dietary fiber and a low glycemic index that helps to balance blood sugar levels already in normal range.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Jordana Tobelem, RD
    Freelance Contributor
    Jordana Tobelem is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others become the best versions of themselves through proper nutrition education. Jordana is passionate about promoting lifestyle changes through nutrition, physical activity, and behavior to create a superior quality of life. She uses her experience in the clinical field of dietetics to provide consulting services to an array of healthcare brands and companies. Jordana loves finding the most current research in nutrition to create meaningful content to share with her clients. Jordana has been a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2018 and also holds certifications in both Personal Training and Health Coaching.