Often times, we are told the way to get in shape and lose weight is to choose foods that “boost your metabolism”—i.e., help you burn more calories or burn them more quickly. It seems almost too good to be true. Choose the right foods, earn more leisure time and less time in the gym and still get the same great results? Is there any truth to this? Studies show that there are, in fact, specific antioxidants and compounds found within certain foods and beverages that may help your body burn off some excess fat. Of course, the best way to stay in shape is to eat a balanced diet and take part in some form of regular physical activity, but if you’re on the hunt for a boost to your regimen, consider the tips below!
Metabolism boosting power not only comes from what you eat, but also what you drink. Green tea contains catechins, antioxidants that are rapidly and extensively metabolized to help trigger the release of fat from cells (1,3). These catechins give your body the extra push to metabolize the food you eat throughout the day, making it easier to get the nutrients you need and get rid of what you don’t (e.g., excess fat!).
Another beverage that has been shown to temporarily boost metabolism by up to 30% is water. One study showed that within 10 minutes, participants’ metabolism was notably boosted after drinking 500 ml (one standard bottle) of water (4). This response lasted for up to one hour, and is likely associated with the activation of adrenaline receptors. Though the metabolism boosting mechanisms of the two drinks are different, both are proven to give your body a hand in breaking down the foods you consume. While it’s not all in what you drink, adding more water is almost always beneficial, and adding a cup of green tea to your daily routine may add some spark to your balanced diet and exercise routine.
Making your body work a little harder also boosts your metabolism, and this extra work is easier than you may think. Registered Dietitian Lisa Jubilee suggests giving your body a kick and adding some flare to your work day by standing up at your desk for a few hours per day. It’s estimated that those who stand, rather than sit, at work burn an extra 50 calories per hour, which definitely adds up for those who work 8 hour days.