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12 Metabolism-Boosting Foods for Weight Loss (Infographic)

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Your metabolism, or how fast your body converts food into energy, is an important piece of the weight loss puzzle. Certain foods play a part in boosting your metabolism by accelerating your energy levels and helping to improve metabolic functions. Eat these twelve metabolism-boosting foods (don’t forget to scroll down for an important bonus tip!) to help move you one step closer to your weight loss goals:

12 Metabolism-Boosting Foods for Weight Loss

1. Fish & Shellfish

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Fish (think salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Your body burns more calories digesting protein than fat and carbohydrates.
Tip: The American Heart Association recommends people should eat fatty fish at least two times per week. Don’t like the taste of fish? Take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (vegetarian-friendly) or fish oil supplement.

2. Legumes

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Hot peppers like chili peppers and jalapeños contain the chemical capsaicin that gives these vegetables their heat. Capsaicin, increases your body’s internal temperature which helps you burn more calories.
Tip: Grill, stuff, steam, bake or stir-fry a serving of peppers or serve them raw to pair with low-fat dips or cottage cheese.

3. Chili Peppers

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Hot peppers like chili peppers and jalapeños contain the chemical capsaicin that gives these vegetables their heat. Capsaicin, increases your body’s internal temperature which helps you burn more calories.
Tip: Grill, stuff, steam, bake or stir-fry a serving of peppers or serve them raw to pair with low-fat dips or cottage cheese.

4. Lean Meats

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Chicken, turkey and other lean meats take more energy for your body to break down, therefore, burning more calories during the digestive process.
Tip: Trim off any visible fat from meat and poultry, including the skin. Low-fat cooking methods include broiling, roasting, sautéing, grilling and baking.

5. Low-Fat Milk

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: The calcium and vitamin D found in milk are essential for building dense muscle mass and maintaining a vigorous metabolism.
Tip: Add low-fat milk instead of water to oatmeal, hot cereals and condensed cream soup. Ask for skim or 1% milk when ordering lattes and cappuccinos.

6. Broccoli

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which is known for its high water and fiber content that boosts the body’s ability to burn fat and helps you feel full.
Tip: Cook broccoli and other cruciferous veggies before eating to preserve maximum nutritional value.

7. Lentils

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Lentils are a great source of protein, fiber and resistant starch, which is a healthy carb that burns fat and boosts metabolism.
Tip: About 20 percent of women are iron deficient, which can lead to weight gain. One cup of lentils provides 35 percent of your daily iron needs.

8. Oatmeal

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: When eating whole grains rich in fiber, such as oatmeal and brown rice, your body burns nearly twice as many calories than when eating processed foods.
Tip: Sprinkle flax seed or chia seeds over oatmeal and top with fresh fruit for a powerful fat-fighting and heart-healthy breakfast.

9. Berries

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Berries, such as blueberries and strawberries, are low in calories and high in fiber, a key factor in weight control.
Tip: If you can’t find your favorite fresh berries, unsweetened frozen berries are a good substitute during off seasons and are just as nutritious.

10. Almonds

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: The protein found in almonds fights hunger hormones and burns belly fat.
Tip: Enjoy a handful of almonds between meals to curb hunger or chop up for a crunchy salad topper.

11. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Cottage cheese is low in fat, low in carbs and high in protein, making it a metabolism-boosting ingredient for dieters.
Tip: Add a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese to a berry smoothie for double the metabolism-boosting powers.

12. Tempeh

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Tempeh is a great source of folate, an essential nutrient for DNA synthesis and other metabolic functions.
Tip: The CDC recommends women take 400 mcg of folic acid (the man-made form of folate) every day, starting at least a month before getting pregnant and during all stages of pregnancy to prevent serious birth defects.

Bonus Tip!

You can boost your metabolism through the right food and drink.  Our thirteenth tip is an essential ingredient to any healthy diet.

13. Water

Metabolism-Boosting Powers: Water can help you burn more calories by regulating your metabolism. By drinking 17 ounces of water a day, your metabolism could speed up by as much as 30 percent.
Tip: Divide your weight in half, and use this number to indicate the amount of ounces of water you should drink each day.

Accompany these metabolism-boosting diet tips with daily exercise to optimize your weight loss efforts. For more information on non-surgical weight loss, register for the UnityPoint Clinic | Weight Loss Healthy Lifestyles Program, a medically supervised weight loss program, designed to help you meet your weight loss goals.