Healthy Eating

9 Surprisingly Delicious Metabolism-Boosting Foods

Including a refreshing ginger lemon iced tea recipe.

By: Emmy Schneider-Green

We know we’re not alone in wanting all the metabolism-boosting secrets. After all, a healthy metabolism is known to aid digestion, increase our body’s caloric burn, boost energy, and even improve sleep. Pretty awesome, right? Different ways to boost metabolism is always a hot topic, but the truth is, much of our metabolic rate and speed is regulated by our bodies — which do a beautiful job of handling this complex system all on their own. With that said, there are also certain foods that increase metabolism. 

And, while these can certainly “speed the process,” it’s worth noting that balancing your metabolism requires a bit more than just chowing down on certain foods. A healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, daily stress reduction, and a focus on better sleep are all huge for metabolic health and ultimately speeding up your metabolism — if that’s your goal. 

Ahead, we’re sharing 9 delicious foods that research shows offer some metabolism-supporting properties — many of these foods are also rich in fiber and protein, which is also key for supporting satiety after a meal.

RELATED: 7 Secrets to Optimize Your Metabolic Health 

9 Delicious Metabolism-Boosting Foods 

#1 Chickpeas

Chickpeas are loaded with healthy fiber and protein to help keep you feeling full, already making them an easy win for a healthy eating plan. Increased satiety helps prevent overeating, which can keep your metabolism revved and running! And as for protein, research shows protein-rich foods help increase metabolic burn thanks to their thermic effect. Since protein is harder to digest, it requires more energy by the body in order to break it down. More energy means more calories burned, and more calories burned means increased metabolism! The best part? This requires no extra work or energy expenditure. You’ll burn extra calories simply by digesting your protein-rich chickpeas (or food of choice)!

And if you need another reason to snack away on these legumes, chickpeas also happen to be rich in magnesium, an important nutrient for supporting metabolism.

Try enjoying chickpeas in a salad, whipping up some homemade hummus, or try swapping out regular pasta for chickpea pasta! 

#2 Brazil Nuts

You may have heard how a healthy thyroid seems to be key for just about…everything, but did you realize it’s also crucial for supporting a healthy metabolism? Brazil nuts happen to be rich in selenium — a key mineral for thyroid health. But, less is more when it comes to these bad boys. Brazil nuts are such a rich source of selenium, it can be easy to overdo it. Think of them as a daily vitamin and enjoy one or two with breakfast in the morning, tossed into a smoothie, or as part of a healthy afternoon snack! P.S. they’re delicious in a trail mix.

#3 Chili Peppers

Aye, caliente! Not only will chilis add some serious kick to your dishes, but a compound found in chilis called capsaicin helps set a fire under your metabolism, in the best possible way. Plus, if you’re unaccustomed to a diet high in spicy foods, eating chilis could increase the amount of fat your body burns after a meal!

And, there’s more. Studies have found chilis could help prevent overeating, too. Research suggests that when eaten before a meal, chili may help to reduce the consumption of calories, particularly of foods high in carbs.

So, if you like a little kick added to your foods, consider spicing things up with some chili peppers — they are super yummy in stir-fries or even added to a healthy taco recipe!

#4 Coffee 

Research shows that the caffeine in your morning cup of coffee (best to limit your caffeine intake to the morning, so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep), may come with some metabolism-boosting properties. A study found that 100 mg of caffeine (roughly 1 cup) increased the resting metabolic rate of volunteers by 3-4% over 150 minutes.

With that said, it’s important to be mindful of how you’re preparing your coffee. To optimize the metabolism-boosting benefits of your cup, try to keep the sugar content low by opting for a touch of sweetness from a low-carb sweetener like monk fruit or stevia and a splash of unsweetened coconut milk instead of those dairy and sugar-filled, coffee creamers.

P.S. Did you know it’s easy to make your own dairy-free coffee creamer? All you need is one ingredient: coconut milk! (And maybe a touch of sweetness from vanilla extract and maple syrup). 

Try this simple Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Creamer


  • 1 (15-ounce) can lite or full-fat coconut milk
  • 1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup 
  • 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch Himalayan sea salt


Step #1: Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender.

Step #2: Blend on high for 1-2 minutes until well combined.

Step #3: Pour into an airtight jar, cover, and store in the fridge. Enjoy!

RELATED: 4 Stress-Fighting Ingredients to Uplevel Your Morning Coffee

#5 Green Tea

Speaking of caffeine, another metabolism-boosting food (or shall we say, drink) is green tea. In addition to its aforementioned caffeine, Green tea is rich in catechin and flavonoids, compounds known to speed metabolism and increase caloric burn. Similar to coffee, it’s been shown to increase metabolism in individuals during exercise.

One variety of green tea that’s particularly beneficial when it comes to metabolism-boosting benefits is Matcha. Match contains the antioxidant EGCG, which has been shown to significantly increase metabolism and fat-boosting effects in the body compared to traditional green tea. In fact, research suggests it may even stimulate the genes responsible for fat breakdown. 

RELATED: I Swapped Coffee With Matcha For a Week & Here’s What Happened to My Energy

#6 Ginger

This small but mighty warming spice is one of the best foods to incorporate into your diet if you’re looking to increase your metabolic burn, among other health benefits! Ginger is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and research suggests that it may benefit everything from digestion to weight loss

Further research has studied ginger and its effects on metabolic syndrome, where ginger was shown to “ameliorate hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, oxidative stress, and inflammation” in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Not only does this support a healthy metabolism, but it significantly reduces the risk of more serious illnesses! 

Want a delicious way to enjoy ginger? Here’s a refreshing ginger iced tea recipe.

Refreshing Ginger & Lemon Iced Tea

  • 1 cup brewed black tea, chilled 
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon 
  • Sprinkle of ground ginger 
  • Drizzle of honey 
  • Ice 

Step #1: Pour the chilled black tea over ice with lemon juice and stir. 

Step #2: Add the ground ginger and sweeten with honey. 

Step #3: Sip and enjoy! 

#7 Salmon

If you’ve ever had a perfectly grilled or roasted piece of flaky salmon, you know there’s nothing like it. And aside from its mouth-watering buttery taste, Salmon boasts some major health benefits – including its beneficial effect on metabolism. According to research, Salmon’s metabolic benefits are largely due to its Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA). These fatty acids not only increase caloric burn but they have also been shown to reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome by improving blood pressure, cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

Here are some yummy ways to add salmon to your diet:

  • Use it as the main protein source in these one-pan dinner ideas 
  • Add a serving of grilled salmon on top of your salad 
  • Add it to your avocado toast for an extra protein boost

#8 Protein-Rich Foods 

Speaking of protein-rich foods – such as salmon – protein is a macronutrient that has metabolism-boosting powers in and of itself. Protein-rich foods are unique in that they require more energy to be broken down and absorbed by the body versus their macronutrient counterparts, carbs, and fats. This means it has a higher thermic effect, or to put it more simply, protein burns more calories during the digestive process. So yes, simply including more protein-rich foods in your diet can help support a healthy metabolism! 

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Fish such as salmon, mackerel, shrimp, tuna
  • Meat such as chicken, beef, and turkey 
  • Legumes and beans such as chickpeas and lentils 
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa 

#9 Apple Cider Vinegar

While there is limited research on a direct correlation between apple cider vinegar and increased metabolism, research suggests the main component of vinegar – acetic acid – may boost weight loss. According to the animal study, acetic acid was found to suppress body fat, with significant improvements in visceral fat, BMI, waist circumference, and triglyceride levels. 

Additional research showed similar benefits, where acetic acid was shown to inhibit weight gain and suppress appetite in various studies. 

So, why not splash some apple cider vinegar into your diet? Try adding it to your salad dressings or drinking it like a shot alongside metabolism-boosting lemon and ginger juice!

BONUS: Water!

Ok so water isn’t *technically* food, but with metabolism-boosting benefits like these, we thought you’d want the scoop – or should we say the slurp? 

Water not only curbs your appetite and prevents overeating by increasing satiety, but according to research, upping your hydration can increase your caloric burn. According to a research study, individuals who consume 8 to 12 cups of water burn more calories than those who only drink four cups. 

Bored of plain old water? Try these tasty hydration hacks

Optimize Your Healthy Eating Plan to Support a Healthy Metabolism 

At the end of the day, we all want a speedy, revved-up metabolism. Our genetics play a role, but our food choices and lifestyle also have a huge impact on not only our metabolism but our overall health. Luckily, in addition to making healthy lifestyle choices, there are delicious, nutrition-packed foods we can enjoy to help support our health and metabolism. Get started with these nine delicious foods!