Unless we’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years, most of us have been made aware by various health gurus and TV shows like The Biggest Loser about metabolism (the process in which the body converts food into energy). Our body either uses food as fuel right away or stores it in tissues as fat. The faster our metabolism, the more calories we burn and the more weight we lose. There are many factors that influence our metabolism, including sex, age, thyroid levels, our emotional state, exercise, and the ratio of muscle to fat within our bodies. However, one influencing factor we may not be aware of is the various foods and food combinations that can actually increase our metabolism. I’m not talking about exercising more to lose weight. I’m talking about consuming specific foods to lose weight.

Sounds a little paradoxical, I know. Typically, consuming additional food leads to weight gain – but our body burns more calories digesting certain types of foods than others. Translation: without much effort at all, you could be boosting your metabolism as you read this.

Our metabolism naturally declines as we age, making it increasingly difficult for older adults to shed excess fat. Therefore, older adults – including those struggling with mobility or disabilities – are forced to be meticulous with their diet and/or exercise more to maintain a healthy weight.

If you are currently overweight or would like to shed the five pounds that the winter casseroles packed on, here are some foods and beverages to incorporate into your diet to boost your metabolism:

Coffee & Tea

Coffee with caffeine boosts your energy expenditure and speeds up your metabolism. Don’t go overboard, but a cup a day is good.

Green tea contains compounds called phenols that promote energy expenditure – plus it’s a proven cancer fighter.

Oolong tea contains polyphenols that help block fat-building enzymes. Low in caffeine, it’s easy to drink throughout the day. Research shows that your metabolism will be raised for two hours after every cup.

Black tea reduces cortisol (a stress hormone), which contributes to the buildup of fat. Get tea infused with Rhodiola (a natural mood booster) and you’ll be smiling for days. Substitute it for your coffee if you feel as though you are getting too much caffeine, though you can get decaffeinated black tea as well.


Drinking ice water/beverages forces your body to burn extra calories because your body has to bring itself back to its normal temperature. Eight glasses of ice water burns 70 calories and keeps you cool during the summer months.


Plants containing capsaicin doubles energy expenditure for three hours after a meal; consider adding red, cayenne, jalapeno, and habanero peppers or some Tabasco sauce to your diet.


Ginger increases body temperature and metabolic rates as much as 20% after eating.


Black pepper contains the alkaloid piperine, which helps speed up metabolism.

Berries, Onions, & Mushrooms

These three foods are anti-angiogenic. Anti-what? Simply put, they can starve fat cells by cutting off the blood supply to your fat. It’s complicated to explain, but all you really need to know is that the more of these foods you eat, the more weight you lose.

Food Combinations

It turns out that what matters just as much as what you put in your mouth is how you pair your foods.

Oranges help reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) and avocados fight inflammation with monounsaturated fat. Put them together with a little bit of olive oil and you’re helping to reduce the inflammatory fat commonly found in your stomach.

Low-fat cottage cheese has calcium that speeds up fat loss while black beans are a rich complex carbohydrate. Put them together and they optimize the estrogen levels that build the curvaceousness in women. Throw in a little corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and hot sauce and you have a nice dip that will focus on your hips.

Brazil nuts contain L-arginine that revs your metabolism, raw onions are a natural diuretic that helps release extra fluid, and quinoa is a low glycemic index grain. Put them together and you have a meal designed to combat excess body fat from head to toe.


Information taken from www.doctoroz.com/videos/metabolism-boosters



Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living