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By : JENN SELBY   
Eat Yourself Slim
Want to turn your body into a fat-burning furnace? Try working our top metabolism-boosting foods into your diet. Your metabolism is the amount of energy or calories your body burns to maintain its vital functions. Speeding this up is the key to weight loss, so combining these ingredients with a calorie-controlled diet (1,500 calories to lose weight, 2,000 to maintain it) and regular exercise should have you back into those jeans in no time. 
 
 

Water

So simple, and yet so effective. If you’re serious about losing weight, you need to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of fresh water. As a nutrient, water is essential to the proper chemical functioning of every single cell in your body, and your metabolism is no exception. To keep it burning at full speed, drink the recommended 2 litres a day (about eight glasses).

 
 
Green Tea
Green tea has been proven to aid weight loss by speeding up the metabolism, inhibiting fat absorption and aiding glucose regulation. This is not because of the caffeine it contains, but is instead due to the high concentration of natural antioxidants called catechin polyphenols. Try drinking three to five cups a day, or take in supplement form, to really notice a difference.
 
 
Grapefruit
Marilyn Monroe swore by the grapefruit diet and, as it turns out, there may have been some method to her madness. Researchers at the Nutrition and Medical Research Centre in San Diego discovered that eating a grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice before a meal resulted in more than three pounds of weight loss in 12 weeks. This is because there is a naturally occurring chemical in grapefruits that lowers insulin levels, reducing cravings and increasing your body’s ability to burn fat.
 
 
Chilli
We struggle to think of a better fat burner than chilli. Cayenne pepper and other varieties contain a chemical called capsaicin, which boosts the metabolism by increasing the body’s temperature. What’s more, a single chilli also contains a full day’s supply of beta carotene (which is great for maintaining healthy skin, hair and nails), and twice your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C – an essential antioxidant that helps to battle toxins and foreign bodies in the blood stream.
 
 
Garlic
We all know that garlic is great for fending off colds (a naturally occurring chemical called allicin reacts with the blood to create a product capable of killing off many harmful bacteria and viruses that your body may be harbouring), but did you know it can help lower cholesterol AND reduce the fat cells in the body? Now you do…
 
 
Kelp
Kelp (or seaweed) is prized for its high levels of iodine. This helps to stimulate the thyroid hormones in your body, which regulate your metabolism. It also contains several minerals which have been found to assist the breakdown of belly fat and relieve water retention. 
 
 
Oats
Oats are filling, which makes it hard to believe that they can help you lose weight. But eating a portion in the morning for breakfast as part of a low-calorie diet is a great way to provide your body with slow-release, natural energy throughout the day. This can lower your cholesterol and help to maintain a healthy metabolic rate.
 
 
Turkey
Turkey meat is extremely lean and a great source of protein, which helps to build muscle mass, reduce cravings and fill you up for longer. All of these things contribute to a healthy, speedy metabolism. Vegetarian or vegan? Try tofu or soya protein powder instead.
 
 
Almonds
They might be tiny, but each individual almond is packed to the nines with fibre, complete protein and essential fatty acids. This combination of nutrients is great for staving off an appetite and for speeding up the metabolism. Just be sure to watch your portion size – as with all high fat content foods, almonds are quite high in calories. Try adding a few to your breakfast cereal or into a healthy fruit salad.
 
 
Asparagus
Asparagus – like beetroot – is particularly high in vitamin B, which naturally aids a healthy metabolism. It is also high in fibre and other antioxidants, which help to maintain your insulin levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
 
 
Berries
Great overall health is essential to maintaining a high metabolic rate, which is why we thoroughly recommend getting your fill of berries. Not only are they full of beauty-boosting antioxidants, but they’re packed with fibre too – essential for staving off hunger pangs and regulating insulin production.
 
 
Cucumber
Cucumbers are fabulous fat burners. Not only do their seeds contain stimulant properties, which can boost metabolic rates, but they are also high in sulphur and silicone – both of which can help the body’s natural fat-burning process. Sprinkle chopped cucumber over a spicy meal for a cooling, metabolism-boosting combination.
 
 
Lemon
Lemons aid the restoration of the body’s acid-alkali balance, keeping your insides at a steady pH. This means that your body is better able to support healthy bacteria and assist the removal of environmental and dietary toxins in the body, which in turn can help to stimulate a sluggish metabolism. Try drinking the juice of one lemon in a mug of hot water as a morning beverage and see if it makes a difference.
 
 
Spinach
Why eat lettuce when you can have spinach? Spinach offers a huge amount of health benefits for the body, and is a fantastic source of antioxidants, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B (which is particularly good for boosting your metabolism) and C. It’s also low in calories and high in fibre, which curbs cravings and keeps sugar levels on an even keel.
 
 
Olive Oil
It’s true – fats CAN actually help you lose weight. Polyunsaturated fats like those found in olive oil can stop you feeling hungry, while olive oil itself contains a naturally-occurring chemical called oleic acid, which aids the breakdown of excess fats in the body. Drizzle freely over salads or use as a healthier alternative to butter or sunflower oil.
 
 
Oranges
It’s definitely worth making space for an orange or two in your diet. Like apples, the high fibre content they contain promotes fullness and helps to keep blood sugar levels steady. Steer away from juice though – it’s higher in calories and sugars, which could make your metabolism sluggish.
 
 
Salmon
Salmon is high in protein and packed full of healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, which can alter the levels of a hormone called leptin in your body. Leptin regulates energy intake and expenditure, and is therefore essential if you’re looking to speed up your metabolism. Try eating two to three servings of oily fish a week or, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, sprinkle a handful of sunflower seeds (also high in Omega 3) over your breakfast in the morning.
 
 
Oysters
All seafood is low in fat, high in protein and metabolism-boosting B Vitamins, but molluscs like oysters, clams and scallops are particularly high in iron. Your body needs iron to transport oxygen around the body. Your muscles need oxygen in order to burn fat, so if you don’t have enough iron, you won’t burn as much fat. Other foods that contain high iron content include spinach, brazil nuts, beans and red meats.
 
 
Broccoli
Eaten raw, grilled or steamed, broccoli is a low-calorie, high fibre addition to your diet, which helps power your metabolism with a myriad of different nutrients. Each little tree contains high levels of vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and protein, making it one of the most beneficial food types you can eat.
 
 
Cinnamon
Often recommended as a diet aid supplement, cinnamon helps to curb soaring blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin production. There is some evidence to suggest that cinnamon extract also makes fat cells more responsive to insulin, which means they’re much less likely to hold on to excess energy, and far more likely to burn existing stores instead.
 
 
Basil
Stirring a handful of fresh basil into a meal before serving has more health benefits than your taste buds would perhaps lead you to believe. The herb is packed with iron and magnesium, which helps to improve the blood circulation in the body, while the essential oil eugenol it contains provides anti-inflammatory effects similar to that of aspirin or Ibuprofen. All in all, great for the metabolism…
 
 
Oregano
…As is oregano. Alongside rosemary, sage and peppermint, the high antioxidant properties of this herb – which is often used in Mediterranean cooking – helps contribute to healthy metabolic function.
 
 
Ginger
Ginger has long been used as a digestive aid, soothing the stomach and reducing inflammation in the digestive tracts. This can contribute to a flatter, healthier-looking tummy. The heat it creates when it is eaten also boosts the metabolic rate by raising the internal temperature of the body and forcing it to burn more. Chop into a stir fry or drink as a tea to get the most out of your root.
 
 
Pineapple
Tropical fruits like pineapple contain an exotic cocktail of nutrients essential for the metabolism, including iodine, which promotes healthy thyroid (the gland which regulates the metabolism by controlling how quickly it burns energy) function. Meanwhile, high levels of B complex vitamins, potassium and calcium stimulate blood flow and lower the cholesterol.
 
 
Nettle
As well as being a fabulous anti-inflammatory, nettle has thermogenic properties that speed up the metabolic rate by heating up the body’s internal temperature. It’s great for clearing skin problems like acne, too. Drink three cups a day and see if it makes a difference.
 
 
Sweet potatoes
Complex, wholegrain carbohydrates that are full of fibre are a source of basic, steadily-burned energy for the body, which can help to increase our metabolisms by regulating blood sugar levels and keeping us feeling fuller for longer. Sweet potatoes are particularly good, because as well as the above, they also contain fat-burning vitamin B.
 
 
Acai berries
The diet world has gone crazy for acai, and it’s not hard to see why. The so-called ‘super berries’, which are native to Brazil, are one of the highest sources of antioxidants you can eat, helping to boost energy levels and vitality. Try taking acai in juice or supplement form and see if you notice a difference.
 
 
Ginseng
Endurance athletes swear by ginseng and often take it in tea or supplement form before a big race. This is because it speeds up the metabolic rate, enhancing their performance by giving them the extra energy they need to last the distance. Transfer this tip to your own busy life, and see if it helps you last that little bit longer.
 
 

Spirulina

Not heard of spirulina? Get to know it! The super-algae has so many health benefits it’s a wonder we aren’t incorporating it into our diets all the time. Not only do the unique phyto-nutrients it contains power the immune system, improve digestion and cleanse the body, but they have also been shown to reduce fatigue, control the appetite, promote heart health and boost energy levels – all serious diet DOs. Blend into a smoothie to get the most out of it.