A healthy breakfast is a great way to start the day, especially if you focus on foods that boost metabolism and increase energy. It's true, you can combat fat by consuming some of your favorite foods – simply eating the right breakfast super-charges your metabolism for the rest of the day. According to the Mayo Clinic, making healthy choices at breakfast – and not skipping this crucial meal – prevents carb cravings later in the day and gives your body tons of usable energy.
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According to a review published in the "International Journal of Obesity," eating adequate protein increases the amount of fat the body naturally burns – even in a resting state – along with promoting the feeling of satiety and increasing energy. Ideas for healthy protein in the morning include the obvious – eggs and yogurt are both good choices. For a sassier breakfast, cook up some buffalo sausage as a side to your oatmeal, fruit or whole grain cereal. In a rush? Throw some plant-based protein powder in the blender along with some nuts, fruit and milk and you've got yourself a healthy, high-protein breakfast in three minutes flat. You can also add a handful of walnuts, chia seeds or pecans to your oatmeal to boost your breakfast protein intake.
Try switching from coffee to green tea. Along with the antioxidant benefits, a substance in green tea called EGCG has been shown to boost metabolism and improve cardiovascular health. According to a study published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition,” the most recent research shows that green tea can reduce obesity and prevent or reverse Type 2 diabetes, along with lowering the risk for cardiovascular disease. Green tea is delicious on its own or it can be sweetened with honey and put on ice for a refreshing summer breakfast drink. A highly potent form of green tea grown in Japan called matcha – usually found in the powdered form – can be brewed by adding hot water or thrown directly into a breakfast smoothie for the antioxidant and metabolism-promoting properties.
Another wonder food for the metabolism is fresh grapefruit. A study published in the "Journal of Medicinal Food" reveals that eating half a grapefruit before meals boosts metabolism, naturally lowers blood sugar and is linked to a reduction in weight. Start out your breakfast with half a grapefruit – or juice a whole grapefruit – to jump-start the metabolism and promote healthy weight loss. Grapefruit is also delicious sliced and added to a fruit salad or can be put in a super-smoothie along with other metabolism-promoting foods.
The primary constituents in cayenne – capsaicin and capsiate – have been shown to have profound metabolism-promoting properties. In a study published in the “Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry,” obese rats fed these constituents had a reduction in body weight, reduced fat accumulation and improved blood sugar control. Adding some spice to your breakfast can be a great way to improve glucose metabolism and prevent belly fat. Throw a little cayenne into a breakfast omelet, on turkey bacon or – for the brave at heart – toss a pepper into your smoothie. For those really special occasions, chiles and dark chocolate are a delicious and surprising combination – Mexican hot chocolate could be just what the doctor ordered instead of coffee or tea.
- Mayo Clinic: Breakfast: How Does it Help Weight Control
- International Journal of Obesity: Dietary Protein, Metabolism, and Body-Weight Regulation: Dose–Response Effects
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Effects of Green Tea and EGCG on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health
- Journal of Medicinal Food: The Effects of Grapefruit on Weight and Insulin Resistance: Relationship to the Metabolic Syndrome
- Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry: Capsiate Improves Glucose Metabolism by Improving Insulin Sensitivity Better Than Capsaicin in Diabetic Rats
Amy Myszko is a certified clinical herbalist and nutritional consultant who has been helping people find greater health and balance through diet, lifestyle and natural remedies since 2006. She received her certification from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in Boulder, Colo. Myszko also holds a BA in literature from the University of Colorado.