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20 Delicious Foods to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Weight

These foods will help make burning fat a breeze.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

The foundation of any successful weight loss program is calories in vs calories out—but it's so much easier to keep that up long-term if the calories are delicious. Every pound of fat lost helps improve health and fitness. "Even a small amount of sustained weight loss can have tremendous health benefits, and anyone who achieves this should be supported and admired," Michael Rosenbaum, MD, tells Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Aside from exercise and regular movement throughout the day, diet is key. Here are 20 delicious foods to help you lose weight and improve your health.


Hummus with olive oil, paprika, lemon and pita bread

Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein, which is important for weight loss. "While naturally low in saturated fat, chickpeas are nutrient-dense," dietitian Caitlin Terpstra tells Mayo Clinic Health System. "They provide nearly 20 grams of protein in a ½-cup serving and 5 grams of dietary fiber. Chickpeas also are a source of folate, iron, vitamin C, and phosphorus."

Overnight Oats


Oats are full of fiber to help keep you full for longer. "This is a powerhouse full of fiber that will not only help you last through the morning without hunger but will slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream," says UnityPoint Health. "Start the day with a hot bowl of oatmeal in the morning or make overnight oats the night before in a mason jar for an on-the-go breakfast."



High in healthy fats and nutrients, avocado can actually help to steady blood sugar levels and curb appetite. "Researchers added half of an avocado to the subjects' lunch meals and found that they felt fuller over a longer period of time and had less of a desire to eat," Surgical Oncologist Dr. Mark Reeves tells Loma Linda University Health. "Not only that, but their insulin levels decreased after the meal."


Chicken eggs in sack bag on black background.

Eggs are delicious, healthy, and versatile. "The nutrient profile of eggs also yields itself to provide greater satisfaction at a meal, meaning it can help with satiety, which is great for those trying to lose weight," Rachel Bunch, RD, LD, tells Parkview Health. "Eggs have been shown to suppress appetite and decrease plasma ghrelin levels. Ghrelin is a hormone responsible for appetite stimulation."



Vegetarians and vegans should make sure they get protein from non-animal sources, such as soy. "Soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week, and probably more often, and is likely to provide health benefits," says Harvard Health. "Especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meat."



Almonds are an ideal snack, full of nutrients. "Nuts, like almonds, are a great snack. They're high in protein and fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals, but they also have a high fat content, which people can associate with increased body weight," says Dr. Sharayah Carter from UniSA's Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition, and Activity (ARENA).  "Nuts contain unsaturated fats — or healthy fats — which can improve blood cholesterol levels, ease inflammation, and contribute to a healthy heart.

Fatty Fish

Grilled salmon fish with various vegetables on pan on the flaming grill

Fish is good for your health and your weight loss. "Salmon is often a top protein pick by dietitians and other health experts," says UnityPoint Health. "It's low in saturated fat and high in omega-3s. It's also a good source of vitamin B12, potassium and vitamin D. Salmon is versatile and easy to prepare. The higher fat content (compared to flounder) makes it a more satisfying and filling meal."


oysters fresh seafood healthy meal food snack on the table copy space food background rustic top view pescatarian diet

Shellfish tend to be low in calories while high in protein and nutrients. "Shellfish are low in fat [and] a source of selenium, zinc, iodine and copper," says the NHS. "Some types of shellfish, such as mussels, oysters, squid, and crab, are also good sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, but they do not contain as much as oily fish."

Green Tea

Hand that pours chinese green tea from glass kettle to smal cup

Green tea is an excellent alternative to sugary, calorie-dense sodas. "Tea itself is great because it has antioxidants," dietitian Teresa Fung, Sc.D., tells TODAY. "You're drinking fluids, and when we are getting our fluids from tea, hopefully, we are not getting it from soda."

Dark Chocolate

Pieces of dark chocolate with mint on wooden table

Dark chocolate is a good option for a healthy dessert. "The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the more flavonoids there are and the lower the sugar," Devon Peart, MHSc, BASc, RD, tells the Cleveland Clinic. "If you're doing 75% or 80% dark chocolate, there'll be less added sugar than if you were at 50% dark chocolate."


Female holding ripe strawberry in hands. Harvest of fresh juicy strawberry on farm

Strawberries are packed full of antioxidants, plus they're low in calories and sugar. "No matter the variety of foods you eat, healthy diets should try to incorporate five servings of fruit and vegetables each day because studies have shown that this can improve overall health and lower the risk of serious health problems, such as obesity or type 2 diabetes," Rachel Lander-Canseco, RD, tells Keck Medicine.

Lean Meats


Enjoy lean meat in moderation. "Chicken, turkey, and other protein-packed lean meats take more energy for your body to break down than carbohydrate or fat-rich foods, therefore burning slightly more calories during the digestive process," says UnityPoint Health.


Ginger root and ginger powder in the bowl

"Ginger is another herb that can enhance metabolic rate," Craig L. Floch, MD, tells Nuvance Health. "It has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years for its many health benefits, including its ability to increase metabolism. Ginger can also aid digestion, which indirectly supports a healthy metabolism."

Chili Peppers

Chili powder and fresh and dried peppers on table background

Add some heat to your dishes for extra fat-burning. "Capsaicin helps increase your core temperature, increase metabolism, and helps burn calories faster," clinical dietitian Haley Robinson tells Piedmont Health. "Research has shown that it could increase your metabolism by up to 5 percent."

Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese in a wooden bowl

Don't forget about humble cottage cheese for weight loss. "Cottage cheese is low in fat, low in carbs, and high in protein, making it ideal for healthy eaters," says UnityPoint Health. "Add a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese to a berry smoothie for a non-traditional twist."



Add turmeric to your food and drinks. "Turmeric, with its active compound curcumin, is another spice that can support a healthy metabolism," Dr. Flock says. "Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may help support a healthy metabolism and overall well-being."

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Fresh green broccoli on a dark brown background. Macro photo green fresh vegetable broccoli. Green Vegetables for diet and healthy eating. Organic food.

Broccoli is low in calories compared to volume, which is just one of many reasons it's a perfect "diet" food. "Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family," says UnityPoint Health. "It's known for its high water and fiber content, which is a great combination to help you feel full."

Olive Oil

The moment olive oil is poured into a glass bowl set against a wooden background

Olive oil is full of healthy fats. "Olive oil helps you lose weight because it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids," sports nutritionist Abigail Roberts tells GBNews. "These are known to help with weight loss by increasing your metabolism, reducing your appetite, and reducing your body fat. Studies have revealed that a treatment group that was given extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) lost 80 percent more body fat than the control group that didn't consume EVOO. In the long-term, olive oil continues to have positive effects on the body and keep the weight off or stable."

Brazil Nuts

brazil nuts in the brown wooden plate on the piece of burlap on the white wooden table. catalog. brazilian nut

"Brazil nuts contain selenium, a mineral with many potential health benefits," says UPMC HealthBeat. "Selenium can improve the health of your thyroid, which regulates metabolism, and can also boost your immune function. In addition, Brazil nuts are a good source of protein and healthy fats."

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Lentils are versatile and packed with protein. "Lentils are a type of legume packed with iron, magnesium, and potassium," says UnityPoint Health. "They are a great plant protein and fiber source with 8 grams of each. Lentils come in a variety of colors, including red, brown, green, and yellow. All are equally healthy for you." And if you enjoyed this article, don't miss these 20 Superfoods for People Over 50.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more