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5 Best Breakfast Foods to Boost Your Metabolism, Say Experts

February 19, 2023
a bowl of oatmeal with eggs and vegetables

They say breakfast is the most important meal — and indeed, dietitians say that what you eat first thing can make a big difference in your energy levels, satiation, focus and concentration, and even your metabolism throughout the day. But not all breakfast foods are created equal if you’re looking to rev up your metabolism.

“When you have a healthy metabolism, you may find it easy to lose or maintain a healthy weight, feel energized all day, and not get hungry soon after eating,” explains Wendy Lord, RD and consultant for Sensible Digs.

In order to achieve a healthy metabolism, Lord recommends aiming for a balanced diet. Getting a variety of micronutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients can support the body’s metabolic processes.

With that in mind, here are some metabolism-boosting foods you’ll want to add to your plate in the morning.

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1. Eggs

Johna Burdeos, RD, notes that protein-rich foods like eggs have a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates and fat. That means it takes more energy to digest, allowing you to burn more calories while your body processes it. In fact, a 2014 review found that protein can increase your metabolic rate by 15% to 30%.

Not only that, but Catherine Gervacio, RD and nutrition writer for Living.Fit, also says eggs contain the essential amino acids that help with muscle growth and repair.

“The more muscle your body has, the higher your metabolic rate is,” she adds.

Mary Wirtz, RD and consultant for Mom Loves Best, suggests adding spinach, peppers, onions, mushrooms, or tomatoes to your scrambles and omelets to bolster the fiber content — thus adding to the satiety factor.

2. Oatmeal

Oats are loaded with fiber, and as your body works to break that down, it burns calories. More specifically, Lord notes that oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which provides fuel for the friendly bacteria that reside in your gut.

“Your gut bacteria are responsible for breaking down the fiber and producing chemicals called short-chain fatty acids, which benefit your metabolism and improve blood sugar control,” Lord adds.

Oats also contain resistant starch, which passes through your small intestine without getting digested — and research shows that this type of starch helps you to stay full for longer. However, it’s worth noting that the less processed the oats are, the more resistant starch they have — which is why it’s advisable to opt for steel-cut oats the over instant kind. Also, cooking your oatmeal can reduce the resistant starch content — so, consider making overnight oats with cold milk instead or simply letting them cool before chowing down.

Eva De Angelis, RD and nutrition writer for HealthCanal, suggests adding high-fiber toppings like nuts and seeds to your oatmeal for further metabolism-boosting perks.

3. Greek yogurt

Blanca Garcia, RDN, a nutrition specialist at HealthCanal, says it’s also important to consider how breakfast foods can affect your blood sugar levels. Foods that are low on the glycemic index (GI) provide a slower and more gradual release of glucose, keeping your fullness and energy levels balanced between meals. Greek yogurt — as long as doesn’t contain a lot of added sugar — is a low-GI food.

“Yogurt is probably one of the most popular breakfast choices for those who want to lose weight because of its protein and probiotics content,” says Gervacio. “Yogurt has millions of good bacteria to improve digestion by balancing out the microflora in the gut. Probiotics are also known to aid in the release of certain hormones known to reduce appetite.”

That might help to explain why studies have shown that diets high in calcium from dairy can support weight loss.

Choose low-fat plain Greek yogurt for maximum metabolism-revving benefits, says De Angelis, and then use fiber-rich berries to add flavor.

Related: 7 Healthy Breakfast Ideas That Take 15 Minutes or Less

4. Beans and legumes

While you may not think of beans and legumes as a morning staple, they’re actually surprisingly versatile: you can add them to breakfast wraps, tofu scrambles, or even serve them underneath eggs and omelets.

Beans offer a one-two punch because they’re a spectacular source of both protein and fiber, giving them a high thermal effect. Plus, according to Burdeos, beans are also high in soluble fiber and resistant starch, which feed the good bacteria in the gut. In turn, that bacteria fuels the production of short-chain fatty acids, which help your body better use stored fat as energy.

5. Bananas

While bananas tend to get a bad rap for being higher in sugar and carbs than some fruits, Lord says it’s worth adding them to your breakfast rotation for several reasons.

Not only are bananas loaded with resistant starch, according to Lord, but they’re also rich in potassium — which supports your metabolism by helping to regulate the transfer of nutrients from food into cells. So, consider adding them to your overnight oats, Greek yogurt parfaits, and breakfast smoothies.

One thing to keep in mind, though: The more green a banana is, the higher the resistant starch content.

Read next: 6 Surprising Ways To Keep Your Metabolism Up as You Age

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