The days are getting colder as we head into fall, which means people are warming up with big baggy sweaters and comfort foods like soup and pasta. You don't have to lose your summer body because beach days are over. (Unless you want to, because that's totally fine, too!) If you're looking to shed a few pounds this season but still want to eat good grub, you're in luck! There are plenty of tasty fall superfoods that will speed up your metabolism.
It's true that metabolism is linked to weight loss, but it also gives you the energy you need to function properly. Fall is the coziest time to feel lethargic, but your body needs energy even when it's at rest. A low metabolism could alter breathing, blood circulation, hormone levels and the rate at which your cells are able to grow and repair.
We spoke to HIIT Pilates instructor and wellness coach Melanie Kotcher, Maple Holistics health and wellness expert Caleb Backe, Raw Generation co-founder and health coach Jessica Rosen and New York-based registered dietitian nutritionist Amy Gorin, who are all certified to help others achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles and/or burn unwanted fat. A wholesome diet is a huge part of reaching those goals.
Read on to discover fall superfoods to boost your metabolism.
Here's another reason to head to the orchard this year: An apple a day keeps your metabolism running at full capacity. This fall fruit has lots of vitamin B, which turns protein, carbs and fat into energy. Magnesium, manganese and potassium are also present and have similar functions.
HIIT Pilates instructor and wellness coach Melanie Kotcher says avocado supplies tons of nutrients and antioxidants. It's rich in fiber, which helps you stay full longer, and it's jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids that help lower the risk of heart disease and elevate overall mood.
Raw Generation co-founder and health coach Jessica Rosen says berries are rich in metabolism-boosting fiber as well as free-radical-fighting antioxidants such as vitamin C, which can beautify your skin and fight signs of aging.
Broccoli is high in calcium and vitamins C, K and A. According to the Global Healing Center, just one serving provides a sufficient amount of folate, dietary fiber and antioxidants. It's reportedly one of the best detox foods out there.
Kotcher says Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin K, which strengthens bones and helps to cut abdominal fat. They are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, help to decrease inflammation and control blood sugar levels.
New York-based registered dietitian nutritionist Amy Gorin says that eating foods with a lower glycemic index could benefit metabolism - especially following weight loss - because it decreases surges in blood sugar following meals. Butternut squash is a great choice for people following this diet, and Gorin suggests roasting it with a little lemon juice, vanilla extract, and pomegranate juice.
A little spice will keep you warm this season. Cayenne peppers are a highly concentrated source of capsaicin, which Rosen says will increase the body's fat-burning rate. She says it will also reduce your appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods.
According to Maple Holistics health and wellness expert Caleb Backe, your body uses more energy to process cinnamon, which kick-starts your metabolism. He suggests adding a sprinkle to your latte "and you can add it to any meal - literally use it as fall's very own salt. You can't go wrong."
Multiple studies show that dark chocolate slows digestion so you feel full for longer. The monosaturated fats found in this treat stimulate metabolism, causing the body to burn fat. People who eat dark chocolate reportedly have fewer cravings for sugary, salty, and fatty fare. According to Science Daily, it also reduces inflammation and stress, which can make us crave carb-heavy comfort foods.
Certified nutritional counselor Jennifer Salos told Prevention that she adds flaxseed to her foods because of its omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost metabolism by reducing inflammation and controlling blood sugar levels. This helps us have fewer cravings, eat less, and feel full after meals.
When it's too cold to go out to grab breakfast, reach inside your fridge for a Greek yogurt instead. This dairy product is rich in calcium and protein, both of which are known to jump-start metabolism.
Chillier weather means warmer beverages! Gorin cites one study of overweight and obese Japanese adults, who drank green tea over the course of three months and ended up losing about 6 pounds each.
According to Rosen, matcha provides an abundance of antioxidant polyphenols called catechins, most notably EGCG (epigallocatcechin gallate), which pushes the body to burn calories in order to create heat. In turn, this boosts metabolism and speeds up the rate at which the body sheds fat. EGCG defends against the free radical damage that ages your cells. By preventing oxidative stress and inflammation, you're more protected against disease and visible signs of aging.
Whole-grain oatmeal is another great food to enjoy during cold weather months, and a healthier replacement for refined grains like bread and pasta. According to Gorin, one study shows that making the swap could boost metabolism and increase calorie loss. Some of her favorite recipes include these energy balls or berry overnight oats.
Gorin suggests grabbing a 100-calorie pack of Wonderful Pistachios for healthy snacking on the go. She says they're low in fat and calories, and they provide a trio of plant protein, healthy fat and fiber to keep you feeling full. "One thing you may not realize is that it's important to eat protein-containing foods after a hard workout so that you help your muscles to grow stronger," she told The Active Times.
According to Backe, just one cup of this fall superfood contains 7 grams of fiber! It's rich in vitamins A, C and K. "The best part is that you can add pure pumpkin puree to pretty much anything, whether it's your oatmeal for breakfast or your sweet potatoes for dinner," he told The Active Times. "Just add a couple teaspoons to get your metabolism on track this fall."
Dietician Patricia Bannan told Prevention that protein is hard for the body to break down and digest, which can increase a post-meal calorie burn by 35 percent. Salmon is packed with protein and it's rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces inflammation and controls blood sugar levels, helping us feel fuller for longer.
Kotcher suggests spaghetti squash as a healthy alternative to pasta. It's low in fat, salt and fiber, has far fewer calories and carbohydrates than the latter, and is richer in protein.
According to Kotcher, this root vegetable is low in calories but rich in fiber, which keeps you full longer. It also contains iron, calcium, vitamin B and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are also high in antioxidant beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A.
Backe noticed this "underdog of spices" having an Instagram moment last fall, and he predicts it'll be back in high demand this year. Not only does turmeric help with stomach ailments, but Backe claims it regulates metabolism too. "It contains anti-inflammatory properties and can be added to stir-fry, roasted vegetables, or a latte for a vibrant yellow metabolism boost."