If you want a healthier, leaner body that burns fat with ease – there is only one secret – improve your metabolism. And here is my list of food which will do just that.
Fat loss, energy, great health and hormonal balance favour a fast metabolism – every time.
Eating food that will upregulate thyroid hormone conversion, is about supporting fat loss and creating energy – forcing fat loss, cutting carbs, starving yourself is old school.
Having studied the research of endocrinologist, Dr Ray Peat, I have used this framework with astounding success to help get my competition athletes and myself into world winning condition. As a coach, researcher and author I know see people all over the world wanting more from their nutrition – fat loss, energy, greater health, improved focus and mood – and this framework does just that.
These are my top 20 food that will help increase thyroid hormone conversion to create a faster metabolism and a healthier body.
If you want to know how to combine these foods into a meal plan to improve your own metabolism so you can burn fat from a healthy state – then check out my easy to follow Pro-Metabolic meal plans.
WATERMELON OR PINEAPPLE
Ripe Tropical Fruit contains simple sugars that are easily metaoblised without the release of insulin. They increase the conversions of T4 to T3, thereby increasing metabolic rate. Full of vitamins and minerals and delivering a huge nourishing, metabolic bang.
Coffee has powerful thermogenic and metabolic properties that promote fat burning. Caffeine can act like thyroid hormone and increase metabolic rate and the oxidation of sugar, making it a health-protective food.
Hypothyroid people need to be a little careful as coffee can stimulate the adrenals leading to increased cortisol which raises blood sugar, triggering a stress response called hypoglycemia. When hypoglycemia is triggered, the user can experience jitters, the feeling of being wired or shaking – so be sure to include glucose from sugar. Coffee is a stimulant and when used correctly, should increase focus, metabolism, motivation and stabilise energy.
Coffee is protective of liver damage, blocks excess iron absorption, as too much iron in the body is toxic. Coffee contains B vitamins, magnesium and provides the building blocks for uric acid that is an antioxidant. Coffee is also brain protective. Caffeine is synergistic with progesterone and increased concentration of progesterone in blood and tissue is beneficial for those with excess estrogen.
Raw and unprocessed honey contains a mix of free fructose and free glucose that is both beneficial and pro-metabolic. Honey is a simple sugar commonly referred to as sucrose that is necessary for increasing metabolism to increasing fat burning.
Sugar is the body’s preferred energy source and essential for muscle glycogen.
The liver needs glucose as fuel to convert T4 to T3 to increase cellular function. This results in a fast metabolism. Honey also has a lower GI than rice and pasta making it better for maintaining steady blood sugar levels.
4. SHELLFISH / PRAWNS
Shellfish is a brilliant non-inflammatory pro-thyroid protein source. Oysters, clams, mussels, shrimp, lobster, scallops and crab are all great sources of high quality protein. Shellfish contain vitamins A, B, C, D and E vitamins. Shellfish are also an exceptional source of vitamin B12 which is required for every metabolic process in the body.
Quality protein is necessary to support liver functioning which regulates healthy metabolism
Good protein daily is protective. Protein deficiency is a common cause of hypothyroidism. Too much emphasis on the muscle meats, chicken breasts / steak can be anti-thyroid by providing too much tryptophan.
Protein deficiency slows metabolism, increases cortisol and suppresses the thyroid gland. Those who eat a low protein diet have low body temperature and increased inflammation.
5. STEWED APPLES OR PEARS
Stewing fruit breaks down cellulose (polysaccharides) and aids digestions Keeping a steady supply of simple sugars in your diet will keep your metabolism fast enough to burn the fat, and keep energy high. Quite simply simple sugars drive metabolism
6. PULP FREE ORANGE JUICE
OJ contains the perfect ration of glucose and fructose which increases T4 to T3 conversion, boosting metabolism and suppressing degenerative fat storing stress hormones. The pulp is high in cellulose which can be difficult to digest and can cause bloating or gas. Beautifully high in magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C.
7. SOUR DOUGH bread
Sour dough is not produced as most commercial processed glutinous bread. So, bread lovers rejoice…. freshly baked sour dough with butter is a key component of the Pro-Metabolic nutritional strategy.
Not only is sour dough a low GI carb source, it is easy to digest, it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, it contains no artificial additives or chemicals and contains good bacteria that enhance your entire immune system.
Due to the longer preparation time of sour dough, the protein enzymes are broken down into amino acids. This makes it easier to digest as the enzymes do not have to break down the protein enzymes in your gut. The starches from the grains are also broken down into digestible simple sugars during the fermentation process. The greater the digestibility, the more pro-metabolic a food becomes.
The fermentation process increases the number of friendly bacteria in the bread, allowing the good bacteria to thrive and destroying the bad bacteria. This makes sour dough fabulous for gut health and for strengthening the immune system.
Salt is completely misunderstood. Salt increases fat burning, reduces stress and bloating. Salt is thermogenic, suppresses cortisol and reduces inflammation.
Salt is thermogenic and increases heat production. It increases metabolic rate by increasing mitochondria respiration, which decreases body fat (specifically abdominal fat) by decreasing the activity of fat synthesizing enzymes.
Conversely, salt deprivation has the opposite effect. Nutrition deficient in salt will slow your metabolism, lower body temperature, create inflammation, stress and degenerative illness.
I recommend using clean, unrefined, non-ionized White Sea salt (not pink and not grey)
“The thermogenic effects of sodium can be seen in long-term studies, as well as short. A low-sodium diet accelerates the decrease in heat production that normally occurs with aging, lowering the metabolic rate of brown fat and body temperature, and increasing the fat content of the body, as well as the activity of the fat synthesizing enzyme” Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Nov; 58(5): 608-13. Effects of infused sodium acetate, sodium lactate, and sodium beta-hydroxybutyrate on energy expenditure and substrate oxidation rates in lean humans. Chioléro R, Mavro
Gelatin an essential part of Pro-metabolic nutrition. The benefits simply astounding.
Gelatin is a super pro-metabolic protein source. It supports incredible healing, is pro-thyroid gland supporting, has hormone-balancing powers and is totally void of the inflammatory amino acid tryptophan.
It is derived from Collagen which is a protein contained in the skin and connective tissue of animals. It contains the essential amino acids glycine, lysine and proline. These amino acids are necessary to accelerate cell growth. Unlike the protein from pure muscle meat, gelatin contains no tryptophan. Tryptophan in high doses causes inflammation in the body.
The equilibrium of amino acids plays a large role in metabolic rate, thyroid function and hormone production. Muscle meats are high in tryptophan and phosphorous and when consumed without gelatin or bone broth can increase stress hormones and decrease thyroid hormones.
Hormonally, glycine (gelatin is high in glycine) opposes estrogen and favors progesterone.
Gelatin increases thyroid hormone production which ensures a faster metabolism. A faster metabolism promotes faster fat burning and that provides more energy. Gelatin also decreases excess cortisol. Lower cortisol opposes fat storage.
The amino acid glycine that is found in gelatin, assists the liver to efficiently remove toxins from the body.
Research shows the amino acid glycine contained in Gelatin, increases sleep quality and reduces daytime drowsiness. Glycine also improves cognitive functioning.
Gelatin prevents degeneration of cartilage in joints and reduces the pain associated with arthritis and is a fabulous digestive remedy.
On top of this Gelatin supports our immune system, helps heal autoimmune conditions, supports healthy skin, is great for arthritis and joint pain, fights inflammation and relieves stress and anxiety
10. BONE BROTH
Bone broth is a potent medicinal food that helps provide numerous nutrients and minerals essential to keep you in good health
Bone broth is high in glycine that opposes estrogen.
Whilst bone broth opposes estrogen, it assists with progesterone sparing. The more you reduce excess estrogen the leaner your legs, butt and thighs will be.
Bone broth helps with fat burning by regulating metabolism. It contains the pro-thyroid amino acid proline that increases thyroid hormone production ensuring metabolism is firing and fat burning is more efficient.
Bone broth relieves stress and assists with sleep. It contains high levels of calcium and potassium which are calming, anti-stress minerals and easily absorbed
Bone broth reduces inflammation, aids digestive functioning, and is fabulous for the immune system.
11. COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil actually increases metabolic rate and heat production, which increases fat burning. Coconut oil contains MCT (medium chain triglycerides) that means it does not need to be digested by bile salts and goes straight to the liver where it is available as an immediate energy source.
Coconut oil is also anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial and contains no PUFA’s Fats are essential for hormone production and help fat burning.
Nutrition science has evolved in the last 20 years. Butter was once believed to be artery clogging, fat storing. Saturated fat has now been shown to have huge benefits to our health and metabolism.
Butter is a dense source of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and K2 – vitamins that work synergistically together and that cannot be obtained easily from other sources.
Butter and other saturated fats play numerous other very important roles in our body’s chemistry and metabolism. They strengthen the immune system, help our nervous system function correctly, suppress inflammation, aid thyroid gland function, add minerals for metabolism, support reproductive health, help with digestion, are resilient to oxidation, help regulate blood sugar and boost the metabolism.
The notion that butter causes weight gain is a complete misconception. The short and medium chain fatty acids in butter are not stored in the adipose tissue, but are used for quick energy.
Butter increases metabolic rate and the iodine and Vitamin A in butter is great for thyroid gland functioning. Butter is rich in nutrients that help us feel fuller for longer. Butter helps slow the absorption of starches that results in keeping blood sugar levels stable. Butter is also a great source of CLA that has been shown to aid weight loss and help with weight management.
13. QUALITY CHOCOLATE
Who doesn’t love chocolate? A few squares (20-40g) can help keep blood sugars in a good range and provide the body with pro-thyroid minerals such as magnesium, healthy saturated fats and digestible sugars.
14. FREE RANGE EGGS
A good source of protein and fats as well as being great for hormonal balance. The Vitamin A contained in eggs is necessary for the synthesis of progesterone which will help reduce excess estrogen (which is responsible for cellulite and fat storage on hips, butts and thighs. Be sure to salt eggs well to help reduce cortisol.
15. ORGANIC QUALITY LOW FAT MILK
Milk gets a bad rap, but quality dairy can play an essential role in increasing metabolism and fat burning. It is a perfectly balanced food containing protein, carbs and fat which are essential for keeping blood sugar levels stable and fat burning constant.
“Calcium inhibits the fat-forming enzymes, fatty acid synthase, reducing the formation of fats and at the same time it activates the uncoupling proteins in the mitochondria…. Calcium increases the metabolic rate, the uncoupling proteins burn calories faster while they protect against free-radical oxidations.” – Dr Ray Peat
Mushrooms are a fabulous hormone balancing and metabolic boosting food. Mushrooms contain phytochemicals that inhibit aromatase activity (synthesis estrogen), which also blocks the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
Great for Bowel health, the fibers absorb toxins and disinfect the bowels in much the same way as those in bamboo shoots and raw carrots. And by this means they are very helpful in treating small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and IBS.
“Cooked mushrooms which accelerate peristalsis and speed transit through the bowel, while suppressing bacterial growth, seems like a convenient approach to increasing longevity.” – Dr Ray Peat
Mushrooms are more sugary than starchy (2:1 sugar to starch ratio) and contain a good amount of iodine which is great for thyroid health and one cup of mushrooms is only 15 calories. So an incredible array of health benefits for very little calories. Win win.
17. PARMESAN CHEESE
Calcium plays an essential role in increasing metabolism and fat burning
PARMIGIANO REGGIANO or any hard PARMESAN or EUROPEAN cheese are 100% lactose free. Within 6-8 hours after the cheese is made, lactose is transformed into the easily digestible lactic acid through the actions of the enzymes of the cheese.
Most European Parmesan hard cheeses mature over at least 24months. The cheese is made from RAW MILK produced by grass fed cows. NO additives or processing chemicals are used in its production. It is easily digestible and rich in free amino acids, proteins, lipids, calcium, phosphorus and mineral salts.
18. DATES OR OTHER QUALITY DRIED FRUIT
Dates are contain a great ratio of glucose to fructose and there are so many varieties of these little delicious sweet sugar cakes. From a tropical palm tree, they are mainly purchased dried. If you want a fast metabolism then sugar is definitely back on the menu.
Remember natural sugars will boost metabolism and speeds up the conversion of T4 to T3 in the liver.
Dates are also incredibly nutritionally dense, high in magnesium, potassium and fibre– which helps keep blood sugar levels stable. The high magnesium also works with the thyroid to moderate stress.
They make a delicious sweet touch and when combined with protein and fat they are a perfect pro-thyroid food.
19. QUALITY ICE CREAM
A perfect combo of pro-metabolic sugars, protein, calcium, and a little fat of the good, saturated kind
. Traditional ice-cream / gelato only needs 4 ingredients. Milk/cream, cane sugar, eggs and something for flavour (cocoa, vanilla). Without the additives from commercial varieties, it is an excellent food for lowering stress hormones, regulating blood sugar, inducing sleep, supporting thyroid hormone conversion (T4 to T3), and increasing metabolic rate as found by Ray Peat PhD.
20. GRATED CARROT SALAD
A perfect hormonal balancing strategy to reduce excess estrogen. Grate a carrot, add coconut oil, sea salt and rice wine vinegar. The fibres of the carrot attach to any unused endotoxins and help flush them out of the body. It is also great for detoxification and for bowel regularity . Many women find the carrot salad fabulous for reducing PMS symptoms such as headaches, cravings and bloating.
This should be a great starting point when putting a Pro-Metabolic Nutrition plan together – if you want a bit more guidance i’ve done all the work for you in my 12 and 8 week Pro-Metabolic Meal plan programs – with different combinations and meals each week. Dieting never has to hard again.