Metabolism is the sum of all the chemical processes by which the body transforms food into energy.
This energy is vital in our movement, growth, and development. Even when you’re inactive, your body requires energy to perform basic functions like circulating blood, repairing cells, breathing, and more.
The number of energy in calories your body needs to perform the basic functions is called the basal metabolic rate (BMR) or your metabolism.
While weight is a complicated issue, many studies associate fast metabolism with losing weight. The faster your metabolism, the quicker your body burns the calories you eat, making it less likely to gain weight.
Since metabolism relies on nutrients to produce energy, we need to eat the right foods to fuel our bodies.
Here, we listed the five best vitamins and minerals that your body needs to boost your metabolism. We also provided foods that are good sources of these nutrients.
Iron is an essential mineral in our body because it helps maintain healthy blood.
It’s vital in producing hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen to other body parts. Iron is also needed to produce myoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to the muscles.
Iron is vital in producing essential hormones such as growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, etc.
When you don’t consume enough iron in your diet, it could slow down your body’s metabolism leaving you weak and tired. This is because iron aids in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism.
Iron deficiency can result in hypothyroidism, where the thyroid can’t produce enough thyroid hormones in the blood. This results in a slower metabolism leading to weight gain, fatigue, and inability to tolerate cold temperatures.
When you have enough iron, your thyroid hormones can help burn your body fat. This increases your metabolic rate and gives you more energy.
There are two forms of dietary iron:
- Heme iron – It’s found in animal foods and is easily absorbed in the body. Good sources of heme iron are:
- Red meats like beef and pork
- Chicken liver
- Fish like haddock, tuna, perch, and salmon
- Nonheme iron – It’s found in plant sources. They are best paired with foods containing vitamin C, vitamin A, or meat to help improve its absorption in the body. Good sources of nonheme iron are:
- Beans like lentils and soybeans
- Whole grains like wheat and oats
- Green, leafy vegetables like spinach
- Dried fruits like apricots, dates, and raisins
You can also make sure you reach your daily intake of Iron via these supplements.
Calcium is involved in the metabolism of nearly every cell in the body. It interacts with a wide range of other nutrients. This mineral is vital for your heart, bones, nerves, and muscles to function properly.
It’s active in bone metabolism, repairing, and forming the bones. It’s responsible for the critical metabolic process called bone remodeling, the body’s lifelong process of replacing old bones with new bone tissues.
Calcium is also active in circulatory metabolic processes like blood clotting, nerve function, muscle function, vascular contraction and vasodilatation, intracellular signaling, and hormonal secretion.
The parathyroid hormone (PTH)–vitamin D endocrine system controls calcium metabolism.
Low calcium levels in your body can affect your metabolism, causing fatigue and weakness. Fatigue caused by calcium deficiency can involve brain fog, dizziness, lack of focus, forgetfulness, or lightheadedness.
Studies show that a low-calcium diet is associated with higher body weight, while supplementing calcium can reduce weight gain. Calcium with vitamin D also leads to better metabolic health.2
Good sources of calcium:
- Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt
- Green leafy vegetables like kale, microgreens, and collard greens
- Soya drinks
- Fish like pilchards and sardines (consume the bones)
You can also get Calcium + Vitamin D3 with these supplements.
3. B Vitamins
B Vitamins play an essential role in speeding up your metabolism. The B vitamins include:
- B-1 or thiamine
- B-2 or riboflavin
- B-3 or niacin
- B-5 or pantothenic acid
- B-6 or pyridoxine
- B-7 or biotin
- B-9 or folic acid
- B-12 or cobalamin
B-complex vitamins increase your metabolism by turning fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy instead of stored fat.
Niacin and B-6, when paired with iron, can impressively increase your amino acid L-carnitine, which burns your body fat.
Several studies have been made on vitamin B12 that claim it can speed up metabolism and help reduce weight. When paired with B-6 and folate, B-12 can effectively metabolize your protein and fats into energy.
A 2020 study showed that vitamin B12 significantly affects fat metabolism. It stated that people who suffer from B12 deficiency could become overweight or obese. 3
Good sources of B vitamins are:
- Meat, particularly liver and kidney
- Poultry like chicken and turkey
- Fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Dark green vegetables like kale
- Shellfish like mussels
- Dairy products like cheese and milk
B Vitamines can also be found in these B-complex supplements.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in the human body and is responsible for over 300 essential metabolic reactions.
Every organ in the body needs enough magnesium that it’s the second most abundant intracellular cation.
About 50% of the magnesium in our body is found in the skeleton. Magnesium is responsible for bone metabolism, or the processes involved in maintaining and repairing the bones.
This mineral is also involved in transforming fats and carbohydrates into energy. When you’re continually low in magnesium, your body’s metabolism slows down as it won’t have enough energy to fuel your body’s processes.
Good sources of magnesium:
- Nuts like cashews and almonds
- Beans and legumes
- Fatty fish
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
Read More: Best Dry Fruits For Weight Loss
To make sure you get your daily dose of Magnesium, you can also consider buying these supplements.
5. Vitamin D
Like iron, vitamin D is also involved in the thyroid hormones, which regulate your body’s metabolism. Without enough thyroid hormones in your blood, your metabolism slows down, leaving you weak and tired.
This vitamin plays an important role in bone metabolism, keeping your bones healthy and strong.
Vitamin D aids in your body’s metabolism and can result in several health benefits such as an increase in testosterone in men, trigger weight loss, and an increase in the production of “happy hormones” serotonin. 4 5
Vitamin D is often dubbed the “sunshine vitamin” because it can be produced through sun exposure.
However, there are still other good food sources of vitamin D such as:
- Fatty fish like salmon, swordfish, tuna, and sardines
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolk
- Beef liver
You can also get Vitamin D from these supplements.
Your metabolism plays a critical role in your body’s functioning and overall health. When your body’s metabolism is fast, you get to burn more calories and have enough energy throughout the day.
Although your metabolic rate is influenced by many factors such as age and gender, what you also eat significantly affects it.
Sai Krupa Das, Ph.D., a scientist on the Energy Metabolism Team at USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, explained nutrition’s importance in our metabolism.
“The food you eat supplies your body’s energy needs. Making sure the foods we eat are optimal in composition is the healthiest way to create sustained energy for our bodies,” he said.
On the subject of increasing your metabolism, you can also eat more of these 10 fruits that will boost your metabolism!